Thursday, October 25, 2012

The one who got away

All the leaves are brown - and the sky is grey.

You know the drill - and I've got the funky chicken woman blues. 

My old boy friend Jim Anderson, was the first to call them out for what they are.

Jim was a University of Minnesota summa cum laude graduate and a fabulous pick-up hockey player.

I loved him for almost a decade. 

He was a classic Minnesota boy - blond and blue eyed.  Everyone thought we were brother and sister.  And honey, the man knew how to call-out a funky mood when he met one.

I remember one particular October afternoon as the blues began to overwhelm me - Jim took my face in his powerful hands,  looked me in the eye and said -

"You are as funky as an old chicken woman."

He, of course, was right.

 He was always right. I was too young to understand how rare it was to meet a man so right.

He was so right I had to walk away from him  - and marry someone wrong.

Funky chicken woman blues

I have the funky chicken woman blues. 
When a woman gets to my age (old enough for Social Security and young enough to still be able to make a living), autumn is a tough season.

Old ghosts come to call.

Women of my generation don't need Halloween to visit the living-dead.

The first, raw chill of October, the unforgiving slap of freezing rain, the impossible pile of unmovable, wet oak, elm and maple leaves - everything seems to conspire to the land of the funky chicken.

And let's be frank - living alone makes a woman peculiar. I know this. Being a playwright doesn't help. I spend my afternoons in coffee shops, documenting the conversations of imaginary people and calling it art.

For cryin' out loud.

Wherever he is, I'm sure Jim Anderson sighs in relief when he thinks of me. His days are probably filled with gratitude for his narrow escape.

Even so, when the birch tree sheds her last, dead leaf - and when the robins begin to dwindle at the bird feeder, I think of Jim Anderson.

He hated pretense. He loved ideas.

And once upon a long time ago - he loved me.

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