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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Going Home con't.

Here's the rest of the post.

“Why don’t you put the two kids in here on this bed,” my husband suggested.
“Because,” I said as nicely as possible with visions of grasshopper guts still in my head, “the children might A) get a nose bleed from climbing so high to get into bed, or B) sustain a concussion from falling off during the night.”
“Then you and the kids sleep in the front bedroom and I’ll sleep in the living room on the sofa.”

While this conversation was going on the children had been busy turning the knobs on three radios on the dresser. One of the three clock radios was kept playing all the time to give the impression someone was actually living there. I couldn’t tell which one was now emitting static due to their knob turning, so I just hit all the buttons on all three until the noise stopped.

The kids and I took the front bedroom with one regular full sized mattress and my husband opted for the sofa in the Preacher/Insurance Salesman living room since they were not there at the time. Just then the phone rang. Why, I wondered, would they continue to have phone service in an empty house? Who would call? Who would answer? It was his sister calling and I answered.

“Hello?” I said.
“I was just calling to see if you have seen any more spiders.”
“You mean besides the 10,000 that were on the front porch?”
“No, in the living room.”
“Just a minute. Honey, your sister wants to know if you have seen any spiders in the living room.”
“No, not yet,” and he immediately began to slap specks of dust that could possibly be spiders and started to scratch imaginary bites.
:”None so far but I’m sure he will let you know if he does. Bye.”

Thus we all settled down for a good night’s sleep…well, we did, my husband was still slapping and scratching. An hour later the two-year-old woke up crying and wanting milk. I trekked off to the kitchen to get him some milk and sooth his anxiety about sleeping in a strange house. An hour later, the five-year-old fell off the bed. She managed to climb back into bed but now had her head at the foot of the bed. At one-thirty a.m. my husband, convinced he had spiders crawling on him, had to take a shower. The five-year-old must have heard him get up because she jumped up and ran smack dap into the bedpost. She started crying which woke up the two-year-old, who then immediately wanted more milk.

“Let me get out of the shower. I’ll get his milk; see if you can get her quieted down.”

My husband, taking pity on me, gave the two-year-old more milk and rocked him back to sleep in the old rocker. The sound was familiar. I comforted the five-year-old and hoped the bump would not turn her eye black. Everyone settled back down to sleep, that is, until at two-thirty a.m. when a clock radio alarm went off. One of the buttons I had pushed must have set the alarm. My husband tried to figure out which of the three clock alarms was going off and get it turned off before the kids woke up again…too late. He finally unplugged all three radios. He took the baby and got him quiet. I assured the five-year-old that it was not a “practice fire alarm” and she finally went to sleep. After thirty minutes my husband was so sleep deprived that he put the baby in the bed with me but with his feet right up my rear…and he kicks…a lot (the baby, not my husband). At that point I didn’t even care as long as I could sleep and then drink coffee in peace on the front porch in a few hours… well, two hours.

The sun came up at last. It was morning. I sneaked out of bed, made my coffee and padded out to the front porch, to sit in the swing and watch the cars go by on the highway and look at the hayfields. I was sitting there just being…at last…when I noticed a huge spider had built his web…overnight…right between the links of chain and about six inches from my head. I would have screamed but I didn’t have time because the two-year-old and the five-year-old woke up to continue their slamming door concert from last night. That sent the spider scurrying for the nearest crevice in the ceiling.

It didn’t matter anyway. The trees and bushes had forty-five years of growth since the last time I had sat there for any length of time and you couldn’t see the hayfields anyway. The soothing sound of the occasional car passing on the highway had been replaced with a steady stream of cars and eighteen wheelers whose drivers seemed to take great joy in honking their horns at every possible opportunity, or maybe they were honking their horns in response to the five-year-old jerking her arm up and down in that universal truck signal to blast us with their horns causing any hearing aid to squeal.

What was going to be a nice week-end at the old home place turned into a one-nighter. What was to be was not to be; we packed up everything and headed home that afternoon. I figured the whole week-end had been a bust, but later I began to think about how much fun the kids had had chasing grasshoppers and feeding spiders. They saw lightening bugs and played with the toys on the front porch that my husband had played with as a child. The five-year-old had found an old doll that belonged to her aunt and she dressed and undressed it for hours. They loved looking at all the old pictures on the wall and commenting “You were really pretty when you were little.” Even the slamming door concert sounded familiar. My husband had gone through his old dresser and found the Aladdin paper coupons he had saved as a child with the intention of buying a new bicycle. Even though he had never redeemed the coupons, his mother had kept them anyway. The house had seemed alive again.

While I didn’t get to sit on the front porch and enjoy the solitude of a summer’s day and just “be”, I did discover something. That day I sat on the porch all day watching a small piece of the world drift by is still there…a wonderful memory. Maybe the children will remember their grasshopper safari and feeding Charlottes, the sound of slamming doors, playing with the toy garage, and seeing all the old pictures on the walls. Maybe this will become a special day that, years later, they will remember.

I was thinking about all this the other day as I was sitting on my own front porch , watching the kids play in the front yard, listening to the sound of the wind rustling in the trees, and enjoying the smell of the gardenia bushes. Then, quietly, as if someone had gently whispered it in my ear, I heard…”Welcome home”.

Thank you, God, for my home and I pray for those without one.

1 comment:

Marti said...

Wonderful piece, Jody!