Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella

I guess some of us were a little giddy in southeastern New England when we had two consecutive days with hardly any rain or clouds at all. Transports of delight, visions of working on that eternal tan, let's go get the car washed, turn me over-I'm done on this side. Sweet dreams are made of (all of) this.

Welcome to Wednesday. Wow. I hope it was drier where you are, though it's hard for me to imagine it not being that way. What was it David Letterman made famous, a weather forecast calling for 'hail the size of canned hams'? For awhile yesterday afternoon I thought it was raining Yugos from the sound of the impact of the rain on the roof and I was inside, on the ground floor, of a five-story building.

My wife, Sigrid and our daughter, Michelle, my version of Thelma and Louise, had great plans for Wednesday that were, literally, washed away. For reasons that weren't part of the mission briefing Tuesday evening, my wife announced she and Mike would be 'going to the zoo.' Despite my sometimes wondering, Sigrid did not attend/graduate or instruct at s.e.e.r. training. Everything she does is on a need to know basis and she does everything, so do the math. She tells me what I need to know, when I need to know it. And she also tells me when I need to know things.

Thus, there was no announcement Tuesday evening of a trip to the zoo to begin the conversation but rather 'either you'll have to make fried eggs to go with the rest of the potato salad or go get yourself something else to eat for tomorrow (Wednesday) night.' (I do not look like I've missed a lot meals, in case you were wondering.) From fried, not green, eggs and, not ham, but potato salad, she then progressed to explaining the zoo they would visit Wednesday was the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.

I think there's a zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Southwick, Massachusetts (I'm not sure why I believe that, actually, come to think of it) but it was the bright lights and big city for the Kenny Women. Rhode Island has a, umm, colorful (that's a good word) reputation among its Sister New England states, tracing all the way back to its founding by (you guessed it) Roger Williams who felt his previously-Puritan neighbors to be, well, too less-than-puritanical, for his tastes.

Everyone who doesn't live in Rhode Island has a story about the state to include a mention that it's NOT an island (fair is fair; neither is Long Island, sort of; or Coney Island or Gilligan's for that matter). If you believe half of what you hear, the Ocean State is a bit more free-spirited than those who reside in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts or in The Land of Steady Habits, Laurel bushes and nutmeg. In recent weeks, the state's reputation hasn't benefited from a discussion in their statehouse about making indoor prostitution illegal. There are hundreds of lines that come to mind, none of which you'll read here, so move along (and don't go inside, y'hear?)

My wife is very strong willed and can bend what the rest of us agree is reality to suit her own particular views like no one else on earth. She and my daughter drove to Providence, in the pouring rain, with every intention of peering at the caged animals. If the Roger Williams Park Zoo know what's good for them, they spent hours Tuesday cleaning the cages, powerwashing the walkways, polishing the glass and sent the polar bears to the dry cleaners to get that yellow tinge out of their fur. My wife notices all of this, and there can be indelible entries made in your permanent record.

When I had a text message from her telling me it was raining too hard for them to go to the zoo, I knew the animals were, even as she typed, picking out bunk space on the S. S. Minnow. Instead, she and Michelle went to the Providence Place Mall which may have been more of an adventure, for everybody, than was really called for on a wet and woolly Wednesday. They were fine, she volunteered. They had found an Indian Restaurant in the food court (not listed here-someone will be getting a note) and enjoyed a high and dry lunch. In their honor, I was tempted to put some curry powder and mango chutney on my fried eggs and wash it all down with a large glass of water.
-bill kenny

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