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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Here's what you'll do

Here's what you'll do when you first come home to find someone has discarded a tire on your lawn: you'll be annoyed. Not wildly so, but irked. Vexed.

Your children will declare it The Coolest Thing Ever and ask to play with it. You'll say yes but take it to the backyard, and watch as they roll it up, or down, the driveway. They'll actually not fight over it, and you'll think perhaps a tire is the finest toy ever until you realize their hands are black. And their clothes.

While you are in the kitchen helping the youngest scrub his hands - it will take soaping twice - you'll contemplate the tire, visible through the window, laying where it fell when those young hands stopped holding it upright. You'll find you are no longer angry at the tire. When the children are clean and dry and happily eating apple slices in the den, you'll go outside and roll the tire to the side of the house, where you'll prop it under the eave so rain doesn't fall into it. Not so the tire doesn't get wet, but so mosquitos don't luxuriate in it. You'll use paper towels when you handle the tire, the same paper towels with which you dried the youngest's hands. The damp paper towels will pick up black, too.

The tire will stay at the side of your house for one month. You'll see it as you come and go. The tire will begin to grow on you. Well, not the tire itself, but the possibilities.

One night after the children have gone to sleep and while your husband is in another city on business, you will gouge yourself several times with chicken wire while attempting to make a wreath form. You will consider whether or not you need a tetanus. You will Google "lockjaw". You will decide there isn't enough money on earth to make you wake up your children and take them with you to the ER on a Friday night. You will go to bed discouraged, bleeding, and wreathless.

The next morning, you will have an epiphany. Your husband, home now, will look at you carefully, not sure if you are serious or not. When he determines you are, he'll shake his head and sigh a lot. You're used to this by now. Later on, though, he'll tell you where his sharp clippers are when you need them.

You'll take the youngest with you when you go to Ace Hardware. You'll let him pick the flowers. Because he's in his purple phase, he'll pick only purple ones. He'll help you heft the bags of Miracle Gro, which actually don't weigh that much at all. Take the help now; when you get home, he won't help at all.

When you go to your husband to tell him to come look, he'll say please say not the front yard, please say not the front yard. You'll say of course the front yard. He'll shake his head and sigh again. He'll come look, though. And then he'll ask if you did, and you'll nod and show him the other piece, perfectly wreath-shaped. He'll ask again how much first prize is, and, when you say thirty dollars, he'll chuckle, and you'll know he's figuring out in his head how he's going to tell this story at work.

And you'll begin to hum a song from your childhood as you get out your watering can. That's what you'll do.

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