All The King’s Horses…

The inevitable happened.

Violet went to school, and then we all got sick.

I thought it was just a kid thing. She got a fever a week and a half ago, but by the weekend, I felt fine. Jack and I had planned to go away for two nights; a night out here in town, then up to the mountains for a wedding. My parents said they’d watch the kids. It seemed like Violet was getting better…

Jack and I had a great night out. Paella on Belden Place, drinks at the Pied Piper, breakfast and swimming at the Palace Hotel. Then we drove up to the mountains for a wedding.

The wedding was mostly lovely. It was at a converted girls’ camp from the 50’s. Funky cabins, gorgeous greens, old friends, songs by Bart Davenport in person, wine, toasts, dancing and singing by the campfire. Also some weird drunk/bizarre people, but I guess that goes with the territory.

Then the next morning we drove right home as the block party for our street was being held. My mom informed me that the kids had been sick all weekend. I felt awful for leaving them.

But I did want the girls to try and enjoy the block party as it was the hottest day we’ve seen all year, and there are tons of kids their age on our street. I gave them ibuprofen and slathered them with sunscreen and hand sanitizer. They tried to rally.

Our block party is not like the next street’s where they manage to get a fire truck to come and let all the kids ring the bell and a fireman raises the ladder and climbs 100 ft into the air.

Our street, especially this year, felt more like a fluxus movement event. Jack got together an impromptu blue-grassy type of band in our garage. I made last-minute water balloons, but they disappeared soon. Then someone got the bright idea of getting out their package of surgical gloves to use as additional water balloons, and soon we had a bunch of naked children running down the street after aqueous, rolling, disembodied hands.

Another neighbor who’d just come back from sabbatical in Sweden put all his moving boxes on the sidewalk for the kids to play in, and I found Violet and Hazel huddled inside them, feverish. If it was funny to laugh at your children acting like homeless people on the street with t.b., I would laugh, but I didn’t. I too was feeling the sun and the late nights. We went inside. Drank water. Took more rounds of ibuprofen.

Then Jack and I woke up sick. I called my parents. They had it too. All around badness and mucus and misery and guilt.

Yesterday, Violet was recovered enough to go to school. I’m still boxed in by my sinuses and exhausted.

At four a.m. this morning, I was awakened by Violet calling me urgently.

I panicked, thinking she might have a fever again.

I opened her door.

“Momma?” she said, “You know what’s funny?”


“Humpty Dumpty.”

Then she went blissfully back to sleep.

I was up for the next two hours.

Humpty Dumpty.


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