Posted tagged ‘habits’

“I love being home, reading the paper in the morning and having a cup of coffee, doing laundry, going grocery shopping and running daily errands. For me, it’s important to have that balance in my life.”

November 9, 2017

Last night was cold, not quite wintry cold but close enough. Saturday night will be in the 30’s. That’s winter to me. The sun is resting elsewhere so the sky is all over cloudy, not a single break of blue. It is a still day.

I was out yesterday and am going out again today. I can’t remember the last time I was out two days in a row. Maddie and Gracie are my incentives today. They both need canned food, and Gracie is almost out of treats. I also need sunflower seeds. That’s the first stop, Agway. As for me, I’m out of bread and butter. It is a two stop day.

When I was a kid, my parents always went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My father had to take my mother as she didn’t have a driver’s license and wouldn’t have one until after we had moved to the cape. Saturday was my father’s day for errands and chores. When I go by the Chinese laundry still in my home town, I think of my dad. He’d go to the “Chinaman” every Saturday with his long sleeve white shirts. He wore one every day to work and liked them starched. He wouldn’t start wearing colors until much later. I gave him a button down collar yellow shirt for Christmas one year, and that was the start of colors and buttoned down collars. My father surprised me when he abandoned white.

My father seldom deviated from his usual anything. He didn’t easily try new foods and wouldn’t eat familiar foods if they were changed even in the smallest way. The key to my dad was to work around him. When he was here visiting, he ate a pork roast to which I had added garlic in slits around the meat. My dad loved the meal. When my mother was making the same dish, he caught her adding the garlic. He told my mother no way would he eat it. Only shrimp scampi had garlic. He wouldn’t eat hummus because he said it looked like wallpaper paste. Chinese food was exotic to him, a man who loved Spam, sardines and instant coffee.

“Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.”

May 8, 2017

This morning is chilly. My heat went on earlier. The sky is peppered with clouds. I’m thinking it’s a day to stay close to home. Luckily I have everything I need and everything Maddie and Gracie need.

When I was a kid, the future was a day or two away.  Once in a while, I’d be asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. That always took me aback so I chose saying teacher just to have a ready answer. I actually had no idea. I was still planning what I’d do on Saturday. I always thought that was a silly question. People like my aunt the nun asked it because they had no idea how to talk to a kid. How’s school was their other question. Good, the great non-descriptor, was my answer.

My father used to drag us to Connecticut once a year to visit my aunt the nun. She was my father’s older sister. Getting there was quite a production. We’d wear our play clothes until my father stopped at a brick highway rest stop in Connecticut where my mother cleaned us up and we put on church clothes. My aunt was always a nun to me as she became one before I was born. Those were the days of black and white habits and wimples. My aunt never seemed comfortable with our visits. Mostly she just paid attention to my father whom she called brother. He hated that. I remember how quiet the convent was. A nun would deliver cookies and lemonade almost without making a sound. She just whished. Part of the visit was always a tour of the school where my aunt taught. We’d follow behind her from the convent to the school like ducklings behind their mother. The tour was always boring. We knew what schools looked like and hers was no different, but we were glad to be moving not just sitting in the reception living room. We’d finish the tour and then go back to the convent to say our goodbyes until next year. I swear we all let out sighs of relief, even my father, as we were leaving.

I was never close to that aunt even after she ditched the habit. She used to come from Connecticut every year to spend Christmas with my parents. We were all nice to her in a stilted sort of way knowing my cousins were favored and we were abided.

My father often said you could pick your nose but not your relatives. I always thought that was gross but he was right. I offer up my aunt the nun as proof.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

February 22, 2016

I saw them this morning right beside the front steps. My snowdrops, the first real stirrings of spring, have bloomed. Those tiny white flowers have endured snow, below zero temperatures and freezing rain. They are my heroes of spring flowers. They bring hope and joy. Seeing them made me almost giddy. Today is a good day.

The sun is bright but the chilly breeze makes it sweatshirt cold. I have a few stops including the hardware store, not often on my list, and Agway for cat food and litter, two boring places for shopping. I just can’t get excited about nails or screws or wire. As for Agway, they have flowers come spring which redeem the other parts of the store, the boring parts.

I always used to wonder what was under the headpieces the nuns wore. I thought nuns were bald until once I saw a tiny bit of hair from under a coif. I never understood why their outfits were called habits and why most of their habits were black and white, even their thick stockings were black. When my aunt the nun didn’t have to wear a habit any more, she dressed in normal clothes. She also had the worst taste in clothing. I suspect it was because of decades of wearing her habit and not having to choose what to wear or how to accessorize.

Nuns in habits were a bit scary looking when I was young. Most weren’t mean but the habits made them look as if they had the ability to be. A glaring, burning look was all a nun needed for discipline. It wasn’t until I was in the eighth grade that I heard one yell. She was Sister Hildegarde, a legend among us. Even now we all still remember Sister Hildegarde and each of us has a favorite story. I liked her because she was oblivious. I left school during the day, but I always asked permission. She always gave it and never once asked a question about where I was going. I’d just tell her I had to leave but I’d be back. I’d wander around the square, go to the library or have a picnic near the benches at the town hall. I’d mosey back to school after an hour or more of freedom. She’d nod at me to acknowledge my return when I came in and sat down. Usually my friend Jimmy was with me. He took the same delight I did in skirting the line. Nobody else ever came with us. I don’t think they had the same sense of adventure we did or maybe they were just a bit scared. We did it for the fun of it.

“I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum”

April 24, 2015

Today is yesterday and it’s the day before that. The temperature is in the 50’s and it is sunny and cloudy. The breeze, almost a wind, makes the day feel colder. I have things to do so Gracie and I will be out and about including a trip to the dump where it will feel like winter when the wind whips across the dump’s expanse.

My father loved to go to the dump. He usually went every Saturday and always asked for someone to go with him. There were few takers. That dump was a dump of old with high piles of trash and seagulls flying overhead squawking the whole time. The piles and the seagulls could be seen from the highway. I always told people coming to visit to keep their eyes peeled for the dump as we were the next exit.

My father would be disappointed at the dumps now with all their recycle bins and trash bins. The fun is gone and so are the seagulls.

I always found nuns mysterious and a little bit scary. I used to wonder what their hair looked like under their habits, and I also wondered why they had white handkerchiefs stuffed up their sleeves instead of in their pockets. I thought it was sort of gross. My first nuns had white blinders so they couldn’t see sideways without turning their heads. It was always to our advantage that by the time the nun turned we weren’t doing anything. She could hear the whisper but not pinpoint the source. The nuns also had a piece, sort of a half veil, across their foreheads just below the wimple. We got quite the shock  when we went back to school when I was in the eighth grade. The blinders were gone and all that was left was a little visor across the top. That nun could see everyone and everything. Nuns 1, kids 0.