Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Circle

Leah feeds all of the stray cats in her yard and has a smile like a Jack-o'-lantern. She walks for miles each day carrying her gigantic purple plastic thermos mug of black coffee and a pack of cigarillos. One day she told me that growing up she was placed in twenty-five different foster homes. "Wow, Leah, You've survived that, you can survive anything," I told her and she smiled. I love running into her. Recently I told her she's Lily-dog's godmother and she was delighted.

When I was a child, weekends meant my stepfather wore suede slip-on sneakers and listened to his favorite records while watering the plants. Then he would do the NY Times crossword puzzle while lounging in his big black leather Eames chair. Grandma and Grandpa would drive up from Brighton Beach in their beige Buick Skylark convertible with the red interior. Grandpa seemed to always have a trunk full of boxes: lightweight shoes for dad to try on and a few cases of Wrigley's Spearmint gum for himself so he'd never run out.

When I visited Grandma and Grandpa I was surprised at how much food they had in their fridge. Their cupboards overflowed with saltine and graham cracker packages wrapped in blue rubber bands. When I asked my mom why they had so much food for just the two of them, she said Grandpa lived through the Great Depression and it was traumatic. He never wants to run out of food or go hungry again.

We've lived through a few recessions and this one is the Great Recession. Now I am traumatized. I don't like to run out of food or go hungry either. My fridge is full of packages of flour and grains and nuts wrapped in blue rubber bands.