And….. We’re off.
To God knows’ where, but off we went to fire up a little bit of funniness and and steal another billow from that ominously persistent cloud that has loved us like a glove for what seems like forever. It snuck and stuck, but now if you blink real fast, appears to be clinging to the radio antenna and starting to hang on to the edge of the rear view mirror flapping in the breeze. Maybe If we go faster it might lose it’s grip altogether … ya think?
So goes the art of losing the glove. Stop at red, go at green, and go faster when the yellow light blinks. The yellow light is always the light of opportunity.
It is a hot and dusty morning, Kashmir is asleep and swimming in blankets of white dog fur, as Maria and I decide the agenda for the morning. Fans are at full tilt as the Lubbock heat starts to dial up. It’s going to be a heat wave today 107 degrees and what not, a record in these here parts. And how disgustingly predictable: 80 at eight, 90 at nine, 100 at ten. Makes you thankful we aren’t using military time.
The oven not withstanding, some grease at McDonald’s first and foremost, chugged down with OJ and a growing sense of ease and comfort as we get to know each other again. I see in Maria, a coltish sense of humor, a young girl becoming a lady right before my eyes, and a sense of fairness and sensitivity that she dresses up in wolves’ clothing- but can’t hide the fact that she is an adorable lamb, hoping to avoid the inquest of the world, and her potential slaughter. Brevity and bravado are her shield and spear.
But right now she is with her Dad, who does what Dad’s do- which is basically nothing but being reinvented by the loveliness silhouetting her face in a halo of hopes and dreams.
Dad’s miss a lot of the big things and tend to tunnel in, do the possum thing now and then, and of course trumpet their undying promise to their offspring all at the same time.
No yellow light here or some other color, when you blink you become blind.
Bonding of this nature comes with a price of course, the old “master to the Grasshopper” theme becomes sickeningly laid out at every turn, in an effort to add some feathers to her wings, bump up the speed a bit, sculpting the grace with which she flies- but more importantly, honing stealth, swiftness, and escapability.
Yep. That what it’s all about, that father daughter bonding thing. Teaching her to be able to sidestep danger as fast as possible, hopefully in less than a heartbeat, sidestepping the eagerness of youth that lands you on the cover of a milk carton.
It is really really bad if you find yourself on that cover. The milk carton that is… The upside being that you have endured long enough to actually see yourself in print, the downside is- you haven’t gotten away yet.
So that is what we talked about, laughed about, joked about today, my daughter and I. Staying off the Milk Carton.
So as I looked over at my beautiful daughter, I made a mental note to go to the hardware store, buy a file with which to sharpen her talons. She has some teefs, but they are the teefs of an eaglet not quite ready for prime time yet, rather gnawing and pestering as opposed to evicerating attackers to escape intact.
This is what Dads’ do… We buy files, and mace, and play basketball on hot days in Texas, with our lil’ eaglet daughters. We go fishing sometimes as well. A lot to be learned about Bait & Switch.
Oh and yeah… I made her clean up her room, do the kitchen, straighten out the dining room table, as soon as we got home, not because I thought it would help her survival skills… Certainly not because I felt deep in my heart, that being a stern taskmaster would help her moral, ethical, and spiritual (right) development, or add to her overall wholesomeness and readiness to merge into the world as a complete, newly founded, independent maiden…
No, it wasn’t any of that. In the back of my head I realized that I had forgotten one precious aspect of having Maria as my daughter. She was my slave!
Holy cow, what had slipped my mind was that at eleven, she was still a pliant little nematode that I could actually get to do- the mundane and boring chores associated with running a household. In terms of word origins the name “Nematoda” means “the thread-like ones”, derived from ancient Greek.
Nematodes represent 90% of all life found on sea floors, therefore food for bottom dwellers or more succinctly, the unsuspecting finger food of chance and misfortune.
In this case she represents a genetically engineered droid that for little reason other than sheer bad luck or random mischance, had ended up in my crib, and was tragically at my beck and call.
It sucks to be a “thread like one”.
Forget the talon sharpening, feather preening, dove on a tornado oil painting. Let’s ignore the metaphorical extractions of ashes to phoenix glory, totally drop the duckling to swan fairy tale, and just get to the meat of the equation (in this case- some sort of plankton) and start doing some dishes !!!
Spliced into all of this is the fact that bottom dwellers and tossed away milk cartons lay in the silt of the stream, and aren’t easy to spot. No snoozin’ on the job.