Friday, August 10, 2018

A rainy day—in Texas—in August

The news is all over town. No use trying to keep it a secret. It rained in Fort Worth today, much of the day. Almost unheard of any August but particularly considered too much to ask for this year.

I was getting ready to go to the grocery when the friend who was going to take me—I can’t go alone because I can’t get groceries into the house—called and said she thought we’d better wait. She didn’t think taking me and my walker out in the rain was a good idea. I appreciated her concern, but a part of me wanted to go stand in the rain and get soaking wet. We never did make it to the grocery, because it rained until mid-afternoon. A steady but gentle rain that finally settled down into a drizzle. I see mud in my yard—mud, I tell you!

For some reason I particularly noticed that the Turk’s cap was wilted, its leaves drooping straight down without a sense of life. Tonight, those leaves are perky and standing up. Even the fig tree, which has suffered so badly, is looking better. The grass, which turned tail and quit much earlier in the summer, doesn’t look much different, alas. That’s why I can see mud.

And the temperature. I’m not sure it even got to ninety today. Since I don’t especially like meat-packing temperatures, I turned off the two ductless a/c units and threw open the patio doors, so I could drink in that heavenly smell of rain and wet plants and earth. Only thing that doesn’t smell better in the rain is the dogs, but I didn’t notice Sophie too much. She didn’t stay out long enough to get soaking, and didn’t, as she sometimes does, go crazy wild running and tearing things up in the yard and then bring all that mud into the cottage.

So it was an inside day. I’m feeling much better but still tired enough to retreat to bed several times—woke tonight at nine with a start and couldn’t figure out where I was or what time it was. And why was the TV, which automatically goes off about nine, still on? Just as I got myself oriented, the TV obediently flipped off.

A funny phone call enlivened the day. Did you all read about the couple in a small town in New Mexico who apparently stole a Willem de Kooning painting years ago and kept it hidden on the wall behind a door in their bedroom? The only way one could see it was to be in the bedroom with the door closed. The painting, definitely not to my taste, is worth something like $165 million and will be returned to the Tucson Museum of Art from whence it was stolen. Its location was only discovered upon the recent death of the woman—her husband had died many years earlier.

The couple’s last name? Alter. So when I read that story I forwarded the internet link to a niece in New York and asked her to show her dad and inquire if there was any hidden wealth in the family. He apparently laughed and said no. My own kids didn’t think it was a funny as I did.

But today, a friend from church called because he wanted to make sure I knew the story and to ask if those were relatives of my late and ex-husband. He seemed to think that at the least I would get a good mystery out of it, but intriguing as it sounds there’s not enough story there. A short story, maybe? A book, nope. I have filed it away in my mind for possible use as a subplot in another story.

The way I heard it Alter wasn’t even the patriarchal name in my ex’s family. His grandfather came over on a boat from Poland and was asked his last name. A long, complicated Polish name, so immigration officials asked how he made his living, and he said he was a tailor. “Good, we’ll call you Alter.” Years later, my ex, a surgeon, proudly wore a T-shirt that said, “Alterations by Alter.” But I digress. The point is we weren’t related to the art thieves, and ultimately nobody who was profited from the theft. One of life’s funny stories that just happened to come close to home.

Hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did. I love rainy days. Now if I can just remember that tomorrow is Saturday, not Sunday, and I’m going to the grocery about nine-thirty, all will be well.

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