Whole ‘Nother Story 

 

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My baby used to make the best orange cinnamon bread. And she couldn’t cook or bake all that well besides. I mean, sure, she made passable stuff, edible meals, frittatas and a Moroccan chicken dish that was tasty, but overall, no great shakes, nothing no one else couldn’t do with a cookbook and a no-stick pan, pearls and a little white, cotton apron with blue fleur de lis on it.  But that orange cinnamon bread, whew, and at first I thought, orange cinnamon bread!? Then I took a bite, then another, and another. Sweet and warm slices unspooling all sticky in my lucky hands on their way to my eager mouth. I heard she still makes it. Just not for me.  But, Time assuages bitterness if you let and Age can give you magnanimity if you do it right. So, I hope it’s true and she still does bake. And the pearls and the apron? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Journal Entries Written On the Back of Cancelled Checks

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$58.41 /Payable to Duke Power Company

1/12/93-

Things to do – Revised! :

  1. Learn Spanish
  2. Learn “Tattle O’ Day” on the guitar
  3. Learn to disappear in Mexico singing “Tattle O’Day” in Spanish

$150 / Payable to Citi Bank

2/23/93-

Ignorance is the disrespect of human decency.

$21.95 /Payable to Mario’s House of Pizza

3/12/94-

There wasn’t a lot to go on. Her eyes went hither and thither, hither and yon, hotter than Hades. I was contemplating overcomplicating a block of wood sitting in the middle of my living room when the thought came to me: “Measure twice, cut once.” I decided to make a zither out of the block of the wood. One of us would need a soundtrack. It would need to be airy, ephemeral and quenching in the profound protracted evanescence of her eyes.

Emigrants & Immigrants: My Paternal Grandparents

 

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Paweł Banas and his father watched from behind a tree. It wasn’t his family’s land, it wasn’t his family’s lake but they were his family’s ducks, if ducks could belong to anyone. And when he and his father saw the Russian soldiers shooting them he knew it was time to leave for America.

There wasn’t an eligible bachelor left in Sandomierz that Mary Szata had not refused. As punishment for her recalcitrant ways her landed family sent her abroad to the newish world of America. There she lived the rest of her days, missing Poland terribly.

How they came to be man and wife I don’t know.  Perhaps, there are documents, fading as I type this, that detail their union. Their last surviving child, my aunt Mary, is 95 years old, at an age when, as my cousin said, “memories become more a source for comfort than facts.”

I wonder why I am so interested in people I never met. Yet, I’ve always been like that. Am I looking for comfort in facts and memories or to elide them in stories?

What is a memory, but an emigrant, an immigrant traveling from somewhere or another to somewhere else or another in the great, domestic, international, dialectic clash of thesis and antithesis, the here and the there to form the now which, sooner, or later, if its lucky, lives forever, or as long as well can tell, in memory?  What did the soldiers do with the dead ducks? Did my great-grandparents regret exiling their daughter?

I don’t know. I could make up a story from those two sentences and argue fiction is greater than truth, but it might be best to let them wander like the Truth. Sooner or later, Truth finds a home.

Tornado Witchcraft

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She was one of those who practiced “Tornado Witchcraft”. And by that it’s meant that she had a beauty that spun you around into the ground like bronze die-cut rotini pasta into a sand dune. A sand dune authored by Kobo Abe if you get my drift.

And that’s when a mesmerizing wind would whistle faintly, warmly, first through the trees outside the tall windows then seep through porous chinks between bricks of an old soul and tiny grains pelted your face like kisses, whip up the whirl and scrub the length of history.  White magic conferred by her eyes, her stories, and through her hips onto your hands resting on them.

Yet it was reciprocal magic like a circle beginning where it ends; neither of you knew what to do with each other, busy perning into Tierra firma.