Missing Johnny

by Bella Rum

When we bought the new television, which is great, the kid-salesman told us that we should get the 4K (whatever that is) because the television would be future-proof (whatever that is). I asked him if he could future-proof us. “Nope. Sorry.” He didn’t seem to know if he should laugh or not. And H, usually the optimists, has suddenly started saying to salesmen, “Well, I hope this thing (car, tv, refrigerator) will outlive us.” He sounds so pleased at the prospect of not having to buy another “thing.” I tell him that isn’t the right attitude. We want to outlive the new purchase, not the other way around.

As far as I can figure, 4K means four times more pixels, and that translates to a better picture if you’re 1) watching 4K content through it and 2) you’re sitting close enough. At least that’s what “they” say.

I wrapped birthday presents yesterday. We not only celebrate Christmas for three kids, but we can’t forget those two birthdays. Our grandson and youngest granddaughter were born in December, one a few days before Christmas, and one a few days after. December means wild times in the cul-de-sac.

We had a great time on our little day trip to Occoquan. I left my camera in the car, and didn’t take a single picture. It rained the entire time. We still had fun. It was nice that my friend could go with  us. She still works and isn’t always free. H remembered the umbrellas (I did not). We wandered in and out of quaint, little shops, and ordered warm sandwiches at a cozy restaurant: piled-high beef with dripping cheese and caramelized onions. Warm and gooey stuff. Perfect for a rainy day. So much for holding my own until after the holidays.

Our next-door neighbor came over the other night to tell us that fire engines would be coming into the neighborhood with sirens blaring. They did that in our last neighborhood, too. Santa rides atop the truck, tossing candy to the kids and shouting, “Ho, ho, ho.” I guess she was afraid we’d think a neighbor was dying.

We hear more ambulances here than we did in our former community. It’s not a large neighborhood, but it has more one-level houses than most communities around here. You know what that means. We’re a small colony of old folks. Ask not for whom the siren screams.

Do you know what a worry doll is? I found a basket of tiny worry dolls in one of the shops in Occoquan. They’re a couple of inches tall. You tell all your worries to them before you go to sleep. I bought one for my oldest granddaughter. I should have gotten one for myself. Maybe I would sleep better.

Last night, I dreamed I was at an event. I was seated next to Johnny Carson. That’s it. Nothing more. I turned and looked, and it was Johnny. I miss his gentle and classy way of tucking us in at night, making us laugh at the day’s events, shrinking their magnitude to a manageable size.