Lars and the Real Girl

1 Lars and the Real Girl

We were driving home from a family wedding in Jacksonville. We are attending these gatherings with increasing frequency, but whether marriages or funerals, outside the formal event and appropriate attire, our family conversation is the same, fraying and reweaving itself out of our particular social and cultural fabrics to an quilted knit of unqualified goodness. So, somewhere between Lake City and Gainesville I imagined us home in Tampa, ragged out and crashed around plates of left-overs and a movie. Lars and the Real Girl cropped up in our impromptu movie reviews, so that’s what we watched.

The Wilderness of the Unexpected

26 hiking trail

One summer day in Cuchara, Colorado, hiking on a mountain, my family and I found we had diverged from the trail, not far, but the particular path wasn’t well marked. And some storm clouds had appeared farther up the slopes. Because our kids were quite young then and hard to corral up the mountain, we usually began our hikes in early morning and completed them by noon, to avoid too much grumpiness or mad hunger or sudden storms and lightning. On this day, the clouds had gathered earlier than expected. Should we keep going up, or begin our descent?

Laughing in Class

L0003910 Carved ivory upper and lower denture

It’s the first day of the poetry unit for my freshmen composition class. All morning, I rehearse my opening lines like a high school invitation to prom: Would you like to read poetry with me? I promise we’ll have a good time. After a few minutes, I advance to the break-up speech: No really, it’s not you. It’s me. I can’t help it. I just really love poetry. It’s ok. You can admit it—I know you hate it. Maybe we should just break up.