Weekend Guests from Chicago, 1945
By Toi Derricotte
In their brand new caramel Cadillac,
Julia and Walter arrived at 4,
Trunk stuffed with leather suitcases,
Steaks, champagne and oysters in a cooler,
And Walter’s only drink—Johnnie Walker Blue.
Julia, hands flaring, in the clunky music
Of a pound of real gold charms,
Walter in a tan linen jacket
And shoes soft as old money.
He’d tease the women to blushing,
And let his wife reign queen
In a diamond ring to knock your eyes out.
She was known from New York to LA
For her fried chicken and greens,
And didn’t hesitate, after hours of driving,
To throw an apron over a French cotton dress
And slap the flour on thirty or more pieces.
Oh the chicken breasts and thighs
Spattering, juicy, in just the right degree of heat,
As she told stories, hilarious and true
To a kitchen full of steamy women
That made them double over and pee themselves.
Saturday morning, men to golf,
And women in floral robes
With cups of a New Orleans blend
So strong they said
It stained the rim and turned you black;
Me, in a high chair, straining
For language, my bottle
Stirred with a spoon of coffee
And half a pint of cream.
My first trip cross-country on a train,
I stopped to spend the night.
We took the “L” to Marshall Fields
Where Julia bought my first expensive cold creams
And hose the shades of which—for the first time—
Dared the colors of our colored skin.
She told me she had lovers,
One a handsome Pullman porter.
My last nights onboard,
I, myself, enjoyed a notable service:
A café au lait gentleman
Woke me for breakfast
By slipping his hand through the sealed drapes
And gently shaking my rump.
I waited all night,
damp with wonder.
She had a wart on her chin or nose—
I can’t remember which—
She wore it
Like exquisite jewelry,
Like Marilyn Monroe wore her beauty mark,
With unforgettable style.
After a week of heat and a day and a half of pouring rain, Sunday was absolutely gorgeous -- clear, cool, partially overcast. Except for Adam, who did yard work, we had a slow morning, had lunch together, then picked up my parents and went to play miniature golf at the Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park, which has a course with replicas of famous lighthouses at the holes. (I did not come in last, ha!) We stopped for ice cream, came home for a while so we could feed the cats and Adam could get some homework done, then my parents took us to Blaze Pizza for dinner -- we ate outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather.
In the evening we decided to watch Minority Report, since we'd been debating whether that or Edge of Tomorrow was Tom Cruise's best performance (my vote goes to Minority Report; it's a more emotional performance and he shows a lot more range, though there are definitely a bunch of plot holes just as there are in Edge of Tomorrow and Colin Farrell deserves more screen time). We also watched Last Week Tonight, in which John Oliver suitably eviscerates anti-gay marriage judges and transphobic politicians. And I finished my Project that needed to be done before the 30th, so go me!