January 30, 2011
I was putzin’ around the kitchen, the other morning, when the light coming into the room through the windows looked so familiar that a flood of memories rushed back to me. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a certain feel and look to the day, you know, like how it “looks” like a Saturday. Sometimes the familiarity is so real I can almost smell Mom’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven.
As I was growing up in a world filled with uncertainties, certain things did happen at certain times, like, Saturday was cinnamon bun baking day as much as Sunday was fried chicken day and Monday was laundry day. That’s just the way it was and that was that. So it’s no wonder that there is a memory trigger built in to the smells and sights and sounds of everyday life.
There is also a familiarity in the light coming through the living room windows on a week day, too. To me, there’s a kind of guilty pleasure in lying on the couch reading a book with a “Tuesday light” coming in through the windows. In my life, the only time you saw that particular kind of daylight was when you were sick at home or you were “sick” at home, if you know what I mean.
I’m not sure about you, but I could be a pretty good actor, way back when, on the day that a book report was due and I’d forgotten, or ignored it completely, or there was a Social Studies test and I hadn’t brought my textbook home. I had always suffered from earaches and tender tonsils so it was pretty hard for Mom or Dad to call me on “the boy who cried wolf” thing. Besides, sorry Ma, but you always had a real soft spot when one of your youngins was hurting, whether it was real or imagined.
If you were really sick or just pretend sick you got to spend the day in Mom’s weekday world. Just Mom and me. And that sure didn’t happen very often in a house where there were nine siblings.
I can still see Mom sitting in her chair darning socks, or something, while Adrienne Clarkson and Paul Soles chatted away as Take 30 played on the TV. I’d lie in my make-shift bed on the couch, still wearing my pajamas, sipping ginger ale while Mom drank some warmed up coffee or a cup of tea while we watched “The Edge of Night” together in that particular afternoon light.
About the only time I didn’t completely enjoy those stolen moments was when school was let out and I could see the kids gathering together for the after-school street hockey game in front of our house and I knew I couldn’t join in.
I guess this most recent bout of nostalgia and “woe is me” moment has been triggered by the fact that my sick days have just passed the one-hundredth day mark and the novelty of being at home, while a “Tuesday light” is filling my living room, has completely worn off. I really should heed the following words.
“I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worthwhile.” ~ George Bernard Shaw- (1856-1950).