Days Folded Like Linens

I recently read a very inspiring and thought provoking piece over at Buffalo Schnitzel that explores living a life of delayed gratification. (And she talks a lot about asparagus, one of my favorite veggies!) You should definitely go check it out. Her post got my motor running and, of course, it got me thinking about my grandmother…

 

Days with my grandma folded up like closet linens. Making beds, doing laundry, dusting, cooking meals, a preserving housework that was simple and slow, crisp and clean. Bent on a purpose to keep her house tidy and full, she would drag her wooden stool into the front room, climb its steps and pull down her sheer lace curtains to be washed and air dried in the backyard. Her knobby knuckles dipped them up and down in the warm soapy water, gently wrung them out and clipped them to the clothes line out back where I sat and picked onion grass to season my mud cakes. They billowed up in the breeze as a royal canopy, coronating her hard work. As she clipped and I plucked, the open windows of the little brick house perfumed the air with her poached chicken that was inside simmering on the stove. Sitting in a folding chair with a bowl in her lap, she picked a couple of pounds of green beans to go with dinner and a butter cake cooled on the table. No one was coming over. Grandad sat inside watching football in the den waiting for her to call him in to dinner when it was time. The day was beautiful because that’s what she made it–and she gave it to us. When we ate at the table on floral plates and served ourselves her chicken and gravy, beans and butter cake, next to her clean white curtains, we absorbed her. We felt important and loved. Her simple work decorated us. Her fussing filled us. Her tiredness gave us energy. And it gratified her. Every day was the same. The same little house. The same beds to be made. The same linens to fold. The same child to wash.  A life lived for others.

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4 thoughts on “Days Folded Like Linens

  1. I love this so much! It is transporting, another time. Yet right within us if we choose. I struggle between what you described and the unending message we hear to “slow down, do nothing.” And of course there is a time a place for that but my natural inclination is to be busy and for my children to see me involved in meaningful work. The work of making a house a home. Thanks for this!

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  2. What beautiful writing! First of all, thank you so much for referring to my blog post–I’m glad it inspired your piece! Isn’t it so great when that happens? I’ve definitely been experiencing that the more I get into this whole blogging thing. 🙂 Whenever I read something you wrote, I’m fully IN the scene that you set. I could just about taste the food you described, and your descriptions of your grandmother are especially vivid. She obviously inspired you so much…it’s a beautiful relationship to read about. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed your blog as well. I like seeing your experiences in Germany with your family! It’s always so good to get different perspectives of lives far away.

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