Sunday, August 30, 2015

Of Cabbages and Kings: Losses and Gains

Of Cabbages and Kings: Losses and Gains
            Babies require an enormous amount of diapers, furniture, diapers and accessories, diapers and love and diapers, not to mention a retinue of four (in this case) caretakers. Baby Harper is joy unlimited. Auntie Antoinette says Harper is a better play-toy than any doll. Grandma Dee seldom lets Harper leave her arms. I never miss an opportunity to take my turn with my great granddaughter. Add in another Great Grandma, a Grandpa and an Uncle, and the sum total is a child well loved.

Mother Jessica sometimes looks at us wistfully, yet I know from experience she is glad to have us take over for a few days. Unfortunately, for our new momma, her hands will be full once she returns home to Washington. Our collective job is to spoil the child and we are successful. A gain.

            A loss and gain all in one: I lost a little girl granddaughter Antoinette, soon to be ten, and gained a young lady, poised, responsible, thoughtful, helpful. It is hard to believe one year’s time could make such a difference.

            Since Grandma Dee Dee had a training in Miles City, we gals tagged along. Baby Harper needed diapers, wipes and formula. Grandma drove to Wal-Marche and bought diapers, baby wipes, formula, onsies, jumpers, hair barrettes and clips for all the girls, snacks, and enough related items to fill the cart to overflowing.

            Since Auntie Antoinette wanted to cruise the aisles of the Dollar Store, Mom decided to also load up on items for a school lesson meant to teach that once words are spit out, they cannot be returned. She needed twenty five containers of items such as toothpaste. Like our words, once out of the container, it cannot be forced back in. She ended up with thirty one extra items which had nothing to do with why she went into the store.   

Nobody is immune. Mom said Antoinette could have three bottles of glittery nail polish. Once home, mysteriously, seven bottles fell from the bag. Antoinette shrugged and lifted her arms in the universal open position indicating, “no idea how that happened”.

            Once placed within the warm and dark confines of a suitcase, stuff breeds. Proliferation is not limited to certain specific stuff. Anything and everything is vulnerable to multiplication. How did I get three extra pair of shoes? I only brought the pair I wore. From whence came two jeans, linen pants, cotton capris and that white blouse. Why three pants and only one blouse? And the paperwork? Receipts, notes, addresses, old mail, napkins. Napkins? I didn’t put napkins in here. Did I? Why?

            And why four, no five, kinds of lotion? I know I started my trip with one small bottle plus my all-purpose Bag Balm which I take everywhere. (The three necessities of life—Bag Balm, duct tape and W-D 40.) I just counted a large jar of hand cream and three extra bottles of lotion. This is the second week of my trip. I live in fear. I started my trip with a (one, singular) set of nail care products. I now have three. One would think I lavish my nails with care. No, my poor nails are subject to benign neglect. I try to remember to trim them once every couple weeks. Otherwise, they are on their own.

            My eye-hurtful fuchsia luggage is unmistakable. It is undeniably ugly but easy to find on a baggage carousel. The poor, much traveled, beat and battered thing is exploding at the seams. It was more or less fine when I left. Now it is coming apart in three places. I have wrapped it in duct tape for one more train trip, one more flight.

If my battered bag explodes en route I shall pretend it is not mine. I’ll turn my head and swear I’ve never seen it before in my life while walking away from the mess at full speed. I’ll begin fresh with a new piece of discreet luggage and wait for it to mysteriously fill on its own by mitosis or budding or fragmentation or some such.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

August 20, 2015

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