5" x 7"

after five hours of crackling country radio, a glass shattering rendition of chattahooche,  and a not-so-authentic bean burrito, i'm here.  portland, my alma mater, my home away from home.  it has an eerie familiarity, but something is different.  maybe the bushes are bigger, or maybe some of the trees are gone, or our house is a different color.  maybe it's just that i don't live here anymore.  this city, it is in constant flux, doing what cities do best.  i learned quickly not to get too sentimentally attached to the way things are, because they will never be the same.  never.

so really, i'm just here to visit my aunt june and uncle earl.  aunt june turns 93 on tuesday.  i surprised her on the phone tonight, and she was caught so off guard she couldn't remember exactly what she was going to say.  to answer the silence she went directly into the perplexing question of who may have stolen the smiley face balloons, which she bought at the dollar store, and used to mark her driveway for the garage sale, at which she only made a hundred and twenty five dollars, and hardly sold a thing...  and now the garage is full to the brim, by gosh you can hardly even walk a path through there!  aunt june, oh my crazy aunt june, white permed hair and rhinestone shoes...the woman who taught me the fine arts of domesticity: how i love her so.  and uncle earl, endlessly reminiscent on the way things were, pure-hearted as a  mountain stream... as timeless as they may seem, these two, my great aunt and uncle, are more fragile than before, and they will grow more fragile still.  and so: a pilgrimage.  i have landed.

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