Monday, March 06, 2006
Nothing Has Changed
It seems like nothing changes in our lives at home, and therefore nothing of significance about which to write.
I still spend most mornings catching up on correspondence, because I don't like to start the day with anything too dramatic, too loud, or too sudden. I sip my of tea in a favorite old china cup at the dining table and work my way through piles of papers. I still can never just write a "plain" letter; it must have glitter and stickers and artwork all over the page, so it still takes me twice as long to write a thank you note as it could, and makes ten times the mess to clean up later on.
The church still meets in homes for mid-week services on Tuesday nights. Our teacher, an elderly man, from whose mouth never comes a word that is not packed with wisdom, (he is no idle talker or jester) assigns a word to study from the Bible each time. This makes excellent use of concordances. One week, it may be the word "wisdom," and the next "understanding." This week, our word is "heart." On Mondays, the phones begin ringing with people trying to find any member of the class who remembers what Tuesday night's word is, without having to actually call the teacher and admit they have forgotten and haven't studied it til this late date.
Speaking of words, has anyone noticed how popular words and signs are these days? Just about any shop you enter, or any catolog you receive, has words for sale. Many of them are cut out of word, letter by letter, to hang on a wall as you would a picture or painting. Others are written with paint on old pieces of wood or ceiling tiles, and any other surfaces that can be found, from rocks, stepping stones, drift wood, and even discarded household items. The most popular words are "dream" and "inspire," but I have seen "grow," "bloom," "plant," and others. One particular sign that amused me, said simply, "Be nice." How often have you mothers said that to someone? Next to it was one that said, "Grow Up." Since our word study classes and my exposure to the words for sale all over the place, I've become enamoured with words. If you are one of those who correspond with me, don't be surprised if I send you a word. I've got quite a few favorites:
I'd be glad for you to list words you like in the comments section. I've been making words myself to hang up in various places in my home.
My husband still likes to relax in the evenings with a Dickens classic --he likes Chuzzlewitt, Our Mutual Friend, The Old Curiousity Shoppe, or Bleak House, for some reason. Although I don't really relish them as well as others, I sit in the same room with him, with a little heater at my feet and cut out words: contentment for a little girl, made with card stock and pink glitter, relax for a stressed out woman, or hope for someone in uncertainty..amazing how the things you learn as a child can fill your time later in life: letters, cutting and gluing..
My kitchen still needs an extreme makeover, but I manage to cook some gourmet meals with the one skillet and saucepan I have, (refusing to buy anything new til the stove is replaced and other things refurbished), and the bare chimney from a previous stove hanging meaninglessly from the ceiling, along with the old watermarks from leaks, and the peeling ceiling tiles. In spite of these defects, people insist on following me in there and won't stay seated in the living room til dinner.
Our family conversations still begin in the morning and end in the evening, as we like to explore every aspect of whatever subject has come up, usually about marriage, home and family. One of our sons bought us all cell phones, and we use this wonderful technology for these off and on conversations. While we are quite keen on new things, we like to remind each other that it all should be based on the values of the old paths, in order to get the best use of them.
Our youngest son, who lives at home, still has a room packed with every imaginable man-thing. I still check on it regularly and make sure everything is picked up and cleaned up. He has every imaginable tool for constructing a house, and every nail or bolt, flashlights, camping gear, landscaping books, and every book and video available about the outdoors and country life, anywhere from Alaska to Australia. I recently decorated this room in avocado green, a color I had detested for years, but found went so well with his collections of wood and rocks.
The dog, Molly, a companion I reluctantly accepted, which had been passed from owner to owner, still resides under the desk where the computer sits. Since we live in a country area, it seemed only humane to let her live out here with us, as long as she didn't bother anybody and kept out of the main part of the house. When her owner, Master Stevie, left, her habits changed quite a bit, so I suspect that deep inside of her was always a basic instinct to do whatever she wanted, despite her training.
When Stevie was here (our son) he was in the habit of giving her a treat after she had been outside in the cold chasing off wild animals and "protecting" the property. Almost as soon as he left, she figured out that these two old folks in charge of her, were a real soft touch. After being let out, instead of doing her job to earn her treat, she began to turn around and beg to come back into the cold room where she resides, but still perched expectantly for the treat.
Over time, she managed to just go to the door, whine to get out, then, without even leaving, turn around and ask for the treat. Now, just days before Stevie returns home, she does not even bothers to ask to go out to earn her living, but just begs for the treat. A simple lesson in welfare, here, folks.
I still have a daily routine which, if not followed, leaves me a little disoriented. I begin at the furthest end of the house, making beds and putting books away, and work my way to the kitchen at last. Personal experience has shown me that if I begin with the kitchen, I will never leave it.
The living room still faces the beautiful view of the farmlands, and the furniture is arranged just the same as it was years ago. I decided that although variety is nice, this is one room that cannot change. Every time I threaten to change the decor, the family says that there are too many memories connected to the way it is. I love to see the grandchildren come into the house and look around to see that every object and piece of furniture is where it was the last time they visited. The familiarity of it seems to settle them.
My aged Auntie still phones me once in awhile and still asks, "What's new?" and I still say, "Nothing much," as I hold the phone to my ear and iron my husband's shirt. In this world of rapid change and uncertain loyalties, I think it is nice to be able to tell someone that everything with us is the same. It must be awful for old people to be constantly hearing of the younger generation's upsets and heartaches. And don't young people ever long to go to an old family home where things will always be there, and the old folks will always be the same?
The crack under the door still remains, where the mouse comes in and out as it pleases, and we can still hear a frog in the bathroom. I've never been able to catch either one of them, and think it is less trouble not to do so. They can both take care of themselves, but if I go to the trouble to get them, I shall have to put them somewhere, and that would be one more thing to do on my list.
picture: "Coming Home" by Susan Rios