COLLECTING A LIFE

A letter comes in the mail. It’s from my daughter Summer and there is a note stuck on the folded letter inside. It says, ‘Mom, Lexi couldn’t sleep last night so she stayed up late, secretly writing this to you. All by herself! It is adorable. XO Summer.’

I unfold the lined paper and read:

“Hi BABA how are you and Bob and Bill. (Bob is the dog and Bill is the Ex-boyfriend. Lexi is my 6 year old granddaughter.)

“I hav sum great plans for October.

“I am going to hav a lot of fun.

“I will hav a lot of fun with you, Bill and Bob of cors. I am gowing to hav a Super dupr jollygood time.

“Here is a poem I made up.’

(Here’s where I get scared. It’s a poem about me, and oh boy, Lexi is always totally honest in her evaluations of people. I have already heard about my hanging flesh and a few other things so I take a deep breath and resolve to take it like a Good Grandmother would. With pleasure, whatever she says.)

‘Yore eyes are brone.

Yore hair is blond.

Yore teeth are wite.

Yore lips are pink.

That was it.’

“See you in October. LoveLexi. (heart, heart, hearts etc)”

Oh my gosh. I breathe relief. What do YOU think that last line could have been? I know what I think and am so glad I don’t stink. Lexi would have told me if I do.

I carefully tuck the sentimental letter into another grand sized box of things I can’t throw out.

Later, I am at my mother’s house. She has a job to do. We girls have hired my brother, Jim, to clear out all of  Mom’s 87 years of accumulated  junk and feed her some good meals. This is a big job and Mother is resisting. She doesn’t want to throw anything out.

Mom is sitting in her living room surrounded by piles of books, papers, boxes and rolling files full of important papers.

“What can I do with all this?” she asks me. She waves a loose arm at the spreading mess.

“Those files have all the information from your father’s death and burial and over there are those from the deaths and burials of my parents. And, then there are all the newspaper articles about your work and mine and all the testimonials from people about our books. And, then there’s all these old photos.”

Mom stops sifting through a particular pile and looks at me.

“You need a break from this mess,” I say.

We decide to have tea, you know how we are.

Mom puts the water on to boil and I go through the ritual of clearing all the crap off her small round dining room table. Today, it’s ancient books, wrinkled newspaper clippings, the usual used napkins, a box of battered kleenex, an old empty salt shaker from the 50’s, a dull knife, flowers that died last week in a pink vase, one black and white cat that had been resting on the kleenex box, several used spoons, mail soliciting more donations from her for the aged and unruly (“They should be paying YOU!” I tell her) several weeks worth of notes from her children who have stopped by while Mom was napping, some old brown string and a number of dead flies.

My sister Polly joins us and we sip our hot green tea in 105 degree weather. Mother, as usual, has forgotten to turn on her air conditioner. When I mention it, she says, “Oh! That’s what it is! That’s why it’s so hot in here.”

Polly blows on her tea, lifts her hair off her neck and says, “Have you heard the latest about Mom’s tenants?

Mother owns the huge, one hundred-plus year old farmhouse in front of her mobile home. It’s a white monster that no one with any sense would live in. But, as with a handsome man or a beautiful woman, people overlook it’s personal defects and rest willingly in it’s charms.

Mom sighs.

After a long wait she finally has new tenants in the downstairs part of the house; a nice young couple with a baby and two tiny yipping, yapping dogs that yip and yap non-stop.

Mother says, “The dogs don’t bother me.”

Polly and I point out the obvious. “Mother. You can’t hear.”

The older single woman who lives upstairs, above the new family, can hear. And, she is outraged. And, we can understand that. Whenever we, or anyone, drives onto the property, the little dogs throw themselves against the picture window and shout and curse in shrill dog language.

Mother has a property manager, but even she has not been able to quell the problems that have sprung up between the three tenants because of the barking dogs.

“Well.” Polly says as she puts down her teacup. “Yesterday, the husband downstairs fired up their grill outside and apparently the smoke drifted up into the rooms of the lady upstairs. She ran down her back steps, grabbed and turned a garden hose on full force, hauled it up the stairs, into her house and stuck it out a window. And, from the second story she sprayed the husband and his dinner with the hose. Then, she ran the hose to another window and sprayed the wife who was sunning herself in the front yard.”

“Oh my gosh!” (That’s me yelling.)

Polly leans over the table and semi-whispers as Mother leans in to try and catch the rest.

“And my tenant? The one who lives upstairs in our house? He’s single, about 42 and really spoiled. For some reason I can’t fathem, he doesn’t have to work. He just polishes his cars every day. Well,” Polly narrows her eyes, “he can’t go a night without a woman at his place. For awhile it was a dark-haired woman who looked like a hard motorcycle woman and then she disappeared and that very night he had a younger blonde who started staying with him. Then, suddenly, she was gone and the other dark-haired woman was back. She stayed awhile and one day she was gone and that night here comes the blond, again. And now,” Polly sniffs some big air up her nose, “and now, well son of a gun! Now, I noticed last week that the two women are both back and they are both living with him!!”

Polly leans back in her chair and lifts her eyebrows. “I can’t figure it out. Sometimes we hear the mattress from upstairs creaking late at night but it’s very fast. Very fast. I mean, it’s very fast.” She shakes her head. “I don’t understand what the draw is.”

We’re all laughing and then I start telling some stories about some men in my life, past and current and pretty soon we are all shrieking and slapping the table and batting at each other with glee.

Suddenly Mom points behind me and says, “Oh Venus there’s just a bunch of spirits all around you! I keep seeing them flash and wink in and out!”

“Why?” I shout. “Am I going to die, have they come to get me?”

“No!” Mom says, “they just enjoy your company. They get a big bang out of you. They think you’re lots of fun.”

“Oh,” Polly says and looks a bit pouty. “Nobody thinks I’m lots of fun. Why does just Venus get the spirits?”

“Are you kidding?” I say. “I loved the stories you told us. Those were lots of fun. Put your drinking glass to the ceiling tonight and see what else you can find out.”

Mom gets up from the table and starts sifting again, back through the few old pictures she’d been trying to show me when I came in.

“These are bad pictures of me. Here I am with Barrett, one of my old boyfriends. I’m going to just toss them out.”

“Oh Mom! Don’t,” I say. I jump up from the table and grab the three pictures away from her. Barrett is a handsome blonde young man with a haircut that looks like 2009 and Mother is maybe 18 0r 20 and she looks just like my daughter Summer, but she has black hair.

Mom laughs. “And, here’s a poem I wrote but I didn’t date it. It must be from many years ago.”

Mom reads it to Polly and me. “Oh my gosh,” I say, “it sounds just like what you have been going through this last week!”

“I’m going to put it in the trash,” Mom says.

“No! Give it to me,” I say as I snatch and I read the poem out loud.

“REVENGE”

“Here I lie upon my bed.

I’ve been sick, or so it’s said.

One little tooth caused it all.

It sent it’s searing, throbbing pain

Into my ear. Into my brain.

All down my neck and back, again.

But, I got even, you can bet.

While I recover on my bed,

That little tooth is elsewhere,

DEAD!”

Polly and I are laughing, again. Yep. It’s another family item for my box of family treasures. I’m not going to end up like my mother, though, wading through all this stuff at the end. I’m going to leave that for Summer to do when the Spirits come laughing along one day and haul me off to their tea party in the sky.

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*YOUR WISHES CAN COME TRUE-JOIN US IN THE FLOW

Next TELE-CLASS with Venus and Summer, Oct. 24th 20009

See www.flowdreaming.com for details

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*NEW RADIO STATION-FREE ON AIR READINGS

‘THE DEAR VENUS SHOW’ and ‘THE FLOW-DREAMING SHOW’ are on a NEW STATION

www.contacttalkradio.com Every Tuesday, FREE ARCHIVES, POD-CASTS, etc.

“Dear Venus’ with venus andrecht- 1PM Pac/4PM Eastern. A WINNER for a free session with Venus is drawn on every live show. FREE READINGS given to callers to the show.

“The Flow Dreaming Show” with Summer McStravick-4PM Pac,7PM Eastern

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WINNER OF A FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE SESSION WITH VENUS-a name is drawn with every new blog that is written. Make sure you are signed up for the FEED above and to your left so you will be notified when a winner is chosen.

Winner: Hollee Haas Offer good through Oct 1st, 2009. After that, null and void

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Look under venus andrecht and summer mcstravick.   We have both friend and fan pages.

I often dip in on mine and make comments about things that don’t make it into the blog.

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