Cindy Eastman is a teacher, speaker & award-winning author of Flip-Flops After 50. Some stuff is funny, some is thoughtful.
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Snow Day Believer
The snow fell insistently, covering roads and driveways and trees. Heavy snowfall brings a quiet you can hear and it’s comforting and overwhelming all at the same time. I woke at five-thirty a.m. to the chirp of my cell phone bearing the news: Snow day. Annie and Christopher counted on staying home from school and stayed up late to check the 11 o’clock news to confirm it. It wasn’t official even then, but they were now sleeping the sound slumber of a child’s intuition, hibernating under their quilts. Not a peep from either of them.
Toasted, Buttered Donuts
There’s a tradition at our family cottage in Maine that no one ever forgets and everyone is always ready for. It usually happens on those rare cool summer mornings, when even though it may reach over eighty degrees by noon, the mornings keep us wrapped in blankets or with hoodies pulled over sleep-tousled heads. As I possess the most parenting roles (Mom and Gramma) the responsibility falls to me to perpetuate the tradition; gather the supplies, prepare the space, initiate the activity. On those chilly summer mornings no matter who is there or how old they are, I make toasted buttered doughnuts. It’s a modest tradition, really, but oh, so important to our family.
A Dog's Person
I’m not a dog person, but I might be one dog’s person. After a recent, terrifying, experience of getting attacked and bitten—twice—by a strange dog, I was keeping my distance from all creatures canine. Except for my grand dog Charlie, I steered clear from dogs I didn’t know, so when our new neighbors moved in with their dog Gandalf, I avoided getting too close. There is a fence between our houses and I was never so happy to have a fence than I was that first day Gandalf bounded out of his house, over to where I was near the fence and promptly started barking at me. I turned on my heel and practically ran into my house, never, ever, having felt so scared of a dog before in my life. I wasn’t so sure I’d like having an aggressive dog for a neighbor and it already seemed like Gandalf wasn’t crazy about me, either. But Gandalf and I had a different relationship in store for us, one neither of us saw coming.
Point of No Return
The invitation mocked me from my fridge. I had no choice but to go. So instead of spending a quiet Saturday night alone in my apartment, I was heading to my ex-husband’s newly remodeled Main Street colonial—once my own home—to join the Who’s Who of Turnbury to gather and celebrate the wonderful occasion of my ex-husband’s 50th birthday. It was expected that I’d attend. On his arm would be his lovely new wife, Janice and around his neck he’d wear the dull purple glass ball at the end of a gold chain that looked like a bulbous grape stuck to the front of his shirt. As a member of the town’s founding family, he wore the bauble—The Turner Trinket--with pride. Because as our town’s esteemed First Selectman, Walter Turner the tenth (or something like that) deserved to be honored. It wasn’t much to ask, was it? My son lucked out with the enviable excuse of a Senior class retreat (and also in not being named Walter) and couldn’t attend. I could have claimed illness or some other debilitating affliction, but in my tiny town, everyone would know the truth.
Everything Was Fine . . .
I sat in the hair salon one Saturday getting my maintenance trim and I suddenly realized something about my surroundings. There was a young woman getting her hair all twirly-curled, faux-complaining about the shoes she ordered for her wedding (she clearly just wanted to talk about how cute and perfect they were), a young girl accompanied by her mom and grandma was getting especially dolled up for some upcoming event and the two mothers were there to make sure everything went smoothly, simultaneously giving directions to the stylist who was cheerfully taking their advice. Another woman, tinted and blown out, paid her bill, left a tip and, placing her tortoiseshell sunglasses above her wide grin, walked confidently out into the morning sunshine.
Writing To Keep From Screaming
I’ve always envied those who can lose themselves in creating intricate masterpieces with colorful skeins of yarn or spools of fine thread when the need for a bit of peace is required. Distance, even emotionally or figuratively, is essential for processing a demanding experience or situation. Is it ironic or just pathetic then, that, as a writer, I find peace and distance in the activity of writing? At the times when the fuse is down to it’s last millimeter there is usually only one thing and one thing alone that is able to extinguish it before I blow: writing it down. And not just because I’m a writer or because I’m too uncoordinated to learn to crochet (I tried). Writing is a way a human can process his or her or their own experiences and make sense of them. Or not.