For my mother

(BALTIMORE, Md.) — This city is like nothing I have ever seen, at least this part of it. In Hampden, where my friends Avelino and Meredith live, not a thing is uniform, except for overwhelming use of brick. It seem hodge podge here, with junky front yards butting up against well-groomed ones and bumper stickers of every political persuasion plastered to cars. Even the duplexes are split into two different colors. The streets come in all sizes and lengths, and many are downright European in their tininess. There are a bunch of hipsters that live here, a well as many older folks, and the rents are cheap enough that the pool of residents can get more varied in time. I feel like I’m in a scruffy version of an Edward Hopper painting — a strange, urban one with a sense of lonesomeness at its core. I like it here.

It’s getting to be that time of year just past the bright fall colors when the leaves are starting to really drop from the trees. This reminds me of my mom. Once, when I was little, she was driving through somewhere when she saw a gust of wind pick up a big group of leaves and swirl it around with abandon. I can’t remember her words describing this, but I know she was entranced and contemplated nudging me awake so I could see. She has told me, more than once, that she has always wished that she would have woken me up to watch “the dancing leaves.” The thing is, whenever I see leaves blowing like that, I do take notice now. Because of that story, I am always awake for the dancing leaves.

For some reason, this is the closest I have ever come to telling her.

1 comment to For my mother

  • Mitch Hellman

    When I was growing up in Baltimore, we used to listed to Lee Case, “The Morning Mayor,” on WCBM-AM radio. Many mornings there was a commercial for Parks Sausage: a young boy’s voice going, “More Parks Sausages, Maaaaaaaaa!” In later years it was decided that the kid should set a good example, so the tagline was changed to “More Parks Sausages, Maaaaaaaaa! Please?”

    All of this is my way of telling you: “More stuff about Baltimore, Maaaaaaaaa! Please?”

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