Calvarium 7

After the helicopter crash I strove to get to him in time but not hard enough.  Our progress was halted for hours on the bayou highway between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge by a jack-knifed produce truck.  Seemingly no injuries besides the greens while in Alabama my father lay prone in the ICU, bandaged skull, sometimes blood seeping from the gauze dressing.

I never saw him like this.  By the time we got there he had moved on to the next thing, loosing the coils of mortality and shaking off any talk of rehabilitation.  

The undertaker told us that if we wanted to see him again in any respectable fashion (my words, not his) a hat would be required.  So we spent most of a day darting in and out of haberdasheries looking for cowboy hats.  He was a cowboy: he deserved a cowboy hat.

But the trick was size-the lingering signs of his fatal fall meant his head was swollen, maybe even still haloed in gauze?  It had to be a proper 10 gallon, XL…I had begun to think I would fail him in this final quixotic endeavor when we found an eclectic store that had beach t’s, jeans, souvenirs, and…cowboy hats.  

It was cream colored, the largest size.  They cut it in half so that it appeared to recede effortlessly nto the pillow.

Covering everything.

Calvarium 6

The boy-man on the Tarmac in Manaus, Brazil middle of the day on December 27, 1987 was wearing a Talking Heads t-shirt, and the girl inside the plane thought Talking Heads in the heart of the rainforest?  Small world, then disembarked to a claustrophobic gift shop, lined as it was with fertility statues and shrunken heads. And jewelry made from river stones, each one small and beautiful and perfect:  irreplaceable held in the palm 

of the hand.

Calvarium 5

  • 2 doz. cupcakes
  • Tea lights
  • 2 doz lei
  • 2 doz gift bags
  • 12 feather boas
  • 12 pirate swords
  • 2 gal milk
  • Birthday banner
  • 2 packs juice boxes
  • 5 pizzas
  • 12 assorted party crowns
  • 12 pink tiaras

As the children come into the party room they see the treasure box by the door overflowing with odd vests, second-hand dresses, scarves, hats, helmets, shields, tutus, capes (of course), foam swords, and they don these things, perhaps serially-changing from knight to ballerina to carpenter 

Seamlessly 

Because they are children 

And this is their kingdom.

Calvarium 4

At the beginning of the black-tie fundraiser (325-1675 dollars a plate, depending on your commitment to “the cause”), the organizers have a basket full of random names, (where did they come from? Who were/are these people?) to the current batch of servers-take one and pin it on they say, so they do and for this night they are foreign to themselves-Renata, Consuela, Xavier…instead of Pam, Ashley, and Rob… They have to remember these temporary identities when beckoned or chided by the plate-holders.  As when, mid-dessert, a tray falls, sudden show of violence, shattered porcelain, all those scrumptious (expensive) eclairs.

Wasted.