I had an unusual day. Ran out the door in my normal hurry to go to work, reached for the car door handle and realized I didn’t have any keys. I haven’t forgot my keys in many years. Lost them yes but not left them. I stood there under the black sky with its impending rain, the humidity so thick you could (such a cliche) cut it with a knife. Condensation was pouring down my back and face as I stood. Thinking. Knowing exactly where the keys were, hanging right beside the door, knowing there weren’t any keys in the car or truck or on the front porch. I made a circle around the house looking for unlocked windows. None. I searched the truck and car and front porch. None. My cell phone battery was
extremely low; I had planned to charge it while driving. Ok then.
I called my brother, no answer. Called a couple other close people, no answer. Called a friend/s and yes they could come and get me but it would be a couple hours at least before I could actually get to work.
Where I’m going with this is; I moved here after living in California for about nine years. I locked everything all the time. Then I moved into my grandmothers old log cabin in the woods across a creek and down a lane.
I remember one Saturday we got up, and after breakfast, walked out the door, tucked Adrian into the car seat and drove to Springfield. Almost there I turned to my husband and asked, “Did you close the door?” Notice I asked about closing the door but not locking it. He said, “No.”
It looked like a pleasant day coming upon us and there wasn’t any rain in the forecast but we would be gone 3 days. I hoped a big blowing rainstorm didn’t brew up. I laughed to myself siting there in the passenger seat. It would take a lot of wind to blow rain in under those eaves, yes quite a lot. I never even closed the doors normally, not when it was warm enough to not be cold. The rickety old wooden screen doors kept most of the mosquitoes and larger vermin out, and demanded the gaggle of young nieces and nephew living across the creek at least knock before coming in. It was a happy casual safe place to live.
All these thoughts came to me as I stood there in the now lazy warm drizzle this summer day was offering, and wondered at the changes over the last 25 years. I missed those easy times when I left my car keys in the ignition, even in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was years before I thought better of that, then more years before I started locking the car like some religious ritual.
I used to be able to climb in a window somewhere easy if I locked myself out. But not today,everything was locked up tight as a drum. I circled the house anyway just in case without luck. Finally I took a seat in a lawn chain on the porch out of the rain, propped up my feet and spent the next hour relaxed and thinking. Maybe that’s exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment in the Ozarks. Enjoying the soft tapping of light rain in the leaves.
I had several epiphanies throughout the day as I kept finding myself at junctions where time seemed to stand still and demand my mind be quiet. So I went with the flow and the day was good to me.
On another note my grandmothers big red bowl is a very special item to me.
There used to be two big bowls, one red and the other yellow. Some of you may remember them in your own mothers and grandmothers kitchens. They were a staple from a certain era. Grandma served pinto beans or Spanish rice in them most days. Sometimes she mixed up a mess of pie dough or a large pudding would go into one of them. We almost always used one or even both of them during an evening meal. I was careful of my grandmothers things being a meticulous cautious child.
One summer evening I was drying dishes and that yellow bowl jumped right out of my two hands and crashed on the floor shattering into a thousand shards all over my feet and the kitchen floor. The room got real quiet and I burst into tears. I valued that bowl even then as a nine year old because it was my grandmothers. See I was the only granddaughter until many years after it became apparent that my aunts and uncle were doing their fair share of populating the family with sons. And I always had the impression she thought I walked on water, as I thought of her.
Breaking that bowl felt like a direct assault I was directing toward her, but it wasn’t. She made some fuss about was I alright and such. No cuts but my heart was broken.
The event has been one of those that stays with me all through these last 40 plus years. Just a clear picture of wondering why it happened. In 1982 Grandma Doll was hospitalized and I was staying in her log house while on a visit from California with my husband and unborn son. I missed the yellow bowl and carefully used the red one. We had planned on selling everything in California and moving here to Arkansas and living with Grandma until we got a house built.
We did move back a little more than a year later during the winter of 83-84 smack dab in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record. The five day trip on highways covered in solid ice is another story. Her cold coffee cup still sat on the kitchen table where she had last sat. I moved into her old log home, one more generation, with my year old son and husband. I used that big red bowl for all manner of cooking and serving.
I still use it to this day. I never put hot things in it but it’s my bowl of choice for pie dough, potato salad, cole slaw,which I only learned to appreciate since moving back here. That’s a funny story, me and cole slaw.