I find her in her bedroom, sitting in a wheelchair in front of a big window. She is up close to the window panes intently looking out. I pull up a chair and lightly touch her arm. She looks at me and smiles. I tell her who I am. I always have to tell her who I am. I ask her what she is looking at and she says the cars going by. She looks at me a second longer and returns to staring out the window. I sit in silence. We have always been comfortable in silence.
I can hear the ticking of the second hand of the large white clock on the wall. The walls are high in this quaint victorian bedroom. The floor is a rich dark mahogany, along with the door and window frame. The clock keeps ticking, only now it sounds louder. I look at her tight gray curls and the moss green shawl that covers her shoulders. I watch her fingers play with the long fringe.
I look over at the old silver radiator as it comes to life hisses and clanging. The big house always seems to be cold, even in April. I can still hear the ticking clock amid the hissing and rattling of pipes. I hear the echo of voices from somewhere in the back of the house.
By the window there is a small table with half a dozen framed pictures displayed. All the people in the photographs are long gone, but she knows them all. There is one picture of a red cardinal perched on a branch covered with white, pinkish apple blossoms. Whoever took the photograph used a telephoto lens. It looks professionally done with the soft blurred background. She has told me before that she loves birds.
The ticking clock sounds even louder as I sit next to her writing. I hear my pen scratching across paper leaving soothing words behind. She has fallen asleep. I close my notebook and put my pen away. It is time to go.
(I am a hospice worker traveling from home to home. Along the way, I meet special people and would like to share these moments.)
When I walked in the front door, I found my husband standing there proudly holding a freshly baked birthday cake. My big, burly husband held a square pan in his hands. Inside was a chocolate cake with vanilla icing smeared on top in varying degrees of mountains and valleys. Stuck precariously in the icing were six pink candles blazing brightly.
I said it wasn’t my birthday until Thursday. He said that today was the only chance he had to bake it and surprise me.
Surprised I was indeed! The man had gone out, gotten a Duncan Hines cake mix and vanilla frosting and did this wonderful thing for me.
I bit into the still warm devil’s food and it tasted like love – the best taste in the world.
I sit in the corner of Adelle’s sipping the last bitter drops of my tea that had gone cold. It is chilly and windy outside and I am reluctant to leave the warmth of the cozy little coffee shop. I sit for a few moments more watching the barista make something hot and foamy. I suddenly think of my daughter, Morgan, who loves the foamy chi tea here. We always delighted in the design the barista would swirl in her hot drink.
It was only a few winters past, that Morgan and I would meet every Monday at Adelle’s. The small hole-in-the-wall establishment always seems to have a warm golden glow to it. It must be the light reflecting off the art filled walls. A mixture of all sorts of folks come and go. Adelle’s is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palette.
Morgan only stayed one winter, then moved back home to Florida. Mondays always seem a little empty without her at Adelle’s. I can still picture her sitting across from me blowing on her hot chi tea, telling me all about what was going on in her life, her plans and dreams.
These Monday memories are like old faded photographs carefully tucked away in the scrapbook of my mind. To be taken out and looked at, remembered and cherished and then tucked away again.
I finally push back my chair and grab my book and car keys and head for the door. I think I will call my daughter when I get home.
It’s Sunday and snowing. Instead of trudging outside in boots and parka to look for winter pictures, I decided to take the lazy way out. It’s a perfect time to make soup. I had all the fixings for lentil soup and a desire to take veggie photos. Too bad I didn’t have an old wooden table with soft afternoon light coming through the windows in my restored farmhouse with the big bright kitchen. I live in a tiny artsy-crafty house with small windows and not a lot of light. So, I improvised and had a lot of fun making soup and photos.
I could just imagine being a food blog writer, cooking and taking photographs of dishes and ingredients artfully placed on an antique kitchen table using available light streaming in through large windows. I would display my creations in mismatched vintage china with white linen napkins embroidered around the edges.
For now I will enjoy my soup in a red bowl and catch the drips with a paper towel. Enjoy!
I was stuck at work when Iola arrived. I kept looking out the windows as the fluffy snow came down and all I could think of was how much I wished I was outside with my camera. When my shift finally came to an end, I rushed out to my car, scrapped off the snow and carefully made my way home. I didn’t have much time when I pulled into my driveway. I ran into the house and grabbed my camera. I opened up my lens and used what was left of the fading light.
As I’ve said before, the end result might not be remarkable, but the process sure made me feel incredible. I finished just as the light was going and Winter Storm Iola was coming to an end.