Last night, my 20 year old son Walker humored his injured mother. He took me for a ride in his 1986 Chevrolet.
I can't drive right now. My right leg has been in an inflexible, over the knee brace ever since I broke it nearly two weeks ago.
I had surgery last Thursday, I'm mending well and honestly, my leg doesn't even hurt much any more. But I will say that being stuck in an inflexible and cumbersome leg brace is a physical and mental challenge.
I can't drive so I'm pretty much stuck in the house. And though I've always been a homebody, being stuck at home is not the same as voluntarily choosing to stay home.
I'm feeling restless, confined and just a little bit stir crazy.
Not only can I not drive myself, it's also impossible to maneuver myself into the passenger seat of most cars with my long leg extended. And that's where Myrtle comes in.
'Myrtle' is what Walker calls his big old, two door, 1986 Monte Carlo that his dad bought him when he turned 16. Myrtle's exterior paint is weathered, thin and dull; her interior is ragged (the ceiling is literally hanging in disintegrating shreds of fabric and a fine dust sifts down on our heads as we ride.) She's temperamental and balky about cranking sometimes too, but with her big doors and spacious leg room, she is, for the time being, my only ride.
And I am grateful, both for Myrtle and for my patient son, Walker, who takes me for rides.
Last night, as Walker steered Myrtle down Robertsville Road, I sat in the passenger seat and began talking about Mr. Darling. Mr. Darling was the cat Walker adopted when he was in nursery school, the cat we thought would live forever, but didn't. He died last spring.
I was telling Walker that someone had contacted me yesterday about buying two more copies of Lily Cat's Very Good Day and had volunteered that her favorite song on the album was the one titled 'The Big Cat in the Sky.' "It has so many levels," she said. "It's not just for children and it's not just about a cat. It's about so much more."
I wrote and recorded 'The Big Cat in the Sky' the day after Mr. Darling died. I remember having the uncanny feeling that I was channeling Mr. Darling's voice as I worked on that song.
"I hesitated to include that song on the album," I told Walker. "I thought it might be a little dark for a children's album. But I'm glad I did. It's one of my favorites and besides, I suspect most children are a whole lot more conscious of death than adults give them credit for."
Passing houses along Robertsville Road, watching the clouds move off to the East, I continued musing to Walker. "You know, I think most children are intimately acquainted with the dark side of life anyway. They know what skulks in the shadows and lurks under the bed, what waits for everyone in the dark. They know…it's Death."
"And old people, they're aware of death too," I continued. "Children and old people, but young people, like you,Walker…. and like I used to be... people in the prime of life, they never think about Death," I said. "They're oblivious."
And then we lapsed into companionable silence, as Walker steered Myrtle down Illinois Ave. and turned into the new Kroger's parking lot and searched for a spot close to the door. As we crossed the parking lot, he held my hand to steady me. In the lobby, he settled me into a motorized cart and for the next twenty or so minutes, he patiently followed me as I raced up and down the wide, clean grocery store aisles, softly whispering to myself, "Whee, whee!"
A note about my new CD, Lily Cat's Very Good Day:
You can listen to The Big Cat in the Sky (free, of course) at this link. Just click and go to track number 11.
As always, I ask you to please share Dogwood Daughter (and Lily Cat Music for Kids!) with someone today. As an indie artist, I have no advertising budget, but, lucky for me, I do have fans like YOU! Thank you.
Be Well and Good Luck,