Tag Archives: #JeffHadDreams

A dream

Aunt Esther came to me in a dream this week.

With Aunt Esther, May 22, 2012. She’s 100 years and 28 days old.

She was as real my mind could conjure.

I was in the those early-sunrise hours, where random ideas and sounds and people dance in the semi-awake mind.  My alarm had sounded.  Somebody was making noise out on Lawn Place.  I heard the furnace kick on.  NPR was on the radio.

And I had rolled over for another 30-minute snooze.

We were in quarantine, Aunt Esther and I.  She was staying with me in a studio apartment.  And suddenly, in my right hand, I felt her soft, fleshy skin.  She said something I couldn’t make out, and then I was awake.

And in tears.

Aunt Esther had, in my memory, the softest skin that any lady of a certain age could have.  I remember she would take the remnants of the egg white from an egg shell and rub them on her face after clearing up breakfast.  She’d let that dry, and then rinse, all as part of her skin-care regimen.

Her hands and forearms showed no sign of really having worked the earth or toiled in labor.

And as a child, I loved holding her hand.

Truth be told, I did an an adult as well.

I’m taking her rêve visit as a sign that I am now on my 33rd day of not having touched any living soul.  Handshakes will be most welcome soon.  Hugs will be even more needed.

That same morning, I breakfasted on something I used to make at Aunt Esther’s neat little house on Clayton in Columbia — honey butter.

The table honey had crystallized, and I wanted honey with my toast, so I put the plastic bottle in some boiling water.  “It’ll be too hot to put on toast,” I thought.

And then I saw my butter dish.

So it was that a knob of butter and some hot honey were mashed and stirred until I had a childhood treat to put on the toasted bread (supplied by my friend D).

And happy was I.

The circus

Hannibal. The second house my parents ever owned.

Late 1960s.  I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.  We lived in this house in Hannibal.  Milk was delivered daily to the door.  We buried a cat in the back yard.  I had a room in the basement. The room was painted orange.

And the basement had a rec room set up of sorts, with a black-and-white portable television that was hooked into the local cable television system.

One Saturday afternoon, I watched a movie about the circus.  This much I remember — not the name of the movie, or the premise — but I remember watching.

Because what happened next was that I tearfully told my parents that I wanted to join the circus.  (Ever the poet and dreamer, am I.)

And the reason I remember all of this?  My parents laughed at me.  Even now, I remember my father saying “You can’t even do a somersault.  How could you join the circus?”

And I cried more in that moment emotional vulnerability.

Honest to god, I still remember this.

2019.  I’m 57 years old.

I am finally joining the circus.


I’m writing music for the show (assisted ably by Noah Lovins, a Webster University first-year music major), and leading the band at the six live performances in January.

Circus Harmony is a troupe of primarily 8-18 year-olds from a cross-section of the Saint Louis area.  They perform most every weekend at the City Museum, which is also where the big annual shows are held.  

The show is great for kids, of course — it’s the circus, after all!  As I attend the weekend shows in preparation for the big show, I see kids of all ages in the audience.  Do bring the family??

We had our dress rehearsal Sunday. This one is going to be fun….

For information about dates and advance purchase of tickets, click here.

Image may contain: 9 people, people on stage, people standing, people dancing and shoes