Good Friday is a company holiday
And a work-addled mind exalts it
Strives to make it count
Guards is jealously from task creep,
Cell phone, e-mail, to-do list,
From becoming just a second Saturday
Black morning fades to gray.
I stare, anxious, out the back window.
Today must be something special.
We must DO something:
A day trip to a state park
Or, rain plan, a cave.
Catfish farm. Creamery tour. LBJ’s boyhood home.
Maybe take the boat out.
I calmly sip my tea, and scan my field of vision for inspiration.
But my inner voice is a SWAT commando:
“Go! Go! Go!”
Anything to puncture the suburban sameness
The unending tennis rally of work, home, work, home.
And to cut short the boys’ screen time.
But nothing that’s going to put us in the car all day,
And the boat is a lot of effort
And we have to get to the grocery store.
We settle on an hour of family tennis,
Five bodies of every size on a single court,
Goodwill racquets flinging in all directions
A novel spin on a storied sport.
After this, strip-mall Mexican for lunch on a Friday
Seems sufficiently exotic for a holiday.
Then a nap — can’t do that at work.
I’m reading a book on the patio
When I hear a familiar sound
And turn to see my potty-trainer
Peeing into the dog’s water bucket.
What comedy club
With its cover charge
And stock routines about airline travel
And how white guys dance
And the REAL difference between men and women!
Could equal the comedy of innocence?
The day trip to a state park is abbreviated
As the park a half block away
But the boys still have dinosaurs to slay
With lasers (of course)
And pea gravel rivers of lava to avoid
Atop playscape spaceships.
And amid this stage version of a blockbuster action flick,
The three-year-old sees his first robin.
There was the riot of spring weeds to mow.
Not glamorous, I know,
But the mats of clover taking back the sidewalk
Made me smile, nature’s mindless audacity
That insists on imposing its fertile festiveness
On our flat, drab creations.
And even that basest rite of suburbia,
The dreaded weekly harvest,
Poop-scooping, is tolerable,
If done with radiant resignation
And to the boy soprano strains
Of a watergun fight.
And, the last act, dinner with friends, old and new.
What better expense of time was ever conceived?
So accept this prayer of thanks
That the ordinary is not just good
But — and I know this makes no sense — special.
Will this day be marked in family history
Like red letter dates in the encyclopedia?
Will it make the highlight reel? Photo album? Christmas letter?
Will this day be retold
At Thanksgiving decades hence?
Was today “something”?
Was today “anything”?
Today was everything.
And so it was.
–A.S. April 2010