Sunday, August 20, 2023

Lilith and the gospel musician


"She can do it," a woman said. She was standing in front of me at the cemetery entrance, where Uncle John was hosing things down and I was teasing him that Lilith needs a bath. The woman thrust her cell phone at me, said I should take a photo of her and her partner at such and such an angle, so the palms would frame the picture and the mountains appear in the back. Her partner was a middle aged man with lots of earrings, and a tattoo of a treble clef on his neck. "Are you a musician?" I asked. "Yes," he said. I took a couple photos with the woman's phone. She said something about he teaches piano and composition. "Where are you from?" "I live in Worcester, but teach in Boston," he responded. "Berklee School of Music?" I asked. He flinched. "How did you know?" 
I told him a neighbor of ours goes there, a saxophonist named Varma. (I neglected to tell him about the day the young man played the riff to "Love Supreme" over and over on his lanai, and his mother told me later that he was trying for the note the civil defense siren makes.) "What semester?" he asked. "Not sure, covid messed up his schedule." "It messed us all up." Up a side hill I broke my rule of not looking at the internet on my walks. He said his name was Dennis. And here he is:

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Lilith Veritas

Yesterday I said something to S. at the Valley of the Temples sentry box about 91 indictments, then delivered a little spiel on the awfulness of the former guy. "Do you believe in trials?" he asked. "Yes, of course," I said. "They're up to eight," he responded. Thinking that even Trump isn't in for eight trials yet, I must have looked confused. He was talking about covid shots (which he's against).
Today, I greeted Uncle J with the same number, 91. "Oh it all washes off of him," he said. I wondered if that was right, and told him he's a much better man than Trump, so why does he follow him? Then Uncle J starts talking about Biden's daughter, how in her diary she accuses her father of molesting her in the shower. "Where's that from?" "The media suppresses it," he says, "because he's their puppet." So I launch into the Jared Kushner $2 billion from the Saudis after getting a big arms deal, and clearly this conversation (is that what it is?) isn't going anywhere.
On our way back, I wish Uncle J a good day. I do like the guy. He makes friendly sounds to Lilith, who just keeps going. At home, I look up Ashley Biden's diary and find this:
2 plead guilty in scheme to sell Biden's daughter's diary

Thursday, August 17, 2023

It's been a hard year

Where you went?" asked Judy, up the hill; she was talking to a woman with tattoos on her arms who stood next to a dusky red SUV. "It's Lilith. She's in a book," Judy told her friend, who asked me if Lilith is a "Hawaiian dog." I said I'd looked that dog up once and yes, it resembles Lilith, except Lily is part-chihuahua. The woman's name is Lil, and I say that Susan comes from the Hebrew for Lily, so there we are, talking in front of Judy's house, whose garden is chaotic in an organized way, or organized in a chaotic one. The Hawaiian dog had simply appeared at Lil's house and stayed eight years. Disappeared. A visitation.
Judy says her brother-in-law died. It's been a hard year. Her sister, her best friend; they talked every day. Her friend was allergic to antibiotics, which they gave her in the ER. They'd also pushed aspirin on her, even though she said she was allergic, but this time she couldn't tell them. 
And then there's Maui. Her stepdaughter lived right there on Front Street. Is ok, but. Nothing left. We try to talk about why such a thing might have happened, but don't get very far, or how things might get better again. She says if she lived there she might sell her land and get out. She'd have nothing anyway. Time is all mixed up. You don't know what will happen.
I tell her that my mother, when she still lived at home but had dementia, walked to a neighbor's house at 2 a.m. and said she was worried that the sun hadn't come up that day. She thought it was 10. Oh, dementia, said Judy. She went with her grown kids to visit her ex-husband over near Waikele. He came down the stairs smiling. She greeted him with "anyway, den!," but he didn't remember anyone, anything.
I lean over (that's how small she is) and give Judy a hug. "Who knows if we'll be able to hug each other tomorrow," she says, as Lilith goes to her for attention, and we pull away. The street smells strangely of pakalolo, then down the hill of dinners being made.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Lilith is alive


"How are you doing?" asked a neighbor with her small, floppy-eared dog. "Ok," I said. She looked me straight in the eye. "We're alive," she said.
There were three guys at the cemetery guard shack. "I went away for a week and a lot happened," I said to them. "Maui. Indictments." "Oh, nothing's going to happen to him," said one guy, local. "He's too rich. Better than Biden. Gives $130 billion to a country that means nothing to us. Like Russia giving money to Mexico, our neighbor." I left it at "'I think Biden's a good president," as Lilith and I headed uphill.
As we came down the hill later, the same guy was driving up in a green cart (he told me once, when I teased him, that he much preferred driving his fancy motorcycle). We waved.
Vanny was picking stuff up from graves. "I'm still here," he said. I told him I just got my Social Security notice; it'll start up in October. He's been having a hard time getting in touch with SS, has gone twice in person. They finally called him and gave him a date, December 7. Had I gone in person? No, just did it all on-line, I said.
Vanny, who has very bad knees, says his wife, who's under a lot of stress these days, is a physical therapist. He's her guinea pig. "Now there's some stress," I say. We laugh. Lilith and I head home, past the water restoration trucks with American flag motifs all over them, and a picture of workers raising a beam Iwo Jima style.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Hilo bus driver

"I'm 70!" said the Hilo bus driver, after he and Bryant reminisced about chasing pesticide trucks on O`ahu in the 1960s. Was it DDT they were spreading? Brief discourse about bald eagle eggs; there are none here, but there are `io. More these days. The driver had fairly short white hair, with a narrow pigtail hanging down to his back; he was happy not to be busy. (We were his only two riders from the airport.) As we passed a man hauling a cart full of large white plastic barrels--he'd been doing this all morning--the driver began talking about drugs. When he was young, his grandmother would say he was going to shame the family if he did something wrong. No longer. He got in an argument with his sister on the plane from Colorado, where his nephew was graduating from the Air Force Academy. He says things he probably shouldn't say. He tells it straight. And he's the older brother; his younger siblings should listen to him. When I said I wanted to take pictures of the guys who jump off the bridge, he slowed the bus down. I also took some of him.
Seated at the bus station, a young man with ehu hair that fell down in front of his face. All I could see were prominent front teeth, one chipped; he cut his hands through the air, once pointing his index finger up while he conversed.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Lilith drinks and drives

"Journey, did you have your first drink yet?" I said, teasing the young man in the cemetery who'd just turned 21. One of his co-workers looked at me as if I meant it. Said he hated when he was carded, especially after he left the card in his car. "Maybe you look very mature for your age." He laughed and said a guy a year younger than him in high school had had a full beard and was over 6 feet. Could throw a baseball 92 miles an hour. The Diamondbacks came to his school--it was a big deal--because they wanted to draft him. I gathered that nothing had come of it, wondered if he'd hurt his arm. "No, partying." What's become of him? "Probably nothing." The guy who hates being carded was sad that his friend hadn't made the major leagues.
On our way up the hill, another worker zoomed over in his John Deere vehicle to tell me his father took him to Cardinals games in San Diego when he was a kid. 1972. I told him about my dad taking me to see a game in 1971, where Vida Blue pitched. "He was really good for a while." I asked if I could take his picture. "No!" he said as he zoomed off in the green cart.
We ran into Raschelle and talked story about all the people we meet in the cemetery. (She'd tried to take his photo once, too.) Did you know, she asked, that the mortician used to be a paramedic? Lived on the east coast, back in the day, and already so many gunshot wounds. At least the dead aren't stressful, I surmised.
The second time we saw Raschelle on the big hill where Lilith sniffs out mongooses, I told her I had a grammar question. She's in a JW Pidgin language group that sends out flyers. For some reason, they come to my husband, his address and name handwritten. The one flyer read "Jesus had make" (makay = died, dead); isn't it actually "wen make," I asked. We'd spent a long time that day going "had--wen," "wen--had." She thought it was an interesting question, but I still don't know.
Lilith almost got a chicken on the other side of the shopping area, just as we ran into another walker. She's under the couch now, while her person awaits news of indictments and baseball trades.