According to my mother, when I was a toddler my dad said nothing made him happier than when I paid attention to him.

What did he mean by that?  Was I too busy playing tea party to notice him, so when I was attentive it was extra special? Or did I shower him with love and kisses, leaping into his arms the moment he stepped foot in the house? It’s all speculation. My mother doesn’t even know what he meant.

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Windex Walking Video https://youtu.be/e-jlJGFhYaw

I set the Windex bottle down
upon the Camry’s hood.
My windshield sparkled clean and clear,
like all windshields should.

But then a heard a tip tap sound
and turned my head to see
the Windex walking on the car,
determined to be free.

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Early in our marriage Ron drove us from Springfield, Illinois to Crystal Lake, Illinois for my older sister’s wedding anniversary bash. My plan was to arrive by noon, eat lunch and help prepare the house for the big event the following day.

We didn’t have a cell phone or GPS back then. Usually, I am the navigator, watching the road signs and giving directions, but this time I was reading Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown, totally absorbed in the imaginary world.

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1990. I tied the 50 inch piece of string into a circle and tossed it into the air. It snagged one of the hooks on a wall mounted coat rack in my bedroom like a pair of panties flung during a passionate movie scene.

The string toss was a writing prompt. The shape of the string or whatever it landed on was supposed to inspire an idea for a personal experience story. Sadly, the only airtime my undies ever saw was when they were hurled into the clothes hamper. No story there.

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(2011) I smiled at the congregation during the thirty second musical intro of my solo as if nothing was out of the ordinary, while in fact I was opening every nook and cranny in my head searching for the words to the first verse of the song.

Hearing the notes of my entrance cue, I opened my mouth hoping the words would leap out of their hiding place, but they didn’t.

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The hole in the blanket was the size of a dime. It was perfect for spying from my bunk in the pirate ship Mist Tent, where I had been held captive for two long days and nights.

I peered through the opening and spied the Bedroom Dresser, another ship on the Sea of Hardwood Floors. Inside a shadowy cave on the shore of Closet Door Cove, ghosts wearing my clothing taunted me as the Mist Tent dropped anchor in Bedroom Harbor.

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December 1956. My older sister Melody age 5, dressed in a pink bathrobe and with a pink towel on her head, carried a baby doll wrapped in swaddling clothes (a cream colored doll blanket).

She lead the way from Nazareth (our bedroom) through the mountains (the kitchen) to Bethlehem (the living room) to the manger (a pillow on the floor covered with a wool doll blanket the color of straw).  I was 3, trailing behind her, reverently carrying my favorite doll blanket which was edged with a pink border and embroidered with the outline of a dog playing with a pink ball, beside a pink flower.

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November 25, 1965

By the time I woke up on Thanksgiving Day my mother had been in the kitchen since the crack of dawn, fussing over the Butterball Turkey for its 12:00 debut on our dining room table.

My Dad had just returned from picking up Grandma Schilthelm. Grandpa was in northern Wisconsin hunting with my uncles. My older sister Melody (14) was sitting at her vanity table trying to style her hair after substituting frozen orange juice cans for hair curlers. My contagious sister Julie (6), her neck swollen with the mumps, was on the sofa watching a Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was 12, hiding out in my bedroom, wrestling with a big secret.

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The October air was crisp when I opened the front door, grabbed the Amazon box from the porch and brought it inside.

“Get this!” I said to Ron. “This package is addressed to me at the office, but the address is crossed out. Our home address is scribbled on the box in black ink. Why would I get a package at the office? I retired from the Association three months ago.”

“Did you order something and accidentally ship it there? Ron asked.

“I haven’t ordered anything and I never shipped personal items to the office. That address isn’t linked to our account.

Ron pulled out his pocket knife. “Well let’s get this baby opened. Maybe it’s a belated retirement gift from one of your members.”

I pulled back the box flaps and peered inside. “What the hell?”

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Nine years ago we bought a bigger house. Ron said the walls were white.  I said they were cream.

“Cream is just another way to say white, ” he claimed.

I held a sheet of white copy paper to the wall to show him the subtle difference. He smiled. “White. Cream. Whatever you want to call it, Gaye, the walls are still boring.”

He was absolutely right. We needed to paint.

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