last one out, turn out the lights

by bam


so here we are, supremely home alone. whole town, it seems, is up and gone. destinations: distant.

not us. we’re here, hauling in the papers, the mail. feeding home-bound cats. keeping an eye out for wayward packages.

we are the stay-at-home brigade. and we’re rather practiced at it. except for once in four years, when we made an emergency crash landing at my then newly grieving, widowed brother’s, we’re the ones who hold down the block, every spring break.

mind you, it has its advantages. other night, i was the only one in the checkout line at jewel. matter of fact, i was the only one in the store. the checkers were holding a little dance contest when i rolled in, needing strawberries and milk and pretzels stuffed with apples (the finest bedtime snack, made, it turns out, by my pilates buddy kim; we twist like pretzels together, she makes them for a living).

if we wanted to take our pretzels to the street, plunk down in our jammies, with our glasses of milk and our puffy twists, we could do that. no one would honk a horn. we could sit there dunking pretzels for a quarter hour, in the part of the street where the cars zoom back and forth on an ordinary evening. but not this week, oh no. no one, not a single headlight, would come shining down the lane.

i’m telling you, we’re all alone here.

it was quite something, the wind-up to this solitary adventure. first the calls started coming in: could you bring in our mail? could you feed the cats? scoop the cat box? funny, no one even asked if we were leaving; they just assumed, as always, we’d be here.

then the afternoon that school got out for the last time in a week, all these funny trucks started pulling to the curb. trucks with “stay,” blazoned to the side. seems all the mutts on the block were getting escorted to spas for spring break.

wonder if i coulda jumped in? done a little panting? drooling, perhaps? made like i was just another mutt.

ah well. the stay mobiles departed, then black cars arrived. no one, it seems, drives to airports anymore. they let the black cars do the honking. they made no noise on my block, the black cars did not. they quietly opened up their doors, flipped their trunks, then carried off the folks who’d packed up all their sunblock.

i waved, from here on the curb. then i got to making my calculated chart. figured out the rounds, which cat when, which mail where.

but now we’re settled. now we’re having fun. we’ve got the whole movie store to ourself. we can have any flavor we want at the baskin-robbins. and just yesterday after a long family bike ride (yes, the one who once fell off, remounted and rode again, much to his mother’s pounding glee), i dashed inside, poured big mugs of pink lemonade, piled high a basket full of pretzels, carried it outside to where the boys were waiting.

tell me, i began, what bed & breakfast would serve pink lemonade and pretzels in the middle of a sunday afternoon?

with that, the easy rider curled up and took a three-hour nap. there was no noise to wake him. only the sound of his mama being home alone.

and if you’ll excuse me now, the bed & breakfast is serving the boys’ most favorite french toast, and someone around here has to get the griddle going…..

anyone else around this week? or are you tapping in tahiti?

also, i noticed over the weekend, a truly wonderful lacing of comments being added to days past. please, never feel like a subject is closed once the next meander rolls along. the conversation, like a good broth, gets richer for the simmer, the adding of ingredients. take a glance back. add more thoughts. this chair endeavor is best when the thoughts keep building. i am only here to get the broth on the burner. you are the ones who make it worth savoring……and for that, of course, i thank you deeply…