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So take off your thirsty boots and stay for a while
Your feet are hot and weary from a dusty mile
Maybe I can make you laugh, and maybe I can try
I'm looking for the evening and the morning in your eye


These days my hopes are rather thin, or as delicate as the capricious snowflakes, blowing north and east outside, since before dawn where distant lights seem brighter, there, up there on the mountain. Up on the mountain, where old money hides behind wrought iron fencing, hundreds of oak and sycamore trees, carefully pruned hedgerows, sinuous stone driveways stretching to mansions and guest houses, just out of sight. Though out of sight, I imagine similar slim hopes and broken communion wafer snowflakes exist there, though cushioned by well-kept lawns and expensive shrubbery these days.


These days are getting colder, too cold. Too cold, yet time for winter coats, scarves, gloves and boots, which is why I opened the old coat closet yesterday. Yesterday, the old coat closet complained by practically throwing hats and mismatched mittens at me opening the cranky door. The cranky door which was firmly stuck shut all the humid summer long, refusing to be cleaned until the chill of autumn arrived, stubborn as a calendar knowing it is actually not winter. Not winter yet, but we had planned to put up Christmas lights and a Christmas tree for my mother, stay for an early dinner, make sure she had enough food before the winter storm.


Before the winter storm, I had a simple list of more than three things. More than three things currently either overwhelms me or forces me to keep on marching, the latter being more my style of dealing with life, which led to re-injuring my left foot. My left foot is now happier if soaked in Epsom salts, (although all I could find that didn't leak was a plastic filing chest) wrapped and braced, then wearing sturdy boots. Sturdy boots I have no shortage of, but with the brace my left foot needed loose-fitting boots. Loose-fitting boots that would be warm enough were not to be found in the old closet. The old closet gave what it could, in terms of scarves, hats and gloves.


Hats and gloves, jackets and outgrown hoodies are hung on hooks or stacked on shelves for convenience in the mud room near the side entrance; upstairs, for my own reasons, there are racks of my sneakers, assorted high heels, sandals, and silken scarves, the last of summer's flip flops. Summer's flip flops seemed so flimsy and out of place, so I moved them into my bedroom closet, which is how I discovered a pair of leather with fluffy lining, loose-fitting winter boots, purchased for someone who didn't like the color pink. The color pink once was just for girls, for Easter dresses, for pink pastel baby booties, or pale pink, yellow and blue afghans crocheted by grandmothers waiting.


lyrics by Eric Andersen, 1966 (liner notes: "the song was written to a civil rights worker-friend. Having never gone down to Mississippi myself, I wrote about coming back.")