It’s not blinking it’s winking…

That’s what I’m telling myself right now because the page is empty and the cursor is expecting me to do something but I’m not sure what to do. It’s just blinking and I don’t know whether to turn right or turn left. Should I tell the story about the swing in my uncle’s back yard that was like something out of a Fragonard painting? Or should I tell you about wanting to reference, in the story about my uncle’s swing, a specific painting of a woman on a swing that I remember being really popular with some of my friends who also happened to smoke a lot of pot back in the seventies and how I couldn’t remember the artist’s name, couldn’t find the image, but did find the Fragonard paintings, which are also very idyllic, much like the swing in my uncle’s back yard. Should I venture into the past? Or pull from the present? Does it matter?

And the cursor just kept blinking. No answers there. I suppose I could talk about my doctor’s appointment this morning and how all through the weekend I anticipated the doctor saying, “Good for you, you’ve lost weight since we last saw you!” But she didn’t say that. She asked me if  I wanted a flu shot. One should not look to one’s doctor for validation, I realized.

This was going to be tougher than I anticipated.

That’s when I realized that the cursor wasn’t blinking at me. The cursor was winking at me, trusting that I, ruler of my small kingdom of chicken stories, would choose the right one for today.

My aunt and uncle had a swing in back of their house. It’s probably still there. The thick, twisted ropes hung from a branch that must have been 30 feet up in the air and the seat was made of a piece of old wood a couple inches thick. You could stand on the seat while someone pushed it from behind and go so high it felt like you were flying and also a little dangerous. In fact, it was a little dangerous. It was mostly shady back there but some sun would filter down through the leaves and shine in your eyes, prompting you to shut them tight and lean back, letting your arms go straight and sticking out your legs, just enjoying the the ride and the sensation of moving through the air, sightless, except for the changes in the light playing across your eyelids. The last time I was out back by the swing was after my uncle’s funeral. There were a group of us…another uncle, his stepson, my cousin, some second cousins, I think. The kids were swinging and the grown ups were catching up with each other. Everyone changes while some things, like that old swing, seem to stay unchanged, or maybe that’s just in my memory, too, in the same place where my uncle sits grinning at us, about to say something snarky and guaranteed to get us laughing.

What memory popped up for you today from the past?

Chicken out


  8 comments for “It’s not blinking it’s winking…

  1. Doug in Oakland
    November 19, 2019 at 8:55 am

    We had a swing… well it was a ship’s rope with some knots tied in it wrapped around a branch of a redwood tree just up the hill from our little lake, and we could hold on and swing way out over the marshy area at the head of the lake.
    My dad saw it and thought he could improve on it, so he strung a cable from the branch to a fence post he sunk into the ground on the other side of the gully, got some pulleys and made a handle and all of the sudden we had a zip line.
    Or we did until one of my sister’s friends fell off of it and my dad took it down. She wasn’t hurt, but he wasn’t taking any chances after that.
    My friend Brenda has a swing hanging from her veranda, and last summer we went there for a barbecue and Beth’s daughter Celia started swinging so hard that she was hitting the roof forward and backward and as soon as she got down Beth tossed the swing up over the board it is fastened to so her kids couldn’t reach it any more…
    I ain’t scared of no cursors.

    -Doug, still in Rohnert Park for the moment


    • November 19, 2019 at 11:42 am

      Hi Doug-wow a zip line-your dad was ahead of his time. We would have loved one of those but I never knew anyone who had one until I was an adult and one of the neighbors built one for the kids. Too bad about your sister’s friend, though. Must have been a bummer. We used to jump off the swings-do you remember doing that? I remember the sick feeling in my stomach when I misjudged and realized, while soaring through the air, that I might have been a little too high when I let go. Nothing broken, though. Just a very ungraceful landing lol. I knew you wouldn’t fear the cursor.


  2. Joanne Noragon
    November 20, 2019 at 12:08 am

    No swings here, save my neighbor and I went to a movie this afternoon, Helen Mirren’s new movie, Good Liar. Plenty of twists and turns and stomach wrenching moments.


    • November 20, 2019 at 12:11 am

      Hi Joanne-that one is on my list, too. So it was good then? Sounds like You liked it?


  3. jenny_o
    November 20, 2019 at 12:48 am

    You’ve given such a great description of the feeling of swinging standing up – I used to love doing that. If I didn’t think I’d kill myself I’d love it still. You asked Doug if he remembered jumping off while swinging – I do, and I remember twisting my ankle once while doing it, but like you nothing was broken. Good memories!

    Your story takes a poignant turn with your uncle’s funeral – so well written, as always. No one can take those memories away. (Time/dementia might, but no person.)

    Memories that popped up for me today? My older brother (my only brother, my only sibling) visited from three hours away today. He drove up from the Valley to have lunch with our mom (and me). Mom got talking about people from the village we grew up in, and my brother was pulling names out of the air where our memories had gaps. He astonished himself – kept popping out names with a look of wonder on his face. Couldn’t believe that he could remember stuff from over fifty years ago that he hadn’t even thought of since then. The memory is a strange and miraculous thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 21, 2019 at 1:30 am

      Thanks Jenny-I would love it still, also, if I didn’t get motion sickness nowadays. Oh for the simple pleasures of youth! I’m glad you had a nice visit with your brother. The memory is a really strange thing. I’m surprised at the things I remember, the things I “remember” that turn out to be incorrect, and finally the things that someone reminds me of that I can’t believe I forgot!


  4. Paulette
    November 20, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Oh yes, the light flashing through your eyelids as you swung merrily along. That’s a familiar memory. We had a backyard swing set, one of those metal A-frame type deals, and my dad had to put these handcuff-like things on the ends of the four legs and stake them into the ground so it wouldn’t come out and topple over. Of course, the fun part was to when you and your friends all got all swinging high enough to see those legs come out of the hole in the dirt a few inches, attached to their handcuff chain and spike, and then pound back down into the hole. Laughing excitedly all the while. Talk about taking it to the limit! Then there was the big swing set in the park down the block where we, too, stood up on the flat wooden seats and pumped ourselves higher and higher and then jumped off, enjoying the fleeting sensation of flying. No one broke any bones, but there were a fair share of unceremonious dismounts culminating in skinned knees or bruised pride. Good times.


    • November 21, 2019 at 1:35 am

      Hi Paulette-ah yes, pulling the swing set out of the ground. Yup. I remember a few episodes like that. And I also remember having this idea that maybe we could swing high enough and hard enough to go right over the top of the swing set and make a full loop. I never dared to try that, though. I liked a little danger but I wasn’t dumb. Remember the merry-go-round….oh my word, that was even more fun than the swings, but we didn’t have one in our neighborhood. We had one at the school but the teachers were usually there to keep people alive, so not as much fun.


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