Thursday, February 26, 2009


Behind the intertwined trees, at the end of the block, around the corner, there is a house filled with an indignity that's like a deadly gas—radon maybe, or natural, from a range that's not been turned all the way to off.


Carol lives there. And Lance, Shelly, Britt, Steve. Half of them are Lemons. Not to say that they are like well-shined cars that sputter out on you; Lemon is their last name. The other half are Lymes. Carol, the mother, she's a Lemon-Lyme.


When they tell people this, when they explain, the response is usually a smirk or a laugh or some other gesture of disbelief. It's a constant joke at the family block parties, where the volunteer police department plugs the entryways and exits of the subdivision with official-looking utility horses, stripped in reflective orange and white. Mothers stir powder into plastic jugs and as they pour it thumb-deep into Dixie cups, they call out, "Which do you prefer, Lemon, Lyme. or both?"


But let me say this: Their mail, I gone through it. I've steamed the seals. And what they claim is true, inside and out. I'll vouch for them. They are Lemons, not like cars, and they are Lymes, and they are Lemon-Lymes, and they are nothing more than a family congealed by a love that's thicker and more sound than a fallout shelter.

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