At Fox Lake. Randy drove his sister and her husband and kids to O'Hare last night with Mia. I had a couple of hours alone with Nora and the quiet so I could clean up and finish the New Yorker. Before a simple dinner (hot dog, broccoli and carrot for Nora, a salad with egg and potatoes for me) Nora rides a bike left in the garage while I trot along beside her all the way up the road to the garage sale I noticed on my run that morning.
I love a garage sale. Five cans of soft Playdough, a Scooby Doo Mystery van with two Scoobys and every other character but Velma, a Thomas train yard complete with train and no missing sections of track. And all for five bucks! The lady threw in some kind of caveman Tower of Babel that the girls love to construct over and over again, then knock down with the tail of the caveman's dinosaur. They got up early again this morning (so quiet without Dylan and Jessica!) and went right to their work of play.
And on the way home from the sale Nora and I passed a cardboard box set out the side of road filled with books. They may have been touched in the June flooding, but they smell dry now – what a find! A literature anthology from 1973. As I flip through the pages to reacquaint myself with Frost's poem about a buzz saw accident and to gasp at a cruel Maupassant story I don't remember about two friends shot for spying, an envelope falls out of the pages. I hesitate for a moment but the temptation is too great and the names are all unfamiliar.
It's a letter from a soldier to a girl. He had a dream about her face and for once they weren't fighting, she was just there with him. It made him feel good even though he knows they are no longer together. So so sad. It belongs right here in these yellowed pages, tucked into Amy Lowell's "Patterns."
I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.