A solid life. That’s what it’s always been about with this house.
Permanence…real materials, reclaimed goods, lasting quality, a search for what’s real amongst the fake. So, soapstone countertops instead of formica, stepback cupboard in place of veneered cabinets. An 1800’s restaurant worktable for dining, battered hardwood floors (well, they are now) and Mom’s cast iron frying pan.
I hear my uncles A.D. and Delmer and Elbert when I cook with that heavy black pan, their voices forever crusted onto the surface, I smell the laughter, their cackles and whoops, feel the humidity of those sticky, summer noontime feasts as the steam rises over my sizzling hot stove. I’m creating/recreating a life that had meaning, or that’s how it seemed to me, though I’m sure that when the price of tobacco fell and the fish weren’t biting, they probably laid awake at night scratching their Brylcreem-oily heads, wondering how they were gong to meet their bills, just like me.
But always that laughter, the adornment and garnishing of the past, high tales of high adventure, when in reality they were scrapping out a calloused, sunburnt life. But those boys chewed the fat, literally and figuratively – fatback greasy and gravy-laden rewards for labor, salvation in a pot of oily collards. Not certain if they knew Jesus but they sure knew how to enjoy his creation. They lived their lives, sucked the marrow out of each moment.
I’ve learned that you’ve got to dig deep to get to the marrow, live a lot closer to the bone than is comfortable. My husband and I have been living bone on bone for the past two years, in limbo, trying to save our house from foreclosure. Yesterday the clerk of courts said, ‘Basta,’ no more extensions, it’s in the hands of the bank. I laid in bed last night, trying to picture that: bank hands, no head, no heart to hear my soul’s silent plea…and a voice, His voice asked, “Whose hands? Your house is in whose hands?
“Your hands, Lord; my house is in your hands.”
My daughter hurt for me, sensed my need for closure and then this morning I woke up to these words in an email from a friend:
“Clarity?…Closure?…Foreclosure? eeek! What is the Lord up to?”
Then she caught my heart when she empathized with “Me, I hate limbo more than decision.”
Yeah, you gotta’ be pretty flexible to bend low enough to go under the limbo stick. “Limbo lower now, how low can you go?”
I see it all differently this morning…my homey house, my vintage stuff, my dusty dreams. I know its all fleeting, temporary, but it helps ground me, a reminder of who/what is the only timeless, ageless thing we have in this world. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” heaven in a copper pot, eternity in a pewter plate. You can count on it being there, doing its job, function and beauty, now there’s a marketing philosophy.
So, I guess you could say I’m a nostalgia addict, homesick for a home I’ve never lived in but had glimpses of. Home is a person, not a place and he’s everyplace I go, winking at me through the wisteria wrapped round the pergola, nudging me with the romance of the short-lived scent of gardenias…(I’m over here – inhale me), seducing me with a 150 year-old baker’s cabinet, drawers redolent with cinnamon and vanilla memories of old-timey goodness corn bread and preacher cake, baking for Jesus.
This longing for home only gets stronger, is an ache and a craving and a waiting. Life is the entrée, sometimes meager, often bitter, occasionally succulent but always there waits the sweet dreams of dessert, the last bite, the one morsel that satisfies the years of yearning, o feed me that course, Lord, indulgent bliss of forever with you.