Friday, February 18, 2005

Indian Paint

you know, it's nice waking up to white sidewalks.
it's even nicer when it's still snowing.
it's not so nice when it stops at ten a.m. though, i'm still waiting for that blizzard.

it seems really weird, the snow and all. i think everyone was kind of ready for spring.
over the past month it's been warm(er than it should have been in february), and i know i was ready for spring.

for some reason, my mind has picked four very disctinct memories and attatched them to the four seasons. for spring, i can remember riding my bike around the neighbourhood, the sounds of my tires splashing through every single "pothole" puddle echoes around.

i had this teal windbreaker. you know the kind, it had this flimsy hood that rolled up into the collar, and a white cotton liner. i don't really know what the point of that liner was. i guess it helped stop the wind, iono.

i would ride around on my bike, walking through the woods, or along the shores of the lake. i don't remember why, but the feeling i have is almost euphoric. i can't explain that.

i can remember walking up the banks of "the creek," seeing an occassional patch of stubborn snow clinging to pine needles and dirt, slowly melting in the rising sun.

so for spring i remember a teal windbreaker, biking, puddles, the lake shore, the creek banks, my development (simon's point), but most of all

spring has this weird connotation attatched to it in my head: mud.
i suppose it's because spring is when all the snow melts and runs down the mountainside past my house and into the lake. i suppose it's muddy because i also live on a dirt road.

and the first thing you learn as a little kid who lives on a lake is how to make indian paint.
it's pretty simple. you need two rocks. one of them should be shale (when i say shale i mean red shale, to me there was no other kind until i started calling my aunt "ahnt"), so the paint turns out reddish brown instead of dull grey.
scrape the shale across the other rock until there's a thin red powder on the it. now here's where it gets tricky. you can either spit into the powder and mix it with your fingers, or use water. we did this right at the beach, so we always just used water.

then you just smear it on your face. it was fun.
it was also fun to get all the seaweed (yep, still call it seaweed although we live on a lake) and roll it into a ball and fling it at each other.
or, cover yourself in it and pretend you're swamp thing. don't worry, you will freak out your dog. but she will eventually forgive you.

i need to go camping. or hiking. i need to get away from all this pavement.
don't get me wrong, it's great. and flat. but for a kid who spent one hundred percent of his free time as a child running across sandy, rocky beaches, and through mossy woods, the tar is driving me insane.

i remember all i could think of when i was little was 'how cool would it be if they paved our road, i could get a remote-controlled car!'
they never paved it. i never had a remote-controlled car. life goes on.

pavement was such a treat when i was little, it meant we were going somewhere.
often to the dairy twist. which has the best soft-serve ice cream i know of. also, it had a water fountain. after we ate our ice cream, we would get a drink of water.

to this day, i still get thirsty for cold water-fountain water after eating soft-serve ice cream.
gresham's has the best hard ice cream. and it's right across the dike. i would go there after work, senior year, with my girlfriend and walk along the it (the dike's suprisingly long when you actually walk on it).
i wonder how long the people who sit on the benches during the fireworks on fourth of july had to wait to get those seats.
probably all day.

i would always get vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. ever since i can remember.
then i discovered waffle cones, they were all my own.
i was the only one in my family who liked them. 'cookies & cream in a waffle cone, with a chocolate-cone-dip, please'
it was a lot to say for a little kid.

pavement also meant we were going to grandpop's, in new jersey. now if you know me, you know i despise new jersey. i cannot stand it. it's dirty. example: the toll bridge in milford only collects the toll on the lanes coming from nj to pa. they know no one in their right minds would pay to get into nj, only to get away from.

grandpop's was a little one story house with a furnished basement in new providence (i think... maybe it was just providence. i always confuse it with where he worked: summit). he had a pool table. and an electric type-writer.

i typed a report on the statue of liberty on that typewriter. it didn't have a BACKSPACE button. i must have typed the first three sentences a million times, and killed a million trees with all the typos i made.

the house had this leather sofa in the den (it had a den!). the den, which a little kid is perplexed with at first, why isn't it called a living room?
'well, the living room is the room by the door, brendan.'
'but it's so fancy.'
'yes, that's why there's a den'

it had a den, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, three (?) bedrooms, and this room that went out to the patio (patio!). it was a brick patio and it had a yard.
the yard was my favourite part. i simply could not get over the fact that my grandfather had a huge square of grass in his backyard, and fences all around it. he had neighbours, with yards ending in fences just like his.

and the refrigerator was upside down.
i was very perplexed by this. the freezer part was on the bottom. i couldn't understand why.

i worked with my dad one summer, when i turned 14, in summit. we were remodelling one of the apartment buildings my grandpop owned. it was HOT.
everyday we went to 7-11. i got a hot dog and a pepsi big slam. then we went back to work.

i have so much to thank my father for. not only did he put up with a fourteen year old for like four weeks in a hot new jersey apartment building, but he took me to see batman forever. that's what i wanted for my birthday, to see the batman movie. it is, to this day, my favourite one. not the best representation of the comics, but still my favourite. thank you dad.
you sat through two hours of val kilmer and nicole kidman and jim carrey with me.

i wore those sandals with webbing, three plastic buckles (one around your toes, the others around your heel and ankle), and black rubber soles.

and then we went back to my grandpop's house and slept in the air conditioning.

it really was a whole other world to me.

so even though i despise new jersey, there's this little section of it, nothing more than a municipalital line, that i cherish. and will cherish for ever. i will always connect providence, nj with my grandfather, his house of wonders, working with my dad, and a blue buick.

my grandfather had a blue buick. he would trade it in every now and then to get a new blue buick. it had electric door locks and windows.

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