The sun was shining so brightly that morning that it warmed my soul. It made me flash on a memory from when I was a child of around ten years old.
It was springtime and one of the first truly warm days after a cold winter had arrived. To my mother spring meant cleaning. Not just sweeping and moping cleaning. This meant deep, deep cleaning. This was when the living room furniture was hauled out onto the front lawn. The room was stripped bare of furniture, pictures, curtains and me. I was exiled to the front yard with the furniture.
With a cotton cloth over the straws of the broom, Mom would sweep the ceiling and walls. A dry cloth followed by a wet cloth wiped away the dust from the window and door frames. The baseboards got the same treatment while she crawled around on hands and knees.
The windows were cleaned with white vinegar and gave the house a pungent smell that lasted for days. The outside of the windows would be cleaned the same way at a later date when the storm windows were taken down and stored away in the cellar.
The walls were inspected and spot scrubbed before a general wipe down with another damp towel. Touch up painting might follow the cleaning or possibly the walls would get a completely new color coating of fresh paint. That year no painting was needed.
The wooden floor was swept and then a well soaped scrub brush was applied to the floor, again on hands and knees. The floor was then rinsed several times and then a few coatings of liquid wax were applied.
While this was taking place inside the house, it was my job to clean the furniture. The cushions came off the couch and Mom’s chair. This was a special treat because I got to keep any coins found in the couch. I usually came up with more pencils and small toys than I did money but it was still a treasure hunt. And then I got to whack the overstuffed and upholstered furniture with a rug beater. What young boy could pass up a chance to beat up a couch?
Of course in my imagination I was taking down a buffalo or some such beast with my bare hands. Clouds of dust would come out into the bright sunlight and sparkle like flecks of gold in the air. Sometimes they were stars as I went hurling through the cosmos in my space ship.
The wooden furniture got a dusting and then I was allowed to rub them down with furniture oil. This was long before I ever heard of lemon scented furniture polish. I don’t know what kind of oil it was but it had a pleasant earthy aroma.
With the warm sun soaking into my skin I was transported to the old west where I was wiping down my horse after a long ride through the desert, where I had been tracking down rustlers.
I was always done with my job before Mom finished her cleaning. Sometimes I would transform the couch into a car and go for a drive. Sometimes I would be chased by spies! I might be held prisoner in a jail cell formed by the back of wooden chairs. And sometimes exhausted by all my adventures I would lay on the cool green grass and be filled with the smell of earth, the sounds of robins and cardinals, and the heat of the sun with the feel of the breeze tickling the hairs on my arm. And then I would sleep.
I was reading from Ezekiel, “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’
“I thought to myself that if the Lord had asked me that question I would have replied, “Are you nuts? Of course not!” I realize that Ezekiel’s story is meant as a symbolic story to help visualize a lesson that God was teaching Ezekiel. I can easily accept the story of dry bones coming to life as an allegory but not as a true event. At the same time, I do believe in the bodily resurrection.
Strange thing is, there was a show on the Discovery Channel about “gene hunters”. These guys are trying to piece together the genome of saber-tooth tigers to be implanted in modern day lion or tiger. Another set of scientists is working on recreating mammoths.Hmmm! ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’
Perhaps these scientists have more faith than I do. Though theirs is perhaps misplaced faith in science and their own abilities.
Certainly, the Master of Creation could bring new life ad He pleases.
Arik and Jenny took us to Starbucks this afternoon. So we got to see Sofia for a minute or two, since this is where she works. While we were there, we came up with a game plan, (or rather plans A, B, C. & D) on how to deal with our housing crisis.
Plan A is to stay put and try to lower the rent. Part of plan A is to seek aid on lowering our monthly bills for food, transportation, electric, and more. Another part of the plan is to get our names back onto lists for other (lower cost) housing in the area. Plan B will widen the search area. Seeking part time employment may be an option but it may be counter productive while seeking income based housing.
We lived in a too small house. A house built for two and we were more. I needed an office space for which I would not be obliged to pay rent. My publishing business could be run as easily from a home office as from the office space it was currently occupying. All I needed was space to put the equipment; computers, printers, copier, light table, files and more files. But we lived in a too small house.
We found a house. A big house. An old house. A house with a basement room with an outside door. An office space where my sales staff could come and go without interrupting life in the home. We bought the house. The house was Victorian architecture built with huge, red, Colorado sandstone in 1890.
Although it was now in Des Moines, at the time it was built, newspaper stories about it wondered, “Why would anyone want to live so far outside the city.” Although it was no longer surrounded by fields and forests, we soon discovered that there were wild creatures who wanted to share our home. Mice.
We need a cat. A tom cat. An old cat. A cat wise in the ways of mice. We need a cat. We need a hunter. A slayer of mice. Having overheard that I wanted a cat, our daughter, knowing of a person who raised cats, brought us two female kittens in a cage. A cage in which they’d lived most of their lives. In a cage that they were to afraid to leave. Two scaredy cats. Two kittens ignorant of mice and their ways. Kittens. Not cats. Not what I wanted, but I couldn’t send them back to that pet mill from which they came.
Names. They needed names. I don’t really know why people give names to cats. Cats seldom come when you call their names. They may come when you say, “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty” and have food for them. Or they may just lift their head from where they lay curled in the sun, and stare at you with the most dismissive of looks. But we feel the need to name them. It is our God given duty to name the animals. Read Genesis chapter two and verses nineteen and twenty, if you don’t believe me. Names. They needed names.
The black cat was easy to name. Aren’t all black cats named Midnight? The gray tabby cat … what to name the gray tabby? Something to match her personality. Crazy Cat? Kitty Retardo? Skittish Kittish? It happened when my son and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen. The kitchen was one of only three rooms in the house without carpeting. The other two being bathrooms. So, there we were sitting and pondering names. That was when the gray tabby made and entrance. I don’t mean to say that she came into the room. I mean to say that she made an entrance.
And it was an entrance that we recognized. We had seen that entrance many times. On TV. On Seinfeld. The kitten came sliding sideways into the kitchen and then did a little twitch and looked at us expectantly. Kramer! It was obvious that this kitten’s name was Kramer.
We had several chores that I wanted to accomplish today. One – pick up my prescription, two – deliver all of the pull tabs we’ve been collecting, three – check apartment availability in Liberty Hill, and four – deliver food to Liberty Hill food bank. I was able to only check two of those off my list, the prescription and food bank.
9:30 this morning was set aside for a VA doctor visit via phone all. However, my phone’s spam filter didn’t recognize the number and didn’t let it ring through. Why’s I saw what it had done, I called them. After nearly thirty minutes on the phone with the receptionist, she was unable to get through to the doctor (who was working from home) or the nurse, or the clerks. Finally, the receptionist, apologizing for not being able to get a response from the medical staff, set a new appointment for Thursday afternoon. In the mean time, I’ve added the clinic’s number into my contacts.
Today’s devotional told of a person who had been involved with children’s ministry for many years. Due to staff changes, that position was removed. They prayed for guidance and found themselves starting a music ministry with dementia patients.
It struck a cord with me because I had done a similar ministry with dementia patients. Originally I was going to do a bible study. I soon realized that the bible study was unrealistic. I’m no musician but I have a lot of Christian music and hymns on my laptop. I created a booklet booklet with the words to the music. With external speakers for the computer it worked fairly well. This experiences gave me a better understanding of how selective and tragic dementia is.
Monday equals laundry day at our home. This is Ella’s self chosen job. I neither properly sort the clothes for washing nor correctly fold them once removed from the dryer.