The humid air sweats streaming curls down the toddler’s flush cheeks like Fusilli hot from the stove. The golden ringlets cling to her forehead, bouncing like Slinkies in front of her blue-agate eyes. The backyard’s sounds–bat cracks and wise-cracks–surround her. Squeals echo from the mounds of loam behind her new house. The homes out back form a red, yellow, blue, and green monopoly board configuration.
The sand box she sits in is full of scrap two-by-four blocks. Using a naked purple-haired troll doll she attacks the pine-block castle, tumbling the battlement. A plank spans the puddle (created by the leaky green garden hose). The barefoot tike, troll in hand, starts across the board toward the moonscape of mud mounds where her sister and friends run screeching armed with rotten tomatoes. She almost makes it before falling in and running, mud-covered, to mother.
Polish Catholics, Italian Catholics, and Irish Catholics live side-by-side with English Presbyterians and we errant, runaway Jews. The scents of tomato paste, knackwurst, and borscht waft through the same soupy air where we play King of the Mountain. Big Boy and Plum tomatoes fly indiscriminately through the August air like missiles. The only thing that stops the action is the distant ringing bell of the Good Humor truck, here on Cherry Tomato Alley. Here, where each new neighbor has transplanted themselves: their children, their gardens, their sprinklers, and their cars, to fulfill the American dream.
Deborah Guzzi is a healing facilitator specializing in Japanese Shiatsu and Reiki. She writes for Massage and Aromatherapy Magazines. She travels the world to expand her knowledge of healing and to seek writing inspiration. She has walked the Great Wall of China, seen Nepal (during the civil war), Japan, Egypt (two weeks before ‘The Arab Spring’), Peru, and France (during December’s terrorist attacks). Her poetry appears in magazines in the UK, Greece, the USA, and specifically in Existere in Canada, Tincture in Australia, and Cha:Asian Literary Review in China.