I all but missed the early service this morning. I slipped in late-but in time for communion. Thankfully, the rabbit patch does not keep an account of such things. The mockingbird did not sing, either. Cash, my dog and his best friend, the gray cat, Christopher Robin, slept through the whole thing. Night became day, without a big production. The territory simply became lighted. Yesterdays’ rain made the leaves drop until the land looked “untouched by human hand”. My grandmama used to say “that idle hands were the devils’ workshop” . As a child, this scared me senseless and I would find something to do that very moment. Now, I can honestly say, that “idle hands” are at least one sin, I do not have to worry about.
On top of being late for “the early service at the rabbit patch”, I cut it short. I had laundry washing and a paintbrush in my hand, within thirty minutes. I think it is safe to say, I will not bake cookies today.
By early afternoon, I knew that the ladder would spend another night in the farmhouse. As I painted the wall, where a roller couldn’t go, I noticed the crown molding looked mighty dingy-as did the ceiling. Both needed painting. I did my best to convince myself, otherwise, but the verdict was “written on the wall” so to speak. I consoled myself, that it was kind of like doing something for the future owners. I hoped they had children-and that the children had a pony-and little goats. Just before giving them names, I stopped carrying on-but it did help lift my spirits. It felt different to improve conditions for others, instead of for the sake of selling it. I felt the same way, when I planted the rose bush in the spring.
The sun was shining by late afternoon. I made a mental note to wash the windows. I worked steadily. When Kyle needed the ladder, I was almost glad of it. I went to the kitchen and started to try and restore order there. I had taken everything off of the built in shelves as I painted. One shelf has a collection of white covered books. Those I dusted. Another shelf, has Grandmamas’ old Avon decanters-all white of course. I took to washing them. I have written before, about the relaxation that comes with hand washing pretty glass. This was just the remedy I needed. I caught faint whiffs of the old fashioned perfumes and remembered those familiar fragrances that adorned all of the country women, in my childhood.
The Avon Lady was a regular visitor to the farm, when I was growing up. I never knew her name, but I remember she was a sweet lady with silver hair-and she was always wearing “church clothes”. She would give Delores and I little lipstick samples which thrilled us. We put them in our pocketbooks with our Sunday gloves, and things like acorns and bottle caps. The Avon Lady was well received-if it was winter, but sometimes she had the misfortune of coming when Grandmama was cleaning out the freezer or canning tomatoes. I remember Delores and I running in the backdoor joyfully announcing “The Avon lady is here!”- And grandma saying “durn!” on more than one occasion. That was strong language, in those days. Children were not allowed to even say it.
By the time Kyle was finished with the ladder, the kitchen was in proper order, excepting the white glass on the counter and the white covered books stacked on the kitchen table. I told Kyle to put the ladder back in the living room, for I had lost all of my gumption, while washing the glass.
We did not finish every chore on the list, but had made a gallant effort. I have been working on the rabbit patch for a long while. The house is older than it has ever been-I am too. I think now, I needed the rabbit patch as much as it needed me. Surely the barns look better with roses painted on them and a yard full of flowers and apples, couldn’t be anything but appealing. The rabbit patch taught me how to be resourceful. I learned to live carefully because I had to-now I do so because I want to. When the moon rose over the field, behind the old barn, I found it difficult to hold anything against the territory that fed us-or the house that sheltered us. . .even though there is a ladder in the living room-and my dresser is in the hall way. . along with my shoes.