You are North.
Hear Bruce Springsteen sing, “In My Hometown.” Y’know, hear it in your mind.
The Boss didn’t pluck that tune out when he played Madison one hot minute before our hero Barack Obama won re-election. It just stuck in my head driving three hours northeast to, you guessed it, my hometown. It’s on the icy edge of Lake Michigan, about an hour past the city of Green Bay.
Imagine a cold wonder of a place where you may buy beer until 2 a.m. I know that’s enough to entice you to say yah to da U.P., eh, but there’s more. It’s a museum of natural mystery.
My family of four stayed with our Aunt Gee. Her house meets your nose like baby powder, cedar and Dove Soap. It smells just like my Grandma’s (rest her soul) makeup drawer. I love the aroma. Le husband says, “There are cats everywhere and you’re afraid to step on them, but you don’t know which ones are real.” The top floor of her home is filled with guest bedrooms and exotic plants, if you know what I mean. I’m talking flowering banana trees.
La pièce de résistance
We drove across town, to pick up Aunt Dee for yoga. She showed us a five pound mincemeat pie, boozy and fragrant with bacon. Be still my vegan heart. Well, not really. I’m the most half-assed vegetarian on the block, especially when it comes to family recipes. After a spoonful of pie, I washed my hands and she handed me the most cushy towel I’ve ever known. I buy the ones that are a couple dollars and scratchy.
As a hen trio, we gave yoga a run for its money and headed to the homestead for Uno with the dudes. We shared Fatty Boombalatty Belgian pints and the loudest wisecracks on the block. A baker’s dozen of Mickey-Lu cheeseburgers were sacrificed that night in the name of buying local. No dilemma for this omnivore. I’ll return to the plant-based fold just in time for x-mas.
Uncle Fred likes his soda cold.
My son and I stole away for a midnight cruise in our slippers. You can go to the grocery store in my hometown bun-headed & slipper-shod and no one will judge you. Madison is cool like that too. I don’t want to live anywhere with a stiffer dress code. In keeping with festive tradition, there were cops parked on every corner. Not a soul on foot. I wager the municipality made little money on traffic tickets that night.
We watched The Walking Dead and turned in. The lighting of the prison on that show reminds me of my old Catholic church. I remember sitting involuntarily around the basement for catechism. I’d try my luck jousting zombies rather than spend one more Sunday in that church of fire and brimstone.
Napkins for the recovering Catholic in your life
In my aunt’s house, the beds are are always squarely made. She fluffs the pillowcases; sharp yellow softness, feather full of every dream you left since last time. Lay your head down, it all comes back to you.
No one talked about bullsh!t mindfulness, said we should write gratitude haikus, or told me to set an intention. But I kinda wished there were an espresso drive-through within, oh a hundred miles. Surely I’m going straight to hell for that.
People stick voodoo positivity pins in the social mediasphere all day long. See “If you want to feel rich, just count all the gifts you have that money can’t buy.” That’s downright whimsical, but I’d rather get a raise. Mama’s got bills to pay, kids to keep warm and the corner store only accepts real greenbacks for gasoline. The warm-fuzzy feelings usually come after basic needs are met. Not trying to be a Scrooge.
I have a face-friend who slaps Einstein, Marianne Williamson and Gandhi quotes on the newsfeed every morning. Rarely, she puts quotation marks around them, and she never credits the original source of the quote. Yeah, I’m sure she came up with, There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, ‘Consume me.’ No. That was Virginia Woolf.
The staggering amount of white people posting stuff they’re thankful for is what gets me. Can we take a hint from Usher (Usher, Usher, Usher, Usher)? Don’t talk about it, be about it. I know that’s more sage advice, but cowboy, if it ain’t broke…
I want someone to explain how to live up to the meme. So your mantra is, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” I like it. It’s got cheap feel-good appeal. Still, please stop. Who are you speaking for? Yourself? Someone in need? That’s what I want to know. Spare me the McQuotes. Or at least put a creepy photo behind the text. I like creepy photos. Pretty ones are so easy to come by.
What Dafoe did I just make? A misquoted meme.
For fun, you can upload any photo to picmonkey.com, meme-ify to your heart’s desire, save and share it, all for free. No registration required, unlike the also popular quickmeme.com and memegenerator.net.
Who cut the cheese between Oms? Probably someone who posts word-pukelets on Facebook like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Just, no. What doesn’t kill you sends you to therapy. What doesn’t kill me maims me. Didn’t Kelly Clarkson write a song about it? She also endorsed Ron Paul for president. She’s no golden font of wisdom.
Nor am I, because this one I dig:
Fourth Thursday of November, thank you for words like barley, rendered, hay mow, brethren, pastured fowl, taco dip, and ratios of a horse a piece and half butter, half potatoes.