Monday, May 30, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stuffed on the Moving Boxes

Our wedding and Easter aside, life has felt like one stressful thing after another the past month. How many times lately I have looked at Stuffed and wished to be a cat!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Greens and Blues

A long walk this afternoon in my favorite spot in the city.  I would love to live in a little cabin inside these woods.  Stuffed would race out the door in the mornings to chase the chubby bumblebees.
Mike and I would spend our days hiking and reading and cooking.
We would plant strawberries and feast on homemade bread and jelly.
And watch the ducks glide along on our pond.
I would delight in sun tea, toads, and so much free time.
The air would smell of creek beds, soil, and wildflowers.
Every meal would be a picnic.
We would awake to birds' songs in the morning and always be able to see the stars at night.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Table and Chairs and Other Gifts of Ordinary Days

My parents and I went to a flea market Saturday afternoon, and after two hours of looking around, just as I reached the place where the three of us were all to meet up and head back to the car, I saw this great green table and its four matching heavy oak chairs. At this point in the day, I had $5 in my pocket, so I knew there was no way I'd be buying it, and yet. . . .I wanted this set as soon as I saw it. Sometimes things just hit you a certain way, and this was one of those times. There was just something about the set--I could imagine Mike and I eating cinnamon rolls at this chipped green table on some on some future cold Christmas morning, I could see my parents sitting down with us for a simple summer garden meal on these four flowered chairs, I could see the table in a kitchen we don't even yet have with a terracotta pot of red Geraniums on its center. . . .I just wanted this, and $5 in my pocket or not, I couldn't imagine leaving it behind. I actually had tears in my eyes as I looked at the hand-painted flowers and examined each of the chairs.
I talked with the flea market booth vendor/owner about the set and told him I really wanted it and was just figuring out how to handle it. He said he'd go down on the price by $40, which made it even sweeter, and then he said something I don't remember about the price, and I had to laugh and tell him, "I'm not playing hardball with you! I have $5 on me right now! But I want this, and I'll figure it out. Let me find my parents and see what we can do." I found my dad first, and we went over to the booth to look at the set again. My dad could see why I was charmed by it. We left again to find my mom and returned with her. As my parents checked out the table and chairs together, the man told me I looked just like his granddaughter in Myrtle Beach--"You even have the same hair!"--and said if we could put a little down on it, he'd hold it for us that night and we could pick it up Sunday. I said, "Would you hold it for $5?!" expecting him to laugh, but he said, "I would. I know you really want it, so for you, I would." 
I promised the man my dad and I would be back in the morning to pick it up. I found an ATM that evening to get the cash and could hardly believe I had gone to the flea market expecting to find maybe some fabric or the usual flea market who-knows-what and had instead ended up with furniture. 
My dad and I made the trip back to the flea market the next morning, Dad wondering out loud if he'd be able to fit all the chairs into the back of the car or if he'd have to call one of my brothers to help. I had baked chocolate chip cookies the night before and had some wrapped up and tied with a red-wired bow to give to the flea market booth owner. It was supposed to be another rainy day, but the weather held until later that afternoon.
When we found the booth again, we saw that the man had already taken the table apart for us--it has two extra leaves--and had it all ready to go. He helped my dad load it all into the car, he thanked me for the cookies, and he shook my hand when I offered it and told me to enjoy the table and chairs. An incredibly nice man. I hope he's still in business when I finally have this all set up in some future new home, as I'd really love to send him a picture. 
When we got home and unloaded it all from the car, I took these pictures, sent a few to Mike, and oohed and ahhed over the set some more. The green! The flowers! The carvings! The curvy shape! The black leather seats! The weight of each piece! The incredible deal I'd gotten on it! I was just so tickled.  When I got out of the shower later that night and said goodnight to my dad, who was still up watching TV, he said, "Good night" then gestured toward the TV and said, "They got that Bin Laden." Pajamas on and hair wrapped in a towel, I grabbed a blanket and curled up on the couch while Dad stayed in his chair, and we watched the news and then the President's address together, near-silent for the next hour or so. What was there to say? How many thousands of people did not get to enjoy a carefree flea market weekend in early May, or share another visit with their parents, or enjoy a cinnamon roll and flowers at a table with the one they married? And how many protect us every day so that we might be able to live the table-and-Geranium-filled lives we so love? I doubt I will ever sit in one of these chipped chairs to enjoy a meal or see a loved one pull up to the hand-painted table without uttering a thankful prayer.