Singing A Hymn

colored drawing

Above: Ninja Turtle artwork hand-colored by Eric in 1990, age 6. Below: excerpts from my journal, going backward.

5/27/90 - Sunday - LOVE

When Geoffry found his mother in her usual pew midway through the service, she raised him up before her, beaming with love, a gladness worth keeping, if one could.

5/23/90 - Wednesday - DREAM

I violently discipline several children. I'm about to slug the last boy in the face and instead pat him on the head and sing to him: "My-oh-my what a wonderful day. Zippity-do-dah, zippity-day, wonderful feeling, comin' my way."

5/19/90 - Saturday - LAUGHTER

At the last of the Easter feasts, Caty wonders through the grownups who are telling jokes in the kitchen. As our laughter dies, she -- in imitation -- mimics our laughter innocently, an echo.

5/17/90 - Thursday - IMAGE

Caught between his mother's instructing finger and the kitchen sink, the dwarfed boy-man looks up.

5/9/90 - Wednesday - DREAM

The cliff above throws its shadow - straight and true - onto the landscape below, which is tumultuous with boulders and no flat thing. The child and I follow the shadow line, keeping it to our left so that we remain in light, and so have faith that our course shall remain true.

4-28-90 - Saturday - DREAM

I'm thrilled driving along beside two trains, one of them a circus train, all of us traveling in the same direction, our speeds varying slightly, the variation producing a magical visual effect. I double back to the station; am patient with the children.

The child's face glistens, its face is so smooth. Its parents have shellacked it. At first I'm curious, then, seeing what they have done, aghast.

4/15/90 - Easter - DREAM

Children, wishing to help construct the enclosed garden, separate the rounded stones from the square bricks. I show them how to arrange them together. I reprimand a boy who is bounding the round stones off the hardwood floors, leaving dents, which I show to him, telling him never to do it again in his life. (Should I have learned from the boy? A dented floor might be unusual and beautiful.)

3/25/90 - Sunday - BALLOON, HANDS

I had to put the money away, she had to clean up after the Sunday school class. Then I was able to tell her about my dad's dying, with only occasional interruptions from her son, who came crying from wrestling, whose head hurt, who gave me one of his two green balloons, which now sits on my table at home, scaring my cats.

The boy and his sister horsed around in line, reminding me of my sister whom I often battled. When the time came for her to receive unction and the laying on of hands, I placed my hands on her shoulders. It was something I had done only once before, never with a stranger. It was as though the hands were not my own. She certainly didn't expect hands on her shoulders, hands other than the priest's. Immediately, she looked back, after it was over, with a look that wondered what kind of trick had been played on her. I gave her a wink, then approached the priest myself, to accept God's healing.

3/11/90 - Sunday - HUG

Joshua, the second oldest of my father's grandchildren, his favorite, came in this evening. My dad's eyes cleared and he gave Joshua a hug.

12/30/89 - Saturday - DREAM

A series of racers, on foot, then on bicycles, then in automobiles, come fast through the crowd, turning under the bridge. The killer shoots at random. His children recognize him. I escape. Later I creep up behind him and crack him over the head, killing the killer.

11/25/89 - Saturday - DREAM

A demon/boy/rival complains to his devil/father/superior, "He's using systematic integration!"

10/1/89 - Sunday - HOME

We are singing a hymn. I feel at home, part of a large family. Cath and her son, Geoffry, clap to my right. Donnie, Michelle and their son, Eric, are in the pew next to me: my ex-in-laws. Donnie's sister, my ex-wife, Ellen, sings two pews down, next to Larry, Faye, Caitlin, and Sarah. Joseph, Beth, and their daughter, Shannon, sing and clap their hands behind me. Bill and Kathy are sitting nearby, having not spoken for two years until recently. They will soon marry and have a son.


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