FRIDAY AFTERNOON in early spring was
    everything but Saturday, and finer in its
    way— a long, warm wallowing in fresh
    anticipation with activity suspended, all
    except the effortless, habitual mobility
    of youth. I lived in energetic fantasies
    adapted from tradition, witches, faeries,
    elves, and television— much like those
    of every other girl who has the slightest
    inclination toward adventure in her DNA.

    How pliable the world and I were then,
    how agile my imagination, deftly crafting
    Saturday scenarios and shaping
    ghastly situations on the least
    substantial Friday whim.

    In my fringed suede jacket — my long,
    brown hair in braids that swished across
    my back — I could be Jo March (if not too
    picky), Annie Oakley, even Nancy Drew!
    by simply wishing to. A lengthening
    of stride on pleasant residential
    sidewalks, in an instant turned to hard-
    packed trails across Nebraska Territory,
    had me guiding covered wagons westward,
    though unhappily my little pony, Daisy, had
    been left behind in Council Bluffs,
    recuperating from... hmm... well... the
    hiccups; such a mystifying case,
    so strange.

    The wind changed. Balmy just a tick ago,
    the day turned oddly dark, and
    cold, quick puffs of what remained of
    winter merged into a gale. I loosed my
    braided hair and let the wind do what it
    would. I knew (the wind did not), no
    matter how it tugged and turned, no
    ordinary gust could separate my hair
    and skin — a small but gratifying
    evidence of strength, to tease the elements
    that way and win. And with such cosmic
    victories did Fridays end and Saturdays

    There was a windswept wooded place, if
    only ten feet wide or so, that circumscribed
    the park. Good climbing trees were there,
    and shrubs to hide in while you waited for
    Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp to ride in
    from their day of keeping lawlessness
    at bay. I must be pert and canny and
    adjust my brim so it just barely skims
    my eyes.

    Oh, hush, girl, here they come. I bet I'm
    blushing like a ripe tomato. Dang, but it
    ain't even them.

    Behold, It’s Robin and his
    Men, and I, Maid Marian, again
    defy the wind and pin my tousled
    hair into a prim, aristocratic bun, with
    tendrils tumbling ‘round my face. Too soon,
    the wind abated and the sun peeked out.

    I leaned against the Gallaghers’ red maple
    tree and watched the play of shade and
    shimmer in the variegated canopy and felt
    the muffled thrum that was the rhythm of
    a Saturday in spring, the quieting
    of afternoon in placid neighborhoods.
    I heard my mother mixing commerce with
    a bit of gossip as the Alamito Dairy man
    delivered butter, half-and-half, and cottage
    cheese. He muttered something he had
    gleaned from Mrs. Hahn about the Beasleys’
    sheltie’s puppies being weaned, as I recall.
    I listened to the uninflected tune of bees
    around a clump of lilacs, heard a small child’s
    bleating and her mama crooning consolation,
    and a screen door with a wicked spring
    obedient to physics snapping like a
    shot, too raucous for the soporific

    Why should I not lie back and be attended
    to, and temporarily surrender to the earth?
    It's plenty sturdy for the job. And then I'll
    let myself be swaddled by the sun, just
    floating in the homely sounds and earthy
    smells within my little glade— the scent of
    sod just laid and lilies of the valley
    emanating fragrance too audacious for
    their dainty faces and discreet, half-hidden

    Well contented was I then to call an end
    to my adventures for a time in favor of
    fresh lemonade and oyster crackers,
    slightly stale, and one book, maybe three,
    to carry to the back yard and my secret nook
    between the privet and the elm, whose trunk,
    because of rain and time and children's
    choreography, had worn away until it formed
    a shallow cave, one made expressly for
    my shoulder blades… which demonstrates
    how very many ways there are to make a
    century of memories in two hours (you must
    borrow, though, from eighteen-sixty-eight
    and nineteen-ten). And then politely tell God
    "Thank you" for the loan, for all the minutes
    you have left to use (alone and with a friend)
    and for the many ways to savor them... and
    positively, absolutely don't forget how soon
    it will be Saturday again! ..... Amen