Security Blankets


Living at my parents’ house, I’ve come to realize several things.  In fact, I have done a great deal of daydreaming, self reflecting, reminiscing, etc.  I’ve come to realize who I am, who I have become, the road of life I have traveled, and things I have learned.  Mistakes and errors cannot be erased, but continually learned from.  It’s not great for the soul to keep the negative aspects and feelings entirely, but it’s best to keep the shell, the molds shed from the situations that happened to be.  It’s just like a Poloriod:  small, flimsy, and a helpful reminder at the same time.  They don’t take up a heck of a lot of space.  These reminents are simply around to make you sigh and shake your head, but smile about the experience gained.

I was given sage advice a few weeks ago:  You have a lot of catching up to do.

There is no way around it, that catching up.  It wasn’t expected to be an easy process, and it’s still not easy.  The maddening crowd to pass through is a gauntlet of individuals you have come to know, but they all have a bat and are willing to swing at you.  Upon those bats are adjectives, and contained in those bats are corked feelings.  Before you face the crowd, attempting to get through the mob, you ask yourself:  How did I get here?  Yes, that was a totally cheesy way to throw in some Talking Heads, realizing it just now, a subconscious way to make light of the situation.  Not only have I hurt others, I have hurt and have embarassed myself.  It’s time to suck it up and make the self-sacrifice.


Walking into my parents’ house, my house respectively in retrospect, claiming that I after all grew up there,  you step into the foyer.  Now, I love that house, and it is not because I have spent so much time there.  Well, okay, maybe it is, and this includes all the memories with it.  It’s a gigantic memory box, and if a giant were to pry open the roof, they would find a few human beings to play with and a lot of small furniature.  Yet, that’s simply tangible.  On the other hand, it’s the smells and memories, the things you cannot see that cannot be moved or destroyed.  Granted, that giant would probably enjoy whatever my parents were cooking and consume not just the food cooking, but the stove in its entirity.  That giant, in turn, would get pissed off because a) there wouldn’t be enough food to fill its belly, and/or b) it did not realize the stove would be so hot to stir up acid reflux, in turn consuming the individuals in the household.  However, we can all relax by knowing the fact that giants are all vegetarians. 

The option to go right or left is obvious, both paths forcing you to climb four stairs.  Upon entering the kitchen, I’m not telling you which direction in order to strike your curiosity, you have to enter the family room before walking up those four steps. 

Please allow me to digress.  Those four steps are tricky, and they have their own sense of humor.  Let’s consider my lack of grace, also.  As I am still journeying into learning how to walk, this set of four stairs has taken the privledge of tripping me up once and a while, especially when I’m “running.”  I don’t run in my parents house, because they have installed that resolve in my head when I was very young, but I’m talking about a swift speed.  I(‘d) have tendency to trip going up them.  I(‘d), also, have an issue with descending larger stairways.  Scaling shorter stairs:  bad.  Descending long stairs:  bad.  Let’s look at some Chris Physics:

Exhibit A:  Numerous times falling up and down stairs as a kid. 

Exhibit B:  Walking down the 13 flights at Loretto and tripping on the last step, kinetic energy high, falling into the door with the crash bar, missing the crash bar, kinetic energy low, getting up in a daze, making it to the emergency care center on Canal Street, and finally realizing that I have an invulsion fracture. 

Exhibit C:  Falling down Volles’ wooden basement stairs to the concrete below.  Need I go on?  No, I didn’t think so.

All I am saying:  be careful and be wise.

After you get past the Shady Shaky Stairs of Sherwood, avoiding the protruding spikes and the icy steps, you’ll find safety in the kitchen.  The fridge will be right in front of you, greeting you, offering a glass of cold water or a beer after your journey.  Maybe there will be leftovers involved.  However, the focal point, no matter how tall you are, is not the Yankees calendar, but a tiny picture of my mom and her six friends.  I’m not telling their ages, I have a life ahead of me I should be looking forward to, but I made a comment in regard to having the friends I have made while growing up, especially considering the area of where I grew up. 

My mom and her friends came from the same nook of Syracuse, and it was less rural than the nook that I grew up in.  However, my childhood friends and I had a nice development to grow up in, and it contained several cul-de-sacs.  It was a cozy, safe place to live, and there are no complaints.  However, it was the invisible army of monsters that came by every so often that really dampened our moods.  Yet, we seemed to fend them off with the air rifles.  We didn’t have a choice.  Would you let your neighborhood get overrun by creatures and monsters and zombies (Oh, my!)?  I think not. 

That’s a whole ‘nutha story.

Of the individuals in our group, we had a couple families move away.  Although the Eassas stayed in the West Genny district, they were gone from the neighborhood.  The Smiths ventured to Webster.  The Zajacs to Bath.  The West Side of the neighboorhood seemed to be depleting of friends.  My brother and I still had the Barretts, the Collinses, the Volleses, the Paones, the Sweeneys, and the Mathewsons.  We, also, had Tim, but that’s another story.

Keeping in contact is difficult when we were kids.  We had to write letters, or phone calls, but what kid talks on the phone for an extended period of time?  Okay… what male kid talks on the phone for extended period of time?  Not us.  We had to get outside and hang out, ride bikes, and occupy ourselves until dinner came along.  Mom would yell, “Chris!  Mike!” out of the window, but that was before she got the triangle.  Seriously, we were wrapped up in our kid minds.  Now, kids have E-mail, Facebook and other social media to keep in contact with friends who have moved away.  Messages take two seconds to type, and sending that message is immediate. 

Yet, if you walk in through the front door of my parents’ house, there are two photo focal points.  One picture is of Mike and I with Steph and Rich Zajac.  The other is of Laurie’s wedding.  Although, it was Kaitlin, the older Smith, who took the plunge first; it was years before Laurie’s wedding and not everyone could attend.  Unfortunately, the Smiths couldn’t make it to Laurie’s due to a scheduling conflict.  The wedding picture features the Malone boys, all three of the Collins kids, both Volleses, both Zajacs, and a Mathewson.

Since, Laurie and Kaitlyn, too, I believe, have became mothers.  We have two more friend weddings coming up this summer and fall. 

That picture, which can be found on my good ol’ Facebook account, is reassuring.


This Easter, Dr. Seth and Laurie, came by with their bright-blue-eyed Ellie.  I had bought her books, of course:  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and What’s Up, Duck?  I placed them in a sturdy and reusable bag, which seemed to be more environmentally friendly than the Destiny USA project, and had a significant amount of storage capacity.  Ellie could use this bag to carry her toys in when they go on long or day trips, and Dr. Seth could store his beer in the cooler compartment.

One of the facts of Dr. Seth is that part of his Ph.D. involves magic.  Dr. Seth displayed his ability to generate Blue Lights and Ithaca Nut Browns from thin air.  They tasted fantastic, including the Blue.  Dr. Seth brews them himself, he admitted, tweeking the Blue with a wheat ale consistency, including the added hinted flavors of coriander and lavender.  More to come.

I forgot how it was brought up, but Marg was involved with the discussion of forts.  As kids, we were certified fort makers.  Not only did we involve cushions and blankets, we utilized a space entirely.  This included mantles and lamps.  These spaces included decks to living rooms and sometimes spanning into multiple rooms.  We avoided any room with or near stairs, however.

Marg was pleased that we (the kids) had the ability to keep ourselves occupied for hours upon hours.  A sunny Saturday?  Pssh.  Kids?  What kids?  We’re just couples living next to each other.  They remembered we were around when one of us had gotten into some kind of accident where physical injury was involved, and that was quite often.

The Malone/Volles/Collins trifecta would gather whatever blankets that could be found.  We assessed, we planned, we stacked, and we draped.  During construction, if one blanket wasn’t usable for a certain room, we’d reassess and work with what we had going.  We’d  even scrap an entire process and begin again.  Blankets would be draped properly to break off each fort into rooms.  The sun shining in would create an environment for a room, depending on the color and pattern of the blanket(s).  It was like Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, but everyone’s having fun isn’t disrupted by the plague.  The forts were our castle, our oasis, our stronghold, our home-away-from-home even if we were in a den or on a deck.  We would venture room to room, claiming one as our own, biding our time for the next few hours.  We’d even have lunch in the fort.

The creativity did not stop there.


During a run, I stopped at the mouth of the woods and stared.  Aside the panting, I looked down the path now widened.  The gateway used to come across uninviting, scary almost, but this is what attracted our curiosities.  Now, that same opening is still uninviting, but now in a sorroful sense.  It’s pitiful.  The curiosity aspect only lives with wondering about what the hell happened.  The sense of evident disapointment clouds the idea of wanting to venture down that path, because of the anticipated bland outcome that would be realized.  However, the desire for adventure is still there. 

It’s like It and many Stephen King novels where the adult versions of the main characters want to revive and try to fix a tormented path.  The mind’s mouth is watering.

However, we did not have a tormented past.  We enjoyed venturing into the woods any time of the year and in any temperature.  We knew that woods acre by acre; getting lost for over three hours one day, generated by our stepping off the path, helped in a big way.  We staked our claim with fallen down trees; our landmarks, our bases.  A neighbor dumped boards from a torn-down deck, so we utilized those upon our fallen-down trees to construct an actual shelter.  Rocco toilet-papered the hell out of the main structure, but we forgave him. 

The more we stayed, the more we played, the more stories were told, the more secrets kept, and the more lore was generated.  There were the shots fired.  There was the circle of stones.  There were reminents of possible rituals.  There was the old woman. 

Are you curious yet?

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