The Chickenloaf Papers: Stories from the Kitten Room
2001 :: january :: february :: march :: april :: after april

losing my religion

easter sunday, april 15, 2001

For a while now I've been mizzling over the possibility of consolidating The Chickenloaf Papers and The Compost Heap into one on-line journal encompassing garden patterings, cat tales, and the usual run-ins with wildlife and lost suburbanites towing speedboats behind mole-nosed vans.

But what to call it?

Over the weekend I rumbled along country roads in my aging truck up to the family farm in northern Pennsylvania. It's blustery up there. It's so far to the north that you can toss a hay bale over into New York State. Years ago I commented to my Dad that there's always a nice breeze on the farm, even on the hottest days. "Yeah, there's a nice breeze here in the winter, too," he muttered.

The truck's all-weather treads whined along the blacktop. Ancient burnt-orange Datsun pickups and robin's-egg blue Ford F1s rattled past with lumber and fishing rods bristling out of the backs. A crow on the berm hopped sideways up to a roadkill that turned out to be the handle off a woodstove. Just below Lock Haven, flock of whitetail deer meandered down a hillside, three of them brindled like Guernseys and one of them with a snow-white rump.

I thought of Edsel back at the house, shoveling swill out of the basement with the big aluminum snow shovel.

You see, before having to leave for Easter, I made sure to flood the basement. It wasn't my fault. The frostless spigot wasn't. I turned on the garden hose, watered a few potted plants, turned off the hose but left the spigot on. Two hours later Edsel and I chatted as we walked in the front door; then our smiles froze on our faces. There was Medium Rabbit burbling for help and wading in mungy water up over his ankles.

Now it is 7 in the morning, Easter Sunday. I spent last evening with Dodge Dakota, who thinks of sleep as something she can take or leave, like a dietary fiber supplement. Dakota and I closed The Village Tavern in Wellsburg, New York at 1:30 a.m., packing up our steel shuffleboard quoits while the six ancient and toothless citizens at the bar wrapped up their rowdy, hooting game of High Low Jack. I have had exactly 3 hours' sleep. Everything seems faraway and complicated as though seeing life via a GIS tracking device.

Model-A talks at the breakfast table in a cackling tone that sets off alarms in my head she claimed she was an Episcopalian for 17 years and what was that all about and I keep seeing Medium Rabbit wading up to his knees. A lovely old R.E.M. song keeps running through my head.

Oh, life
is bigger,
bigger than you,
and you are not me.

And then it hits me. The title for my new on-line journal...
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