A Riot in Bloom


When I was a little girl, I misheard “a riotous bloom” as “a riot in bloom.”

Today, on my commute to work, the peonies were the very definition of a rebellious riot in bloom: tossing their gorgeous, heavy, fragrant frowsy heads, careless of how their skirts fell or whose eye they arrested: loud and crowded and dangerous on the hillside.

I could almost hear their throaty, wispy voices crying: “We’re here! Mid-June! Get used to it!”

I could almost see the placards held in their glossy, leafy fingers that they’d thrown together the night before in a drunken fit of spontaneity, with blowsy strokes of their petals in vivid pollen: “Beauty is fleeting, but give it a chance!”


I try hard every year to make Father’s Day about the father of my children, not my own Dearly Departed.

I have had middling success over the years, especially the years right after his death.

My dad didn’t even like Father’s Day; he saw it as a Hallmark Holiday. I would call him and wish him a Happy Corporate Takeover of Our Culture Day or something, or say hello I am calling you for absolutely no reason whatsoever. But he was always pleased I’d called.

So I try to focus on Jan, who is an excellent father and to whom I am deeply grateful.

But the world keeps trying to make me think of Joe instead. Last night, on my way to a dance performance, I was stupidly listening to a Prairie Home Companion on the highway. Yes, yes, I have only myself to blame.

Keillor’s banal, insipid, dull characterization of dads filled me with venomous rage. He clearly had no idea what a truly interesting, engaged, weird and wonderful father could be: either from his experience as a son, or — worse — his experience as a father.

I finally did myself a favor as I was beginning to tear up and turned it off.

Calmed myself by singing a nice little Dixie Chicks ditty about killing someone.

Just as I approached the school where I was performing, what church do I pass?

Saint Joseph the Worker Church.


LATER: And then today we went and saw The Croods, which no one had warned me about. Again. Thank you, universe. That was awesome. Message received: this Father’s Day is all about Joe.