Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"something to do with the blog"

DSCN1844, originally uploaded by patryfrancis.

The other day, I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling and listening to my family as they moved around downstairs. Now that I don't have to jump out of bed at 5 a.m. and go serve breakfast somewhere, I enjoy spending a few extra moments lying among the tousled sheets. Thinking. Contemplating. Listening.

"Did you happen to notice that Mom's waitress shoes are hanging in the garden?" Nellie asked.

I pictured her standing by the window in her tank top and shorts--the summer uniform she's reluctant to abandon. But the air was already feeling cooler. There was the sound of a spoon clinking in a coffee cup.

"Yup," Ted said.

I pictured him, setting up for his morning routine. Opening the paper. Looking around for a pair of glasses, then when he couldn't find his, reaching for mine. The ones he calls the "goofy red ones," though he wears them when no one's looking.

"What's that about?" Nellie asked, still focused on the Sketchers hanging in the garden.

"I don't know," her father replied, already distracted by the front page. "Must be something to do with the blog."

And it was. Something to do with the blog.

And I thought to myself, this is peace. Smiling to myself as my family talks to each other below. Knowing that anytime I want to, I can go downstairs, pour my own coffee and join them. I can sit at the table on one of the most perfect, golden days of the year and read the paper and allow myself to be teased about the shoes in the garden.

Yes, this is peace and it is the most sacred and holy thing on this earth. It is also what I was thinking about before I was called back to my life by the voices in the kitchen. I was thinking of the wonder and fragility of peace. And of all the people in the world who don't have it. And how today, with yet another member in the nuclear weapon club, it seems a little more imperiled for all of us.


In today's obituaries, I was inspired by Buck O'Neil, who died at 94, the last survivor of America's segregated baseball leagues. "It never occurred to him to be bitter," someone said.

For the rest of the day, I thought of Buck whenever it might have occurred to me to be afraid. Or angry. Or envious. I thought of Buck, and didn't let it occur.


Anonymous said...

Oh, patry, I enjoyed being you in that bed and feeling that peace! Thanks for transporting me there, and reminding me to take note of the same in my own life!

But why WERE your shoes in the garden???

Zhoen said...

Peace, indeed.

rdl said...


Shannon Hopkins said...

Yes, why?! A lovely entry, by the way. May all of your days be this peaceful.

Anonymous said...

heh -- You hung 'em up. Mazeltov.

(Of course, what I really want to know is how you got your sunflower to grow so nice and huge without some critter coming along and gnawing the head off right before it bloomed, as ALWAYS happens to me when I try to grow them that size.

I'm not bitter (anymore). Just curious. Honest.)

The Curmudgeon said...

Buck O'Neil -- a great man. And I hope the nincompoops that denied him membership in the Hall of Fame last year (by one vote!) are happy.

Buck wasn't bitter, but I can still be angry, can't I?

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Does that mean you've hung up the waittressing shoes for good this time?

I enjoyed this quiet glimpse into your life and moment of peace. Lovely!

Patry Francis said...

Thanks to all for sharing my morning peace, and for regularly posting your own versions of it, and for being the kind of people who care passionately that it doesn't exist everywhere.

Sara and Sharon--you nailed it. The photo and the shoes that may be hanging in the garden for quite some time are a little visual tribute to the end of my waitressing career.

This morning Ted told me to take them down because it might rain, and they are still good shoes. But the thing is, I don't think I ever want to wear them again. Let the rain come!

And Sara, as to the splendor of that sunflower, it has to be pure luck. OUrs is the most neglected garden in the state.

And p.s. to Curmudgeon: That one vote killed me, too.

robin andrea said...

A lovely moment, those waitressing shoes in the garden and your loved ones wondering about them. The simplest of all things --that peace, so poignant and perfect. Wonderful photograph.

Yes about Buck O'Neil.

Sustenance Scout said...

Wonderful scene, Patry! I love it. What a great place to hang the shoes up for good and for all to see. And thanks so much for mentioning the write-up on Buck O'Neil. I've added a post on that (and yes, another link back!) to my little corner of the blogosphere. K.

Patry Francis said...

robin andrea: It felt poignant to me, too--the beauty of ordinary life, and how threatened it sometimes feels.

k: Thoroughly enjoyed your tribute to Buck, too!

Anonymous said...

The waitressing season has ended! May you always awake so peacefully. Thanks for sharing a piece of your peace with us (and the wise words at the end of this piece, too).

Sky said...

so many happy days ahead lounging as you see fit, lazily welcoming each morning into your home. :)

reading your account of one of life's moments left me smiling and wishing you could tell me the story over hot tea on a cool, autumn afternoon.

Patry Francis said...

neil: You came back!

tinker: Thank you. Your presence here adds much.

sky: So happy you made an appearance. I was just thinking of you this afternoon and hoping that all is well in your world.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely guided meditation p. I can feel the sunshine and the flowers and the cool sheets and the peace

Patry Francis said...

ainelivia: Sharing our peace may be one of the best things we bloggers can do. I'm still thinking of your candle.

MB said...

I'm still trying to figure out how you did that!

herhimnbryn said...

Perfect peace.

I wonder how long your old shoes were hanging in the garden before anyone noticed them?

They would look great filled with earth and growing pansies or herbs:)

Your peace..... a microcosm of what we need everywhere.

Patry Francis said...

mb: It was tricky.

herhimnbryn: They were there for a couple of days. Maybe the birds noticed...And I love your idea of growing herbs inside those shoes.


It also seems I need to print my first comment retraction. My husband wanted you to know that the spectacular sunflower did NOT grow by luck. It was watered, fed, and talked to on a regular basis. I hate to say it, but that's what I call lucky.