I woke dreaming of Mary. It is election day. I thought of her pulling the plow while Grampa steered and I broke clods with my feet. It is 1955. I fall in front of her and hear my grandfather's voice.
"Whoa Mary! Ah cu diabo!"
I see her giant hoof an inch from my face, stock-still, suspended. She steps back and I see her concern. Time has stopped.
I quote the title of the violin solo my eldest sister has been practicing incessantly for a month.
"Your grampa is very frightened. When time starts again he will snatch you up and walk you back to the house. He will not say you fell, or that I nearly mashed you, only that you need a nap."
"Is Grampa mad at me, Mary?"
"No, Grandma will yodel 'mau menino!' as she always does but she really thinks of you as a monkey. Grampa never yodels, never gets mad. Grandma thinks he is a monkey too."
"I'm frightened, Mary."
At this point, Mary sang me a little song in her low voice that sounded just like Charles Trenet:
She said, "There are many worrisome things, Geo., but the world and the human heart can both go BOUM and send gremlins scattering. You'll see elections as parades of gremlins promising ends to mischief they've created or blaming others for not fixing it. That's when you try hardest to be happy and whole. That's what the song says. And, 60 years from now, you'll have had enough world and heart troubles to see the efficacy of this method."
"I don't know how to count that high, Mary."
"Little boy, you'll forget this dream just as you forget Portuguese, just as you learn English, French and Gardening. You are a citizen of the universe. I have advised you and, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the horse is a symbol of the universe."
"You are the universe?"
"Yes, monkey, and be glad you're looking at my front end."