A diller, a dollar,
YOUR FIRST WORD
was "ma," and ever since then you've been using it against me.
Even those early sentences were ten-dollar tongue twisters out of
the mouth of a little two-penny sprout or so your dad always
But then, he always favored you, being the youngest, and a girl at
that. That's why I'm so surprised to get this bare engraved invitation
in the mail no note, no phone call, not even a photo of the
prospective groom to give us some rough idea how our grandchildren
might come out after all these years. Like you don't even want us
involved. Don't want your mother planning a church-basement wedding
shower or baking a chocolate groom's cake filled with the usual lucky
family charms. Don't want your father walking you down the aisle with
his poor sense of rhythm and his accelerating gout. I guess that's not
the thing, out there in LA.
But no hard feelings, Ms Pade, if that's what you're still calling
yourself these days. See, I'm sending you an album just like I did
with the other kids, even though you must think it's a lame tradition
your old ma trying to paste up a scrapbook for every wedding.
When Nelson finally gave in and married the little Ames girl, down
the street, I put his old notes and doodles in a metal binder, and
now he keeps it out in the shop as a conversation piece. Jim has his
racing-car album in a row of cookbooks, on top of the microwave in
that bachelor apartment where he's been living ever since the divorce.
The fancy Korean dentist that Donnie hooked up with in Dallas is some
crack housekeeper: she's got his cute cowboy organizer on the kiddie
shelf along with the storybooks, to read to the kids when they get to
be the right age. So you're the last, except for Aaron, who doesn't
even have a fiancée yet, though, to tell the truth, he's tested
the wheels on two or three. You can stuff this tasteful valentine
number in a eucalyptus tree for all I care. It includes all the words
that ever got written between us something to remind you where
you come from on your wedding day. And if this one's a little lighter
than the others, you'll understand why.
A ten o'clock scholar
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o'clock,
And now you come at noon.
Reprinted with permission
from The Atlantic Monthly, January 2001
Copyright © 2001
by Trudy Lewis