22 March 2009

Maybe I literally "stumbled" across it

Most people who work with words always have, in the back of their minds, the notion that somewhere inside them is The Great American Novel. Just waiting to bust out all over. Not me...I've never thought I had it in me, in spite of the fact that everyone ELSE thinks I DO.

"Just write like you talk!" they'll say. But I think you have to be more dedicated than I am, or as I suspect deep down inside...infinitely more talented. But I've been looking at this for almost a year now and...it keeps talking to me. It's talking a LOT.

And the Lord takes care of children and them who can't take care of themselves.

Last April The Big Boy and I took The Little Kids to New Orleans for Spring Break. We had a blast, mainly because all the kids and I wanted to do was walk. We walked hundreds of blocks over that week...we walked blisters on our feet and sunburns on our faces and necks. We walked to the cemeteries and we walked to the Riverfront and we walked to Jackson Square and we walked to every open cafe and bar we could find. We walked in circles and we walked to places that when I called My Boys at home to ask "Where are we?" they nearly had heart attacks and told us to TURN AROUND and walk BACK. We had a great time.

One afternoon as we're walking along, something on the sidewalk (this was a side street, not one of the tourist trails) caught my eye and for some unknown reason, I stopped and looked down at it. This was strange because this entire trip? We carried Germ-X in our pockets like loose change. We squirted and rubbed and massaged every single time we touched a doorknob, a facing or a table. We reeked of alcohol and mint. We were paranoid the entire time we were there and we didn't touch ANYTHING we didn't have to.

But for some reason, I stopped and reached down picked up this button off the sidewalk.

It's made from an old buffalo nickel, and it's very worn. Polished worn. Handled worn. Many-times-buttoned worn. And if you look at it...someone made a button out of an old nickel. A button.

I came home and laid it on a sill in the kitchen window. And kept looking at it. I looked at it a lot, and I keep wondering about...someone made a button out of a buffalo nickel and if you're my age? That's a hippy thing. A 60's thing. A craftsman thing. And this button is worn almost smooth.


I keep wondering about the jacket. In my mind, it has to be a blue jean jacket. A worn denim jacket. With a row of these buttons down the front. And there has to be a story behind who made them and who sewed them on and where they came from.

When my mother was in second grade, her True Love moved away and the day he left he cut a button off his jacket and gave it to her. I still have it.

This button is living with me. I keep looking at it. You know there's a story there, just waiting for someone to remember. "A Love Song for Bobby Long" is one of my favorite movies and if you ever get the chance to see it (IFC/Independent Film Channel shows it occasionally) watch it. True story, to a point. Makes you want to find out who Grayson Capps is and what he has to do with an old drunk English professor and John Travolta.

And makes you wonder about the person walking the streets in New Orleans wearing a really comfortable and really cool and really important blue jean jacket.


It makes you wonder who has sense enough to tell his story.

1 comment:

City Girl said...

Did you see where they've stopped minting the new buffalo nickles because the bison on the back has a penis?

No anatomically correct mammals on OUR prudish currency, thankyouverymuch!