Drownin’ Here

I spent two whole days cleaning out the hall closet, and what did it do for me really but make me see how ridiculously thin I was back when that green leather coat was new? (How did we survive the fashions of the 70s with the super-tight waists? How did we breathe even ?

But what I really want to say here is you’re right, you are so right, all you wise souls who posted comments yesterday noting that the less you have, the lighter your burden. Because I also worked all weekend in the dining room which you see as it looked on Friday. Just try having Thanksgiving around six lamps and a world of wicker! The outside of the house is being painted – the screened in porch too – and everything has been in chaos for the last five weeks. If my camera had a wide-angle lens you could also see the box of human bones, a story for another time.

BUT! Less than 12 hours after the painters were done with the screened-in porch I had carried every last lamp, footstool and table back out there.

Single-handedly ’cause Dave was away.

Then I dug out my grandmother’s pale frail china from 1903 and her brittle little goblets. I found the pickle forks and the celery dish, unearthed and re-washed the tablecloth, and the tablecloth that goes over the tablecloth and ironed all 80 yards of both of them.

Now I’m turning to my mom’s wedding silver, which of course has gone goldenrod yellow with the passage of time and needed to be polished the old fashioned way (with the stuff that turns your hands black that means), then thoroughly washed, then dried with a linen towel and polished some more etc etc.

And the whole time all I could think was how appalled a guy like Henry Thoreau would be, who said Simplify! simplify!

How appalled Khalil Gibran would be who said Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.

This place isn’t even an anchor; it’s the Titanic and maybe it’s going down!

“Jaaaaack! Jaaaack! That’s me as Kate Winslet.

Or maybe we’re that old couple who stayed in their stateroom, hugging in their bed ‘til the last.

Anyway I’m not really complaining; I love the old things, the Limoges given to poor Grandmother Carrie, who died in her 32nd year.

I practically put her soup bowls to my ear and listen to them, just as if they were sea shells.

And you know what? Sometimes, sometimes, I think I actually hear things.