Posted tagged ‘small kitchen’

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

August 30, 2018

The heat is still horrific. This is the worst it’s been in my memory. My friend Bill wondered if it is hotter here than in Bolgatanga, Ghana where we both lived. Some days I believe it is.

This is the rainy season in Ghana, but it isn’t the rainy season here. We haven’t seen rain in a while, especially that drenching rain I remember in Ghana. Luckily my irrigation system has kept the lawn and garden green. The plants in the deck pots have to be watered almost every day or they wilt. I understand wilting. I wilt every time I go outside. It is not a pretty sight.

When I was younger, I could tolerate the heat here in the house far better. I didn’t even have a fan. I used to sleep downstairs on the couch, and I kept the back door open all night. That was enough. Now, it would never be enough.

When I was a kid, I slept through the hottest nights because I was exhausted, because the swelter of every summer day didn’t matter, didn’t slow me down, didn’t stop me from having fun. I rode my bike, played softball, walked to the pool and hung around outside with friends. I was a kid so being sweaty and dirty was no never mind. The sprinkler was my summer shower. That it was cold water was the best part.

My mother always had a pitcher of ZaRex in the fridge. It was cheaper than making lemonade and tasted better than Kool-Aid. The pitcher she used the most was blue aluminum. The glasses were also aluminum but were a variety of colors. She had a couple of glass pitchers, one smaller than the other. I found their duplicates in an antique store and bought them both. I’m heavy into nostalgia.

My mother didn’t use her stove or oven a whole lot in the summer because the small kitchen held the heat. Sandwiches were acceptable supper food. My dad barbecued on weekends but my mother never did during the week. Everyone knew barbecuing was a man’s job. That my father sometimes set himself on fire was just an acceptable risk.

I have a doctor’s appointment in Hyannis today. I’m not happy with going outside. That my car has AC doesn’t matter. It’s just the idea of it.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

April 28, 2015

The day is uninviting. The flags in my front yard are flapping and whipping in the wind. In my back yard, the pine tree trunks sway and almost bend. We haven’t any sun. It rained last night and the clouds just stayed around. Bleak comes to mind except for one amazing spot in the front garden where my forsythia has bloomed in the brightest yellow. It is the most hopeful sign of the progression of the season, of the emergence of spring.

We had a very small kitchen when I was a kid. The table was sandwiched against the wall and at best five chairs could be set around it. There were six of us, but my mother never sat with us so five chairs were enough. My mother was an at the counter eater. Even much later in a kitchen with plenty of room, my mother liked the counter. I never thought it was strange.

My parents never mentioned their pets. I think maybe my mother had a dog, but that memory is fuzzy. I know my dad didn’t have any pets. His parents were not pet people. When I was five, we got our first dog, a Boxer need Duke. From then on our house always had pets, usually a dog and a cat or two at the same time. I can’t imagine a house without a pet.

I don’t know how my parents became pet people. I’m thinking it was just in their natures. They had no history of loving dogs or cats, but they surely loved theirs and mine. Every dog I had was spoiled when visiting my parents. My dad would get a bowl of ice cream for himself and one for the dog. I’d bring up treats and dog food, but each dog turned its nose up at its usual treats and would stand by the fridge patiently waiting for my mother to give it some cold cuts and cheese. She thought it was funny. For Christmas one year my mother gave my dog homemade biscuits. Maggie thought they were manna from heaven. My father never met Maggie and neither of my parents met Gracie. My dad would have been roaring laughing at Gracie and her sass. Maggie would have followed him around and sat with him in the yard. She loved her leisure. I’m sorry that Maggie and Gracie never got to be spoiled by my parents. I, however, fill the gap. In my mind, pets are meant to be spoiled as sort of a small thank you for what they give us, for the love which is immeasurable.

“Oh, my roads and their cadence.”

March 11, 2014

The best part of today is the warmth. It is already 51˚, a heat wave of sorts. I was on the deck earlier filling the sunflower feeders and the air smelled fresh so I lingered a while. Gracie lingered with me, postponing her morning nap until she could follow me in the house. We both came in and Gracie is now sleeping quite soundly on the couch beside me. The day doesn’t look at all inviting, but I can’t let 51˚ go to waste so we’ll go out and ride a bit. I never know what adventures I might have.

When I go to my childhood home town, I take familiar routes. I go by my old elementary school still standing strong after over 100 years. The windows are new and look strikingly white against the old brick. The convent that used to be across the street was bought, torn down and replaced by condos. I wonder what happened to the angel statue which used to stand on the convent’s lawn. My eighth grade picture was taken on that lawn in front of the statue and the top part of convent could be seen in the background. When I continue driving down the street, I take note of all the differences. I knew every house that used to be on that route and I name them as I drive by where they once stood. On the corner was a two-decker, but I didn’t know who lived there. The Brophy’s lived in the next house down, and the Seventh Day Adventists who ran a bakery for a while lived in a really old house a couple down from the Brophy’s. The old lady whose walk I shoveled lived in the red house. I drive by where the tracks once were, and if no cars are behind me, I stop and look down both sides. I know the tracks on the left used to go by the old factories, across Main Street to where the corner store stood, by the gatekeepers house then they continued, but I never knew to where. The tracks on the right led to the old station house and then ended, but there was a turnaround so the train could go back from where it came. My old street hasn’t changed at all. The same houses are there going up both sides of the hill. At my old house, the only differences I see are the trees are even taller than the house, and the lawn needs care. I pause on the street and close my eyes. I can see every room in my mind’s eye, and I remember where the furniture was placed and how small a kitchen it was. I wonder about the in-ground garbage can in the back. It’s probably still there, but nobody collects garbage anymore. I finish my trip back in time and continue driving on to my sister’s house. It’s always nice to visit and stir my memories.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

May 21, 2013

The day is cloudy and has a bit of a chill, a long sleeve shirt sort of day. Everything is really still and quiet. I like a day this way. Sun all the time makes for a dry lawn and garden while clouds all the time make for gloom so I’m happy with a mix of days. Yesterday was a perfectly lovely day so I don’t mind today’s clouds.

A chickadee is building a nest in one of my bird houses or at least I think so as I have seen her going in and out of the house which is a flamingo with swaying legs. It is pink as flamingos are and has a small opening, perfect for a chickadee. I’ll keep an eye.

Dandelions get a bum rap. They appear in the lawn and are dug up or summarily destroyed. They were the first flowers I ever gave my mother. Nothing so beautiful could possibly have been anything but a flower to me. Dandelions reminded me of the sun: round and bright yellow. My mother always took my gift, the bouquet of dandelions, with profuse thanks and put them in a vase in the middle of the table. She never saw them as weeds. They were a gift.

Before I visit my sister, I go up the hill to the house where, other than this house, I have lived the longest time. I know every part of that house and can close my eyes and see each room. The kitchen was small with only a little counter space, a corner which barely fit the table and chairs and a small stove on the same wall as the table. The fridge was beside the back door, my mother’s bugaboo. The door was wooden and painted green and in the summer had a screen instead of a storm door. My sisters, who played in the yard most summers, went out that back door which always slammed behind them. That drove my mother crazy. Her warning, “Don’t slam the door,” always seemed just a bit too late, drowned out by the sound of the slam. For some reason my mother and that door are a strong memory from that house.

I have this mind which seems to hold on to so many things though words and some names are beginning to escape me. I have to think long and hard to remember some of them. The other day I was trying to come up with Pierce Brosnan, don’t ask me why as I don’t remember, and I was with a friend who couldn’t remember either. I gave her hints: he was Remington Steele and James Bond. Neither one of us came up with his name. In the background, while we were talking, music from the mid 60’s was playing, and we knew every word. Once I told a friend how many traffic lights she would encounter on her route through Boston. I just closed my eyes and drove the route in my head. I remember odd things of little importance, but sometimes I forget why I am in the kitchen or I lose forever that small list I thought I’d memorized. Even mnemonics don’t help as much any more. I sometimes forget what they mean. I do, however, have a hold on so many past memories, long ago memories, the best memories like the dandelions and the back door.