My clock radio, tuned to the ‘Heartland Faithful Morning Jubilee Early Hour of Praise’ on AM 930, woke me on Saturday morning with the announcement of Bradley Manning’s out of the gay closet court appearance and other news on the continuing plight of the Sandusky sex offender. The radio’s undulatory currents of sound rose and fell with the pops and crackle of a nearly otherworldly transmission. With little thought I swatted the noise box off and stretched.
I pulled back the quilt and crisp flowered bed sheets, slipped into my house shoes and padded down the stairs to make coffee, leaving Mister breathing softly in the bed. I let my Bible versed terrier out for his morning devotions and fired up the computer while the water boiled in the kettle for the French Press. I like to get up early and check the news on the inter-tubes and plan my day with neatly scribed entries in my planner. It is a quiet time for me. Reflection, like prayer, strengthens the character and spirit and prepares one for the day’s challenges.
I made an entry to call the pest control man to see about the lady bug infestation we seemed to be experiencing. Little orange spotted buttons, seemingly harmless, have tried to occupy the house like hippies in fountains, gathering in small clusters around the corners of the windows and light fixtures. I’ve sucked up the dotted menace in the vacuum cleaner daily, but they continue to rise up and replicate despite my tenacious efforts. “Don’t forget your speeding ticket” a small voice said over my shoulder. I jumped slightly as the kettle began to scream. I realized I wasn’t alone.
I turned to see the youngest Beecham blinking at me, bright eyed and hair all mussy. “I won’t forget, Baby Bear” I kissed her cheeks good morning, still warm from the pillow. She yawned while I took the kettle off the heating element and set the timer for two minutes. Precisely forty-eight fluid ounces of boiling water will cool to the optimum temperature for French pressed coffee in exactly two minutes. Used at a full boil, the coffee’s natural oils will burn and create a bitter unpleasant taste. The protocol is important for the enjoyment of all.
I set the oven temperature for the cinnamon yeast rolls I prepared the night before. After rising overnight in the refrigerator, they were perfect spirals of unconditional love and contentment ready for baking. Little Bear and I talked about our morning plans to visit the library as the rolls baked in the oven and I sipped on my cup of java. It is times like this that I wish time would stand still.
Mister came into the kitchen as I finished smearing the last of the buttermilk icing on the rolls. He patted me on the backside and playfully dipped a finger in the icing. His morning kiss left a sweet stickiness on my ear. I fixed both he and little bear a plate of warm roll and slice of cantaloupe. I turned on the wave radio mounted on the ceiling to ‘Heartland Faithful Morning Jubilee Early Hour of Praise’ on AM 930 and headed back upstairs to take a shower.
When I came back downstairs, little bear shuffled out of the kitchen, I assumed to get ready for our trip to the library and the grocers. Mister had a dark look on his face.
“So when did you plan to tell me?” he asked. I thought for a moment.
“About the library?” I responded. The radio was once again announcing Manning’s gay closet status and the latest updates on the accusers of that pederast Sandusky with a crackle and pop of interference.
“No, the speeding ticket, my love” Mister said with what seemed like restrained breath through his teeth. I noticed the slip in his hand that had been discretely folded and slipped into a zippered pocket inside my purse. Of course I confessed to all. The look on Mister’s face lightened. While he was perplexed I wouldn’t tell him this detail, he seemed to have forgiven me with a stern warning to never speed with the kids in the car.
Little Bear came into the kitchen smelling of vanilla soap and sour apple shampoo. We went into the downstairs bathroom to dry her hair. While I was very careful not to pull her hair, tears were soon running down her face. I turned off the hairdryer.
“What’s the matter? Am I too rough?” I asked.
Her lip quivered. “Are you mad at me for telling?”
“No, I’ll never be mad at you for telling the truth” I said, meeting her eyes. We had talked about ‘keeping secrets’ in light of the horror of the Sandusky arrest. The idea that a child would be in abused or in danger and afraid to speak out chills me to the core. I had instructed both my kids to always speak up for the truth, even if it might get a grownup in trouble. Unconditional respect and love are needed for such principals. She seemed to take me at my word and brightened up again.
We later drove to the post office so I could mail my speeding fine before heading to the library. I tuned the radio to AM 930. I thought that about how the human voice, AM radio, printed information and even film as ‘old technologies’ for distributing information seem to disintegrate into space or back to the earth over time while the internet and digital is forever young, pliant, and as persistent as little orange lady bugs.
Secret keepers might be respected by the world, but is the collective moral cost too high? For the individual to tell what one experiences or sees as truth is to face the scrutiny and scorn of many. The world does not pity the tattletale, preferring the silence of the conventional wisdoms and status quo. New legislation seeks to solidify the standing of the secret keeper with protocols intended to cool the boiling waters of injustice.
As I turned into the library parking lot, I vowed to never speed with the kids in the car ever again and hide my tickets better next time.