James and I were shirtless every day we could get away with it. We were sinewy and tan and superheroes and shirtless made for easier tree climbing. The trees on Santa Teresa were Goliaths. Certainly they were on par with those growing in the Redwood National Forest.
|Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons|
When I turned sixteen, I got a camera for my birthday. My whole family came over to celebrate. "Whole family" for me included both my brothers, Mom and Dad, my Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle and cousins. That's a lot of family in one little West Texas town (I had other aunts/uncles and cousins in other towns and the family has grown exponentially since then). I didn't get away with much growing up but I sure tried.
The camera was a very expensive Canon, included all the fancy lenses and film and I even got lessons as part of the package. I promptly opened my presents, gave some desultory thanks and headed out the door to go to a friend's house. Spoiled brat. Man, was a I lucky.
As a senior, I got a guitar. I took a few lessons but mainly I learned the basic chords and taught myself to play the songs I loved most. For me, music is the most nostalgic form of memory. I can picture moments in time when certain songs come on.
'Already Gone' by the Eagles is the highway between home and the Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend, Balmorhea, Garner State Park, Carlsbad Caverns, or Ruidoso. Windows rolled down, hot wind blowing, I'm in the window ledge of the battered station wagon (or maybe it was the red and black suburban), one brother's in the other and the other's on the floor...probably crying or playing with Hot Wheels. Or maybe they're on the ledges and I'm on the floor reading a book. Wind blows my Dad's hair. He's singing...one hand on the wheel, the other crooked out the open window.
'Bali Hai' from South Pacific is a kitchenette efficiency hotel in Ruidoso. How Mom got us to watch it is still a mystery but this was before Nintendo DS and smart phones, Twitter and Facebook. We loved it. Plus, she made homemade popcorn with extra gravy (real butter).
'Super Freak' by Rick James is the local Mexican food restaurant. I've just punched the numbers for the song on the juke box before I remember I'm there with my dad. And my granddad. I am mortified as I hear Rick start singing, "she's a very kinky girl...the kind you don't bring home to motha....." I walk back to the table wishing I could disappear and hoping, praying they're not listening to the words. The line of my dad's mouth as he chews his enchiladas tells me this is not so. We eat in silence as "I really like to taste her (every time we meet)" reverberates in my ears.
After college, work in a real job and a real office with a real boss and co-workers was what every self-respecting person I knew was supposed to be passionate about. And I was for a long while. I didn't go to law school until after I'd worked in the "real world" for nearly ten years. So, being older, when I went law school, I treated it like my job. And it's proved fruitful. Yet...I assume that the law, like accounting (or anything corporate, really?), can suck the joie de vivre out of pretty much anything after awhile...and if you let it.
A little more than five years ago now, during some time off before my daughter was born, I found a site online where I could play a card game called Poker. And there were other people there playing, too, not just computer bots.
Poker feels like music to me. Different hands are different songs, each holding distinct memories of places, times, people.
Today, I play online and live. I talk about poker, read about it, study it, twitter about it, blog about it, dream about it.
I wonder if it will last.