Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Twenty-one years ago, we were living in central Connecticut.

It was a big adjustment, moving to the Northeast after five years in Atlanta. But the Great Corporate Salt Mine issued their decree and I obeyed, moving our young(er) family to our fourth house. (We’re up to Number Seven now.)

Connecticut was far more expensive than Georgia from a cost-of-living standpoint, but there were compensations. Glorious fall foliage, for one. And snow. I liked the snow, except when I had to shovel out our immense driveway.

Connecticut was also a lot closer to the ’Rents d’Elisson. A few hours in the car - about the same drive-time the Mistress of Sarcasm has when visiting us these days, except with tolls and a lot more traffic - and we could be on the south shore of Lawn Guyland, or they up at our place.

This was nice. It meant that my parents could be a regular meaningful presence in their granddaughters’ lives, just as SWMBO’s mom and her husband had been in Atlanta.

One day, during one such parental/grandparental visit, we all went to the roller skating rink in Monroe, just up the road. If I recall correctly, the occasion was a birthday party for one of Elder Daughter’s friends. This was in the days before Rollerblades had taken over the world, when the old-school four-wheeled skates were the order of the day. The kids - most of ’em, anyway - all got out on the floor and navigated their way around the rink with varying degrees of success.

It looked like fun.

Mom and I looked at each other. Then we went over to the skate rental counter and grabbed a couple of pairs of skates, laced them up, and got out on the rink.

Unlike my mother, I was (and am) no athlete. Whatever natural grace ever existed in our family seems to have skipped a generation, settling firmly on Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm. But that day, the Coordination Gene that had lain dormant in me for some thirty-five-odd years was miraculously awakened.

Arm-in-arm with my mother, we glided around the roller rink as though we were floating on air, executing perfectly synchronized crossovers through the turns. Like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Or (using the skating analogy) like Sonja Henie and...whoever the hell it was she skated with.

Mom has been gone now for over twenty years, and there are some things I still regret not having done while she was around. For example, I never got to play golf with my mother as an adult, alas. Maybe it’s just as well; she would have thrashed me like a red-headed stepchild on any golf course. But when I find myself feeling wistful, I like to remember that one afternoon in Connecticut, when the two of us floated around that roller rink, arm-in-arm.

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