29 April 2017

Good evening, my friends —

Hear me out:  I have good reasons for writing these Musings so late in the day.  Hear me out.  I’ve a story to tell.

I made the decision to buy my first house under the most dubious of circumstances.   Carl Boehner and I sat on logs around a bonfire in the yard outside his mountain cabin.  We  held coffee mugs filled with some strong liquor, something clear that came from a make-shift bottle.  A little ways from the fire, an old dog scratched at the ground.  Once in a while, Carl would say something to the mutt in German and it would lift its head, gaze into its master’s eyes, then go back to scrounging for scraps thrown from the skillet suspended over the fire from a metal bar.

Carl’s hired man warmed his legs, sitting on an upside-down paint can.  Once in a while, he extended his arms to let the roughness of his worker’s hands take a little of the flame.

Carl said, I’m thinking of selling that place down by the road, and looked in my direction.  I took a long draw of the moonshine before I replied.

A week later, he gave me the keys to the 2500 square foot ranch, with its unfinished extension that Carl reckoned might make a good law office if I decided to leave our firm.  He told me he’d send his man down with a rick of firewood, double-split, stacked in the mudroom.  Without more effort than it took to sign my name on a piece of paper, at the age of 34 and newly divorced, I had bought my first home.

The following summer, I hired a carpenter from over in Eureka Springs to build a porch.  He made it so that the lines of the boards ran at opposing angels, with the invisible apex in the middle of the highway.  I had a privacy fence erected, and found a guy with a brush hog to keep acreage that came with the place clear enough for decent folk.

In the spring I discovered why the piers of the back porch had rotted when the South Fork of the White River overflowed its banks and lapped at the house’s foundation.  By summer, though, I could walk the western edge of my property on the smooth flagstone in the dry river bed.

If I hadn’t gotten pregnant, I might be there still, rocking, watching the hawks, on the quiet stretch of Old Route 7 after they put the highway through on the other side of the Boston Mountains.

If I hadn’t gotten pregnant, or maybe pregnant and left; or maybe pregnant and lost one twin with the remaining baby considered at risk.  I moved back into Fayetteville, to the guest bedroom of Ron and Laura Barclay.  Ron worked for the firm as my law clerk.  Laura was a secretary — mine at the time.  She held my hand when they wheeled me into the delivery room and was the first nonmedical person to cradle my son in her arms, all seven pounds, ten ounces of laughing baby.

Happy to be here!

Eighteen months later, I took the proceeds of the sale of the Winslow property back to Missouri and bought the Holmes house, 1542 square feet of Brookside bungalow with a fenced backyard and  a shared driveway.

Here, I raised my son.  Here, I married and divorced twice.  Here, I opened the gates of hell and let the demons claim me.  And here, for the last three years, I have tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Assuming I ever do.

When my son turned five, his pre-school teacher Magda Helmuth ordered me to take him upstairs to PS1 Elementary School to start kindergarten.  He’s ready, Mama, she explained in her thick German accent.  I closed my eyes and let the memories flow.  My Austrian great-grandmother talked just that way; and my old friend Carl Boehner, who swam from his boat off the coast of Baja California to bring me a geode.  I still haven’t cracked that sucker, but I imagine the beauty.  I am content to picture the brilliance of its crystals, the purple and silver, hidden inside.

When I walked Patrick upstairs that first day, Mrs. Helmuth stood at the bottom, outside the door of Purple Dragon Pre-school.  Goodbye, Patrick! she called.  My son turned and gazed down, then reached again for my hand and started his ascent.

Mom, he said, just before we reached the second floor.  Are you going to die before I’m big?

He asked a fair question.  In 1996, the year of this conversation, I had just begun to experience what would later be diagnosed as the reactivation of the virus which had besieged me in toddlerhood.  But no one yet knew what caused my decline; why I couldn’t breathe; why my lips and the beds of my fingernails turned blue and I slipped into unconsciousness.  Patrick had witnessed this more than once, and alone.  He’d had to call for help — for neighbors; for the police.  Once he had walked three doors down to get Beth and Randy.  He told them, I gave my Mom a blanket, and some water, and some crackers, but she won’t get better.  He was three.  Three years old, and taking care of me already.

On that auspicious day, his first day of kindergarten, I looked down at my son, at his Thomas the Tank Engine backpack and his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tennis shoes.  I fixed my eyes on his, pale blue under his golden curls.  And I did what any mother would do.  Any parent.

I lied.

No, Buddy, I assured him.  I’m going to live to be one-hundred and three, and I’m going to nag you every day of your life.

The stairwell fell silent.  I could see my son thinking about the number which I’d thrown out.  One-hundred and three.  I could feel him contemplating the idea of my nagging him, every blessed day of his life, until I turned 103.  Finally, he told me, Okay then, I’m going to ANNOY you every day of YOUR life.

On 14 February 1998, not quite two years after my son’s first day of kindergarten, an arrogant pulmonologist told me that I had six months to live.  Sadly, the man himself died less than a year later, leaving a wife and two teenage sons.

But I lived.

So much has happened since that day in 1989 when I decided to buy the place on the highway.  Bonfires have been built and extinguished.  Trees have grown and been felled.   I have loved and lost.  I have journeyed a thousand steps, and a thousand more, and a thousand more.

And on this day, this rainy spring day, I drove to Chillicothe with a dear friend and fellow Waldo Brookside Rotarian Jenna Munoz.  We assembled with a hundred or so Rotarians for the roll call of club donations to Shoes for Orphan Souls, and other business of District 6040.  Then, when the tally had been rendered, and our goodbyes said, we headed back west.

We stopped seven miles before the I-35 turn-off for very important business.

With deliberation and forethought, we turned the Prius off of Route 36 to stop at Country Cabin Village, built by the talented and gracious Kevin Kitsmiller and run by his beautiful, sweet-natured wife Kim Kitsmiller.  There, I put a down payment on my next house.

A tiny house, which Kevin has designed and will build, on a custom-made 8-1/2 x 24 foot trailer, and in which I will live out the rest of my days.  And no, before you ask:  I am not retiring.  I am just changing my address, and downsizing from nine rocking chairs to four.

I will be chronicling the building of the tiny house on the pages of this or some other blog.  It’s going to be Corinne’s Big (Tiny) Adventure, and I want you all to be a part of it.  At Jenna’s suggestion, I’m having a contest to name my tiny house.  It won’t be ready until September, so you have plenty of time to watch it grow and get a feel for its personality.

As for where I’ll park it, that remains to be seen.  I’ll keep you posted.  After all, I’m only 62 (this year), and I’ve got 41 more years to go.  I promised my son that I would live to be 103, and as he has always told me, a promise is a promise.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Yours truly and the trailer on which Kevin Kitsmiller is building my tiny house. Stay tuned. More pics to come as he raises the walls!

22 April 2017

Good morning,

The hours seem to slip from my grasp without hesitation or shame.  I rose before dawn but 8:00 a.m. sneaked by on tender toes while my eyes gazed through the window, seeing not the fragile leaves of the Japanese maple but the fleeting images of children cavorting on the lawn.  Now they dart out of sight, leaving me to wonder where they have gone.

Those children did not go to war, thank Heaven and all that stands holy.  They went to Denver, and Chicago, and Lawrence; and to the inner workings of computers.  One of the foursome left our circle by dint of divorce and death among his parents, birth and step.  One went as far south and east as possible, then west to the mountains.   One makes his life here.  The final of the four musketeers, my son, marched east, and now writes and rides the train in Chicago, searching for images to digitize.

Funny how three of the four made careers of the computing which they all loved.  Of the fourth, I have no knowledge.  His father died after divorcing the stepmother who brought him to our village, the village of my son and me, and these families of yester-year.  Patrick, Chris, Maher, and Sam.  Sam drifted away, but the other three met in pre-school and remained inseparable until distracted by girls and the angst of teenage.

I felt that I had my brood, when three or four boys darted down the driveway, brandishing wooden swords or barreling past on bicycles.  I hear their voices rising on the wind, echoing in the dusty, empty rooms of my waning middle-age.

I stand in the dim basement, summoning the courage to pull boxes from the shelf to start the sorting.  I turn my face towards the filth of these low casement windows.  Are those running feet, pounding the cracked asphalt?  Do those shouts seek help or just the courage to catapult over the fence to the yard, where a dog darts back and forth hoping to catch the boys at play?

I peel yellowed tape from the back of the door to the upstairs room.  Here we hung the house rules.  We called them the “Do Be’s”.  Do be kind, Do be careful with the possessions of others, Do put away your toys.  At night we invoked the “whisper rule”.  You could stay awake as long as you liked, provided that Corinne could not hear you from the first floor.  Their heads lolled against the pillows, propped on walls in the bunk beds.  One or two camped on sleeping bags in the large floor space.  They whispered; and sorted their Pokemon cards; and the surrounding silence lulled them to sleep, one at a time, first Chris, then Patrick.  Maher always stayed awake the longest, arranging the Z-bots for battle, or rapidly working the keys of a GameBoy.

It was Maher who heard the whines of our rescue dog Little Girl, the night that my son’s Beagle, Chocolate, tragically died.  I carry the guilt of that still.  I left them both outside.  I fell asleep, with  Chocolate on his lead.  He struggled; and we found Little Girl huddled next to his cold body, well before sunrise.  He’s buried in our side-yard pet cemetery, with Tiger Tasmania and the little black cat whom my son secretly raised upstairs.  I strain to recall his name.  He lived less than a year.  A terrible virus claimed him.  We all cried.  Oh, what was that sweet kitten’s name?

And Sprinkles lies in the same graveyard.  She died of old age, beneath my hands, lying in the driveway.  I sobbed as the light left her eyes, remembering when we got her.  I had taken three-year-old Patrick to McDonald’s so friends could install the swing-set that I’d purchased for a birthday surprise.  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday.  He stood on two little Ninja-Turtle-sneaker-shod feet and banged tiny fists on the table, crying out for everyone in the place to hear:  I want a father and a brother and a sister and a cat and a dog!

I got him the kitten the next day, from a pet shop in Overland Park.  He named her “Sprinkles” for the black spots dancing across her white fur.  A client who bred and sold Beagles from his farm in Chillicothe gave us a puppy the next spring.  Chocolate.

Get it, Mommy?  Chocolate Sprinkles!  I get it, Buddy.

When he left for college, he made me promise that none of the remaining pets would die before he graduated.  Sprinkles made it to the fall of his senior year.  Pablo, our boy Tuxedo cat which Patrick bought from Waldo Pets in our Mayo Clinic summer, lasted until the spring of 2016, seven long, eventful years as an unneutered male cavorting around the neighborhood.  He’s out there somewhere still, perhaps; and I see his offspring now and then.  Don’t judge me; Patrick decreed that his boycat would not be “fixed”.

Little Girl still rules the roost.  I feed her grain-free food and make sure to refill her Phenobarb on time.  God forbid that another pet should die on my watch, much less by my neglectful hands.

Those Z-bots occupy a box in the basement, inside a larger container filled with Hot Wheels.  On the highest shelf, I pray, another crate holds the wooden Brio train set.  I cannot bear the thought of parting with any of it.  But time draws to its fullest point; the future presents itself as a long slow slide to rest.  I need to travel light.  I have so much left to do, and so much less time than I realized in which to do it.  I face forward.  The whistle blows —  the train lurches forward — I draw in a full breath of the sweetest air imaginable, close my eyes, and grin.  A wild ride awaits.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley


15 April 2017

Good morning,

I’ve been thinking about these musings for a while.  They’ve evolved so much in the nine years during which I’ve been writing them.  At first, I sent out WWI poetry on Memorial Day Weekend in 2008.  Then, I started describing what I saw around me and seguing into a memory evoked by the events of my present world.  I ended with a return to the mundane or pleasant surroundings in which I found myself at the moment.  My friend Dave Littlehales mocked me once by saying that he knew I would finish by describing my hand clutching a cold mug of coffee.

Last night’s unrelenting neurological pain finally eased this morning, but not before it, too, triggered the rise of a memory long buried in the depths of my subconscious.  It’s neither horrible nor fabulous; it’s just one of those days that a child experiences which twists the neuro-pathways and sends them skittering in a newly forged direction.

I can’t say how old I was when my mother first started taking me to doctors.  A terrible childhood illness kept me in the hospital for tedious stretches  but I don’t remember that.  My first memory of unusual medical activity must have happened when I was eight or nine. . .

I’m standing at one end of an interminable hallway.  My mother huddles on a chair in a small room beside a wooden exam table covered with a starched sheet.  Someone stands over her.  At the opposite end of the corridor where I wait, a man in a white lab coat gestures to me.  “Okay, sweetie, now come towards me.”

I do as he asks.  I know why I’m here:  I don’t walk like everybody else, except my sister Adrienne.  She’s taken a lot of guff from our father for how she walks.  But I’m different:  He treats me with tenderness.  I wish he would do the same for her.  I shudder with an unpleasant memory; rage and punishment.  

Other people make fun of me, especially the boys in my class.  They stagger behind me acting like monkeys, swinging their arms and pitching forward halfway bent to the ground.  The girls titter behind the folding doors of the cloakroom.  I take as long as I can adjusting my coat on the hook but eventually I have to acknowledge that I’m there and I am listening to them.  My movement toward the rows of desks sends them into hysteria.  They knew; they knew all along that I would hear.

The doctor hasn’t laughed, not once.  He moves smoothly himself.  He’s lean and trim underneath his doctor’s garb.  His wiry hair clusters in curls around his head.  A gentle light shines from his eyes.

“Come towards me,” he repeats.  I realize that I’ve paused in the center of the hallway, lost in thought.  I hurriedly start forward but he shakes his head.  “No, just walk like you always do,” he corrects me.  “No hurry.  Just walk toward me, there’s a good girl.”

I hear my mother sigh.

A few minutes later, I’m back on the table and the doctor taps my knees with his red rubber hammer.  He  pricks my calves and asks if I can feel the sharp point.  “Yes,” I admit.  “Good, good, ” comes the answer in his soft voice.

He turns to my mother.  “When you get home, have her walk barefoot in water, then across concrete.  Measure the gap between the balls of her feet and her heel.”  They talk about medicine; my mother shakes her head. 

“She’s too young,” she replies.  “Can’t you give her some exercises?  Do you know what caused it?  Can you do anything?”

The doctor smiles at her.  I think, ‘Don’t smile at my mother like that,’ but I’m not sure why it bothers me.  I tell myself that his smile might be for me.  It’s the kind of smile you give children when you think they won’t understand you.  But my mother is the smartest and strongest woman I know, except maybe my Nana.  

We leave the place, my mother and I.  I don’t feel as though my mother has gotten any answers.  We take the bus home, trudging up the hill from the bus stop to our house.  My mother sinks into a chair on the porch, her pocketbook trailing to the floor of the porch from her arm.  Her eyes look far away.  I sit beside her.  We stay that way for a long while.  

Yes, Dave:  My coffee grows cold in the mug on my desk.  Outside my window, the sun has brightened the sky to a pale hazy blue.  In the uncleared gutters, baby birds cry out for breakfast.  The dog barks, just once, but I know she too wants food.  I briefly close my eyes and picture my mother’s face.  She wears sorrow like a badge of honor.  I’ll never forget that day, nor the sound of traffic from the window of the bus as we rode home.

Mugwumpishy tendered,

Corinne Corley

This bus reminds me of the ones we rode with our mother. Perhaps this photo comes from a few years before the one I remember riding that day. It all seems so long ago now, and all grey in my mind.

08 April 2017

Good morning,

The decline into dishevelment lands me in a soft place, surrounded by discarded jackets, scarves, and woolen hats.  Under the coffee table lies the computer bag which served me well trudging through both forest and cityscape on my NorCAL adventure.  All the lampshades have gone cock-eyed and I don’t recall watering the three plants which survived a winter indoors since before I left town.

I’ve pulled the Easter baskets from a top shelf and run my fingers around the edges of the name tag.  In faded writing, my first name reminds me of the patience that my mother showed to her scrapping kids arguing over who owned each Chocolate sugar-coated haul.  I don’t have to close my eyes to see the olive tone of her worn face or the faded edges of Revlon lipstick drifting from the curve of her smile.  She gently slips the coconut egg from Frank’s loot and trades it for something of mine.  Every time I avoid coconut these days, I remember the struggles of the penultimate Corley child with asthma, fifty years ago, fifty revolutions of the Earth around the sun in hour upon hour of love and life and laughter.

Now my small self makes a row of the orbs which we’ve dubbed blah eggs.  They wobble but stay relatively straight.  I sort them by color.  The banana curls of my long mud-red hair hang in coils down my back.  One spills forward as I focus on my counting.  Ten blah eggs, two bon-bons (one pink, one green), a half-dozen marshmallow bunnies, twenty-five jelly beans of assorted colors.  Two of my favorite:  Black.  At the head of the candy parade stands my bunny, still clad in her foil attire and fully possessed of both ears.

An arm swipes across the lot and my head snaps to attention.  Mark runs into the sunroom, his laughter trailing behind his darting heels.  I begin the patient count all over as the little boys, Frank and Steve, squabble over claims that each makes of promises to trade one find for another.  A bowl of colored hard-boiled eggs stands in the middle of the table.  From the kitchen, my mother’s voice admonishes us not to eat any more candy.  The baskets will be taken from us soon.

Ten blah eggs, two bon-bons (one pink, one green), a half-dozen marshmallow bunnies, twenty-five jelly beans of assorted colors.  Two black.  I hold one of the black jelly beans with the tips of two fingers and put it carefully between my lips.  My fingers turn grey as I suck the flavor — licorice over something vaguely tasting of vanilla.

Mother tells us, Okay now, set the table, as she carries platters of fried eggs and bacon into the breakfast room.  I’m the only one who obliges her.  I line the knives with their flat edge facing outward, towards the spoon.  The forks sit alone on the left with a triangle of paper napkin underneath them.  We save the cloth ones for Easter dinner, when I will have the job of tucking the folded squares inside our sterling silver napkin holders, each with an engraved name.

The eight Corley children flank the table.  Mother sits at one end.  My father comes from the living room, smelling of Camel Straights and stale beer.  He never goes to church with us, and he could shower twenty times and the stink of last night’s bar would still seep from his pores.  He sits next to me and says, Get your elbows off the table, Mark.

We know that voice.  Mark hurries to comply.  Then we bow our heads, and Dad says grace.  Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive through thy bounty, through Jesus Christ amen.  We cross ourselves, top, middle, left, right.  Then someone says, Pass the salt, please.

The plate of eggs makes a single round.  We run out of bacon before it gets to me but I don’t mind.  The boys need it more than I do.  Still, my father splits one of his pieces in half and winks at me as he places a piece on my plate.  I smear grape jelly on toast and press the crisp meat into the purple glaze.  When I fold the bread, a little bit of jelly oozes out.  I close my eyes and take the smallest imaginable bite.  I want the treat to last.  Each nibble tingles the tip of my tongue and blends the sweetness with the yoke of the egg lingering there.

After breakfast, the boys argue about whose turn it is to wash or dry the dishes.  Dryer puts away silverware, so we all prefer to wash.  Nobody likes to lay the silverware on a towel and dry each one, then haul them over to the drawer where they live.  I volunteer for that task.  Mark, Kevin, and I begin the job of getting breakfast dishes done, so Mom can start making the Easter dinner.  My father goes into the living room to read the paper.  Frank and Steve retreat to the sunroom to count their candy all over again and heckle each other about who has more jelly beans.  My older sisters vanish somewhere, to lie on a bed and read, or sit on the porch talking.

Five decades later, sitting with the heating pad on my healing back, I glance around the house for signs of Easter.   Dust dulls the wooden surfaces.  The old rattan blinds hang crooked over dirty windows.  Other than the aloe plant, nothing green thrives here — no cellophane sheaf of daffodils, no paper-whites springing from bowls of pebbles and clear water.

Outside, the red-tinged edges of the Japanese maple peak above the window sill.  Buds sprang from the awkward, rangy umbrella maple this week.  I keep praying the weather will hold so maybe, just maybe, Hazel’s irises will bloom full this year.  I sip my coffee, but its cold bitterness tells me that I have waited too long.  A ragged sigh courses through me.  Oh Mom, I say, outloud, to no one.  Happy Easter, happy spring, Happy, Happy Everything.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

01 April 2017

Good morning,

It’s well into April Fool’s Day but I don’t need a special day to feel foolish.  That’s every day.  That’s today, and yesterday, and all the yesterdays stretching backwards to the day when I first became aware that my skin didn’t fit the bones across which it stretched.

I remember that day.

Stop reading now if you enjoy these Musings  because they bring you sweet stories of the life of a Missouri Mugwump.  Click the delete button with your mouse or on your keyboard, or on your tablet’s screen.  I’m out of precious stories at present.  This one rose from the murky waters this morning.

Forty-four years ago this September, I started high school.  I should have run screaming out of the building when my mother and I met with the administrator to enroll.  Your sister Ann was Valedictorian of her class, he reminded us.  Adrienne was editor of Panis Vitae — the literary magazine.  Joyce chaired the social services club, SOS. Students Offering Service.

He paused, then asked, Which sister will you take after?

I almost corrected his dangling preposition but my perceptive mother quelled me with a raised eyebrow.  I glanced at the sign on his desk which said, When in doubt, mumble.  So that’s how I responded, with a demure murmur of something vague.  He seemed to accept my remark as indicative of good intent, for he rose and welcomed me to Corpus Christi High School.

By the end of September, the pattern which would mark my four years there had been chiseled in stone.  The girls who welcomed me all had similar backgrounds and natures.  They came from families that could be considered lower middle class.  They were intelligent oddballs, living on the fringe in the all-girls Catholic high school across the parking lot from where I’d been  just the same in grade school.  You’d know me:  The girl with glasses, who walked funny and whom the boys all teased and the girls heckled.

That girl.  Not the “it” girl; not the popular girl; the side show.

I cried a lot in those days, maybe more than I realized.  I volunteered for everything — the literary magazine as well as the social services club and a whole lot more.  I took photos at the Father / Daughter dance because I had no desire to urge my father to get sober and attend with me.  He asked; I just looked at him and remarked, I’m the school photographer, I’ll be there taking pictures.  Children can be so cruel.

That night, I sat on the stairwell outside the gym listening to the music, the school’s camera idle on the step next to me.  Suddenly the door behind me opened and a girl came out.  I didn’t know her.  She sat down beside me and took a pack of cigarettes out of a little handbag that she carried, a pretty thing that matched her shoes.

She lit the cigarette and blew a long stream of smoke into the air.  I coughed a little and turned my head away.

You’re that freak in the freshman class, aren’t you, she said.  Your Dad’s not here either, is he.  

I shook my head and lifted the camera from the step.  You want me to take a picture of you and your father, I asked.  She shrugged and said, Sure, the old guy’d like that.  We went into the building.  I fussed with the composition then took several shots.  The man thanked me and asked if he could get a copy.  Sure, I said, echoing his daughter’s casual tone.  She rolled her eyes behind his back.

On the following Monday, I sat at lunch with the usual group.  Jeanne Chrismer, Marie Clark, a few others.   We talked about our weekends; about tests we had that week.  Marie told a story about horses, one of her obsessions.  Someone asked, So where is your Dad, and they looked at me.  I lowered my eyes and said, Oh, I don’t really know, he’s just around somewhere.

At home passed out, I didn’t say.  He wanted to come to that stupid dance but I wouldn’t let him, I thought but refrained from  mentioning.

Jeanne hugged me and Marie changed the subject.  Whoever had asked the question didn’t press for an explanation.  We finished lunch and hurried to our next class.

A few days later, I studied the pictures from the Father-Daughter dance to choose which ones would go in the Yearbook.  I spent a long time looking at the shot which I had taken of the girl who sat outside and smoked.  Her dad’s arm encircled her shoulders.  She looked adoringly at him.  I  laid in on the table and walked over to the windows, staring down on the garden which the biology teacher carefully cultivated.

Mother Biology, we called her.  Regina Marie, I think was her actual name.  She paid 5 points per weed pulled by any of her students.  Those points could be leveraged to a solid A regardless of how you scored on her exams.  I myself had filled many bags with dandelions.  She trusted your count.

The fall garden lay bare and brown beneath the window where I stood.  I felt the chill of autumn pressing against the glass.  I laid my forehead down on the marble sill and wept.

The dog’s persistent bark penetrates the reverie into which I’ve fallen.  I see a message from my hairdresser reminding me of an eleven o’clock appointment.  I  let the memories settle back into the dim recesses of my mind where they normally reside, the sweet and the silly; the sad and the sublime.  I know they will wait for another day, when I summon them to come and be examined.  For now I have more memories to make.  I reach to close the computer as the sounds of a spring morning drift into the room around me.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley