The night of the blood moon
I was sitting on the roof the night of the big lunar eclipse. I wasn’t up there at the time of the eclipse, just the night of. I missed it by about six hours.
I would’ve stayed on the roof all night waiting for the eclipse, but it was too warm; the metal roof was wet with night dew; and I’m a reasonably sane adult.
As kids, Dennis and I would’ve camped on the roof of our house on Camille Street. But we never thought of it. Back then, the Blood Moon was called Pumpkin Moon. I’m not sleeping on the roof for a Pumpkin moon. For a Blood Moon we would’ve likely camped out. Back then we were tough. That’s what they called us -- Tough. Well, not both of us. I was known as the little brother of Tough.
Today, I’m called a lot of things. My nieces and nephews call me “Unca Mark”; Kay calls me “Sweatpea” and “Babe” and “Buster.” She uses Buster when she’s threatening me. -- “Buster, you’d better not throw that tennis ball at the ceiling fan! You hear me?”
Let’s see, Dennis often calls me “Dawg”; Al will call me “Jocko”; Susan calls me “Little Brother”; Jill calls me “Moke” and Larry calls me almost never. Something happens to a person who becomes the oldest living family member. Larry’s attitude is “Hey, I’m the patriarch of this dynasty. I shouldn’t have to call anybody. You guys call me!” I would call Larry more often if there were any kind of inheritance involved.
Mom was that way about not phoning. Oh, if she hadn’t heard from me in three days, she’d call and tell me that I needed to call my mother. Mom was so cute. Me? I’ll never reach the cute stage. Oh, when Kay puts me in a retirement home, the workers there will call me “Sweetheart.” It’s just something they have to do. I believe it’s in the Old Folks’ Home Book of Etiquette.
Speaking of which, I’ve got a nursing home insurance policy. They call it Long Term Care. If I don’t live long enough and get sick enough to collect, I’m going to feel like such a loser. I’ve put in some serious bucks into that thing. I get a rush when I think of being able to afford to have someone spoon-feed me lemon Jello of a morning.
By the by, the thought of aging was on my mind during that warm and humid night on a wet roof. The combination of those factors caused me not to invite you to join me. I think the pre-eclipsed moon was shooting some bad ju-ju rays at me.
I was thinking about nursing homes and how I was beginning to look like some of the old barnacles I used to make fun of. Not to their faces, you understand? I’ve got more civility than some. Recently, I was in downtown Conroe getting ready to begin The Mark and Cindy Show at the Lonestar Internet Radio studio, when an acquaintance stopped me at the door and said“ Mark, does your wife ever get a look at you before you leave the house?”
A supposed funny guy should appreciate a joke like that, but that one stung a bit. In fact I had been thinking of the hilarious insult a lot while sitting on the roof. After some soul searching, I finally decided to appreciate the comment. It actually opened my eyes to the realization, that I look as good as I’m ever going to look. I wore a tuxedo to an event a while back, and felt as out of place as a panda in the Outback. I doubt anyone really noticed, because, during dressy occasions, I believe everyone is thinking more about themselves. What I was thinking about me was that I looked like a slouch in a tuxedo.
That being said, I am now ready to accept what people have realized for years. -- “Clothes do not make the man or woman.” The face and physique do. My physique is gone. I’ve put on weight to the point that the location of my waist is a mystery. From my front, my waist is located beneath my gut. From the back, it’s at the top of my butt. The two are parallel, but one is on a lower plane than the other.
That’s why I’m on the cusp of wearing suspenders. With suspenders I won’t need to keep tugging at the front of my pants to make my belt line look even. That gets old. The thing that has kept me away from suspenders is a belief that they’ll make me look old. How stupid is that? If you have to keep your hands in your pockets just to keep your pants up, it’s time for suspenders.
From now on, I’m going to dress strictly for comfort. I will no longer attempt to impress anyone with how I look. All I can hope for is to be able to dress in a way that no one notices me. That’s a practical goal. Almost doable, too.
And, with that it’s time to announce something about this Blood Moon that I didn’t wait up to see. Turns out I hauled my buns out of bed at five that morning, just to observe a wonderment. I walked across the driveway and saw—What I saw was the entire house and yard engulfed in a cloudbank. The Blood Moon was not noticeable. Which means we’re having two more months of summer. That’s a guess… based largely on reality.