Prompt: Toot Your Horn
Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.
I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I do have a rather unusual talent.
You know how some folks can sense, or even see auras around other people? They can determine moods and personalities by interpreting this mystical energy field that surrounds all life, apparently.
Well, I can do them one better, and then one better again. I see “scenes”. Scenes are images, like a loop of a video tape. Let me give you an example.
I went to see my old fourth-grade teacher, Miss Fisher, in prison recently. We’d kept in touch because at one time, we were both heavily involved the quilting club. I favoured the classic, old-fashioned Amish-style quilts, while Miss Fisher liked the modern collage approach, and put together some pretty alarming patterns, as well as lovely scenes of the seaside, and so on.
Anyway, there she sat, on the other side of the plexiglass. I swear she hadn’t aged a day since I was nine years old. Instead of the usual storm-clouds-with-bunny-rabbits scene that normally surrounded Miss Fisher, there were storm clouds, rain, and fields of wheat. She stared at me dolefully.
I immediately produced a china plate with two slabs of fresh-baked, whole grain bread, slathered with butter. I passed it to Miss Fisher and she took it gratefully, wasting no time and biting fiercely, for her, into the crusty end, sighing blissfully. Miss Fisher grew up on the prairies. Her father was a wheat farmer, and she was nostalgic for her mother’s baking. She told us lots of stories of life on the farm, in our fourth-grade classroom. One of her most elaborate quilts featured sharp spears of wheat, set into a kind of kaleidoscope pattern, which won second place at the Craft Fair, though it gave me a headache.
“Thank you, dear, how thoughtful,” said Miss Fisher when she’d finished chewing and swallowing. Good manners were important to Miss Fisher. She would never talk with her mouth full, though there was a dab of butter saucily stuck to the corner of her mouth. I didn’t point it out. She continued, “I only get white bread in here, for some reason, and not very fresh at that.”
I watched the bunnies hop back into the scene, and the fields of wheat turn into a green meadow. The storm clouds remained, though.
The beauty is, there was an armed guard not three feet to the left of Miss Fisher, and he did not notice the bread: he neither saw it, nor smelled the glorious scent of it. Only Miss Fisher and I were privileged to do so.
It can be a burden, these visions and scenes, especially at Sunday night dinner. My family are somewhat odd and distracted, I admit, so their scenes often take place in Rotterdam or Caracas, or in Celia’s case, in an ice-fishing hut. Last Sunday, Uncle Fred joined the family dinner, as well as Aunt Aggie and her new boyfriend. Well, that was an evening of savage scenes. It was exhausting. Uncle Fred’s scene was always a house of mirrors; it was dizzying to watch. That night, Aunt Aggie was flanked by naked old men, and her new beau was surrounded by nuns wearing sunglasses. It was disconcerting, to say the least.