Saturday, February 14, 2015

valentines, a horoscope, rubber cement, hockey: A Special Valentine's Day Edition from Pea Picklin' West

Yes, it is Valentine’s Day and I’ve sent a few cards of my favorite kind:


to a friend or two, and I’ve started a project of every day clipping my horoscope from the L.A. Times, a subscription to which I started at the beginning of the year and I must admit that except for clipping the horoscope and the crossword puzzle (to wrangle with another day) I’m not paying much attention to the Times, having turned my attention instead to Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour which I watch first thing every morning, getting last night’s news today.


After I clip the horoscope I swab its backside with rubber cement and paste it in a datebook, thereby building a collection of daily horoscopes which may amuse me one day. This is why I was so happy to buy rubber cement a week or so ago. It is the perfect—the only—adhesive for this project. You see, my father used to clip box scores from the Chicago Tribune and paste them on the green-tinted pages of a steno book. Rubber cement was his chosen adhesive, so must it be mine.


As I recall, he did this for hockey games—the Chicago Blackhawks—not baseball, and is it still a box score if it is hockey? I associate box scores with baseball. Anyway, exactly why he did this, I don’t know. He had season tickets to the Blackhawks and would go with a friend who smoked a pipe. This was back in the 1960s. The games were on Sunday nights, and if the sweet scent of pipe tobacco was wafting about our front door you knew it was Sunday, the Hawks were at home, and Dad was not. At these games my dad would keep score (again, exactly how you keep score at a hockey game, I don’t know, it has something to do with penalty minutes and the exact timing of a goal, I think, as I went with my dad to one, maybe two games at the stadium—the old Chicago Stadium—which was hugely cavernous, dark, all cement and steel and echoing noise and cold. When a goal was scored everyone stood and yelled like crazy. My dad sat there, scribbling in his notebook. My mom went to a game once. As the story goes, a goal was scored and someone promptly dumped a beer on her head. So that was that. So much for hockey.)


Back then rubber cement came in a small, brown glass jar with a screw-on lid made of metal with a brush attached to its underside so that the brush came out of the jar laden with rubber cement and that distinct rubber cement smell. After clipping the box scores (or whatever they are called in hockey), my dad placed them face down on another sheet of paper and liberally brushed their backs with the gooey cement, going well beyond the edge of each clipping. The residual cement could then be rubbed off the paper and rolled into balls. That was the fun of it. Not watching Dad pasting box scores in a steno pad, but making those little rubber cement booger balls. These days rubber cement comes in a plastic jar, not glass, but otherwise it seems much the same. Except I’ve not once been tempted to roll it into a booger.

Uh oh.

No rubber cement boogers?

Have I lost my joy?

So today’s horoscope was this:


It came after I had sent off some friendly valentines. It seems today my horoscope and I are on the same page. Even though I am not Finnish.


Sitting earlier this morning with Josie curled at my side watching the news I thought what a wonderful little valentine he is, and then I saw that his curled body made the shape of a perfect little half heart. Later, as we walked, as we do every morning, it was warm with a low, bright sun, and I was very aware of how when we return home to the U.P. I will miss the ease of these walks. One big difference between living where the weather is reliably warm and sunny as opposed to living where the weather can easily be six feet of snow and another blizzard is the ease of things like daily walks.


If today I were home in the U.P., a morning walk with Josie would have been something entailing a lot more time, a lot more effort, and maybe we would not have been able to do it at all. There is, after all, or so I hear, a blizzard out that-a-way, and Josie is, after all, short-legged. So maybe we would not have walked this morning. Or this afternoon. Would I have missed it? I have always loved a blizzard—its force, its dominance, its wildness, its beauty, the incredible stillness it leaves behind—so maybe we would not have missed walking. Maybe we would have had a barrel of fun trying to walk. Maybe Josie would have made me laugh bounding through drifts of snow as Buster used to do. Maybe a fire in the woodstove and the wind whipping around the cabin would have made us feel all snug and cozy and so very lucky to be warm and dry.


But, as I always say, who knows? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in my next horoscope. Until then: