Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Oh, I've Been Smiling Lately

My cousin Harriett celebrates her . . . 53rd? . . . birthday today. But she'll always be the 18-year-old who invited me to Little Sibs weekend at Kent State in 1971. That weekend was pivotal for me, an 11-year-old kid from a western suburb of Cleveland. In my mind's eye I can still see us eating pizza on the floor of her darkened dorm room with her friends, a lit candle stuck in an empty bottle of Mateus Rose wine covered with wax drippings.

She took me to a campus double-feature of some Charlie Brown movie and Woodstock. Charlie Brown was completely forgettable. But Richie Havens blew my poor little mind - I didn't know what to think. To Harriett's eternal credit, she knew enough to ask me if I wanted to leave the movie, and then listened when I told her I did. I doubt I would have been unselfish enough to do the same at her age.

Harriett let me pick out an album for myself at a local record store, too. Since we had been listening to Cat Stevens' Teaser and the Firecat all weekend, that seemed like a natural choice. That he was cute and soulful and Greek - it was an irresistible combination.

Thank you Harriett. I love you. Happy Birthday and Xronia Polla.


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