15 September 2009

What I Do On Mornings Like This

6:00 AM: The alarm on my watch goes off, beeping on my dresser. I get up, get dressed, grind the coffee beans and start the first pot of the day, let the dog out, put in my contacts.

I pour the first cup of steaming bitter blessedness and settle down into the recliner in the basement with my latest book, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre. I'm about 100 pages from the end. I hear Alanna cooing to herself upstairs, and think that I might get twenty pages, maybe thirty, before she insists on getting up and starting her day.

But, wonder of wonders, she goes back to sleep. After about 90 minutes, I have finished the book, including its wonderfully tense final chapters. I check Facebook, make up a few snarky titles for the rumored "Indiana Jones 5," catch up on my Huskers, and read email, which includes the funny poem below, from The Writer's Almanac this morning. Now it's 8:20, I can hear my ladies stirring, and we've missed breakfast at day care - so I'll go upstairs and make scrambled eggs and toast, and we will smile at the luxury of sleeping in and reading good books.

Thus far it's been a nearly perfect morning. Please let's not ruin it, shall we?

Grace & peace,

A Wife Explains Why She Likes Country

by Barbara Ras

Because those cows in the bottomland are black and white, colors
anyone can understand, even against the green
of the grass, where they glide like yes and no, nothing in between,
because in country, heartache has nowhere to hide,
it's the Church of Abundant Life, the Alamo,
the hubbub of the hoi polloi, the parallel lines of rail fences,
because I like rodeos more than golf,
because there's something about the sound of mealworms and
leeches and the dream of a double-wide
that reminds me this is America, because of the simple pleasure
of a last chance, because sometimes whiskey
tastes better than wine, because hauling hogs on the road
is as good as it gets when the big bodies are layered like pigs in a cake,
not one layer but two,
because only country has a gun with a full choke and a slide guitar
that melts playing it cool into sweaty surrender in one note,
because in country you can smoke forever and it'll never kill you,
because roadbeds, flatbeds, your bed or mine,
because the package store is right across from the chicken plant
and it sells boiled peanuts, because I'm fixin' to wear boots to the dance
and make my hair bigger, because no smarty-pants, just easy rhymes,
perfect love, because I'm lost deep within myself and the sad songs call me out,
because even you with your superior aesthetic cried
when Tammy Wynette died,
because my people
come from dirt.

"A Wife Explains Why She Likes Country" by Barbara Ras, from One Hidden Stuff. © Penguin Poets, 2006.

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