Notes from my Journal
New York City – Number Three Son arrives at the townhouse we are occupying for the week and, seeing his new nieces and nephew sprawled out on the living room floor, initiates a discussion about whom the various grandchildren resemble.
Number Two Granddaughter looks like her father, he says. K disagrees. “She looks exactly like her mother did at her age.” And then she proffers a photo to prove her point.
Of course, it proves nothing. A lively debate ensues, this time involving all four grandchildren and not only their four parents but also their eight grandparents and twenty-two aunts and uncles.
I’ve seen this happen before. And I think I know why.
The truth about infant facial types is one that most relatives refuse to acknowledge: the fact that there are very few distinguishing features.
There really are only three: skin tone, head hair quantity, and general appearance.
Differences in skin tone are obvious and, therefore, outside of most debates. Hair quantity is also obvious and binary: They are either bald or hairy. General appearance is the one that is the most hotly debated – but there are only two versions: cute and not cute.
So putting aside skin tone, you end up with the following groupings:
* Cute and bald
* Cute and hairy
* Not cute and bald
* Not cute and hairy
If you want to continue to insist that you can spot more than this on a baby’s face, you are welcome to your delusion. But we grumpy but realistic types know the truth.
Today’s Word: brontide (noun)
A brontide (BRAHN-tide) is a low muffled sound like distant thunder that is heard occasionally in some parts of the world. It is thought to be caused by weak seismic activity.
As used by Gary Fincke in his short story “Faculty X”:
“You know what they call brontides by the Bay of Fundy?”
“What a howler,” Grant said.
“In Belgium, they call them fog belch.”
“Those clever Belgians.”
According to The First Labor Day Parade by Ted Watts, the date for the first Labor Day Parade was chosen because it coincided with a Knights of Labor conference in New York, thus guaranteeing a sizable turnout.
“If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.” – Doug Larson
From my work in progress basket
Invitation to a Tarot Reading (after JL)
What I liked about you then was how you were always looking out the window.
Did you ever hear a word I said? I remember that half amused half transported smile – ultimately impossible to parse but enough for me during that long winter when we had no idea of what the fall would bring.
It was only later, so much later, reading your journal, that I discovered something to keep: how in the evening on our way home, as we passed the gypsy’s house, you thought about the rose-colored cardboard sign in the window – See Your Future $10 Inside – that inside were people like us gathered for the same thing.
We all secretly want to look into the future, you thought, while the stars and the moon and the distant galaxies rain down on us. You wrote, “As if the radiance of every other world is atomizing in space and falling down on us – an ancient dust of every hope and wonder that went before us.”
Later, in an old book that had your name on the cover page, I found your scribbled note: “In a Tarot reading there needs to be someone to ask a question and someone to draw a card and someone to feel a burden lifted and someone to feel anointed.”
This belly dancer’s trick is somehow disturbing given today’s cultural milieu. I hesitated to pass it on lest you think badly of me, but the actual physical skill is pretty amazing so I’m going to share it…