Monday, November 19, 2001

I Can't Imagine (a) This World Without You

My one-year-old nephew Caleb, one of the two true Minnesota twins, said his first word ("apple") during the days before my 37th birthday. Thus he like his uncle is on pace to learn about a word per year. And like me I'm not entirely sure the little guy quite understands the meaning of what he uttered having never had the fruit (other than applesauce), but he said it quite clearly and over and over again. Point to a picture of an apple and impressively Caleb clearly identifies it, but read him a Sesame Street book point to a picture of Elmo and ask, "who is that?" and Caleb quite cutely also says, "apple."

Before we delve too steeply into the symbolism of his first word and the obvious Adam and Eve analogy let's just say I think the kid is wiser than his year(s). There are many words I wish I didn't know and there have been many times when I wished and prayed that I didn't have to use the same word to describe the situation I found myself in. Taking my cue from Caleb next time someone asks me how I'm doing I might just mumble, "apple." That should say it all.

You have to envy somebody who can look at just about everything in the world as brand new and shiny and still doesn't have the arrogance to believe that everything all kinda ends up the same no matter what you do so you might as well do the same things over and over. Call it the old comfort routine. But what you find out is that inevitably life intrudes and throws you for a loop by taking away something you've depended on, relied on leaving you gazing through the hole where the bottom fell out.

My day these days (daze e daisy give me your answer do...) is more predictable than it is spellbinding. I have developed a morning ritual that has only changed slightly over the years. It always begins with waking up, a process that one certainly can't take for granted nor even hope for. Also in the morning mixture is enjoying my morning homemade cappuccinos while reading both local daily newspapers. Of course one of the first things I've turned to the past couple of years is the comics page where among the first comics I always read was the Fusco Brothers. Last week those wise folks at the Pioneer Press decided to replace the Fuscos with a generic locally written strip called Amber Waves..

Though I appreciated the fact that the Pioneer Press chose not to follow Major League Baseball's lead and contract its comics page I still was a tad disappointed that they didn't expand it and merely switched one of the better strips with what appears to be another cute kid and animal comic. Which reminds me of another part of the soon to departing routine- occasionally glimpsing up to see the peering gaze of Mr. Max looking around the corner wondering if it is in his best interests to join me. Usually Max decides to postpone really checking up on me and instead goes and finds a splash of sunlight coming through the window to lie in. Eventually he ends up on the couch with me, usually first plopping on the spread out newspaper page I'm trying to read. The twins would chuckle, sneeze and wheeze at the lil guy's antics.

Caleb's brother Micah was the first of the two to take a step bringing up the age old debate whether or not it's better to move forward without saying a word or whether one doesn't dare take a step in any direction without first expressing oneself. I think Buffy/Joan said it best when she sang, "Life's a song/You don't get to rehearse/And every single verse/Can make it that much worse..." Baby Steps baby steps... When one word can make all the difference in the world especially if it is the only word that you know. Sometimes as that other famous slayer bard said "the silence can be like thunder."

And it was at the Bob Dylan concert during the first encore when the band strummed the chords of "Love Sick" when my friend, call her the Fusco sister, turned to me and said, "You like this song don't you?" And I muttered something incoherent back to her (as I'm wont to do) as I nodded my head. If only I had been able to say what was in my heart, what was in my mind: "apple."

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