My old farmhouse has a history of housing seasonal workers, or so states a 1917 sale pamphlet, “Upstairs there are two large sleeping porches, suitable for seasonal workers.” Close to one hundred years later, I’d have to say that assertion still stands true, well actually half true; one sleeping porch was converted to a luxuriously large closet in the eighties. So while one sleeping porch remains wonderfully intact and welcoming, the other is a now closet where the only thing resting is a dated wardrobe of earlier sizes, styles, and occupations. It’s unlikely I will ever need a 1982 Armani suit (especially the 42 regular part), one where the shoulder pads are begging to poke an eye out, and the wide pant legs could easily conceal a shopping cart of frozen game hens. And yet they remain in my possession, but I digress.
Last month I put the sleeping porch to good use as an extra guest room in my full house. My mom, sister, brother and sister-in-law came for a visit, or as I like to think of it, a forced-labor camp with better food and accommodations. Before you judge me, I had nothing to do with it. You see my mother is a tour de force, an octogenarian with more energy, ideas and capability than most folks half her age. We have a family joke. When my mother asks, “What should we do next?” I respond, “Take a nap.”
My mother has a very big heart and recognizes that my place and its projects can be a little daunting for one person. She sees to it that while we have a serious measure of fun and family time, we don’t let the opportunity to help around the farm escape us. And while her kids are loafing a bit, she has a stealthy knack of getting things done right under our noses. I’ll open a drawer and see polished silver. I’ll return from the greenhouse and wonder while my gray grout is white and kitchen tile gleaming. I go upstairs to find a work shirt and stumble into a closet where clothing is folded, ironed and organized. I send her off to pick raspberries, and my next visit to the patch finds weeded pathways. She, and my sister and sister-in-law brought a much-loved, lichen and moss-covered garden swing back to a state of full utility and beauty. I must admit the energetic women in my family have the guys beat, big time.
Yep, I’m a lucky guy, lucky to have such caring family and friends in my life. Big thanks to Mom, sis, my sister-in-law and brother for a wonderful time and for your hard work and helping hand. The laughs will be well-remembered, your efforts always appreciated and your love, undeniably felt.