With Hurricane Ike, a shift has occurred in the weather here in Oklahoma. Fall is a definite possibility, with the humidity ceasing and temperatures dropping. There’s a palpable feeling of change. Even the color of the sky seems different, like it’s cooler in hue, too. The Great State Fair has come to town, and we are hopeful to go and consume loads of fried, be-sticked goodness.
Today is Tuesday, and that means that it’s Mother’s Day Out. I dropped Jude off, and went on my way to run my errands. I stopped by the Full Circle Bookstore, a fun little old-fashioned bookshop. Finding a good book sometimes feels like finding a needle in a haystack. And I am very cautious before I commit to purchasing a book. I view them like good friends, my books. I want to have them near me, ready at any moment to open up and resume a conversation with. A bad book? Well, that one’s going to get the toss. It’s like a disappointment. Thus, my collection grows slowly. As a child, I remember my dad saying that he had three hopes for me: that I would love God, love books, and love music. I am happy to say that his hopes for me are very real in my life today. From time to time, he will ask me what I’m reading. And often, my reply is “A re-read.” Like a rerun, only in book form.
As a teenager, I fell upon Frances Mayes’ books. Famous for writing Under the Tuscan Sun (a book nothing like its movie counterpart — awful movie), she followed it with Bella Tuscany, as well as some other items. I loved both, and so I was delighted today to find A Year in the World over in the travel literature section. I sat down in front of the dormant fireplace at Full Circle and opened up the book, and instantly remembered why I loved Frances’ writing. This book is about her yearlong pursuit of travel to various locales. “And travel whets the emotions,” she writes, “turns upside down the memory bank, and golden coins scatter.” How can you not fall in love with words like these? I remember moonily reading her books while in Italy, wanting to find my way to her beautiful villa in Cortona. I find myself inspired again to get back on a plane, and make my way somewhere exotic.
I always toss around the idea of a girls’ trip somewhere. I have this grand dream in which my sister, my sister-in-law, my mom and I all get on a plane and head away for a fantastical week or so in Europe, starting in my most beloved Paris. We would explore street markets, and ride the metro. There would be an evening rivercruise on the Bateaux Mouches, and we would sit on the end of the Ile de la Cite and watch all the bohemian kids on the Pont des Arts. There would be shopping forays into the flea markets. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. All these marvelous things, all together —
Paris is so beloved to me, but the last time I saw Paris, I was not in a good place. I was dreadfully sick, in what would become the first awful flareup of my ulcerative colitis. My husband and I look back at the trip bittersweetly. For a long time, I could not even really think back about that trip. It was like I had been betrayed, in some way. I had so looked forward to going to my most favorite place with my most favorite person, and it had ended up a nightmare.
So I have to go back. I simply have to. There must be a reconciliation between Paris and I. Because I can’t have the last time I saw Paris to be in a haze of sickness.
I hope that wherever you are today that it is as beautiful there as it is here today. The sun is shining, and it’s a balmy 70 degrees. It is absolutely glorious and it just doesn’t get much better than this. I’m going to go pick up Jude from MDO and we’re going to head to the park….