Monday, May 7, 2012


Ok.  I am sitting here seething because the pictures did not come out.  The pictures of the amazement, that is.  There are plenty of Sadie, cars passing by and other crap I took pictures of to waste the rest of the film but the magical thing is just that, magically gone.  Should come as no surprise because 1.) disposable camera at dusk = SOL.  2.) it wasn't supposed to be documented 3.) I was a dreamer to think it would work out.

So with an extremely disappointed heart, I will tell the story anyway and hope it comes out through words instead of the pictures I prayed you would see.  Especially a special you out there who would really appreciate it a lot.

Yesterday morning started with Andy and Grayson driving two hours somewhere in the middle of nowhere to go hiking.  In case you're new here, I married Grizzly Adams' younger and way hotter third cousin.  He has been chomping at the bit to get Grayson hiking in the woods since the boy could wear shoes other than Robeze.

So they got up at 5am, left the house by 6am and I paced my behind off with Abby in tow until 10am.  At which time I texted love notes like, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" and "IS IT RAINING THERE?!?" every thirty minutes or so.  My husband is a very lucky man.

Finally, around 11:00 Grayson calls and tells me all about the "graceful" drops of water he saw on leaves and how Daddy lifted a tree from the road where they took a short cut.

"Drops of water?  Falling trees?  Are you in the car, Honey?"

Okay, whatever, they were an hour away.  I could breathe again.

But only for a minute because my mom and I were attending a reading in a theater with doors that would shut and make us feel like gerbils in a tin cup.

Neither of us do theaters of any type:  movie, plays, dance recitals, piano lessons, you name it we avoid it.  We're both a little bit funny that way.  Something about quiet rooms and lots of people make us both itchy and short of breath.  I almost didn't graduate college because of it.  Mom almost didn't get past the parking garage because of it.  There was absolutely zero chance either of us would make it all the way through a crowded room filled with long gaps of silence and our own hearts beating louder than your average bass drum.

But we did it.

Once the first reader took the stage we were hooked; we were stayers.  Stories were read by real women about real children who were so much like our own.  Smart, funny, eloquent women read a snippet of their lives in less than four minutes while painting a picture in our minds for a lifetime.  As a member of the audience, we swooned over toddlers "hoovering" tablecloths at dinnertime.  We giggled over "daily negotiations with the terrorists" that are our children.  And finally we sobbed for a mom who spoke of living a life she doesn't recognize or want without her precious 12 year old son.  She stood in front of us like a tiny dancer saying words that echoed in all of our ears for the rest of the readings.  I'm quite sure the entire room was holding their breath to the point of feeling dizzy.  Or maybe that was just me.

Mom and I had a time, we did.  We made it all the way through the entire show and even found our car on G2 afterward.  There was some doubt considering I almost parked us on a loading dock the first time around.

So after the show, I met G-pa T at our halfway point to return Mom.  Not before my dear mother just about stomped a hole in the passenger floor with her imaginary brake pedal.  No matter how slow we drive I think moms in general have a hard time relaxing when their offspring is behind the wheel.  I think they see a five year old in a bucket seat.  In the same breath as the compliment of my navigating skills she meeps out, "Oh Dear, I have to ask you.  Could you please slow down?"

"Yes, Mom.  I can slow down but that lane is called the shoulder."

Thankfully, our halfway point happens to be the only place in the world I consider my true home. It was my (late) grandparents' house.  My house that I grew up in for most of my life:  where I had sleepovers, sneak-outs, prom dates, college heartbreaks, post graduate sleeping marathons.  This place is my heaven on earth, a beautifully mature neighborhood that hasn't been touched at all by time or economic demise.  The neighborhood has only improved over time;  trees reaching across each other like old friends rubbing elbows, hilly roads that beckon you to roll down the windows and breathe in the damp earth beneath it.  It is my mecca.

This neighborhood drips with wildflowers, green and waving landscapes, and houses nestled so comfortably in their sweet spots you can almost hear the grass purring.

It is heaven on earth to me.

So much so I was thinking about heaven and Anna and Jack and my grandparents and that smell of juicy trees saying, "This place is magical.  Simply magical."

Seconds later, do you know what almost ran right the hell under the front right wheel of my tire?

A peacock.

A peacock!!!  In a residential neighborhood.  With not a soul around.  Abby was even asleep in the back seat.  No joggers, no mailman, absolutely not one other person around to assure me I wasn't freaking crazy.

A gorgeous blue sparkly peacock wobbled itself right in front of my van, fanned its back feathers out for me to see and I did the only thing I could think to do.  I parked and got out to talk to it.

There I was, two hours after an extremely emotional ordeal in a theater I was supposed to run away from, in the only place on earth I consider heaven, alone in the face of a miracle that was this brilliant wild luminescent blue and gold bird, the rarest bird of all:  a peacock.

And now you know why I am heartsick that the pics did not come out.  I drove as fast as I could to the nearest drug store, bought the only disposable camera they had, and broke sound barriers to get back to where the peacock had been.

It was gone.

Was it a dream?  Did it happen?  Had I fallen asleep at the wheel and crossed over to the other side with a peacock?

Finally I see a man playing with his kids.  "Excuse me, Sir?  Did you see that...peacock?"  knowing full well I sounded like a crack smoker in a minivan.

"Oh, him?  Yes, he's around here all the time.  He was someone's pet and they've been trying to catch him for a year now.  They set traps, had Animal Control out here, nobody can catch him.  We call him Elvis.  Hang out a bit, he'll be back."

Dear God in heaven above.  His name is Elvis?

Of course it is.

So I hung out, drove by a few more houses calling for a bird named Elvis until the man I originally spoke with shouted out to me.  "He's here, ma'am!  He's in their backyard."

And darnit if I didn't trespass all over a stranger's yard to get pictures of Elvis the wild peacock living in my old neighborhood.  Because that made perfect sense at the time.

I had to document this miracle to tell you, show my kids, take to the shrink I'm going to need to process all of this.  But the pictures did not come out at all.  There are four sheets of empty frames with only an outline of a tree.  I almost cried right there in the lobby of the photo store.  "No peacock?" I ask the little Asian man waiting on me. 

"No car?"  he asks worried about the unstable mom standing before him.

"No peacock in the pictures?" I try again with tears streaming. 

"Pictures too dark.  Only few came out.  Only few.  You need better camera for peacock."  

Yes, yes, I know.  I need a much better camera for peacock.  Have mercy.

I don't know about you, but I need to process the fact that Elvis not only lives but he is bebopping around in my old stomping ground where, evidently, miracles still abound.

 *Just for the record, here are the pics that made it.

Hi Sadie.  You're so cute but you are not a peacock.
Hi there license plate with an eagle on it.  You are a bird but you are not a peacock.
Hey there bumper sticker that says, "" on it.  You. Are. Not. A. Peacock.

Hello worthless empty frames.  You are a peacock.


Anna See said...

beautiful post, amaze-ball happenings! thank you for dealing with the parking garage and theater in order to be there with me! and a peacock? c-razy and beautiful andoh-so RARE!!!! LOVE THIS! xo

L said...

Oh my! Love this post! Beautiful!

L said...

Oh my! Love this post! Beautiful!

JRitz said...

No need for pictures. The words described it beautifully.

OSMA said...

Anna: Am still gutted not to have the pic for you but glad the amaze-ball timing and "what is happening?" still came through. I'm heading back there this week with Nikon and flashlight to find Elvis. The whole time he was in front of me I was saying, "Really? A peacock RIGHT NOW?" So crazy.

L: Thank you so much and Welcome!

JRitz: You always know what to say to make me stop kicking myself in the face. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Well, I thought that there is no way I am going to find anything funny, much less hilarious, after just reading Anna's blog and reflecting about Jack and Mother's Day . Nope -no way because my heart is so very heavy for her.

Well, well, well....was I EVER wrong. And get this: I came.this.close to not clicking on the link!!

Love, love, love it -- and laughter is sweet for the soul. Thank you! You have a wonderful "voice" - thankful to have "clicked on the link!

DawnGes said...

LOVE this perfectly-plumed peacock post! Thank you for all of the images you evoked and the laughter you incited. I'll be back here again to enjoy your musings...

OSMA said...

Dee from Tennessee - Thank you for clicking in and taking the time to read and comment. It's an honor to have Anna's readers here. Had I known I would've cleaned up the place :) Thanks again for your words and for visiting. Come back any time!

DawnGes - Thank you too for clicking in and taking the time to comment. Would love to have you back here any time. So happy you could picture Elvis without the image. All I could do was laugh (after a brief cry in the PhotoLab lobby) and vent about it here!

Lynn said...

New follower here! I SO appreciate a good writer!
Nice to meet you!

Deb said...

this is a really beautiful post. i wouldn't bother going back to find elvis. after all, a rare bird wouldn't be rare if it showed up everytime you drove by. and if a rare bird it was, it seems the message came through loud and clear--and has been delivered thanks to you. :)

i was a ltym as well. glad you pushed through the anxiety. it was worth the stay! my daughter suffers from "worries" and one of her early lessons involved an analogy of a theater: if the theater is uncomfortable (too loud, to visual, too cold, to closed in) and you run out before you have a chance to acclimate, then those overwhelming feelings will still be there waiting for you when you try again. but if you make yourself stay for even a little bit longer than you thought that you could, then you are on the road to overcoming. sometimes motivation helps. glad the amazing speakers helped you and your mother prove your gumption to yourselves! and look at the payoff, a rare bird who perhaps came to thank you for listening. :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh - that would make me crazy. But for the record - your storytelling is far better than a picture. I can imagine it perfectly.

Thank you for coming to the show. I knew that many of Anna's friends were going to be there to support her, but when I actually heard you all cheer as she stepped up to the podium, I almost burst into tears.

Lady Jennie said...

I'm visiting from Anna's and she's right - this post is a treasure! Funny and touching, considering the rare blue bird.

OSMA said...

Lynn - Thank you for the highest compliment one writer could pay another. Hope you enjoy it here. So nice to meet you too!

Deb - Thank you for reading and leaving such a nice note. The last lune gave me chills, hadn't thought of it that way. Appreciate the analogy very much. Interesting how sometimes it's easier to push myself physically (gym mouse, not quite rat status yet) but not always otherwise. I will remember this the next time my husband wants to go to the movies on date night. I can push myself to at least intro we have improvement! Thanks again for your time and words.

Kate - LOL, and belieeeve me, it did make me crazy which is why I tried again. Although now I really like Deb's notion that it's okay to have only happened once. thank you for delivering such a compelling group of readers with stories I still feel are now sewn into my own experience as a mom. I loved so much the simplicity of it all: basic chairs, lined up water bottles, no extra fluff, just moms who popped to life in front of us, the audience, who soaked them in one word at a time. Awesome job. And yeah, I pretty much lost it when Anna stood up to read. And the applause after she finished was even more telling she had a few supporters out there in your shadows.

Lady Jennie - Thank you so much for stopping in to read and comment. I'm happy you felt the humor came through considering I was ready to commit myself without the picture. What's stranger is that I never go anywhere without my phone or my camera, except that day of course.

mrscravitz said...

I so enjoyed your post. I was sent here by An Inch of Gray. I know exactly what you mean about pictures....I soooo love digital. I now carry a small inexpensive digital in my purse...always better than those disposables. You know I bet it was an outdated camera....because USUALLY, you get pictures....that is a bummer.

{sue} said...

This. is. hilarious!! Also, I think your mother and my mother might be sisters separated at birth.

amy of the salvage collection said...

hey, i couldn't even find a camera when the ghost hovered over my bed 12 years ago at the RI inn so you're waaaaaay ahead of me.

and if you trust me on the ghost, i'm with you on the peacock.


OSMA said...

mrs.cravitz - Thank you for visiting! Carrying a smaller digi is a great idea. I didn't even check for exp. date on disposable but did use the little flash option which I'm sure messed up chances of getting anything at all. Took at least ten up super close and all up in someone's yard. Thought for sure I'd get at least a few feathers but nada.

{sue} - First I must say I loved your piece at LTYM and laughed at your post about your wardrobe mishaps because I thought you looked great and so together. We should trade stories of our moms some time, they might like to reconnect some day with their own ;). Second, thanks for stopping in and saying nice things!

amy of the salvage collection - I trust you on the ghost and am impressed you didnt have heart failure. Hovering? Oh my hell no. Do you have a link to your story?

Anonymous said...

Loved this. Thank you for supporting Anna and the other LTYM speakers.
The last time I had my hands on a disposable camera was at a wedding in 1998. I'd forgotten what horrible pictures they take!


K A B L O O E Y said...

You know what? You made us all see the peacock, so thanks for the terrific post. And since any friend of Anna's has got to be a terrific person, I'm off to sign up on all your "things." Blog feed, twitter, all the whatchamacallits. I'm tech savvy.

OSMA said...

Welcome jbhat and K A B L O O E Y! thanks for taking the time to come by and leave a comment.

jbhat - you're right, no worse pics were ever taken. would've been better off drawing the daggone thing.

K A B L O O E Y- SO happy you could envision the peacock and thank you for signing up on all my things. I'm pretty sure some links lead to nowhere but I am Twitter, FB and Pinterest, I promise.

OSMA said...

HA! I am *on* Twitter, FB, and Pinterest. Being them is a bit much.

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