Sunday, December 7, 2008


3. Snow fell all evening and shortly after midnight, I took Emmett out for a long romp in it. It was thick and deep and the flakes falling were big as pearls. I take these long cold super-late walks almost every night now. I love them. They clean my mind.

2. This afternoon I spotted what I first thought was a pack of greyhounds right across the creek. Then I realized they were deer: a doe and three adolescent fawns (post-spots.) They bounded in big exuberant circles, kicking up snow, cavorting. Deer, playing!

1. Tonight my mom called me back from the message I left her; it's her birthday and she may have been tipsy. This, if you know my mom, is pretty funny. "I have been partying all weekend!" she said. Birthday brunch at a friend's house with nine of nearest and dearest; more friends dropping by to return loaned dishes, and more bottles of wine being uncorked; an inner-circle celebration of Brita Sailer's reelection to the Minnesota house, for which my mom was campaign manager this year. Whenever people ask, "What do you do in a small town?", imagining endless boredom I suppose, I think of my parents and their whirlwind social calendar and am thankful to mostly live in a place where I can get away with not having as action-packed a life.

Today, Pearl Harbor day, she turns fifty-six. When I got Emmett two years ago I attempted to make today his birthday as well, as revenge for mom assigning her beagle my birthday. (Yes she did.)

But then I realized I had counted a month wrong and he is actually probably a January dog. With a rescue mutt, it's all guesswork.

So today is just for my mom, who can't imagine ever being bored; who has nicknamed her pets Stinkweed (the beagle) and Sticky Note (the cat); who will bake a cake on any occasion or none at all, and claim it is for dad, and then eat it herself; who buys Cool-Whip by the tub; who grew up in a town of 800 people and many moose; who, at age 16, wearing a brown vinyl jumper and white go-go boots, was asked out by Frankie Valli's saxophone player (she declined); who reads literary novels faster than I can keep up, yet also gets a kick out of "The Girls Next Door"; who never hesitates to exaggerate for dramatic effect; who decided at age 49 to open a bookstore, an independent bookstore in a small town no less, and made it a smashing success; who teaches tiny kids with messed-up bodies how to move in this world; who unconsciously hums along in harmony with anything she hears; who is probably owed a grandchild or two (sorry, Mom, one of us is bound to get you one eventually); and who totally leaves me panting in her wake on the cross-country skate-ski trail.

When I was younger, "You're just like your mother" provoked me to protest vigorously. Now when I think about it, I'm more like, I sure hope so.

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