This morning, I was working on some writing for National Novel Writing Month and wanted to dig out an old journal about a trip to my grandmother’s house in Tickfaw, Louisiana. It took a while to track down because I had remembered it as being a summer trip and I couldn’t find the journal for summer 1989. Finally working backwards I realized I had the year right and the season wrong. It was actually fall. November to be exact. And then I found that the day in question was actually November 19, 1989. 23 years ago today, when I turned 23! This amazing numerological confluence struck me a so lovely that I needed to share it with you.
Imagine me and my mother in a tent, by flashlight, in the pouring rain: exhausted, filthy, covered with flea bites, spider bites, and cur-dog bites. We were engaged in the hopeless, hopeless project of trying to make my grandma’s house fit for human habitation, especially since she insisted on continuing to inhabit it. Also imagine us laughing so hard that our sides were hurting.
November 19, 1989
Happy Birthday! 23! Today I…
- Fell through the floor
- Broke my tooth and glued it back on with super glue
- Spent hours trying to make soup, build a fire, etc.
- Put tarps on the roof, climbed up there barefoot with grandma who is nimble as a goat and knows her way around roof and its holes much better than we do
- Slept in tent in pouring rain
- No showers, filthy, unwashed, etc.
- Overwhelming quantity of work
- sense of hopelessness
- Gigantic cockroaches and spiders, threat of alligators and snakes. Grandma says “gators will never catch you if you run in zig-zag pattern.” (Seems they are fast on the straight-away but slow on the corners?)
- Fleas in my hair, creeping and crawling
Mom and I will find good homes for the horrible worthless curs with this ad. Grandma says we can’t get rid of them because we need to “preserve the bloodlines”!!! :
“Wanted: Loving home for seven homely, mange-covered, scrawny, sickly, pregnant, flea-infested, poorly-socialized dogs with hookworm. $10 (or best offer) for complete set. Will not separate…. Great high school science project!”