By John Updike
Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,
Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off
Before it has a chance to go two blocks,
At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage
Is on the corner facing west, and there,
Most days, you'll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.
Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—
Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,
Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low.
One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes
An E and O. And one is squat, without
A head at all—more of a football type.
Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.
He was good: in fact, the best. In ’46
He bucketed three hundred ninety points,
A county record still. The ball loved Flick.
I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty
In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.
He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,
Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,
As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,
But most of us remember anyway.
His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.
It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.
Off work, he hangs around Mae’s Luncheonette.
Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,
Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.
Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods
Beyond her face toward bright applauding tiers
Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads.
There was sufficient snow on the ground at 5:30 a.m. that the county opted to close schools rather than risk a chaotic afternoon dismissal as the weather got worse. So although we only got about an inch and a half of actual snow -- as opposed to the ice and sleet that came later -- the kids had a snow day, and there was much rejoicing. Adam's best friend showed up before 8 wanting to go sledding and was dismissed till people were actually, you know, out of bed; then the best friend's mother called before 9 wanting to know whether we had seen her son, who had apparently gone sledding without permission. So I was out of bed bright and early in spite of the possibility of sleeping late. Adam spent most of the day sledding and playing in the snow; Daniel, who is still getting over his cold, spent most of the day playing computer games and working on a bridge-building simulator online. And both kids decided that I needed an account on Club Penguin.
...in this box decorated by younger son's best friend at a birthday party. You can't tell from this photo but there are three tiny eggs inside.
The mommy bird flapped around their deck and made clear her displeasure...
...when I tried to get closer to take a photo.
All day long on Tuesday we had a family of cardinals coming to our bird feeder and taking turns sitting on the furniture beneath the deck overhang to keep out of the falling snow.
Since it seemed like a day for it, here is my Club Penguin alter ego in his bare igloo, with his puffle, while Adam's tour guide penguin is all dressed up with his singing puffle.
By contrast here is Adam's igloo, with the extremely rare Mona Lisa Penguin, plus widescreen TV, puffle play area, gerbil, three fireplaces, bookcases, a grill...I am told that I must be a longtime paying member to get such items, not to mention clothes!
It has been a very good week for me in online swag. Last Tuesday, I got a thank you note from Wolfgang's Candy for posting about how much I enjoyed visiting their chocolate factory and asking if they could reprint some of my photos in their newsletter. The next day, I got a note from Utz offering to send me a t-shirt after I posted photos from their factory tour -- the shirt arrived today. Then I lamented online that I had missed out on California Tortilla's Inauguration Day coupon freebies, and the woman who runs their Twitter account offered to send them to me in the mail, which she did. Comcast's Twitter account saved my weekend when when I convinced them to fix my cable three days early after failing to do so over the phone.
And yesterday I got an e-mail from the marketing manager of the company releasing The Studio One Anthology, asking whether I'd be willing to post about it on my Lee Remick page. I said I'd be happy to, and today I received a review copy of the set, which contains such masterpieces as the original Twelve Angry Men and the phenomenal Jack Lemmon starrer June Moon. Review to follow! Our family entertainment for the evening was of course more Arrested Development, which isn't quite as funny in spots in the third season -- the retarded-girl jokes with Charlize Theron aren't my thing -- but the elementary school prison drama makes it all worthwhile.