Tuesday, May 28, 2013


May 28, Waynesburg.


May 28, Waynesburg.


May 28, Waynesburg.

Summer school.

May 28, Waynesburg.

First day of practice again for the boys, splits and jumps, after a summer school morning of reading and math.

A trailer with a view.

May 28, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (69 miles, Greene County fairgrounds.)

A trailer with a view.

May 27, Wellsville, Ohio (52 miles, high school football field.)


May 26, Zoar.

Chauffeured no more.

May 26, Zoar.

Jacob drive the motor home for the last time this morning, to round up his week.

A trailer with a view.

May 26, Zoar, Ohio (42 miles, Tusky Valley high school.)


May 25, Mount Hope.

Beautiful country.

May 25, Mount Hope.

Beautiful rolling hills of the Swiss-like valleys of central Ohio, I only wish the Amish-dependent tourism industry were not as blatant.

A trailer with a view.

May 25, Mount Hope, Ohio (11 miles, auction barn.)

Back again.

May 24, Millersburg, Ohio (676 miles, Skyview Ranch.)

We're back at the circus.
I picked the kids up at West Boulevard Elementary School a little before the bell and we hit the road running, stopping only once for gas. Smooth travels, it is ten thirty and we just got here, up a dirt steep and curvy dirt road into this Christian retreat place that saved the show today as the lot was flooded and there was nowhere else to go.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The back of the backyard.

May 18, Columbia.

In this very room.

Columbia, May 15.

My friend Sally came to talk to Dylan's class today, and she blew me away - and all eighteen kids.
Sally went to school at West in the fifties, shortly after it opened, and was in first grade in Dylan's very first grade room. She gave each kid a story-telling cloth and they listened to her telling stories from when she was in first grade, in this very school, in this very room. They wore their story-telling cloth as they then each told a story to the class (Dylan translated a story we had read the night before in French; a boy was a cowboy and used his cloth as a lasso, rehearsing in the back of the room, then theatrically swiping all the art supplies off the nearest table.)
In this very school, in this very room.
Her performance ended with a guess. We walked out to the front of the school to try to guess which tree it was that Sally had help plant when she was in fourth grade, in 1958. It was barely taller then they were now, she told them, before leading them to the biggest, tallest tree in the front yard, a regal oak towering over the school. She read them a poem then, with Dylan in her lap. Again I felt grateful and humbled; for such a friend, for the school, for them to have allowed her to come in and share her art and passion, for being here.
In this very school, in this very room. This very tree.
The kids were enchanted, or maybe it was just the mid-day sun fire in their eyes, and the power of stories.

West Boulevard Elementary School.

Columbia, May 12.

I am now part of the PTA at my kids' school and it makes me feel so strange, as if I were suddenly an American, after all these years lived here but not quite here maybe. The PTA! I volunteered to be chair of the outdoor classroom (I've been busy in the garden, some twenty years of repressed gardening unleashed) and added a student activities co-chairmanship when it turned out the outdoor classroom only gets to meet twice a year. I can't wait for next year.
West Elementary School has done such a top job with my kids it will be difficult to repay the debt we owe its staff and teachers. I am grateful and in many ways humbled to be a part of truly one of the best schools in the nation.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Illinois and Jacob.

May 5, Mount Zion.

Those Illinois roads, all flat and straight. One last day with Jacob driving us, chatting with him.
More rain.
We're leaving after the first show; it is a four-hour drive back to Columbia. School is out in three weeks and it will be here too soon and not soon enough.

A trailer with a view.

May 5, Mount Zion, Illinois (36 miles, school parking lot.)

Gravel lot.

May 4, Arthur.

And thankful for that gravel as it hasn't stopped raining yet.
I remember this little touristy Amish town fondly, walking around to the cheese shop, Vickie and Lucky Eddie still here and we crossed paths. It is a lovely town in the middle of nowhere.
This time I walked around in the rain looking up, intent on identifying all those spring-beauty-clad trees. I've always loved trees and as I am now working hard to put down roots, literally and not, I've fallen in love with them all over again.

A trailer with a view.

May 4, Arthur, Illinois (88 miles, gravel lot.)

Back again.

May 3, Vandalia.

I picked up the kids after school and we headed down I-70 to the circus one last time before summer. 
The endless heavy rains of winter storm Achiles make for a trying trip.  They were calling for snow this morning but we dodged it and got more rain.  I managed to plant all my trees before it started coming down yesterday but not quite; the two apple trees (Fuji, Granny Smith) and the one peach tree (something big and juicy) I had ordered from a nursery in Louisiana, Missouri, arrived just as it was beginning to drizzle, so I ended up covered in mud.
And back for more.

A trailer with a view.

May 3, Vandalia, Illinois (175 miles, flooded lot.)


April 28, DeSoto.

Sitting on a parking lot for more than an hour with Jacob, waiting for the circus to find another lot, rain and more rain and we're been here before and they know the damage we'll do to a nice grassy lot if it's wet.  Finally we just move down the street in this athletic fields complex to a concrete area and trailer homes are parked on the curb. We are last in the caravan so there's no electricity for us; the cable won't reach.
I leave after the first show to get home to Columbia before dark.
The rolling hills of Missouri are beautiful in the spring birth.

A trailer with a view.

April 28, DeSoto, Missouri (25 miles, athletic field.)


April 27, Potosi.

So we're back at the circus, barely moved into our house in Columbia and out again.
I will have to learn to negotiate this road of double homes, here but not quite, settled into town life but not entirely.
One foot in, one foot out, the story of my life.

Chauffeur Jacob.

April 27, Potosi.

Fridman has hired Jacob to drive our motor home since I left it at the circus after spring break, and this morning he came over and drove it still, for the kids' car seats are at home in Columbia and I need to hold on to them during the drive. 
Jacob told me his big news: he has a girlfriend. They met in Newport, Arkansas, exactly ten days ago, he said, when she had her Dad came to the show. He handed his phone to show me a picture of her: his screen shot.  I have not known Jacob to have a girl friend since he started working at Kelly Miller in February of 2011.
I'm very shy, he says.

A trailer with a view.

April 27, Potosi, Missouri (25 miles, Lions Den grounds.)

Welcome to the mud show.

April 26, Farmington.

We made it by mid-afternoon with rain all the way and the lot is all mud.
Welcome home.

A trailer with a view.

April 26, Farmington, Missouri (145 miles.)


April 25, Columbia.

We're going to the circus.
Fridman is somewhere along I-70 as I write, on his way here from Farmington, south of Saint-Louis, and we'll go tomorrow mid-day, picking up the kids from school early before hitting the road for a little more than a three hour drive back to the circus (Today was a travel day at Kelly Miller, and nothing happened on the road to delay arrival, so Fridman was able to leave.)
This week, for no reason I know of other than maybe he's getting more comfortable among his classmates, or maybe just because chance is what makes the world go round, Dylan told his friend at school about his Dad and the circus, and they went online and found photos and videos of him and now he's proud as can be because they all think it's so cool, Dylan's Dad walking upside down thirty-five feet up in the air like that.
Dad is home, and the circus is so close we can visit.
Summer is around the corner.

One morning.

April 7, Columbia.

The morning is lovely, fresh warm and sunny, a cup of coffee on the porch, reading a short story called Valentine in The New Yorker magazine. 
The boys are still asleep, the house is quiet and the street all but empty, peaceful and precious moment.
It is not always easy with the kids, Dylan especially. It is hard sometimes to be Mom and Dad all at once, and nobody to talk to about it, or anything else.
The moment is lovely and soon it will be gone