October's Twin Towers
edited: Thursday, January 26, 2006
By Leslie P Garcia
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002
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October. . .haunting memories of lives left behind. . .and always, dreams. . .
Octobers Twin Towers
On many crisp October days, memory and nostalgia confront me like emotional twin towers threatening collapse. Although Octobers in Texas are warm and ordinary, they recall vivid images of my Octobers in Georgia, Octobers spent pursuing implausible, perhaps impossible, dreams.
Those Georgia dreams come to me now as nightmares. An antique Ferris wheel, its wire cages in need of paint, stands silhouetted against the sharp blue of the sky; the lions golden fur echoes the gilded horizon, off beyond the wide flat pasture where twenty horses and ponies graze. Idyllic, memory clouded with lifes fragile gauze of romanticism and fantasy. Then the realityhorses starving on a pasture deprived of nutrients from years of cotton farming, the abrupt, ferocious attack of a miniature chimp, the suspicion and arrogance of a closed small-town society, confronted by damn Yankees. Memories and nostalgia become dreams, evolve into nightmaresbut always, they visit me in October.
The Ferris wheel and the half-grown African lion represent a larger visionthat of a roadside amusement park rearing up out of the Georgia pines and red clay. When I was a lonely, withdrawn teenager, those symbols became a large part of my life, and I worked as no one else did to make that dream, the Flying P Plantation, become a reality.
What teenager, though, truly understands the vagaries of life? An eccentric father adorns a haunted antebellum mansion with crystal chandeliers, and that insane act makes perfect sense to the teen
. At least it made perfect sense to me.
But then, normalcy has always been relative. Normalcy in rural south Georgia involved zebra-striped ginger cookies and iced tea, served by sweet, elderly women at 4-H presentations. Normalcy entailed giving riding lessons to support the developments horses, or demonstrating much-hated snakes to visitors in hopes of earning money to feed the lion.
As an adult looking back, the lunacy of my life then becomes clear. Teenagers should go to proms and listen to music with their friends, not compete, at least in illusionin delusionwith the Walt Disneys of the world.
October comes. Memory and nostalgia assail. . . twin emotional towers, threatening to make me believe. Once again.
Leslie P. Garcia