“That haircut makes you look more like your old self,” my mother remarked. My oldest sister agreed in her rather pleasing and generally consistent neutral way. “You know, back when…” Mother smiled remembering the past. She spoke briefly to how I used to look.
“Actually, that was the young me,” I said, “and this is the old me.”
We laughed. I like it when my family and I laugh together. Being able to have a sense of humor and fun was always a part of my family experience growing up, which I believe was our saving grace and most likely still is.
Mother and I had gone out to eat and shopped at a thrift store for nearly two hours before we got to my sister’s house. I couldn’t believe I was able to walk around a store that long. I did start to hurt but took my medication and felt fine. My mother was hurting by that time too, only she didn’t have medication. She endures chronic pain.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty for having better medical care and treatment than my family members have, but then I feel a little guilty over just about everything in life.
Mother bought me little things at the large thrift store, which she clearly enjoyed. I found a stunning little wood carving of a bird, along with a couple of unique handmade Halloween crafts. I spent most of my time browsing the coats. I found my son a lined corduroy one in perfect condition and myself a truly classic thrift shop gem.
“Well.” my mother remarked with a mild reservation.
She looked at the coat I’d found with her eyebrows raised but a smile on her face adding, “It’ll sure fit in where you live,” which is true.
My favorite part is the soft furry lining, but I do like clothes with a little creative touch or character. My family knows this about me.
It’s good to have people who know little things about you.
Arriving at my mother’s house earlier that morning had been pleasant. The windows were open letting in a breeze too cool for my arms, but it was quite refreshing and in more ways than one. Before she moved to the country she seemed afraid of the outdoors. She’s always said she didn’t want her windows open because, “somebody could just stick their arm inside, reach in and grab her.”
Her backyard is a cow and horse pasture. The absence of city noise and lights, with a view of rolling hills evokes in me a fantasy of sitting outside, watching cows, (which is good for the soul) and writing a novel.
Mother was playing soothing, albeit country, music when I arrived. I love it when I hear my mom listen to music.
I absolutely love it.
It reminds me of, “back when.”
The day was perfect for a family visit. The recent rains made way for a clear blue sky and interesting sounds. The most surprising part of the day was that I didn’t get fatigued. The best part was sitting on my sister’s deck and visiting. No rush, no running around, just sitting and talking. It was a time I hope to recall in the future.
“Did you hear that woodpecker?” my sister asked.
I did but I don’t think my mother heard it. She worked in a cotton mill for many years and says the noise from those large weaving machines impaired her hearing. “I didn’t like wearing those ear plugs,” she’ll say. “They just didn’t feel good.” I imagine they didn’t look good either and my mother did enjoy looking her best, even while weaving.
I wondered about my sister when she pointed out the sound of that woodpecker. Not that she doesn’t appreciate her yard and those trees. I know she does, but she’s usually busy either cleaning her house or getting ready to go some place. Sadly, she’s in pain and has been for longer than I think I could tolerate without treatment. She’s preparing for a hip-replacement in a few weeks.
I’ve talked to her over the phone but seeing her slowly limping around struck me differently. Her lameness broke my heart.
Was it pain, I wondered, that beckoned her to listen to the peace of nature in the first days of the falling leaves.
My sister has worked every working day since she was 15 and got her working permit. She and my other sister, who are only eleven months apart, used to earn money cleaning people’s houses when they were adolescents.
“You’re too young,” I was told whenever I asked to help. That never changed, which one of my sisters seemed to resent, but this was not something I could help.
One time after pleading with my mother I was allowed to go with my sisters to clean a house. I was around ten years old. I stood between them while they washed dishes. I knew they were basically tolerating me. I got to pass the dishes from one who was washing and the other who was rinsing.
I dropped a fork and it stabbed my right toe. I remember them saying not to tell the owners of the house and talking about the blood stains. I never got to help them again.
I didn’t learn the same things my sisters did. One learned how to sew. The other learned how to run a riding lawn mower and finally a tractor. I learned to ride a ten-speed bicycle.
The day was perfect for a family visit. The leaves are falling. The season is changing. Our differences and shadows from the past didn’t matter.
A part of me remains the same.
- Sisters turn thrifting hobby into business venture (knoxnews.com)