Monthly Archives: April 2013

Farewell Apollo

In or around 1996 Dean’s mom bought a new car. If my memory is correct she wasn’t exactly delighted with it at the time — I think she thought it was too sporty.

Apollo, the intrepid traveler

After she passed away the car was passed down to my kids. Dean drove it back from Illinois in or around the summer of 2009. Dean’s brothers put some time and money into making it as safe as possible for the kids and for that we are grateful. The car was a familiar sight on our corner for several years — the kids tended to park it across the street. In recent years when I’d look out the window and see it, it made me smile because it meant one or both of my kids were home. At some point they named the car Apollo and Clare decorated the ceiling of the car with the solar system. She said that anyone who worked on the car was always pretty impressed.

This past March the kids’ spring breaks overlapped by one week and the plan was for Clare to pick up Andrew from college and drive him to Maryland after visiting a friend in Ohio. The plans changed somewhat so Clare drove from New York to Maryland and spent some time with us before heading to Oberlin to drop off the car for Andrew and then continuing on to other adventures (in my car). Andrew drove the car back to Maryland that same day. I posted on Facebook that I was somewhat concerned that the car could handle such a trip, but Andrew got home safely.

A few days after the Big Trip and shortly before Clare was to drive it back to New York the car would not start. After several attempts and Internet searching the conclusion was that it had something to do with the head gasket. We’d pretty much decided that we were not going to spend much more money on the car — we’d already spent several thousand dollars more than our knowledgeable car mechanic thought wise — so it was decided that Apollo would be donated to a charity. Clare is borrowing my car for the final stretch of her undergraduate career and remarked that she was relieved to be driving an automobile that didn’t cause her to fear for her life.

On Tuesday the tow truck arrived to take Apollo away for good. I never liked the car (That fear for your life thing. Also chalk dust.) but was sad anyway.


I am selfish. I have a hard time sharing things I like — dark chocolate, Jelly Bellies (TM), time with my kids, etc. I remember attending a Friday Mass when I worked at a Catholic school that talked about the benefits of sharing but I remained steadfastly selfish.

The other day I picked some lilacs from “our” bush (it was the neighbor’s lilac bush when we moved to Hoover Street but it has since  migrated to our side of the property line) and noticed that we had more bunches of flowers than in years before. I wondered how to make them last so I could enjoy them for as long as possible. I love lilacs. I worried that people would come in the night and take away my fragrant blossoms.

This evening as I planted basil in a planter on my front porch two women walked by the lilac tree and stopped and smelled and exclaimed at the scent. I called my agreement to them.

One of the women said she grew up in the Alps and had lilacs in her garden. I told her to take some. She was reluctant, but did take some. Then I realized that sharing is better than not sharing — you get more out what you share. I think I understand that Mass now.


Spoiler: Not a dead kitten!

Last Thursday in preparation for a friend stopping by for a glass of wine before we headed off to a neighborhood concert I tidied up the SSR [Supplemental Seasonal Refrigerator] (aka our screened porch). One of the tasks was to drag the fancy log and tinder boxes (aka wheeled trash cans) to their proper places (aka the trash area). As I walked past the stack of firewood I glanced down and noticed something furry, face-down in the ivy.


After depositing the trash can in the trash area I went back and examined the furry thing more closely.

Oh My God, I thought (taking the Lord’s name in vain), it’s a dead kitten. A kitten was in our yard and DIED. We could have taken it in and had a new kitten!

I picked up a stick to turn the dead kitten over (why? I have no idea — I had not even started on the wine yet) and as I got closer I thought that it might not be a dead kitten after all. Perhaps a dead baby rabbit (better) or maybe a dead rat (even better. Sort of.).

It was hard to turn the dead kitten over with the small stick, but I persevered and that’s when I saw the tag. It was a stuffed animal. Not a kitten. Or rabbit. Or rat. Actually I think it was a wolf.

It had lain in the ivy for so many years that the ivy had grown in through its “mouth” and the face-down half was pretty much gone. I am sure it belonged to one of my kids though because the tag has a web site address on it.