Listener Essay - Year Of The Lion

Feb 26, 2015

  Pamela Ethington is a writer who divides her time between Syracuse, where her home is, and Woodstock, N.Y., where her heart is. Her work has been published in New Millenium Writings. She is a student of author Martha Frankel in Woodstock.

Year of the Lion - or - I Could Have Been A Virgin (An Autobiography in Five Sentences)

I was born in Bryan, Texas, a fact I considered quite exotic while growing up in Pennsylvania although I had never actually ever stood on Texas ground, and technically I would never even have been born in Texas if things had been left to nature, but my father, a retiring Air Force pilot, had to move and it would have been inconvenient for me to be born on the road, so the doctor decided to induce labor in my mother a month early; called her one morning and said, “I’ve got another woman in here giving birth, so why don’t you come in today and we’ll do it” (thus totally changing my cosmic fortune by making me a Leo instead of a Virgo), and my parents put me in a shoebox between them on the front seat of the car three weeks later and drove north.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My parents kept me busy and out of trouble by making me take flute lessons, piano lessons, art lessons, square dancing lessons, roller skating lessons, and riding lessons (my sister and I trained our horse ourselves through 4H), but I went to college and discovered marijuana anyway.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I got married and had two beautiful children, but we grew apart (the old story) and one day I discovered the bed had been remade with the bright side of the top sheet not facing in like I liked it so that when you climbed in it enveloped you all around with bright colors, but with the other side in so that I knew immediately there was another woman and he had had to remake the bed himself and, of course, didn’t know how since I had always made it, although that wasn’t a surprise (the other woman part) considering we hadn’t slept together in years.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I met a nice guy (I mean that’s exactly what I thought when I first met him – “What a nice guy, why can’t I meet someone like him?”) and then I did meet him and … (do you believe in magic?) … he asked me to marry him (on one knee, just like the movies) and my daughter liked him and my son liked him and even my cat liked him, and my cat doesn’t like anyone from outside the house, especially men on account of the fact that my ex-husband threw him into a wall when he was mad at me once (I knew he was mad and just kept folding the laundry, don’t look around, don’t challenge him, I said to myself, until he couldn’t do anything else except to take it out on that cat which was bad for the cat but good for me). 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Looking back, I guess the best piece of advice I ever got on living was from my grandma, who raised three daughters alone during the Depression after my grandfather died at the age of 41 (ON my mother’s fifth birthday) and said the way she had found to make it through the dark days in life was to put on her lipstick and earrings and go out and mow the lawn, and I think of that again today as I climb out of bed (where the sheets are always brightly colored these days), get a hot cup of coffee and sit at the table in a little patch of sun (I guess I was meant to be a Leo after all) in the kitchen just looking forward to the day.