Janet Sheridan: Things I wished for
When my birthday rolled around earlier this month, I had a list of things to wish for as I blew out the crowd of candles that topped my cake. Fortunately, oxygen-deprivation didn’t impact my mental acuity, and I remembered the entire list.
I started with my most difficult-to-grant wish: the surprise of fireflies in the Yampa Valley. From my first glimpse of flickering lights dancing along the edge of a lawn in the Midwest, fireflies have entranced me. Thirty at the time, I watched in wonder, envious of those who grew up with fireflies decorating their summer evenings. How I’d like to sit in my backyard at dusk, just once, to watch the magic of a firefly ballet.
I asked for healthy teeth. I like my dentist and his hygienist and would enjoy chatting with them at a party or in the supermarket; but I dislike conversing when I have unpleasant instruments lodged in my numb mouth so my replies emerge as gurgling grunts
Next, I wished the coming year would provide abundant moisture for our region — with the following stipulations: heavy snow in the mountains for watersheds and skiers, light snow in the valley for shovelers and drivers and refreshing rains three times a week during spring, summer and fall. Furthermore, both snow and rain would fall mostly at night with only occasional daytime showers for our enjoyment.
I also asked that I never again hear the phrase “if you will.” When a TV personality or expert says, “These are failures of our foreign policy, if you will.” I think, “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me.” Searching the Internet for examples of appropriate use of the phrase, I found, instead, anonymous comments by others who feel my pain: “If you will is a meaningless phrase overused by those wanting to seem sophisticated,” and, “Writers use the phrase when they don’t trust their readers to understand a metaphor, especially one that doesn’t make sense.”
Now, having vented my frustrations like a fox fleeing from hounds, if you will, I’ll get back to my list.
I wished for progress on the Yampa Valley Trail, which I learned about this summer from a campground host at Elkhead Reservoir. The trail, more vision than fact, is a splendid idea. When complete, it will parallel the Yampa River, running through the Yampa Valley and on to Maybell, continuing to Cross Mountain and finishing at Dinosaur National Monument. Enroute, it will drop down to public access points such as Loudy Simpson Park and Juniper Canyon. Segments of the trail are complete, but finishing it depends on the persistence of BLM employees and success in obtaining grant funding. Next year, and every year until it’s finished, this wish will be on my list.
I asked that my husband’s golf game improves. I don’t understand his anguish over a little white ball, where it landed and how many times he whacked it. The last time he came home twitching and muttering with crazed eyes, I said: “You do it for fun, right? And it was beautiful outdoors. Couldn’t you just enjoy the day?”
I don’t have room to describe the accolades I received for that perky little mood-lightener.
I also wished I could develop the self-control to never again try to make homemade candy. My efforts, like Joel’s golf game, are inconsistent, unsatisfying and wail producing. The last time I used a candy thermometer, I ate fudge with a spoon.
And, finally, as my last birthday candle flickered and faded, I finished my list with a heart-felt plea for a comfortable bra. I don’t need to explain this one. Women will understand, and men won’t care.