Friday, December 4, 2009

WEEK #14 ESSAY # 8 (12-03-2009) Comparison Essay

Today, I was sitting at my dining room table addressing a greeting card envelope to send to my folks for the holiday. Trying to recall the new zip code recently assigned to my old neighborhood, I glanced up and stared out the window. I noticed how blue the sky looked today and how different the clouds looked compared to some of the others I have seen over the past few months. We seem to have gone from skies with wispy clouds to ones with billowing clouds sometimes accompanied by strong winds, thunder and lightning, to yet another type with long, horizontal, layered clouds that seem to stretch across the sky like a blanket. While many people see clouds and look for faces in them, today, I began to compare some of the personalities of the people in the neighborhood I grew up in, with the three general cloud types.

Mrs. Nazarro, my Camp Fire Girls’ Leader for 12 years, would be right up there with the
cirrus clouds. Her high spirit and pleasant demeanor was unwavering. Even her features were delicate like. Cirrus clouds are usually a sign of an approaching warm front and this was always the way she appeared as she opened her home to all of us every Friday afternoon after school for our weekly meetings. I recall many pleasant afternoons there.

Mr. Kelly lived two doors down from my family. I would have to compare him to the cumulus cloud type. Whenever we saw him while out shopping around town, he was always cordial to my family and I. He had this long, circular driveway that beckoned anyone riding by on their bicycle to take this little jaunt which just happen to go right by his front door. He traveled frequently so he was rarely at his residence. So, this became a part of our regular route for many of us during the summer as we went up and down the sidewalks on our bicycles. However, it was those times when he was home, and you rode your bike by his front door, that you could feel the temperature in the neighborhood rise a little. When temper-atures get heated, things escalate and so did his voice. Then came the thunder, the rain, and the lightening, as he systematically would challenge anyone else going down the sidewalk that day on a bicycle to stay on the sidewalk and off private property.

Then, there were the “Two Sisters” who lived across the street from us. They would be the stratus cloud type. Their lifestyle was low keyed. They were both elderly, retired school teachers with silver hair which was held back from their face with pearl studded combs. They spoke in soft, uniformly monotone voices. They moved slowly about their house as one would proceed going down the road engulfed in an early morning fog. If you happen to go by their house, they would wave you over to come sit with them. That worked out well for all of us, especially when there was a light rain or drizzle and we could not ride our bikes then. They were very proper and between the two of them, they would clearly “spread out “ in chronological order for all of us listening, when each of our homes in the neighborhood was built , who the original owners were, how many children each family had, etc. It was both comforting and interesting to hear stories about the house you lived in.

Clouds have personalities just like people. I know clouds are formed when air is cooled to its dew point and the water in the air becomes visible. I know dust is also needed to form clouds. I guess riding our bicycles up and down the sidewalks all summer long and leaving a trail of dust behind, my friends and I had a hand in forming some of these clouds.


  1. I was wondering how you could possibly end this! You had a rabbit up your sleeve!

    A piece like this is a bit like magician work: it's an awful big stretch, but it's the writer's job to convince us that our disbelief in the premise is misplaced: the magician can indeed (apparently) saw a lady in half, disappear out of a locked box, and pull nickels out of your ears!

    And so it is here: the comparisons seem impossible but The Amazing Carolyna bends the reader's mind to her will in a powerful display of white magic! Nightly in the Norumbega Lounge!

  2. Honestly, John, I wrote the first four paragraphs together. Then, I walked away from the graf and did some other work around the house. I was waiting for the thoughts to settle into words. Then, I ran back to the dining room table to write them down before they escaped my mind or disappeared down the white rabbit hole. Glad you liked it.

  3. WEEK #15 Practice Final (December 8, 2009)
    Disaster. It has many faces.

    See email.