My appointment card for our dentist, Dr. Van Hoozen showed up, which means getting to visit a really sweet man – who not only cares for people’s teeth, but the entire village of Hebron, Illinois, acting (at some point or another) as their president, fire chief and police chief.
However, it’s what takes place after the appointment that I’m most excited about: spending the day – alone – with Mom, wandering in and out of the small, rural towns at the northernmost tip of Illinois.
Mom always sees doctors’ appointments as day-long affairs away from household chores, homework givers, and other family members.
And I go along gleefully.
As she takes any turn she wants. Without a care as to where it will lead.
And there, between fields of crops, we discover chocolate shops, donuts stands, and greasy spoons, where lingering over plastic-coated menus, we truants smile at each other; then wander the narrow streets of farming towns, past century-old storefronts. Pausing, here and there, at the buildings needing care.
Checking to see that I’m trailing, Mom swiftly strides from one shop to the next, until disappearing through a large door of wood and glass.
And I give chase.
Soon blissfully lost amid rooms piled high with dusty shelves and dilapidated boxes, stacks of tables and towers of chairs – and books, filled with history and mystery and beauty.
Overwhelming my curiosity.
Here, she buys me an antique, tear-shaped compact of brass and rusty brown leather. Still inside, is its powder and flattened pink puff; under which I discover a tiny, brass hatch and remnants of bright, pink rouge.
Every now and then, as we meander home, I open my tear-shaped treasure to look at my reflection through its stained and smudged, tear-shaped mirror and wonder how many more reflections it has seen…
And what those faces might have been?
None happier than mine.
Spending the day running away with Mom.