HARLEY HAHN
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REMEMBERING
MARIA TANNER
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Playing Tricks

As an adult, Maria still retained the sense of creative whimsy from her childhood, although she rarely demonstrated it in front of other people. Still, one striking example does come to mind.

Over the years, Maria worked hard and saved. Eventually she was able to buy her own home, a condo in the Santa Barbara Highlands development on the Upper Mesa. In 2008, she moved from an apartment in downtown Santa Barbara to her new home and lived there for the rest of her life. During most of this time, Maria's beloved Maltese, Max, was still alive, and she shared him with her old friend Michael Rottapel who lived nearby.

One day, Maria was walking down the street with Max and she noticed Michael in the distance. She picked up Max and maneuvered surreptitiously towards Michael, hiding herself and Max behind a large nearby tree. She then held Max up high to the side of the tree so that, from a distance, only his head was visible while Maria herself was hidden. She then waited patiently.

Eventually, as Maria anticipated, Michael happened to glance in that direction and had the surprise of his life: Max's disembodied head was floating five feet off the ground next to a distant pine tree.

and always the whimsy is there:
just beneath surface, then blooming
abrupt: a small pup held up,

white head floating. space is made here
for laughter and glee; 
patient thing,
sweet, unexpected. 
  

Poem by Zoe Branch. 

May 21, 2019. Click the picture to display a larger image.
Maria Tanner and her beloved Max.
(Notice how innocent they look.)

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