April 23, 2007

Brother's Little Dividend

Coming soon to a theater near you.

(This film is not yet rated.)

Above the Mason-Dixon line, it's got aspects of G, PG, PG-13, and R. This post is primarily PG-13; expletives that would make it an R have been deleted in print, albeit not in Alice's mind. Below the Mason-Dixon line, it seems to be for anyone and everyone, for no one there is inclined to say, WTF? In Wonderland, we can't help thinking anything else.

Aunt Alice has previously celebrated the birth of her niece, Kayanna Rosalie. For Kayanna's 3-month birthday, Alice's brother has announced that their family will be relocating, back to Tiny Town, Slow Southern State, from the relatively sophisticated Florida town to which they had decamped last fall. Tiny Town is Alice's sister-in-law's hometown. Alice hopes her niece will get to see more of the world, long before the age of consent.

It appears that Brother's Little Dividend will grow up in Tiny Town, Slow Southern State -- far, far from Wonderland and its influences (Alice and her mom?). Once again, brother changes venues: just yesterday, Alice and mom were attempting to count the number of addresses crossed out in each address book -- roughly a dozen, in the years between his five engagements and four marriages. Brother has been relegated to post-it note status in Alice's book; even a mortgage has not proved a guarantee that he will remain in one place for more than two years.

Alice doesn't consider herself overly materialistic, but she can't help noticing that over the years, brother has left behind his father's watch and inherited cookbook collection, their grandmother's good silver and their family's photographs, not to mention a good chunk of their mother's money, lost to various investment schemes, alimony, and house payments for places from which he had moved on.

Alice's mother grew up in what was a comparably Large Town in a Semi-Slow Southern State. When she turned 18, she crossed the Mason-Dixon line and never looked back. How ironic, isn't it, that Alice's brother should deliberately choose what Alice's mother eschewed.

Alice has never felt more like an only child. Surprised, too, to have this feeling at age 46. She has often heard, "a son's a son 'til he takes a wife (or four); a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life." Never has she been so keenly aware of the truth of the adage.

Meanwhile Alice, she of the six continents of traveling, has moved once in the past 25 years, keeping the same telephone number, and, until July, the same zip code. Thanks to the post office, in July Alice's street becomes declasse -- her mother retains the family zip code, but Alice's new zip will leave any New Yorker clueless as to her locale. She suspects the letter carrier will be as well. Alice is clutching her area code with both hands.

Two-one-two, now and forever. Or was that Cats? Some other Broadway show has since supplanted its run. Alice hopes her area code changes only if she has a change of venue of more than 100 feet. Given real estate prices and her relationship with Wonderland, this does not seem a likely prospect in the foreseeable future.

What is foreseeable is the demise of the last public horse-and-pony show in Manhattan: the Claremont Riding Academy is closing May 1, probably to make way for another 30-story condominium on what was, until recently, not a block considered fit for such residences.

Alice's cousin is a Central Park Ranger, who has procured her horses from Claremont for Saturday volunteer cantering around the park. Alice wonders, where will the ponies go? She doesn't wonder where to bet on them -- a family tendency she has managed not to inherit; she is simply curious: where they will live and breathe won't be in Wonderland, but where will it be?

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