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February 21, 2016 / thackersam

Feast Upon Life’s Dumplings

dumplingLife could be a dream, Sh-Boom. And apparently in my world, so could death. (There’s tonight’s post’s musical connection)

While in bed the other night, still playing with my laptop, I took one of those quick nods. I dream a lot, and vividly, so it’s not unusual that I should have one of my dreams during the time it took for my eyes to close and open again moments later. I was very present in the dream, although I did not see me, only through my eyes as I watched three men, young men by my standards. They could have been in their 30s, but I only saw them from the back. I was yards behind the trio who were themselves yards apart from each other. They walked along a highway embankment, going down in a diagonal line towards the empty road. They were unknown to me, I felt no connection to them other than they seemed to be in my charge. They all wore light grey suits, I think, but definitely grey. As they reached the highway, I knew that they were now dead. They had gotten to that cross over point and continued walking down, or up the highway, still dressed quite nattily in their grey suits, I noticed. I woke from the nod-off thinking that when I die, I’d like to be dressed nicely as well. Nothing fancy or ostentatious, nothing too young for me, just so I start off the next round looking sharp.

I love my dreams. Have I told you about that before? Did I mention that my mother, in her interim years of sobriety, and when I still lived in her house, enjoyed my regaling her with my dream stories? Some were amusingly bizarre and some quite poignant. Even though she had once told me that if you told someone your nightmare, it could never reoccur, which works by the way, I was willing to risk not seeing those dreams again. Those were bonding times for us and after I would tell her my dreams, she would give her amateur interpretation. She was kind of into that. I wish I could remember my dreams like I used to. Now I have to grab hold of the last remnant as I wake up.

And while I am recounting a good mother story for you, here’s another. She was completely amused by the stream of horror films that were inspired by the success of The Exorcist in the mid-70s, and went to see them on a weekly basis. In fact, she saw The Exorcist three times, thinking it was funny. She had been raised Catholic, and as soon as she was old enough, disowned the church and seemed to have a real hatred for it. The nuns pulled her curls, she had told me, but it had to be much more than that. Though I was raised in a home without organized religion, I was allowed to attend churches, Sunday school and Hebrew school with my friends. I found the Catholic Sunday experience the most fascinating. I loved the rituals, the beads, the getting dressed up, the latter being my mother’s favorite part of it, except maybe then getting rid of me for a Sunday morning. I’ll tell you sometime what made me realize, at a very young age, that the pomp involved was not enough for me, as I would discover that in those days you could go to hell for the stupidest of reasons. I was fortunate, quite so, that my mother had discovered the Unitarian Fellowship in Huntington. Even my father liked it.

But the point is that I probably shouldn’t have been afraid of the devil, nor believed in possession, but when I went to see the movie of The Exorcist, it scared the bejeebers out of me. I was just 18, had seen it with a friend, who throughout the second half of the movie had her head in her lap and her hands over her ears, and her younger sister, who at 15 sat there smiling through the whole thing. I had my hands over my eyes, but my fingers were spread apart. During the ride home, in which the sister sat between my friend and I in the front seat of their parent’s car, the sister, as I could not throw her out of the car, got punched repeatedly for talking in that possessed voice provided by Academy Award winning actress Mercedes McCambridge.

When I was let out of the car, I ran into my house, into my room, turned on the lights, radio and television and huddled in the corner of my bed until I couldn’t take it anymore. I went into my mother’s bedroom, woke her up telling her that I had just seen The Exorcist and could I get into bed with her. She muttered okay, then asked if I had gotten the cat in. No, I replied, he’s been acting weird. Puffy, our wonderful big redhead, who came with that name as a kitten and for some reason we did not change it, had gotten into the habit of waiting for me in the bushes that separated the front of our house from the path that led from the front door to our driveway. As I passed by on the path he would jump out, go mrow, mrow, mrow, waving a paw at me then run off. It was funny at the time, but not that night. That night I had decided he wasn’t playing, he was possessed. My mother drifted back to sleep as I lay there with my eyes wide open in fear. Moments later she began to laugh. I nearly shit. She was possessed too. And in cahoots with the cat as it suddenly struck her funny that I thought Puffy was the devil. I was not amused.

However, like my watching the movie through splayed fingers, my curiosity and fascination prompted me to read the book, which contains even more disturbing images than in the movie. I thought my mother was nuts for her opinion of the movie, but still, when she would come home from seeing another scary movie like The Omen or Audrey Rose (also read that book), I would sit and listen to her tell me all about them. I think these were the times we actually liked each other.

BTW – I haven’t had Chinese food in a while, and therefore no fortune cookies, until this Friday. My fortune read: Feast upon life’s dumplings before they get tough to chew. Hmmm. If we believe that everything happens for a reason, should we not then believe in our fortune cookies? I’m torn.

Hi J!


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