Posted tagged ‘quiet days’

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

April 28, 2016

Though it is still chilly, I think spring has started to take hold. When I went to get the papers, I stayed outside a while to listen to the birds. Their songs filled the air from everywhere.

Gracie has been outside most of the morning. She lies in the sun on the deck until her fur is hot to the touch, and she has started panting from the heat. She comes inside, waits for a small treat then goes into her crate for a bit of a nap. She and I are going to the dump later.

Yesterday was a busy day for me mostly picking up Coke cans. I was in the cellar looking for a wooden box when I knocked the bags of cans over. The open bag fell and cans went everywhere. I picked them up and put them back into the bag only to have them fall one more time. I didn’t complain because in picking up the cans I found an old wooden box once used for storing cranberries. It was exactly what I was looking for. It is now in the kitchen and already filled.

My daytimes are people-less and quiet. Dogs, including Gracie, bark and they and the birds make the only sounds. I do hear cars going down the other street but not so many during working hours. Winter is the quietest season but this, now, the in-between season, is almost as quiet, but all that will change too enough. In summer the noise will seem endless, but now it is only in the afternoons when the kids get home from school. On good days like today, they play in the street, and they are not quiet. They don’t speak in normal tones. Everything has to be yelled from one kid to another. I don’t know if yesterday was bike or scooter day. I just know it was loud.

When I was growing up, my neighborhood was filled with kids. The younger ones stayed around the backyards under the watchful eyes of mothers looking out kitchen windows. We older kids roamed sometimes on our bikes and sometimes on foot. We made forts in the woods and sustained ourselves with blueberries picked from the bushes on the sunny side of the path in those woods.

The path was brown grass in-between two parts of the woods. At one end of the path was the water tower. The other end was the field below my house. That’s where we used to catch grasshoppers and fireflies and where we’d play tag or red rover. I can still see in my mind’s eye the grasshoppers jumping up in front of us as we ran through the field. I remember the sounds they made.

I think I grew up in the best of all places at the best of all times.

“People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes”

June 28, 2015

Last night the sky opened and the rain fell and kept falling until just a little while ago. I’m thinking we got an inch or more of rain. During the height of storm the wind was fierce, and the trees were blown about as if it were a hurricane. I have a branch down in the front yard, and my umbrella, despite its 100 pound base, tipped over onto the deck rail. One of my giant clay pots either fell or, more likely, was shoved off the rail and it shattered on the steps. I saw two grey spawns chasing each other on the deck, amorously I suspect, and they might be the broken clay pot culprits. I cleaned the mess and now have dirt under my nails.

I like Sundays, and though they are no longer the same quiet Sundays of my childhood, they do seem more subdued than any other day of the week. The kids aren’t playing in the street and even the dogs are quiet. I remember Sunday dinner as my favorite meal of the week, and I remember all of us eating together at the table. That was unusual as my Dad worked long hours and generally came home late, after we’d already eaten. He was a salesman who worked back then for J. P. Manning Co, a huge tobacco wholesaler in Boston which, among other things, sold cigars and cigarette vending machines. Once I went with my Dad to his office in Boston, but I stayed in the car. All I remember is seeing the name J. P. Manning across the top of a window.

Every dinner on Sunday had a roast as the center piece, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable or two: green beans, peas, yellow waxed beans or string beans, all from cans. My mother bought her set of Sunday dishes from the supermarket, a dish a week. She also bought the accompanying dishes including a gravy boat, a vegetable server which held two vegetables and a platter for the cut slices of meat. The dishes were off-white with what looked like wheat on them as a decoration and were made of melmac. Though the dishes lasted forever, they started to fade over time and were relegated to being every day dishes.

When my mother started serving Sunday dinner on real dishes, it was cause for celebration. My mother was acknowledging we were growing up and could now be trusted with breakable dishes.

SUNDAY The day..I planned a lot but actually do nothing.”

August 10, 2014

The Sunday of old is gone. Stores are now open, churches have far fewer people and Sunday dinners with the whole family around the table are a thing of the past. I loved that Sunday, except for the church part, but I have noticed the Sunday of today has become, in some ways, like that Sunday of my childhood. Not a single lawn mower breaks the Sunday morning quiet. The birds can be heard singing. My neighbor works every other day of the week, but today he’ll sit on his deck, chat with his family and later he’ll barbecue. He does the same thing every Sunday. That is, I’m thinking, the new definition of a family Sunday dinner: sitting on the deck enjoying each other’s company and barbecuing a chicken.

The day is gorgeous. I couldn’t invent a nicer day. The sun is bright and the morning is still cool. It will get warm today, in the high 70’s, but tonight will be cool again, down in the 60’s, and wonderful for sleeping. This is when I wish I had a tree house so I could sleep outside. I’ve already build one in my imagination. The walkway will be from the deck and will have rope sides and a wooden bottom for easy walking. It will jiggle a bit but still be safe. The treehouse will be big enough for a table, a couple of chairs and a day bed. There will be a tablecloth, a bit retro like the ones from the 50’s, and flowers in a vase on the table. The windows will have curtains; I’m thinking flowers. Below each window on the outside will be flower boxes filled with blossoms of all colors. The door and the windows will have screens which let in the night air but not the night bugs. I will fall asleep among the trees lulled by the songs of night birds.

“But I’m really enjoying my retirement. I get to sleep in every day. I do crossword puzzles and eat cake.”

May 31, 2014

The wind is blowing and even the tree trunks are swaying. The sun is more decoration than warmth. The high today will be in the low 60’s and tonight we’ll go down to the 40’s. The house is cold every morning. I still need my sweatshirt. The windows are closed because of the cold and because of the pine pollen. My car is covered in that yellow-green pollen. When it rains, small puddles are ringed with pine pollen while bigger puddles have a slick of pollen not unlike an oil slick, just a different color. The wind blows the pollen in small clouds. I sneeze a lot.

I’m at the stage of my life where sitting around isn’t boring. I don’t have to accomplish anything. I don’t need to be busy. The days go quickly regardless of what I do or don’t do. Some days my bursts of energy have me dusting and polishing. I do a few loads of wash. Gracie and I go to the dump. I buy some groceries. That is my busiest sort of day. It merits an afternoon nap.

When I worked, I got to school at 6:20 and got home around 4 which left little time to do anything but read the mail, have dinner, watch a TV show or two and go to bed early as the alarm rang at 5:00. In winter I was a mole and seldom saw the sunshine except through a window. The weekends were for doing all the chores and errands. I grocery shopped, changed my bed, did laundry, cleaned a room or two and went to the dump on Sunday. If I did anything fun, it was usually Saturday night. Back then I never stopped to think how narrow my life was. I was too busy with every day.

When I was getting ready to retire, I was asked if I had any plans on how to fill my days. I didn’t. It was enough knowing I no longer had to set the alarm and get up at an ungodly hour. I loved being retired from the first day. If I had nothing to do, I was fine with that. Each day was a blank piece of paper ready to be filled or even left blank. This summer it will be ten years since I retired. They have been remarkable years.


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