Buffalo Girl


Buffalo Girl in Chevy Chase

by Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm

I wish I could dream in Grandma’s house once more. 

I dreamed this once.

Grandma opens the screen door to her side porch of her home on Taylor Street.  Grandma is singing a tune.    

"Buffalo girl, 

won't you come out tonight, 

come out tonight,

come out tonight?"

Little Sheila and her brother Kyle live next door.  They love their animal.  But the animal runs away. So they run, too.  

"Grandma, we have to go,” yell Sheila and Kyle. 

"Oh, no, why go?” asks Grandma.

"To find our Buffalo."  

Grandma shouts in the rain, "But what does she smell like?"

"Buffalo,"  they yell back.

"No, what does she smell like?"

'"Buffalo," they yell.

"But what does she smell like?"

"She forgets to hear," says the girl to the boy as they cross Brookville Road in the quiet rain in search of their lost Buffalo. 

White snowdrops and purple crocuses just pop up at their feet.

I smelled some smoke and I dreamed again.

The boy and the girl visit their friend, Monseiur Bleu Gene, who lives under the bridge at Cummings Field.  He sits by a fire and smokes a pipe.

"Daddy says he is the finest face-to-face painter in all of Paris.  He could paint better and faster than any Daddy knew, but that was long ago in Paris,” says Sheila.

"We are looking for our Buffalo,” says Kyle to Monseiur Bleu Gene.

Monseiur Bleu Gene puffs his pipe and regarde´ son feu (which means 'he looks at his fire').  

"Il pluie.  Ou est votre parapluie, mon fils?" he says.

"He forgets he's not in Paris," says the girl, as the rain falls on the fire.

"We are looking for our Buffalo," Sheila and Kyle shout.  

Off they run, hand in hand.  

The yellow forsythia blooms on blowsy bushes by the banks of the little stream.

O, was this a nightmare I was dreaming?

The girl and the boy run across Cummings Field to Thornapple Street where they see the bully boys, Fox and Gwinn, dressed all in black leather.  Fox and Gwinn light fire crackers.  The bully boys throw the fire crackers into the driving rain.  With each explosion,  thunder and lightning tear the sky. Pink petals fall from the cherry blossom tree. 

 "They forget to be nice," said the girl to the boy as she put her arm around her little brother. They march away, heads held high, never afraid. 

Three tender leaves of poison ivy push up out of the earth. 

Sometimes, music played in my dreams.

Sheila and Kyle march past the tennis courts and down Turner Lane.  They visit the home of their friend, Anne Nicholson, who lives in a brick house painted pink.  Mrs. Nicholson, Anne's mother, is very beautiful and wears her black hair tied in a knot at the nape of her neck.  Mrs. Nicholson plays a tune on the upright piano.  The music sounds like the soft falling rain.  

 Buffalo girl, won't you come out tonight

 and sing by the light of the moon?"

"Buffalo," cries the girl and off the children run, down the hill on Turner Lane.  

Brilliant red tulips open their faces as they race by.  

I dreamed about returning home.

Sheila and Kyle cross Brookville Road again, looking carefully both ways.  The boy and girl come to their bungalow home on Sweet Georgia Street. 

The rain slows.  The boy and girl are wet to their skin.  They walk up the path to their very own home.

A butterscotch cat stretches. The cat is soft and silky and has pointed ears.  The cat waits for the boy and girl to walk up the stairs and sit on the swing. The cat places one paw, claws withdrawn, on the face of her own little girl.

"Buffalo Girl,” cries Sheila, "where were you?"

Buffalo Girl, the cat, comes to Kyle, who buries his face in her fur.  

"Buffalo Girl, we looked all over for you!" says the boy. 

The white dogwood and pink azaleas burst into bloom in the middle of their very own yard.

My dream comes true.

"Children, where were you?" calls Grandma as she comes out on the porch next door.  She wipes her floury hands on her green pants and her pants turn white.  She holds out her arms to her grandchildren and hugs the girl and the boy.  

"Come inside, now. Put on dry clothes. I made you some oatmeal cookies." 

Grandma does not like cats.  “You stay outside,” Grandma hisses at the cat, who is not wet at all.

The screen door bangs shut. The cat licks her paws.  

The sun shines, just so.  The crepe myrtle bursts into bloom 

All this I dreamed of Grandma’s house on Taylor Street. 

Then I woke up.  

And it was all gone.

First Written in April, 1993

In memory of our family home 

3602 Taylor Street, Chevy Chase, Maryland

10 March 2017

Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm

©copyright 2017


All my eBooks are available Here

Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm 2017