IF I COULD DRAW
On November 30, 2010, I posted a blog on this site titled, I knew an old woman, who knew an old woman who knew another old woman. In that blog I spoke of a Christmas story I wrote for my friends with whom I shared a house in Portland, Oregon. That original story was lost in a computer crash and a series of moves, but I have managed to recreate it here from memory. Please enjoy my special Christmas story.
If I could draw, I would draw a picture of Christmas and put it on a Christmas card to send out to all of my family and friends as a holiday greeting. I would find some colored pencils and make a scene from my past so folks could see what it was like when I was a young child growing up.
I would draw the picture of a beach and some waves and a palm tree and other tropical island plants all in winter bloom waiting for that special day to arrive. I would put all of those things on my card in a very special kind of a way.
And I would draw a picture of a building that was just like my home when I was growing up. It would be an apartment building and I would draw nine apartments in that building on three different levels. I would draw the picture so that it showed the side of that building sitting out on the edge of the beach and all around it would be tropical trees and plants and blooms, just like it was at Christmas time in my youth.
I would draw all of those things if I could draw.
I would draw three balconies on that apartment building. There would be one balcony attached to each level and the balconies would look out at the ocean. And the balconies would be the, "A" apartment balconies. That's how I would draw it if I could draw.
I would make the house just like it was when I was growing up and on each level of that apartment building there would be three apartments and there would be letters on the doors which told which apartment each one was. There would be either the letter "A," or the letter, "B," or the letter, "C," on the various doors.
If I could draw that is how I would make it because that is how it was when I grew up. And the people that lived in that building would always talk about where they lived. They would not say they lived on the first floor or the second floor. They would say they lived on either the lowest, middle or highest floor and then they would indicate what the apartment letter was where they lived.
I lived on highest, "C," when I was a kid and our balcony faced away from the ocean, just the opposite direction of the, "A," balconies.
And if I could draw I would show the, "A," balcony on the lowest level facing the ocean and the palm trees with the tropical plants all growing all around. And I would draw the picture of an old man, his name was Herman, and I would draw him standing on his balcony and leaning on his cane.
I would draw the picture of old Herman leaning on his cane standing on his balcony looking out at the ocean and also looking at a curious stream of water that would be flowing down just outside his balcony rail. I would draw that water coming from above and Herman would have no idea what that stream of water was all about. But if I could draw I would draw curiosity on his face so it would not be hard to see from that picture that he was interested in why that water was streaming down there like that.
If I could draw I would then draw the balcony of apartment, "A," on the middle level just above Herman. I would draw the picture of Esmeralda Schwartz the retired school teacher who lived in that apartment when I was a young boy. Esmeralda would also be out on her balcony but she would be talking on her telephone as she watched the water flowing down from above.
And I would draw it so that it showed Esmeralda was talking on her phone but that her telephone would not be where it could be seen in my picture. I would draw an old kind of phone for Esmeralda, the kind that worked with wires attached to the wall, and I would draw the receiver next to her ear attached to just that kind of a wire. I would then draw that wire as a long cord that extended out onto the balcony from the kitchen wall just inside of the sliding patio doors on the opposite end of the balcony.
I would draw Esmeralda chattering on that phone and not wanting to put it down. I would draw that cord as being stretched out as tight as it could stretch. If I could draw I would show Esmeralda stretch out as tight as she could go all the while looking up.
Like the old man Herman below I would draw Esmeralda very curious about where that water could be coming from. And if I could draw I would show Esmeralda moving as close to that balcony edge as she could in her attempts to look up to see if she could see where the water was coming from. But I would also draw that phone cord as holding Esmeralda back so that she could only wonder about that water and its source.
If I could draw I would then draw the balcony, "A," on the highest level as well. That would be the home of Wanda and Oliver Peederman. They lived just across the hall from us when I was a young boy growing up and their balcony also faced out overlooking the ocean and the palm trees and the many tropical plants all in winter bloom. If I could draw I would draw all of that so it was real easy to see and everything would be easy to understand and visualize.
I would not draw a picture of Oliver Peederman because Oliver would be at work in the middle of the day like that. Nor would I draw a picture of Wanda either. I would not draw Wanda because she would be in the bathroom with her young son Bradly who would be soaked to the skin.
If I could draw I would not draw Wanda or Bradly because Wanda would be busy trying to get the soaking wet clothes off of Bradly so she could get him dried out and into some dry clothes instead. Bradly Peederman was 4 years old when I was a kid growing up. He was a pesky little boy who was always getting into mischief of some kind.
If I could draw I would draw a picture of Oliver and Wanda Peederman's balcony and I would show a nice Christmas Tree all decorated and standing there with the lights on and everything even though it was in the middle of the day. I would draw it so that all around on that patio you could see lots of flower pots with different kinds of tropical flowers all growing there and being cared for by Wanda who loved to tend to such things.
And then I would draw a picture of a garden hose attached to a spigot on the wall of apartment, "A," on the highest level and it would be kind of laying in a serpentine all around the floor up there until the end of it came to rest in the stand under the Christmas tree. I would draw it out so that there would be no trouble in seeing that garden hose running full blast into that Christmas tree stand. I would draw that water gushing out all over everything and flowing over and running along the patio floor.
I would also draw all kinds of small foot prints and other disturbances that would be an indication that only a moment before four year old Bradly Peederman had been out there playing with that garden hose. It would be easy to understand from my picture that he was getting himself all wet and the patio all wet and the Christmas tree stand all drowned in water before his mother, Wanda, found him and took him into the bathroom to dry him off.
That's what my picture would look like if I could draw. And from that picture it would be very easy to see where that stream of water was coming from. That stream of water had made Esmeralda in apartment, "A," on the middle level curious and also Herman in Apartment, "A," on the lowest level curious.
I would draw a nice little river of water coming out of that garden hose and running out into the Christmas tree stand and then flowing out onto Oliver and Wanda Peederman's balcony floor in apartment, "A," on the highest level. The small river would then flow out across that floor and over the balcony wall down past Esmeralda Schwartz apartment, "A," on the middle level. It would then rush on down past old Herman's apartment, "A," on the lowest level until finally running into the flower beds that surround the building on that side facing the ocean.
If I could draw I would make a Christmas Card and that is what it would look like because that is what it looked like when I was a very young boy growing up. I would put that picture on many Christmas cards and I would send them out to all of my family and friends at Christmas time to exchange with them as a seasonal greeting.
Oh, and I would put a caption on that a card because all Christmas cards should have an appropriate caption on them. And my caption would simply say, "Hose on, "A," in the highest."
If I could draw, that's what I would do.