# “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog” meets up with # “the world will lose its motion love if I prove false to thee.” Court Caper Part 5. (“Chapter” 44)
As the door clicks shut on the dying caper, instead of life flashing in front of my eyes, three visions sparkle like emeralds in the dust.
When the twins were into board books, a favorite was A is for Activist—an apt title for the library of unapologetic activists such as my parents. Frequently we’d all pile into the van for a women’s march or a pick-up-litter morning or a let’s-help-plant-a-trillion trees project: Environmental justice, civil rights, global warming, LGBTQ rights—my parents were involved in making the world a better place. Waving the stiff pages of A is for Activist aloft, while Sam and Clyde stomped their tiny feet and pumped their chubby arms, I’d chant and dance to stanzas like this: “A is for Activist/Advocate/Abolitionist/Ally. Actively Answering A call to Action. Y is for You. Youth/Your planet/Your rights/Your future/Your truth. Y is for Yes. Yes! Yes! Yes!”
I read it so much, I identified AS an activist; but, truthfully? I was still a kid. Aside from those rallies and VoteForward letter campaigns and door to door efforts, on my own I hadn’t done much, certainly not like Greta Thunberg. But tons of A is for Activist readings gifted me a soaring, mindless, boundless definition of myself as a do-er. And, it gave me enough umph to attempt the court caper.
After the I-thought-I-was-an-activist image, meringue-making seeped into my stream of consciousness.
Some things are hard to learn how to do. Like making meringue. Unless you know how, meringues flop. Wait until the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage? Don’t drip yolk in. Don’t use a wet or dirty bowl. Use the right sugar? Wrong whisk? When to add the sugar and beat? Use a electric mixer at a lower speed? Did I beat too quickly? How did those large air bubbles get there!
I think the Court Caper was doomed from the beginning because I didn’t know what I was doing and what I would do when I got to where I didn’t know what I was doing. My activist persona tractored me up and out of school and emboldened me to lie and sneak. But, ill informed, I flopped.
Vision Three: (From the Way-Back seat of my memory.)
When my parents got married, they had Dad’s dog, Dusty. Dusty was part beagle and part barker. At the end—he was 17–and this happened when I was four, so I remember it pretty well–at the end, he had this neck problem; his head hung. I had to lie on the floor to talk to him. I loved that dog. I used to sing him the Elvis song “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog” but I’d change the “hound” to “hang.” Well, anyway, right now, in the courthouse with Mimi and Pop, I’m Doing the Dusty as Mom used to call it. Hanging my head.
The sight of Mimi and Pop’s faces deflates me like one of my merengues. I’m ashamed. That’s the word for it. I am really, really ashamed. And worried. Worried that Mimi and Pop won’t trust me. Or love me.
So, what happens next, you ask. Am I grounded? Punished? Fitted for electronic ankle bracelets? Sent to the Home for Little Wanderers?
First off: They hug me. And Pop channels his inner Ralph Stanley and hum-sings: The storms are on the ocean; the heavens may cease to be; this world may lose its motion love, if we prove false to thee.
Good thing I’m in this Mimi-Pop sandwich because I go all weightless and light-headed when I remember Dad and Mom harmonizing the first part of this song: I’m going away to leave you, love, I’m going away for a while; but I’ll return to you some time if I go 10,000 miles.
O.K. Pop clears his throat for action. Before we get started on the scolding and such, Isabel, you need to know that we’ll always love you. He’s got his palms on my shoulders, maybe to give me ballast.
No matter, adds Mimi, as she straightens up and pats my arms. No matter what.
I believe them–Oliver’s already told me it’s called unconditional love; he feels it all the time with his Zia and Pop and Mimi. Oliver’s theory is that Mimi and Pop weren’t ready to take on the rearing of me and Clyde and Sam, like their parenting skills had rusted. He estimated that they were in Phase One of Adjusting to Life with Kids Again. (He, of course, is an expert having watched a few films with titles like: Surrounded with Love: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and The Face of Kinship Care.)
If he’s right, then this moment is the start of Phase Two.
–Isabel Scheherazade who’s “doing the Dusty”
You’re right. Mimi and Pop are catching up fast. It sounds like they were great parents for your Dad and now they’re remembering how it goes with you, Clyde, and Sam. Goodo for you is what I say!! This courthouse scene was hard to read. Not hard because it was poorly written, but hard because it was so emotional. I cried a little.
Try it—the crying; youmight like it.
Just like you, Isabel, my throat gets tight as I read this part of the story.
I might have mentioned this before, but, I haven’t cried since Mom and Dad got killed. “Crying would be a good thing,” they say. I know this because Oliver’s read a bunch of stuff to me from his Googling about kids and grief. I know know know this tight throat thing sometimes feels like it will smother me. But! So far I don’t dare cry. I’m afraid it will soften me up and make me less resolved to seek vengeance. Er, I just reread that last sentence and, wow, talk about drama. Have you detected that Oliver’s very dramatic? Well, I think I’m absorbing some of it. 🙂 Plus, the revenge thing has taken a hit. More on this later.
Thanks for reading my blog.