Thursday, September 13, 2012
When I was very young, no more than six or seven, after watching my mother iron my father's clothes, even the handkerchiefs, I asked her if I could iron, too. I think it was the rhythmic yet precise movements I wanted to experience. And so, with what surely must have been a mixture of feelings - trepidation melding with the desire to encourage my interest in the necessary, but mundane - she left a small pile of handkerchiefs for me to iron. I could barely see above the ironing board, set up on the back porch, next to the chest freezer, where several summers in the future, a boy I liked would tell me he liked me, using the lyrics of a song. But, that long ago summer, I accidentally jostled the board and in a split second the tip of the iron fell on my wrist. As my mother applied a salve - another mixture, this one tinged with regret - I reassured her it was alright. Over fifty years later, I stand here in my kitchen, turn my wrist, and see it there: a faded triangle of silver nestled between two muted blue lines that form a 'y,' like a fork in the road. I look up and a triangle of silver light has sliced through the branches of a very tall Norway pine and settled on the rough bark. It's still morning on that back porch and here in my kitchen.
Painting by Grant Wood