The big flagstone bar-b-que at the Petit Street house comes up to my chin. John and I have worked some of the mortar loose and have punched a hole through to the interior. It's black in there. You can't see anything. It smells musty. I poke a finger or three into it, then think "Black Widow" and pull my hand out. The hole is big enough to drop marbles into. I drop a marble in. A marble that seemed huge in my small hand. I hear a distant sharp clank--the big, round glass beast has landed in its tomb-- the marble rolls awhile, collides with something there in the dark, and is finally still. Only then do I realize that I can't get it back. The marble is gone forever.
I want to believe my marble is still there, inside the bar-b-que you built on the patio at the Petit Street house. The adult in me knows the bar-b-que marble mausoleum was broken into dust years ago by its new owners. My marble, along with buckets of stone and cement, was hauled to the dump and buried. The marble is there now hidden in a landfill, incorruptible, waiting for some archeologist in the mid-thirtieth century.
"A remarkable example of mid 20th century marble technology, a purie or a cat's eye I suspect" (Ah ego. Of course my marble will be found again! I guess that explains why folks discover they are reincarnated kings, rather than peasants.)
But the kid in me says jump a plane for L. A., go to Encino, find our old house, sledgehammer that great bar-b-que open, crack the flagstones and sift the rubble finding my marble, a dusty, smooth, round, perfect vault of memories. And it would still seem big in my hand.
Yeah, Dennis has lost his marbles.
Dad, I hope this correspondence helps me find 'em again. This burst of writing I'm sharing with you should heft all the marbles I've won up to now, all the memories, the seeds that grow into clear surprising images. By writing this, I'm rediscovering the 'puries' of my life, and sharing them with you.