Monday, April 23, 2007

I remember being given a free burrito...

My best friends lived in Seattle, and it was one of those wonderful weekends when I was down visiting Sheri and the gang. Ed worked with stained glass, Sheri made beautiful collages, Nathan was sure he used to be a scribe in Ancient Egypt...something crazy and creative was always happening when we'd all get together. We'd smoke pot, drink Celestial Seasonings tea, and think of artistic things to do.

We were making our regular trip to Pike's Place Market (had to go to Tenzing Momo for fresh incense and stuff!). I was low on cash, but in high spirits. We were strolling along the street across from the market...well, they were strolling, I was skipping....and I was happily proclaiming to Sheri that I was hungry and I didn't care, when the young man behind the counter of a burrito stand called me over.

"Hey, come here!"


"Yeah. Here. I made one too many and I can't sell it. You can have it." He shyly handed me a huge burrito.

"Uh...thanks!!" I gave him a big smile and skipped off to join Sheri and the others. "Look what this guy just gave me..."

My friends shook their heads. Presents from heaven for Paula again. Now that I think about it, I may have been wearing my orange paisley shirt.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I remember my father's hands...

They were huge.

I can picture my hand going up to hold his as we are walking when I am very young, and all I grab onto is his little finger, and it fills my fist. I feel very safe.

Or as an older child, sitting at the kitchen table eating grapefruit. Mom has cut the sections, and we have eaten all we can scoop out with our spoons, and then we try to squeeze the rest of the juice out into our bowl. We pick up the empty grapefruit shell and squish it with two hands, using all our might, our elbows and shoulders trembling from the effort. Then when we are done, our energy spent, we pass the shell to Dad and with one hand he squeezes out more juice than we could with two. It is our favourite breakfast game.

Or when we eat soup. The crackers are on the table, and we are allowed to put as many crackers in our soup as we want. I take a stack of four crackers and hand them to Dad. He puts the crackers in the palm of one hand, puts the other hand on top and, presto, with one little squeeze, the crackers have been pulverized into perfect cracker powder which he lets fall into my bowl. I try with one cracker, but am left with unsatisfying, irregular chunks. We laugh.

Strong, safe hands.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I remember being given a free shirt....

It was a sunny summer day in Vancouver, BC. There was a big all-day concert at Stanley Park, they called it a "Be-In", I guess trying to re-create the glory days of the hippy movement in the late '60's. There was a whole line-up of local bands, and my friends and I were excited to go.

By the time we got there, more than half of the outdoor space was already filled with blankets and music lovers. It was too nice out to care about being close to the stage, so we happily set up our blanket slightly to the left, two-thirds of the way back. The breeze from the ocean was a bit cool, so I left my long-fringed buckskin jacket on over my tank top.

I was in heaven. I love live music, and I love being with friends, and I love being there wasn't much ruining my day. I felt like dancing, so up I stood, dancing like Stevie Nicks, fringes a-flying in the sunshine. It didn't matter to me one bit that I was the only person in a crowd over one thousand people that was dancing. I danced for the rest of the band's set, totally happy, totally alone.

I noticed up near the front of the stage one particular group of people. Most of them were engrossed in the music, but one man was staring at me the whole time I was dancing. He had on the most remarkable shirt. He was too far away for me to tell how old he was or even what his features were, but his shirt was impossible to ignore...bright day-glo orange, with some pattern that I couldn't make out. I determined to go talk to him once the band was done, and I headed towards him as soon as the music stopped.

"Hey, enjoying the music?"

"Oh, yeah, sister. I was totally grooving on your fringes while you were dancing."

The man had short, curly dark hair and looked to be in his forties. He also looked to be completely under the influence of LSD...I took him for an old hippy who was trying to relive his glory days some twenty years ago.

"Oh, cool. I wondered why you kept staring. Hey, man, that is one crazy shirt!"

Up close it was even better than I had imagined. It was day-glo orange paisley, with bits of day-glo lime, yellow, green...all on a black swirly background. It looked like some crazy black-light poster!

"You like it? Here, you can have it."

He began undoing the buttons.

"What? No, man, I was just admiring it, you keep it!!"

"It's OK, sister, I've got another shirt..."

He handed me the technicolor shirt and reached into his duffle bag for a plain white t-shirt, smiling like a lazy Bhudda the whole while. I thanked him and headed back to my friends and our blanket. They couldn't believe how cool the shirt was, and just shook their heads. Magical stuff like that was always happening to me.

This is a scan of the shirt. It doesn't do it justice. The orange is so bright that it almost hurts your eyes to look at it! But I thought I should include the scan for posterity's sake.