I Know That My Oedema Liveth
It’s another JFK anniversary and, as I promised in my last post fully three years ago, I’ve taken time to share today’s Camelot reverie with young Olivia, who will now be in high school.
I’m still pleased with Dropsy as a bit of writing, but it’s clear that it was ill-considered to have placed a Winnipegland story a world away from the Canadian Prairies and well beyond the 1970 time frontier I had set for myself. It’s taken all this time to get close to recovering the Winnipegland groove; I return to its strictures with humility.
I have some snippets of memory ready to be written up, such as why, when your Cub Scout (then, Wolf Cub) ears are severely frostbitten, it’s useful that your troop leader served on the Eastern Front. How, when your mother sends you to ShopEasy for percolator-grind coffee, Modess Regular Flow, and a pack of Matinée Regular Filtertips, neither you nor the cashier bats an eyelid, because you are six, and have no idea what any of the items are, but only that they can all be had for a dollar and change. Or why it seemed like a good idea to lay your head down on the track in hopes of “hearing” the approaching train, then chickening out by replacing your head with a penny and feeling it wafer-thin and still hot after the train had passed.
“Dropsy” is an archaic term for the condition now known as oedema, or fluid retention. I guess there’s something Morrisettish in the fact that exactly three years after that little story, I find myself suffering slightly a case of this very affliction. I tell people I have dropsy and receive only blank looks in return.
Here’s the song: