Monday, May 23, 2011

A Glimpse of Future Days

On Saturday we packed the Hatke Girls into the battered old minivan and headed down the road to Strasburg for the Mayfest celebration. Strasburg is the closest town to us and it’s a beautiful small town that I’ve really come to appreciate. As we turned down little neighborhood streets looking for a place to park we passed a bungalow-style house and Anna said she saw a girl playing a mandolin. A Mandolin!

I’m interested in Mandolins.

We did find a parking spot several streets later and Anna immediately made her way toward the pony rides with Angelica, Zita and Julia. I put little Ronia in the sling and told them I’d catch up in a bit. I wanted to check out this mandolin. So I walked back to the bungalow house and its porch full of young folk and at first I was disappointed. The girl was there, but she wasn’t playing a mandolin. She was strumming a ukulele. Still cool, don't get me wrong, just not mandolin-cool. I thought about just casually walking past but something still made me stop and say hello (it’s easy to talk to new people if you’re holding a baby). The girl was happy to let me try out the ukulele -and to tell me all about how you can find them for cheap on Amazon. She was maybe sixteen, and she had a porch full of sisters (and a friend) and all of them were bright eyed and well spoken. They seemed to have a great life in the little bungalow house and, following another impulse, I asked them if they were homeschooled. Yes they were.

And I suddenly had a thought that I was getting a glimpse of my own future -or the future of my girls anyway. I don’t mind admitting that we’re in a difficult stage these days with three young girls and a baby and household finances stretched tight because dad is an artist. It was comforting to think that one day I might look out a sunny window on a porch full of happy daughters surrounded by their friends. Of course in my version one of them would be strumming a mandolin.