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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I am slowly getting back to normal after my trip to New York. At least things are unpacked and clean and the suitcase is put away. For now. I leave Saturday morning for a microscopy conference in Portland. So I really don't know why I put that suitcase away other than I think I want to take my slightly bigger suitcase (?). I'm tired. Nothing really makes sense right now. Our weekend was full of hot sweaty yard work and coop cleaning. We chased chickens and clipped wings again. Matilda is a biter. In case you were curious. Also, there are no eggs yet. When I get back from Oregon and we have a Cabbage free weekend, we're going to make some modifications to the coop like put in some actual nesting boxes and a door on the side. I think this will help with the whole egg thing. 

After cleaning the coop and moving it over to some fresh grass, Michael and I sat under the shade and drank a soda before playing a second round of chicken roundup. We took a break and just sat and watched the chickens happily pecking around the yard. The heat here has finally reached oppressive temperatures and this is punctuated with the roaring buzz of the cicadas. That sound always pulls my brain back to my childhood. That sound means that it is the hottest part of the summer and the grass is dry and crunchy under your bare feet. If a breeze exists it is the hot hair of a hairdryer blowing in your face. Of course it is different here. Oklahoma was dry and hot. Missouri is humid and hot. It's like sitting in a sauna. I don't mind really unless I have to move around. I mean when you sit in a sauna, you sit in the sauna. You don't get on a treadmill and run it out. I'm quite comfortable in this weather lounging in a hammock. 

My mother had a house dress she always wore during those hot summer days. It was like a big mumu, but less Island and more pioneer. The dress always seemed bigger than mom in more ways than one. I have memories of going in for a hug and being surrounded by the blue cotton fabric. It was like playing in the sheets when they're hanging on a line to dry. When I fell and broke my arm that day, I sort of crawled a little ways down the yard before just laying there. I remember that this was the dress my mom was wearing and I can still see it billowing around her as she ran out into the yard. No shoes. Pale face. Panicked voice and that big blue dress. Really that's most of all I remember of that day. I remember one time Mom wrapped a scarf around her head and tied a belt around the dress. She put large hoop earrings in her ears and every bracelet from her jewelry box on her wrists, transforming herself into a gypsy for Halloween. She even had a crystal ball. 

That dress was so bohemian and hippy which my mother was neither of those two things. When I tell people that we only ate food from our garden, usually those people reply with " had hippy parents." No. I did not have hippy parents. None of us were named after celestial beings. My parents where Southern Baptist Conservative Democrats. Almost the exact opposite of hippy. Maybe that's why I loved that dress so much. Contradictory. It softened Mom's hard edges and proper young lady tendencies. I don't know why I've been thinking of that dress lately. I have a black and white maxi dress that I tend to wear on Sundays after I've finally decided to take a shower and brush my teeth. Every time I lift it up over my head and let it fall down my body, I am disappointed that it is not my Mom's old blue dress. Sometimes I look for this dress on the racks in thrift stores or even in the mature women section of department stores. The dresses are never the right shape and the fabric is usually too scratchy, but I keep my eyes peeled any way. 

My billowy blue house dress is out there somewhere. I just know it.