Vivace con Brio!


I am sitting outside in my front garden in the dark.  It’s 2:00 a.m. and too hot to sleep.  All around  are  the sounds of people having too much fun.

It is the weekend before Labor Day, and in my neighborhood of this beautiful city, young people are making the most of the last days of summer before they head back to classrooms, or buckle down at work. One last weekend to savor summer before the holiday that traditionally delineates laid-back from focused attention hits home.

Tonight they push aside impending reality.  I listen to the giggling girls and the whooping boys. I think to myself, what is it about alcohol that makes people think they have to turn the volume switch of their voices up to “11?”  Underneath the human sounds are the thumping rhythms of bar music. Within two blocks of my home are seven restaurants which ramp up late at night, and five clubs.  All but two of the bars are upscale.

Clumps of kids come weaving up my block.  They tend to segregate by gender if they haven’t already paired off and gone wherever it is they go to get better acquainted.  As I’ve turned off the porch light, it is too dark for them to notice me.  A group of girls stop several times on their walk  for yet another to remove her expensive, come hither, but by now painful shoes.  That’s when you can tell the liquor is losing it’s magic- they begin to notice their feet hurt. They complain woefully about their Blahniks and Choos.

All clothed in little black dresses with  miles of young bare skin, these are City girls. Private school graduates. Even when tipsy, they project confidence.  They have had enough of the trolls.

I used to find the weekend scene around here irritating, especially when my kids were small. Thoughts about how shallow the partiers seemed, and the petty smugness of knowing that they would one day be sitting on the sofa the same time the bars closed, babe to breast, dripping milk everywhere. Selfish gits, I would confide to my child. They have no idea. I was jealous.

Now I enjoy listening to them. They are vibrant and still on this side of innocence.  They are of an age when they should be celebrating their freedom and beauty.  Didn’t we?  Having crossed over into full  adulthood, we know that real life will intrude on the Tuesday morning after Labor Day.  But for tonight have fun. Get laid.

Hangovers and walks of shame that greet tomorrow be damned.  The kids will buck up and carry on. We did.



I follow behind the priest as she presses small bits of bread into palms of upturned hands.

“The body of Christ. The bread of heaven.”

I raise the heavy silver chalice to the lips of the people, and they drink.

“The blood of Christ. The cup of salvation.”

She and I reach the end of the rail, and glide slowly back to the beginning to repeat this holy dance, person by person. We intone these ancient words nearly one hundred times, adding an “Amen” after each of the elements is consumed.

I look at hands and faces. I can see who is at peace, and who is troubled. For each one I seek eye contact. Many are uncomfortable with this intimacy, and gaze down down at the old wood, or turn inward with their thoughts. Most follow our hands in anticipation as we come toward them where they kneel.

And then there are the ones who look into my eyes deeply as I say the words and offer the cup. A few smile back. These are the people who nourish me, who give me their blessing.

I really don’t know sometimes what the words mean. It doesn’t matter, really. What does matter is that we have come to table to share a family meal.





Long, slow days are upon us. There is an unspoken agreement around here to absolutely ignore the fact that summer will not continue forever. We pretend otherwise. Someone took the kitchen clock off the wall as a way of milkiimagesng the fantasy. We sleep when we are sleepy, and we do things according to our inner clocks.

Just a couple of weeks left of suspended reality before we head back into a structured routine. My job will be getting it together so the rest can follow. I’ll have to break it to them. This is a chore because I know by mid-November I’ll be feeling burnt out again, as will they. Preparations for the next level of each one’s education must be made this semester. If I’m lucky, I will make it to Christmas before I hit the wall, but there will be prescription medications involved.

It’s a chore to pull two young men out of their Darwinian summer of growth spurts and increased self-confidence and throw them back into the care of an institution. The man-children have become close over the past three months. I often hear them laughing. I walk by while they are discussing something profane and their chat becomes whispered. With the pressures of the previous months finally off their shoulders something heartening has happened. They have bonded. They are a team.

No longer adversarial, the brothers understand that there is adversity outside our cozy cocoon. They’ve become protective of me, and offer small kindnesses every day.

On my special mothers checklist, I take and make a mark. One more thing accomplished. One less thing over which to fret. I take measure of this long menu and decide I am doing a good job. They will be kind and honorable men.

So screw the clock. Two more weeks of deliberate denial won’t hurt.


Singing in the Pool


A warm summer night. Flowers sway erotically in full bloom. An empty garden and two ardent lovers. What manner of deliciously reckless behavior can be had?

What is the difference between the deep end of the pool and the shallow side?

Name three creative forms of consumption of a perfectly blended Margarita?