Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Break

Spring break and my daughter is home today, complaining about having to get out of bed because the maid is coming. The maid's a woman from Brazil. Her husband's a divinity student at the Adventist college in a little town down the road. He helps her clean the house now and then, making her a maid service or cleaning service I guess, which is what we called our maid in Brooklyn, even though she was just a woman from Guatemala who brought her daughter with her sometimes and showed her maid tricks like storing the garbage bags in the bottom of the garbage can. The word maid was a problem in Brooklyn because my wife was ashamed that a sister was cleaning our house. There were programs on NPR about that in those days. Ways to get by without a maid. We lived with the guilt. Now I don't feel guilty about having a maid, just uneasy about being able to afford a maid when so many people are out of work sometimes, but never when I'm picking up the house before she comes, because I know that without the Friday pick up and the maid we'd slowly sink beneath a rising sea of kipple. When the house is picked up enough for her to start cleaning it, I get out of her way. This morning I took the kid to Big Boy for breakfast, and we ended up in a booth next to some kind of old timers' breakfast club, four guys from the local VFW, talking about draft dodgers in the Seventies and a local doctor who did a tour on a medevac plane, flying critically hurt GIs from Iraq to Germany, the kind of old men and the kind of conversation makes you want to say if I get that way please put a bullet in my brain pan. But just to show you how confusing free association can get, I sat there thinking all at once about four or five things, all jumbled up, that I have to put down in some linear way here, because the narrative won't let me tell it all at once. The VFW has to let you use their big, portable barbeque pits if you're a veteran. You just reserve the pit. Tow it home with your truck. Leon told me that at Leon's World Famous Barbeque in Galveston while I waited for my take-out ribs, reading the menu on the wall, reading cold yard bird, a phrase my wife picked off the menu and put in a poem, you cold yard birds, I know the names of poets in high places, while CLM, whose craziness landed me in the Army, waited for her order, standing alongside me at the counter, wondering who I was. I made the mistake of going to see her at Unit D, you don't even have to explain to anybody what a place called Unit D is about, after she slashed her wrists, and the cops, doing me a favor, figuring me, an officer of a local bank, for a respectable guy who happened, unwittingly, to be mixed up with the criminally insane, took me down to the station and showed me her rap sheet. How were they to know that inside that thick file was where I longed to be?

Copyright 2009 Billy Glad

5 comments:

Tom Manoff said...

Billy, I don't like it when you write so effortlessly (it seems) and it comes out so good. Makes me feel like a klutz.

I love this. A poem really.

GirlfromtheBronx said...

Billy, I read your "Expatriate" post late last night after a long day and now am reading this one before I rush off again. Just don't know if you realize how powerful these are. I don't dare describe it. Anything I would say would only trivialize the impact. But they pack quite a punch. Great work.

Antepilani said...

They only make me sad...

Decidere said...

Try these, may be of interest:
Nobody nose the truffles unseen.

Billy Glad said...

I have actually been to a pun-off. The Great American Pun-Off. The second prize winner was my favorite.

Roy Rogers is out riding, wearing a new pair of boots. Cougar jumps him, knocks him off his horse and clean out of his boots. The cougar grabs the boots and runs off. Roy goes after him, but all he can find is his chewed up boots. Roy rides home and tells Dale Evans what happened. She grabs her rifle and rides off. Couple of hours later, she rides up with the dead cougar across her saddle, jumps down, wrestles the cougar inside and dumps it at Roy's feet, singing: "Pardon me, Roy, is this the cat who chewed your new shoes?"