Battle Over Chairs
Over there near the fence
where we can stand near the
horse and pose for a picture;
Saratoga Springs in Florida –
you know – so smile – we are
five voices – everyone – “cheese.”
It’s the long wait for our room,
suffacating in winter clothes
instead of changing into bathing
suits, saving chairs, diving into cool
They call this Congress Park; at home
we unfold a Navy blanket, unload
bags of food, soda, and snacks and
feed ducks – here they have alligators.
Strangers keep passing by the old
Casino, nod hello and stare at all the
food covering our blanket.
Here, in Florida there is no space
for lunch on a blanket as we wait
for our name to be called over a loud
speaker – “you change and use the
pool,” I tell the children.
A lady in a polka dot dress and wide
brim hat walks by; maybe she thinks
she is Mrs. Vanderbilt Whitney, the
Queen of Saratoga Springs; her horses
still win at the track – she’s married
now to a young man – I don’t see him.
“More Vitamin D my doctor told me,”
a stranger told me as he sat across
the path, wiggling his toes, his teeth
as white as snow.
Five children run together, down
a flight of cement stairs, passing
rose bushes and jump into the pool. . .
they took my advise. Then the sky
opened, my Mother would have said,
“like cats and dogs,” – came rain –
the pretend Mrs. Vanderbilt Whitney
moved beneath a red and white umbrella.
Vacation; it takes forever to plan and
then it rains – I don’t recall school out
until summer – today there is every
excuse to shorten each year – now, I
sound like a Grandmother.
Who would have believed we all would
fly to our destination, one which resembled
I recall school never came to a close –
I remind all five children how lucky they
are – but do they listen?
I see someone sipping one
of those frozen drinks;
I swear only half the rum but a
huge slice of pineapple. . .
Yes, we are at the pool and spaces are
taken; the children should have saved
chairs by spreading towels across one row. . .
parents, their eye’s half watching little heads
bounce up and down, voices calling out,
“Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa,
look, I can swim.”
An employee yells, “game time.” Children
drag their parent’s hand making a mad
dash to the opposite end of the pool as
those too old to play linger behind with
grown ups and stare at the opposite sex.
Our pool back home is piled with snow; a foot
was reported on the news while we
were waiting for our luggage in the airport –
our Jockey already is covered with eight
feet of the white stuff –
Vacation – I told them next year I want
everyone healthy – spent a few days inside;
spent another few days with another child –
and our third, my daughter forgot his
medication, spending a day at CVS to transfer
a refill –
We love it – rain or sun – sickness and health
all of us will gather around the kitchen counter
on Saint Patrick’s Day to laugh while we sip green
beer watching another slide show of what made us
mad, laugh, smile or cry – and I compare one year to
the next – how fast they grow –
Next year we will leave the cold and snow
behind; spread towels on chair to save a
perfect spot around a different pool;
and marvel over how tall each have grown. . .
counting each year knowing it too will end.
Nancy Duci Denofio – all rights reserved © 2011