Seriously quirky

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Aug. 9, 2007

Dear Julie,

Our dogs Hank and Lucy are 13 years old now. They not only don't move nearly as fast as they used to, at times they hardly move at all.

They have developed some of the quirks that seem to accompany old age.

Lucy often can be found by the window at the bottom of the back stairs. I suspect it's because that post makes her the first to know of the comings and goings of cars in the driveway.

Hank has claimed the red chaise longue in the living room, a piece of furniture that looks more suited for Marilyn Monroe.

Norma Jeane Mortenson was found dead 45 years ago this month. She'd be 71 if she hadn't died however she died in 1962. I remember the news coming over the TV, and my mom and dad looking shocked, one of lots of those kinds of shocks that came in the 1960s.

She was an extraordinary person. You wonder what she might have done if she'd lived long enough to be old. She might have done what Angelina Jolie is doing, having figured out that helping others is The Way. Lao-tzu said: "Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things. Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things."

Marilyn Monroe had far more substance than the moguls who only wanted to market her beauty and sensuality. "Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul," MM said. "I know because I turned down the first offer often enough, and held out for the fifty cents."

If everybody seems to get quirkier with age, maybe it's because they eventually quit living by anyone else's rules. They align with their true nature. They come to an epiphanic realization that whatever other people think of them doesn't matter.

I know someone who until recently was unaware that Marilyn Monroe is no longer living. I know, it was in all the papers, but not everybody reads the papers. It was on the TV news, but how do you blame someone for not watching enough TV? He attributes this to growing up sheltered in Caruthersville, presumably Southeast Missouri's version of Timbuktu.

Elton's John's comparison of Marilyn Monroe to a candle in the wind had eluded his attention, and the pop art silkscreen portraits of her Andy Warhol created when she died didn't make an impression.

Everybody has a serious quirk of some kind. It means you're a member of the human race.

I must have been absent the day the music teacher explained how to tell what key a song is in. I played music all through high school and college. I still don't know how to read a key signature.

DC has a head start on becoming an extremely quirky old lady. The corn on her plate cannot touch the green beans. She eats the corn first, then the green beans. She's afraid to drink soy milk but unafraid to walk Hank and Lucy down an alley where drug deals are made.

A few weekends ago she returned from Sam's Club observing that the store seems to attract some untidy patrons around 7 p.m. on Saturday. She wondered if that might be because people are out working in their yards or cleaning their houses on Saturday and neglected to straighten themselves up before going to the store.

DC said this while wearing a T-shirt smeared with dirt and mulch from her flower beds. Her feet were shod in knee-high rubber boots, and lawn-mower oil stained her pink pants. As I smiled she smiled back the recognition that these are her people.

Love, Sam

Sam Blackwell is a reporter for the Southeast Missourian.

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