Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Living Fancy

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a place of winter For the Years of Winter…

We were on our back deck yesterday morning, July 4, Independence Day, watching the tiny triplet fawns and squirrels and rabbits use our back yard to go from our south woods patch to the north woods patch. It’s almost like living in the woods, since we can’t see the other houses. But yesterday morning we could hear them. At 6:00 am, on a holiday, very loud and sustained talking and laughing from down the street. It wasn’t very good neighboring. It was almost like living in a fancy neighborhood again.  
It was by accident, really, that we once lived in a fancy neighborhood. It wasn’t nearly as fancy as it thought it was, but it was definitely fancy. It was the worst neighborhood we ever lived in, and that includes the slums of Dallas.
There were lots of rules. You couldn’t have a garden or a clothesline. You couldn’t park a car overnight on a street. You couldn’t park a truck overnight even in your own driveway, even if it was your truck. There were lots of committees, including one that had to approve the color before you could repaint your front door. You got a nasty phone call if you didn’t pay to have the same half-class lighted Christmas candy canes installed along your sidewalk, the way everyone else did, so that no one would mistake us for an un-fancy neighborhood.
Despite all the rules, there was lots of noise. People who had swimming pools would leave town at night, but not take their teenage children with them. Said children would then have swimming parties into the wee hours. It wasn’t very good neighboring.
It wasn’t just teenagers, though. One night about 2 am, there was so much ruckus at the house one door down and across the side street that we called the cops to investigate. They reported back. “That’s the governor of the state of Illinois down there.” He was visiting his brother. Since this happened to be in the state of IL, they seemed reluctant to tell anybody to shut up. Except us.
The governor’s brother’s wife had been a cheerleader at the local college. She went by the name of Kitty. [Not really, but it was sort of like Kitty, so I’ll use that name for this story.] About forty years after she had led cheers, I was speaking to a group of several hundred cancer survivors in Hartford, CT. My introduction included my place of residence, the city of the fancy neighborhood. After the talk, a fairly large man approached me. “I went to college there, where you live,” he said. “Played football. There was a cheerleader by the name of Kitty. I think she stayed in town there. Do you know her?”
I admitted that I knew her. His sixtyish countenance took on a look of rapture. “She was so hot,” he said. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that although she was as loud as when she led cheers, her temperature had cooled off quite a bit, simply because that’s what age does to folks, we cool down.
Which is a segue to the point of this meander… as old people, we often end up living in places that are strange to us. We are sent to “the home,” overlooking the IGA parking lot, or to the Ancient Arms retirement center, or some place closer to the children, who have not the good sense to live anyplace we’d like to live. They might be fancy, but they’re not where we want to be.
I advise that if you don’t like “the home” or Ancient Arms or where the kids live, just live where you want to, as I do. I live in Bloomington, IN, in 1957. That’s where I met Helen, my personal Lake Itasca [1], from which all the rest of my life has flowed.  It’s not fancy, but it’s quiet. There, the girls are all 102 degrees, and they are all fascinated by a skinny crew-cut guy “doing his tall silent thing.”
1] The little lake in MN that is the start of the MS River.
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer!
You are always welcome to Forward or Repost or Reprint. It’s okay to acknowledge the source, unless it embarrasses you too much. It is okay to refer the link to folks you know or to print it in a church newsletter or bulletin, or make it into a movie or TV series.
{I also write the fictional “Periwinkle Chronicles” blog. One needs a rather strange sense of humor to enjoy it, but occasionally it is slightly funny. It is at}

No comments:

Post a Comment