22 November 2009

My dad still likes to drag-race

Saturday 21 November 2009

Depending on what car he is driving, my dad likes to drive fast. I don't mean he drives ridiculously fast, like it's unsafe. He just has a habit of going a little more than the posted limits. He says a higher average speed keeps up his times... as though he's racing.

Actually at one time my dad did get a sports-car-racing licence. It has long since elapsed, since he no longer logs any time on race tracks (unlike my uncle who races frequently up in Pennsylvania). But he always says it is one of two reasons why he looks at every driving situation like he would look at a race. He has these sayings, like 'Lane selection is key' and 'Check six for challenges', things like that. The whole purpose of driving for him is to get where you're going as quickly and safely as possible. He says, 'A good race is when you arrive at the finish line alive. A great race is when they can use the car again someday.' The other reason is that he grew up learning to drive when they had the 55-MPH speed limits, which truckers hated because it meant they could not legally average a mile a minute. So like the truckers my dad learned to push the limits a little-- which, yes, kind of made the 55-MPH speed limit sort of ineffective.

We were out this morning in the '65 Wildcat convertible, going up to the music store in Salisbury and on the way home, trying to get back for my all-call at 6.00, we found ourselves in the middle lane needing to get over to the right. And on our right was a 1968 Dodge Charger being driven by a girl-- young woman-- not much older than me, about 21 maybe, with bushy curly dark hair and pretty dark eyes-- Italian-looking, very pretty. I wondered how she had got such an exquisite old car-- it was deep maroon with a black top such as they had then and gleaming chrome wheels, very pretty like herself actually. Maybe it was her father's and he had let her drive it-- unlike my dad who won't let me close to the driver's seat on any of his! Anyway she had a stick shift-- we could hear her going through gears. I sort of envied her.

Daddy ran up through second upon leaving the traffic light. There were cars everywhere-- the mild weather had brought people out for shopping and just plain cruising. And a lot were classic cars-- part of the reason Daddy wanted to take the Wildcat on this trip, you know. And maybe it was why this lucky girl had stolen a chance to drive her daddy's Dodge Charger. She was accelerating mildly out of the traffic light and we pulled even with her. Daddy needed to get over to her lane for an upcoming turn and wound second out a little higher. That big Buick engine ran up and the exhaust growled. The girl, whom I could see now was not alone in the car, heard it and accelerated a little harder too. Daddy laughed.

'I think we're going to miss our exit,' he said, and leaned harder on the throttle.

The girl did too. The nose of the Charger pulled even with the nose of the Buick. Suddenly her whole car rocked back-- she had floored it.

Daddy floored it. 'Uh-oh,' he said, 'there goes the six-pack.'

'The what?' But I was shoved back into the seat with the acceleration then. Both of us roared off up the highway, fifty, sixty-- Daddy shifted to third-- seventy, nearly eighty when Daddy put it into fourth and let the girl go. The big Buick settled in at about 80 for a few moments and then he backed off. Fortunately the girl had made her point for she settled in just ahead of us as we glided into the right lane for the next exit. I knew that under any other circumstances Daddy would have run any guy about his age through 100 or so, whatever the two cars would take. But he was feeling a little protective of the girl in the Charger-- she was only some good man's daughter, as he likes to say, and it would look awful if he were the one who incited her to some horrific accident. If she would not know any better, he would, you know.

Nevertheless he went in to the exit ramp with the big wide tyres whining a little and proceeded to drive us home a little faster the whole way. I know he thinks fondly on the days when he had his first 1965 Wildcat and used to cruise the Boulevard on Long Beach Island with it all summer, attracting girls and the envy of boys as well. I know he got this second Wildcat and had it painted like the first just to relive, even a little, those days of teenaged glory. And I know he thinks Jessy and I find it a little immature, and he probably thinks Mother does too-- but, the thing is, we don't. We find it just one more part of him. You see, my dad has always been 'cool', not in the immature, irrational way like some young guys imagine they are 'cool'. My dad has always been sensible, rational, intelligent, you know, but there is a small slice of him that likes to look good in all situations. In the '80s he was noted as a fashion plate in rock-and-roll. He had the hair and the clothes and the guitars and was seen in places the average rocker was not-- Sotheby's auction, the National Trust sites, art museums and classical-music concerts and at the ballet. He paid attention to his widowed mother and participated in family functions. He hosted (conservative) politicians at his big place up in Menlo Park and gave to charities. He was seen with a number of young women, in New Jersey, New York, and London, where he tended to work in those days. And he made people's careers, not merely as a 'fashion plate' but as someone whose attention and concern-- almost as a father's-- made the difference between a young star making a stupid decision and a young star moving forward like a responsible professional. I never mention names-- not even my own here-- but if I were to, you would be surprised at who he has known and what he has done for them.

In many ways my dad is my hero. There are a few things about him I would not like to see in anyone who would become my husband-- he is very sloppy about clothes, procrastinates little things because of working on big things, spends too much time by himself and overtalks literature, music, art and philosophy, all of which my dear stepmother, who once adored him as a favourite teacher, has found out about him since she married him. But in most important things he is my role model for a man. He is naturally happy, optimistic, encouraging. He is artistic, creative, intelligent-- really a genius. He is warm, thoughtful, generous, affectionate. He is careful and logical, not prone to making stupid decisions for selfish reasons. And he is truly concerned about the welfare of the world, from the healthcare plan to the first club show of the newest starving future singing star.

And he drives the coolest metallic-blue 1965 Buick Wildcat convertible known to mankind, a car that will probably become mine some day (or J.J.'s) because it would never, ever be sold by Daddy or anyone else, if only because it reminds us all of what Daddy is-- a man who sees no great period of time between when he was 20 and when he was 50, because in all that time he has only ever been the same person through and through. He has matured and grown older, but he has remained the same in what really matters.

People have asked me if this is some weird Oedipus complex, and I can only say I don't know. First I have to ask, is there any reason my dad should NOT be my role model? Is there any reason I should not want to keep him company on a ride to the music store? Is there any reason why I should not ask him my most personal questions and then take his advice? Is there any reason why I should not admire him?

And then those people will ask me, if he were not my father, would I want to date him?

Well, maybe if he were still 20. [ha]


19 November 2009

Morning fog

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Overheard from girls in the hallway before homeroom (7.30-7.40 am):

'So I had a glimpse into the world of men today. I was sitting at the back of the bus with all these guys and had to endure all their talk....'

'I am so tired of not wearing pants' --girl in leggings

'I hate this f-ing school.' (She actually said 'f-ing', not the whole word!)

'I have my book. I mean I do not have my book.'

'My God, will they make something edible for lunch?'

'Look how clean my locker is. It's ridiculous.'

'So I'm a part of the devil because I borrowed his socks. Don't talk to me-- I'm the sock devil.'

'Don't tie it too tight. I'll asphyxiate myself.' --girl getting help putting on scarf.

'This room is still locked? Your tax dollars at work.' --Jessy. (The girls' room in our wing has been out of order for about 4 days straight.)

And read as part of the homeroom morning announcements:
'The life of a nation is only secure when those in it are honest and virtuous.' --Frederick Douglass

* * *

14 November 2009

Late-breaking news

Friday,13 November 2009

Well, our school was closed yesterday and today because of the storm. Our local bridge was washed-over, meaning that we can't leave this peninsula anyway. So we've been inside all day today and yesterday-- all six of us. Mother had a fire going in the kitchen and was singing merrily away as she made soup and corn muffins and hot tea and, later, brownies. She loves to be the provider of all good things, you know.

My period came, a week later than usual, which might be a concern to some girls but of course is not to me. I like what Mother calls the 'will of God method' --whatever He wants of me, I'll do; so if I'm to get it late I can tolerate that. I did dig into my drawers (the ones in my dresser!) and took out the silk panties I bought in England, the navy ones and dark-green ones and very pale pink ones. I have on the navy ones now-- they have a gathered waist and gathered legs but the silk is pretty loose in between, making them delightfully soft, almost sinfully comfortable. And at the moment I have on my warm navy-and-cream linen/wool Colonial dress and stays and a woolen cardigan and stockings with socks over them and am quite comfortable in spite of the circumstances.

Caleb phoned the other day from UMES asking if we could get together this weekend. The storm put those plans on hold! But this wouldn't be a fun weekend for either of us. Last weekend he was here for supper and we all played games like Apples To Apples and Trivial Pursuit. I am sure he wanted a repeat of the Hallowe'en party but there would be none of that then. I really think Jessy is right about that-- I'll say no more on it now.

Daddy was changing strings on one of the guitars the other day, in the parlour, where Mother would rather he didn't do something like that. As it turns out I found the broken end of one of the strings stuck in the carpet under the piano. That is-- I found it with the ball of my foot. It has started to go septic and Mother put this stuff on it that's supposed to loosen and withdraw splinters in the hope of getting out the dirt. I have on a big bandage because it hurts and throbs like mad and I have been hobbling round the house on my heel since. Mother kind of got mad about it all and issued Daddy a moratorium on changing strings outside the music room, which he sheepishly accepted. When I first impaled my foot on the string he actually carried me in to the kitchen for it to be treated. Then he carried me up and put me in this bed. I know he feels bad about it-- but then Mother chastised me for going round the house in November with bare feet, so I suppose we're both culpable.

I have used much of this time in bed with the computer to work on my novel, getting it ready. There is still a section in the middle of the end that I need to actually compose, and instead of writing that I find myself stuck editing parts that are already done. Today I began writing through the gap towards the end, and as it turns out I changed too much for the existing end to work. Now I have to decide which version I change to adapt both parts together. Daddy suggested I just write the whole segment over, like a new draught, and see how it flows into the ending. It could be the whole ending gets changed... or I just delete a lot of dialogue I happen to like in order to keep continuity.

The storm continues outside. We were without power from late last night till early this afternoon-- that is, our generator kicked on, which doesn't power everything in the house, just the refrigerators and a few lights and so on (and the AirPort for the computers), but we could see that the hamlet in front of us was out and the whole road was dark. It's just more reason to stay inside. The wind has been howling, on and off, and since this is blowing off the ocean we have a startling high tide battering against our seawall and parts of the lawn are flooded. Fortunately the window in the tower that leaked last year is holding now. Jessy has all her inside shutters closed-- she tries to hide from it and pretend it's not there. I had mine open for a while but the rain and wind bashing against the windows was so scary I really feared the glass would give way, so I have only the bathroom one open now. And I have a nice little fire, and a small pot of tea. So I am content.

I will provide more details as I am moved to!

* * *

01 November 2009

Turning treats and tricks

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Daddy came round in front of the house with the green garden tractor and the 'stagecoach', a little wooden enclosed wagon he built for Jessy and me when we were small to take us round the yard at Delaware and the nearby beach park and neighbourhood. Down the front steps came Lisa (an angel) and JJ (Robin Hood), with their little canvas bags for treats, and Daddy alit from the tractor, in his 18th-century black coat and tails, and opened the door for them. The 'stagecoach' is cosy for anyone under about ten years old, with two facing seats and a door each side and fixed windows and plenty of room for blankets to keep war. When we were smaller we used to love riding in that thing. I remember once Mother (when she was our nanny) managed to squeeze into it during an unexpected rain-- she was about 17 then, but having always been petite (she could wear a girls' 16 in some things!) she was able to duck her head and snuggle right in with Jessy on her lap. Of course now she is too big for that, so she will accompany Jessy and me, and Josie, walking behind the tractor. Mother wore one of her Colonial outfits, blue and brown and off-white, with a cape more for comfort and warmth than looks, though of course it's period-authentic. Josie came in a really cute Batgirl costume that she bought and wore with black tights and high-heeled boots and a mask that she and Jessy modified to look really cute. And her cape was functional as well. As for Jessy and I, we were soon freezing. We went to the six houses of the little development in front of our house and then a little up the road to a few more, but the houses are few and far between here and with the tractor Daddy was quickly able to outpace us. (JJ always prefers to go faster-- 'Go fast! Go fast!' he cheers from inside the coach.) By about 7.30 it was fully dark and had started to rain, and then we girls, and Mother, were hurrying along under umbrellas (which Daddy kept in the stagecoach) and skipping along the rough tarmac of the road to get home.

I had to clean one of my shoes which I had dipped in a puddle, which really got me mad, but with a bit of white polish it did clean up well enough for us to go to the party at our friend's house. Roger drove the three of us in the Cadillac, so there was no need to take off our wings. Alighting in front of the house we must have been quite a sight-- two white angels and black-and-grey Batgirl. Two boys we know from school pulled up at the same time. 'Oh,' one said, 'I might have known! What else but angels?'

We all laughed. But the party went like that, people admiring the costume, admitting they had expected no less of Jessy or me, and then taking the time to look over the costume again. No one else was dressed in anything so... vulnerably feminine. There were plenty of devilettes, vampiresses, and underaged witches, but nothing so truly creative as a ballet-leotard angel. So, I guess for that reason, we tended to get some attention. I really did not mind so much-- I guess it's fair to say that you don't get dressed-up for a costume party unless you expect some attention. But in all this was a good crowd of people and nothing truly terrible happened.

Well, maybe one thing happened... terrible or not depends on how you look at it.

All nine of us from the girls' club were there. Paula and Rita were there with dates. Other boys came to meet us there. There was dancing in the recreation room and plenty to eat (and nothing alcoholic to drink). Some parents had come merely to socialise with each other but they all honoured the no-booze rule and kept to themselves in the room with the TV on. And I met a guy named Caleb who was dressed as a police officer and proceeded to talk with him most of the night.

Well, I can't say we talked all that time. It started out as talking. We each had a few glasses of punch (teens' kind, meaning it had soda in it). I reminded myself to be careful because if I'd had to pee it would have meant taking off the entire costume. So I kept myself to two glasses. Round the time the second glass ran out Caleb and I found ourselves sitting in a sofa in the corner of the basement room. My wings got all scrunched-up, but they're durable. (All angel wings are, once you've earned them.) Jessy was not far away, Rita and her date were somewhere, Paula's date was probably hitting on some other girl, and most of the other people within speaking distance (in the crowded room) were not people either of us knew. We had been talking about peanuts, believe it or not, and other things that people have allergies to. I said, 'It's not that I'm allergic to them. I can eat peanut butter. I just don't like having nuts in my mouth. It's the feeling of them.'

Caleb said, 'And it's such a pretty mouth.'

I looked right at him. 'What?' And he kissed me.

It was not a bad kiss. Well-- that is an understatement. It was a really good kiss. I stared right at him-- I had not closed my eyes at all-- for about five full seconds. He only stared back. I guess he assumed I wasn't complaining, because he leaned in and kissed me again.

Now anyone who reads my blog knows I just don't get picked-up. In fact I tend to despise guys who come to a party with the idea that they just have to pick up some girl. If it's one thing I absolutely hate, it's being treated like just some girl. But Caleb wasn't treating me like that. There were plenty of other girls there-- the girls probably outnumbered the guys close to two to one. He could have had any of them. He chose to talk with me. And it had been real talk, too, not that cheap, insincere kind of talk that guys indulge you in that's sort of foreplay to asking you for a date or making out. Honestly-- the comment about my mouth was the first indication I'd had that he thought of me as anything other than a cute little angel all in white.

I shall not say too much here now, except that the kissing wasn't bad at all and I felt rather drunk with it. In fact I actually allowed a good deal more than I usually do even on a fourth or fifth date (just saying) and it wasn't all bad. I confess maybe the angel costume lent me some security-- he could feel but he couldn't have, you know, because though it covered me very sleekly and snugly, there was no chance on earth he was going to get any of it pushed aside where he might have wanted to. I was an angel, and I was safe.

I shall also not say too much except that when I got home I had to get out of everything pretty urgently.

This dastardly, very un-Janine-like behaviour came to an abrupt and welcome end when Jessy happened to come by and see me. Even if she had not seen my face she could not have missed the costume. I saw her wings looming up over Caleb's bushy hair and suddenly gasped. 'Jessy!'

She gasped too. 'Janine!'

'Oh,' I said, to Caleb, 'I'm sorry.' And I sat up.

She reached for my hand at once and helped me out of the too-soft couch and towed me at once off across the room to another corner. Once assured of some privacy she turned round and folded her arms in front of herself and just looked at me.

I went red. 'I'm sorry,' I said.

She tapped her foot and drummed fingers on her arm.

'Really, hun. I am sorry.'

She narrowed her eyes at me.

'It was just-- Well, he is really nice, and--'

She cleared her throat, took a breath, and sighed impatiently.

'Jessy!' My eyes were wet. 'I really am sorry.'

She rolled her eyes. 'I'll text Roger now. He'll be here in ten minutes.'

I nodded. 'Yes,' I said. 'Of course, Jessy. Is Josie coming with us?'

'I won't wait for her,' she said, and then took my arm and escorted me, away from Caleb, across the room to the stairs.

In the light of the kitchen up stairs I had to blot my eyes. I asked after the bathroom and spent a long five minutes just pulling myself back together. I really did not feel myself at all-- because I was at least partially numb and because I felt like I had been acting like someone else. I had embarrassed my sister who adores me and looks up to me. That kept my eyes wet a little longer.

When I stepped out Jessy was waiting in the hall. 'He's here,' she said.

I nodded. 'Yes, Jessy. Thank you.'

We went out, said our politest good-byes, kissed a few of our friends as we often do and got outside. I did not get to say good-bye to Caleb and I'm pretty sure Jessy would not have wanted me to. Roger stepped up and opened the door. With our wings still on we sat in the back and clicked the seatbelts. When the car was away from the house she turned to me. 'I'm sorry, Janine,' she said. 'I shouldn't have judged you.'

'Did you judge me, Jessy?'

She went a little red. 'It's just that I have never seen-- never seen you-- doing that--'

'I'm sorry,' I said, and took her hand. 'It won't happen again.'

She shook her head and then had to blot an eye. She was weeping, more than I had been. 'No-- it's all right. You don't have to put on an act just for me. You have to just be yourself.'

'I'm not sure I was being myself,' I said.

'He's a nice guy, and he likes you,' she said. 'It's only normal. You're eighteen-- almost. Things happen. I can't be that naïve.'

'Jessy! What are you saying? Are you saying that I would--'

'I don't know, and I don't want to know.'

'Jessy!' I squeezed her hand and she looked at me. 'I would never. You know that.'

She sniffled. 'I know you wouldn't. I just saw where his hand was--'

I giggled. 'Jessy! I'm still dressed!'

She looked down at me in the costume. 'Such as it is.'

We both laughed. 'He wasn't going any further... and I really did like the kisses. Other than that....'

She nodded then. 'All right,' she said. And she held onto my hand all the way home. And we held hands going up the steps to the house too.

Mother wanted to know all about the party and I gave her the abridged version, mentioning particularly how I had met a really nice guy who is a year older and going to UMES where Stephen goes and that he wants to become a police officer. Daddy seemed to approve then. He didn't need to know where Caleb's hand was. Rushing up stairs I found Jessy was already on FaceBook, so I think I was probably too late to ask her not to blab about it. This blog is a little safer for me, for all sorts of reasons-- not the least of which is that I have left out a lot of unflattering detail. And that is why I choose to mention it as I have.

* * *

Haunting Terncote

Friday, 30 October 2009

For Hallowe'en this year we again decked out the whole castle and hosted Lisa's class-- twenty-four first-graders-- plus three of little JJ's friends, associated parents and young siblings, and a few of our friends from the girls' club, mainly to help out, for a party centred in the basement party room. The 'party' room' is an institution with Daddy, dating back to his first band, when they had a modest little raised bungalow in Surf City with an annexe added to the side for a recording studio and the whole ground floor given over to surfboards, guitars and a private pub with a bar and stage where they played parties before they got big. Ever since then every house he has had-- except the one we have now in Surf City-- has had some kind of facility in the basement for hosting a major bash. At Terncote the basement rooms are all the same sizes as the ones above because the walls here are all structural concrete block in the way that all-brick houses were built 250 years ago. There is a billiards room under the dining room, a bar with tables under the small back parlour, a big party room under the big parlour, a video studio/theatre under Gran's room and an art studio with a kiln (built into the base of the fireplace stack of course) under the north (Daddy's) library. There is a dumbwaiter to the kitchen and a pretty little powder room off the TV room and storage for most of whatever we don't store at Poplar Landing, clothes and costumes and decorations and all that.

The decorating took most of the the last two weeks and the weekend. This being the Series, Daddy made sure the TV was on in the video room. The billiards table was covered with a plywood top and tablecloth and served as the main food buffet. It's mostly supper things, sliced meats and cheese and pepperoni and celery and carrots, applesauce, cranberry sauce, crackers and chips, and, of course, cake and cookies. Mother made up most of it-- this is how she is, rarely ever calling a caterer. Once upon a time she said she was the world's worst cook. Now she is known throughout the community for cakes and cookies (and they are NEVER made from a box mix!).

Daddy took charge of lighting and special effects, draping spiderwebs from walls and doorways, fitting flashing lights with motion-sensors, moving small speakers here and there to have eerie sounds everywhere, inside and out. The whole house was kept dark from the outside but for the front-step lights and one ghostly-looking orangeish light high up in the tower, and then he had spotlights rigged behind the roof so that the silhouette of the house seemed outlined in a bluish glow. Some people said it looked like the most haunted house in Virginia. Jessy started saying it was the Screaming Shack.

Mother and Jessy and I set up games round the whole place, like stations where three or four kids can stop on their way through the place and figure out puzzles or tricks, or draw something, or sing something, or get tickled or scared (only a little), or whatever. A few other parents would help with shepherding kids, leaving Jessy and I to be hall monitors and Daddy to being a greeter and security agent. And Roger lingered outside to supervise parking.

As we did last year, Jessy and I dressed as angels. It's the costume my mother designed, bless her heart, when we were just little. Mother-- our nanny then-- had one too, and she used to go with us treating, The costume is just white tights and a white dance leotard, white ballet slippers, and a cute little white cotton jacket that looks like the cover-up girls in the Regency period wore, buttoning once at the chest, with half sleeves and a little rounded collar, which is worn mainly to hide the straps of the wings, which Daddy made out of fibreglass strips and beautiful gossamer tulle, light as a feather (as angel wings should be) and like 40 inches wide. Lisa's, of course, are smaller. This year I got a new white leotard as my old one is worn and also a little tight (though I blush to say so). Thank God I still wear an S (though just barely). The Capezio leotard is lovely, fully lined in front of course (because, the first rule we learned told us, ballerinas don't wear panties!) and sleek and shimmery. I always have on a bra under it, but the heavyweight, lined spandex and of course the little cotton jacket make it less unsightly, almost invisible really. Jessy, of course, gets a leotard with the so-called 'soft bra' and has nothing else to worry about. How I envy her.

Of course girls from the club came over as well-- they were invited-- and some brought dates. This was sort of a surprise in some cases-- as a kind of breach of protocol both Rita and Paula had not rung ahead to let us know they were each bringing someone, but we always have room for one more. The oddest part was that I had to open the door to a guy I'd never met before in this angel costume. The guy's eyes went all over me like I was a pinup. It made me blush (I wish it had not). 'Hello,' I said politely, 'and welcome--'

'Janine!' Paula mushed. 'That's the costume? My God-- you are gorgeous!'

I laughed at that and stepped back to admit them to the front foyer. 'It's just the usual thing. About the only thing I wear for Hallowe'en at all now.'

'It's cute,' the guy said. Paula introduced him and I showed them to the front stairs to have then descend to the party. Later I was down there and encountered Paula's date as he was leaning on the bar looking a little lost or left-out. Paula-- the adorable twit-- had got into a chat that didn't involve him somewhere. 'Good party,' he said to me then.

I turned towards him after going sideways through the doorway (because of the wings). 'If you're a first-grader,' I said.

He laughed. 'Paula's right,' he said. 'It is a great costume.'

I shrugged. The wings bounce when I do that. 'I like it,' I admitted. 'At least it's comfortable.'

He asked about the wings and I told him how they stayed on, though of course I would not open the little jacket to show him. I always get a V-neck leotard, not a 'princess' cut like Jessy gets. The jacket covers it up mostly, though it's the chest coverage I care about. I helped myself to a glass of 'adult punch' and stood there talking with Paula's date till Paula came back. Then her date asked after the lavatory and I gave him directions. Paula turned to me at once. 'I think he likes you,' she said.

I smiled at that. 'I think he's your date, love.'

She shrugged. 'We're just friends. He said he wanted to see the place, so.... You don't mind?'

'Mind that he wants to see the place? Of course not.'

'Do you mind that he likes you?'

I shrugged at her. 'Is he in eleventh?' She nodded. 'Well....' I thought and then said, 'He's welcome to like whomever he likes.'

She laughed. 'Really I'm sure it's the costume anyway. My God-- I wish I'd worn that!'

'So maybe next year you will. I'll be away for this by then.'

'Oh, yeah, right. Wow....'

When her date returned I left them, and not ten minutes after that I saw him chatting up Jessy. She seemed much more interested in him than I was. I wonder if there could be anything in that.

Little JJ had wanted to wear something with tights too-- from having seen all of us working on costumes all month-- and Mother made up a Robin Hood costume for him, a very pretty green cotton tunic and cute folded cap worn with a leather belt and, of course, green tights. Daddy spray-painted the child's ballet shoes green to match. So JJ galloped round the whole house like that, weaving a short plastic sword (it's supposed to be a Roman once, but Daddy painted the hilt to look like wood) and announcing he would 'rob the rich and pay the poor'. Several people indulged him and he soon had a little canvas sack full of candybars and spare change. I think he made about six dollars on the night. I broke a nail trying to get paper donkey-tails out of the donkey poster and dropped a full beer mug (of punch!) on my foot, saving the mug and bruising my toe. Nevertheless I will go out with the little ones tomorrow. 'Tis the season, and all that.

* * *