Balls, burritos and blasts from the past

I got balls.

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

I finished dusting my balls, recurating them, and I added an avocado pit to the collection. Can you guess which one it is?*

I know you think I just lobbed you a big fat softball (I have two in my collection) so you can make a smartass comeback, but then I would just have to emphasize softball, so let’s leave it at that.

I know it’s a weird collection, and I thought about dismantling it just to tidy up, but I decided that’s not a good enough reason. Now I’m used to people coming into the house for the first time and after a bit not being able to help but blurt, “What’s up with the balls?”

Or sitting at the dining table talking to someone with my back to “the collection” and then after a while I realize they’re not paying attention to the conversation because they’re staring over my shoulder with this strange look of disbelief on their face.

Or the polite professional who was over recently who as soon as we were done going over business, turned around and said, “I have to look at your interesting … stuff.”

Anymore I just wave offhandedly and say, “Yeah, I collect those.” I’m just not inclined to elaborate. I feel I already said what I needed to say.

So for all of you who have wondered, “What’s up with the balls?” here’s everything you need to know about them in my post from last June. In rereading it, I’m struck with how much I had to say about them and I would add that now I don’t think they’re so wacky anymore. They just are. I have a lot more confidence now about changing them around. Marrying up the ball and the stand doesn’t come with such a powerful charge as it once did. I think because I’m more masterful about it now and the parameters are more set. I don’t have to think about it as much and I trust my instincts. Perhaps weird to say, but I think the curation is more sophisticated now. This time I grouped similar ones so they play in interesting ways off of each other. All the smooth ones — rubber, wood, seed pod, ceramic. All the felt ones. All the woven ones. It’s quite possible I’m beginning to categorize. This could get serious.

* The avocado pit is the one on the far left. The outside will get dry and papery while the hard pit inside will shrivel up smaller. Eventually, it won’t look very pretty (no irony intended), I’ll get tired of it and toss it and at some point I’ll replace it with another one. Hey, it’s better than sticking them with toothpicks and propping them over a glass of water and then letting them sit there for years while they sprout roots and nothing else.


Mr. Scatter, you still there? You need to come home soon. Every night at dinner the Large Smelly Boys ask when you’re going to be home. I like to think it’s because they miss you, but in truth I’m sure it’s because they miss your cooking. I think you should take that as a compliment because someone has to.

I told them I get food on the table every night. So it’s 8 p.m. What of it? I told them it’s cooking. They told me make-your-own salads and sandwiches do not qualify as cooking, that cooking requires something warm. I said, “What about the burritos?” They said, “Again, make-your-own doesn’t qualify.” I said, “Naan pizzas were warm.” They said, “Yes, they were warm three nights in a row.”


And sorry, but the house is torn up. I’ve been cleaning and pitching. I told myself I couldn’t write anymore until I got everything cleaned up. But then I tear up a shelf, get overwhelmed, so I tear up another shelf. So now I go from one heap and work on it until I can’t anymore and then go to the next one, and I’m sure I’m just making more heaps rather than cleaning them up. I’m sure they’ll all reassemble at some point. But they won’t until I stop writing. And this is why I’m writing.

I pulled out this huge journal I received 8 years ago. It’s a beautiful bound book with a leather-looking cover and sewn-in ribbons for bookmarks. It has 11 years worth of dates in it where you’re supposed to jot a little each day. I found it on the bottom of my nightstand.

It was a gift, and I remember I was so excited to get it. The boys were little. I figured I could manage to write just a tiny bit each night. Well, it looks like my discipline lasted all of 3 months. I’ve always been terrible at journals.

So I figured I could just pitch it. Decision made. Heap smaller. Me happier. I mean, my jottings couldn’t amount to more than “We went to the park today,” right? Then I started reading it.

Jan. 2: (We visited your folks and sister.) (Large LSB) read about Greek myths. (Small LSB) and I decorated new calendars. … (Your mom) showed us a lovely, delicate christening gown that (your dad) wore. He’s a bit big for it now. She also showed us beautiful antique linens that had been in her family for a long time. They had an “S” embroidered on them for “Seaman,” an old family name. Somewhere on (your mom’s) side.

Jan. 5: In the middle of (the grocery store) I took off my bright-orange knit cap and knew my hair was flat and twisted and funny. I asked (the Small LSB) how it was, and he raised his gloved hands and told me he couldn’t tell me. (And then I go on to explain how he’s fiddled with my hair ever since he was born and because he couldn’t touch my hair with his gloves on, he couldn’t tell me what it was like.)

Jan. 6: Took (the Small LSB) for his very first sled ride.

Jan. 11: (The Small LSB) ran around the house dressed as Cupid with a loin cloth, wings and bow. He made a quiver and now needs arrows.

Jan. 12: Boys made arrows and quivers. We’re out of tape.

Jane. 13: I sung the first lullaby to (the Large LSB) tonight. It’s the 13th, an odd day. (The Small LSB) gets first lullaby on even days. I always sing the “Brahms Lullaby.” I had to learn the very words at (the Large LSB’s) insistence a few years back.

Jan. 14: Work. Meeting. More work. Dinner out. Finally home. Pooped. I missed singing the boys their lullaby. I used to make up the words and sing about whatever happened to them that day.

Jan. 15: (The Large LSB) is all keyed up about that one decent song on the “Secret of Nimh 2” soundtrack and practiced it repeatedly. There’s talk of a show and costumes and sets.

Jan. 20: (The Small LSB) has discovered the origami fortune tellers. I remember when they were a big hit when I was in 6th grade. Funny how I automatically remembered how to make them. He comes up with the craziest fortunes.

Jan. 22: The fairies on the front porch have been writing again, much to (the Small LSB’s) happiness.

So you see? You think I can toss this thing? I’m distressed I can’t toss it and I’m distressed I didn’t write in it for 8 years. I had to throw it on the bed and go escape into my keyboard. I’m afraid that with this post now I just have another heap.

So hurry home, will you? It’s full of terrific messes. Please come distract me from them. I already made instant pudding and everything.