Posted tagged ‘party’

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!”

February 14, 2014

The rain fell all day yesterday and last night. It stopped for a bit but only to gather a little more energy because it then began to pour again, to pound the roof, around midnight. After that came the highlight of the storm, the thunder and lightning. I was reading in bed when the whole room was lit by a flash of light then another flash then another. The thunder was a rumble at first which got louder and louder until it became a crash. I stopped reading to listen. Gracie slept right through it. It seemed to thunder for a long time then the rumbling began to fade until it disappeared. The rain fell more quietly having expended all its energy for that one giant blast.

Today was the big day, Valentine’s Day. I’d sit at the kitchen table the night before and in my best handwriting fill in my name on the back and the names of my classmates on the fronts of the envelopes. My mother always bought the valentines with a picture on the front, usually with a corny saying, and a place on the back for my name. Kathleen usually ended up slanted as it’s a long name. I also had to add an R. so everyone would know it wasn’t Kathleen D. or Kathleen L. Those precious valentines were carefully carried to school as were the cookies my mother had made for the party. The week before, during art, we had transformed shoe boxes into valentine boxes.

We had to do regular school work most of the day. It killed us. Our minds were on those envelopes sitting in boxes under our desks. I wondered who would give me valentines and feared not getting one from my secret crush of the week. In those days we didn’t give one to everybody in the class. I think it was more a matter of expense than thoughtlessness. Finally, after eons had passed, the nun would tell us to put our books away. She’d start to clear off her desk to make room for the party food. We’d pull our decorated boxes off the floor onto our desks and sit impatiently waiting for the festivities to start. The nun directed us row by row to walk around and hand out our valentines. We’d sit as classmates walked by and dropped envelopes or didn’t. We never opened them until all of us had taken our turns. It was then the party began. We’d get cookies and candy then sit at our desks and talk and open the valentines. We’d giggle at the ones from boys being young enough still to giggle without being silly. The party lasted until the final school bell when we’d reluctantly clean up and get ready to leave. The valentines went in our boxes and we carried those treasures home as it they were the crown jewels.

I’d sit at the kitchen table and look at those valentines then I’d keep them safe in the box for a long time so I could look again and again.

“Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.”

July 19, 2012

Late yesterday afternoon, the thunder and lightning were spectacular. I stood at the front door and watched. The house shook a couple of times and I could hear the rumbling all around me. The rain came down hard but didn’t last as long I’d hoped. What it did do, however, was even better. It took all the humidity with it and left us with a much cooler evening. I turned off the AC and opened all the windows and the two doors. It was easy to fall asleep.

This morning dawned cool and cloudy. Gracie is loving having the back door open as she has access to her dog door and can come and go as she pleases. She’s been outside all morning. I even joined her for a while. From the open windows, I can hear the world for the first time in days. Gone is the solitude. Some kid is screaming, and the renters next door are having a conversation. Dogs are barking, and I can hear the click of Gracie’s collar as she runs around the yard. She joins the chorus of barkers every now and then to let them know she’s here.

Yesterday I got a call from Texas, from a Ghanaian living there now who attended Women’s Training College in Bolga. She started there the year after I had left so we were never acquainted. Assan got my number when she went back to Bolga and thought she’d connect. It was a wonderful conversation. She knows many of my former students who were her seniors. She explained the reason she called was to apologize about missing the big reunion late this summer. I didn’t even know there was going to be one. It seems the students I met last year have been rallying the troops to come this summer to Bolga while I’ll be there. They’re hoping to have a huge party. I think it’s wonderful.

Grace called me from Ghana yesterday, and she sang Leaving on a Jet Plane, Miss Ryan’s song. She told me she was counting the days until my arrival and can hardly wait. She’ll come north with me and we’ll do a bit of touring as I hope to make a few stops in the Volta Region, places I have wanted to see like the Volta Lake, the dam and the monkey sanctuary. She’ll also stay with Francisca and me in the village.

My passport came back yesterday with my Ghanaian visa. I got one for multiple re-entries which is good for two years so this time so it won’t expire before I leave the way it did last year. The trip is more than a month away, but I am really getting excited to go. This time I know I’ll see my students and I’ll get to live in the village. Even better, we’ll party!

“A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.”

September 19, 2010

Steam rose from the wet bark of the pine tree earlier this morning as the sun moved across the morning sky, and its warmth reached the bark. Today is the sort of fall day when outside is warmer than inside. The deck is bathed in sunlight. As is my wont, I stood for a while outside to take measure of the day. I noticed my neighbor has strung red and blue balloons around his deck. At four o’clock this afternoon is the party for his three year old son, and I’ve been invited. Sebastian, my neighbor, has asked me twice to make sure I’m coming. I have a feeling the party might be a bit like every evening when I sat in the living room of my Ghanaian father’s house in Bawku. The room was filled with people who spoke Hausa, and I understood very little. I just nodded my head and smiled a lot. Sebastian and his family are Brazilians, and when they are together or have company, I hear Portuguese more than I hear English. I suspect I’ll be nodding and smiling a lot.

I have been combing through travel sites looking for a place to go this fall, but nothing has piqued my interest. When air fares are posted mid-week, I look for a flight to somewhere exotic, to somewhere a bit different. I remember getting off the plane in Marrakesh and smelling unfamiliar spices in the air. I remember the trip from the airport when I first saw the ancient pink wall surrounding the old part of the city and  calishes traveling along the sides of the roads. I remember smiling and waving at the passengers. I knew I had chosen well. I want that same feeling again.


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