Saturday, July 11, 2009

Geography

When I was a child, sometime before adolescents, I was selling spices for a school fundraiser. At least, that was the page I remember. I took my catalogue to the neighbors, came across Old Mr. Mann. A widow three doors down from my family. We called him Mrs. Tucker's lover because he would fix up broken parts of her home and car and she was a widower herself. Reality suggests he was simply a kind soul looking for something to do and the drama was the need of the neighborhood to have something to talk about.

I hated selling things, though I have always been good at the sale. There is something about convicing you to buy my pitch, that makes the Cancerian side cringe. I digress. What happened that day wasn't about the sale. Wasn't even about that stupid catalogue or the heart shaped necklace with flecks of fake diamonds that arched the shape. Hehe. Ah, the childhood dreams. This scribble is about Old Mr. Mann.

I came acrossed his door. Convinced him inside. Tried to sell him salts and spice, but I don't think he had the money or could read. Wrinkled veneer, he smiled at me with these innoscent eyes behind big rimmed glasses, and changed the subject. Started to talk about my neighborhood - this corner pocket in the city. Took me to his backyard and pointed out the geography. See, my corner once was farm land. He showed me the slight slope in my backyard where this row of unexplained stones still reside that separated my yard from the garden and what my family called 'the back forty' (a small patch of land where two apple trees still reside). He showed me the shape of the farmland that once resided there. Gave me education about what once was and let me understand my own heritage.

I never made the sale. Honestly, he is the only person I remember from that year...and my heart shaped necklace.

I wish there was an Old Mr. Mann these days to describe my geography. Tell me why the stones that shape the hill are there. Ah, but even without understanding, I know there is old geography here.

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