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This morning, before dawn, our dog woke me. She needed to use the yard. I stepped out with her into strong wind. Even the light from the streetlights seemed to be blowing around. A blustery rain was moving in. Wispy clouds raced light-gray and ragged overhead, below a darker blanket of overcast. Whenever I’m outside, I watch the sky. It’s something I learned from my maternal grandparents, who in the 1920s built a small farm between a big swamp and a big lake. The biggest lake: Lake Superior. My sister and her husband own the farm now—we call it Heaven. It sounds tongue-in-cheek, I know, but we mean it. There’s something spiritual, mystical, about the farm. In September, I quite unexpectedly got to spend two weeks there, two weeks in Heaven. This morning, as I watched the clouds sweep past over my head, my mind quite naturally began to wonder what the weather was like over in Heaven. I’m already longing for my next trip there.
My mother picked up a green bell pepper and placed it on the cutting board. We were at the close of the growing season—the table was heaped with peppers, fresh from the earth. In moments, she had gutted and sectioned it. We were making pickled peppers, something Mom did every year. I was fourteen—this was my first time helping. “You do the yellow chilies,” she said. “Cut them in half, then take out the seeds. We’ll put a half pepper into each jar—they’ll add a little heat.” I nodded and set to work. The peppers felt smooth against my skin. They were lovely to look at. A little heat would be good. Looking back now, more than fifty years later, I have to say, yes, a little heat is good—until it’s not.
Corduroy, I thought, early last fall as the leaves turned and daily temps began to fall. I need a pair of cords. Before I go on, I’ll note that what you’re reading here isn’t about buying slacks. What’s on my mind is love, which is what’s usually on my mind, but my musings today are a bit unusual. They’re about love, and car thievery.