the age of innocence
I think the sonnet project is over. It suddenly began to feel like I was exhuming a corpse each morning. It were best, for now, to drink tea and read and do other quiet things that will not overly disturb the universe.
As a temporary creative outlet, I have my great-grandmother's piano. Virginia Dunlap ("Grandma Ginny," "G.G.") was my mother's mother's mother, born like my mother on Friday the thirteenth. She married my great-grandfather Hugh Richardson, the foreman on Wilbur May's Double Diamond Ranch (home of Zorro's horse Tornado), which in those days was a fair distance outside Reno. She had a naturally perfect ear for pitch. As a girl, my mother would visit G.G. and hum the latest Beatles song for her; G.G. would match the melody and improvise a harmony for it on the spot, creating a complete piano arrangement. She also painted quite well, mostly landscapes and still lifes in oil. I've inherited only adulterated and compromised versions of these talents, but at least our family's hereditary agoraphobia/anxiety disorder, which was strong enough in G.G. that she was often afraid to leave the ranch, has also manifested in me only at half-power.
G.G. died before I was born, shortly after my mother's first wedding. My great-grandfather ("Pa") remarried, and when I was very young I visited him and his second wife Ruth on a smaller ranch. I rode a horse named Donna, who was docile enough to trust with children; I think this is the only time I've been on a horse, other than when I was in Egypt and couldn't handle the camels. As I grew older Pa's health deteriorated. He began to hallucinate gargoyles in the house and was taken to a rest home. The last time that I saw him he thought I was the doctor. Three years ago he passed away.
The Double Diamond Ranch is now a planned community, complete with a faux Miner's Village for retirees. My uncle Hugh has a couple of bricks from the old ranch house, but aside from the theme-park Wilbur D. May center nothing else remains.