Words are so, crazy powerful. I sometimes forget, just what they can do. A lot of times, just expressing a sentiment yields results. That seems quite simple. We girls used to play a game at the bakery where we would think of someone out loud and then, lo and behold, that person would call, email or show up!! Sometimes, this was a very, very bad thing, but mostly it was someone we had been wanting to see!! And after this occurred we would marvel at how funny that was that we were JUST talking about that person. (You should ask Claudia about how powerful QUESTIONS are-one time I asked someone an innocent question and this gal UNLOADED on Clauds for 20 minutes in intimate detail while I was doubled over laugh-crying in the next room.) And it didn’t always extend to just people-occasionally it would be an animal or in one case, it was a house we rented for a while on the Island. I just happened to ask, they thought about it, came back 2 days later and said, “Sure, why not?” and then we ended up selling it for them to another customer a few years later. So simple, just words and giving thought to them.
Giving has always been a joy of mine. I worked for a long time at a corporate place that had the philosophy, “…give until it hurts,” which I always thought ABSURD because if you are hurting to give you are not helping ANYONE and simply redoubling the issue. However, to me giving things is supremely satisfying and is one of the many, many reasons you NEVER see me on the counter. In my mind, everyone is entitled to the comfort a cookie gives, the hug that is a muffin or a celebratory cake made just for them to make them feel special even if NOTHING else in the world is going right. Why should these things not be gifts? When we had our shop downtown every person had a tab. Some people would go 45 days without paying. I knew everyone’s story: teachers only get paid once a month, students never have money, single mom’s, all the elderly people on fixed incomes at the retirement home around the corner from us-everyone had a true story and everyone equally needed a latte and a slice of pie. Needless to say, nobody at the bank thought this was a great idea and would repeatedly point out that I was not running a non-profit, but what does one do? How do you say no when you have the power to grant somebody 25 minutes of grace and happiness in a cruddy day? Exactly, you don’t. You just give in.
We have had the opportunity lately to give a great deal of good stuff to Habitat Restore and have begun giving to Share The Table and this has been a nice jolt of fuzzy feel good in the never-ending stream of horrible that is the news.
But I got stuck on the word give the other day and then it seemed like it kept popping up every 10 seconds! (No, not in a creepy my-phone-spies-on-me manner.) A friend of mine came to drop items off at the store and was introducing herself, social-distance style, to another friend outside of the store and she identified herself as “The Giver” and the funny thing was not 20 minutes before I had emailed myself a note about all the things swirling in my head about giving and the book “The Giver” and “The Giving Tree” and how much I hate “If you give a mouse a cookie” and also, quite often I am shouting in my head “GIVE ME A BREAK!!!” and so when she delivered that conversational alley-oop I was done! SIGN DELIVERED. GOT IT.
It has taken some effort to give myself time and space to write-and then there is the inner struggle of
“it’s not REALLY writing, it’s a free-style ramble and there is no merit to it” but then I think of one of my all-time favorite blogs by Susan Branch and how I would be gutted if I didn’t have that to read on occasion. And while this is certainly NOTHING, nothing like that, there are people who reach out after particular writings and tell me certain comments bring back good memories and also, how will I ever get good at it if I don’t keep trying? I certainly can’t continually rail at my children to practice their art and music if I’m not doing it and so I have given myself permission to plunk away.
People give us stuff all the time. Somehow, we have become the “Keepers of Things.” Dozens and dozens of people have (pre-pandemic) given us treasures from deceased loved ones, furniture they couldn’t take with them when they moved but didn’t want to sell, old pictures and pottery-not their style but too sentimental to donate and that is why there are so very many items in our store that were never for sale, but merely there for you to enjoy and talk about and for those people to know, were waiting for them when they were ready. I can’t resist a story.
We also get given foodstuffs to feed the voracious appetites of all our farm critters. Phineas T. Piglet is obsessed with the occasional leftover noodles from the New York Corner Deli and Apricot knows to listen for the crinkle of the Jan Farmer ‘bag of old apples”.
I wanted to give you some updated garden pictures too! My #virusgarden has rocketed skyward with the mix of wrathful rains and steaming sunshine (whoever said “steamy” was a sexy word has never done a summer morning in the South covered in biting flies, rivulets of sweat in your eyes and your lungs sucking in STEAM.) The junk bike flowers filled in nicely, though Logan persists in calling her “Tetanus Timmy” since it’s one of my side of the road treasures and my blackberries WOULD be ok if the ye olde hog would LEAVE THEM ALONE.
There were a million tiny flowers in bloom all over the garden and while I was zooming in on all the petite jewels this dragonfly was hanging out with me! Tiny basil buds, lavender, elderberry blossoms, butterfly bush, salvia, tomato flowers, curry, all tiny flowers-all pure magic. Phineas thought he was hiding from me under the curry bush. He still thinks he is a tiny piglet.
I hope you have been enjoying all the delicious produce right now!! The corn is amazing and we have been eating it night and day. The boys like to shuck it because they can throw the corn silks everywhere and the pig (again), chickens and geese hoover it right up!
Thank you for all the birthday wishes! It was very, very low key which is my preferred style for me! I have always hated my birthday because it is always a looming deadline of all the things I laid out for myself to complete that I didn’t. One of the crap things about becoming an adult in the world of restaurants is there is “NO EXCUSE” you are simply late, wrong or you didn’t finish on time and weren’t fast enough or good enough. Isn’t that dumb? So every year, the week before my birthday I am in an absolute lather of self-loathing (boy closing the Little House that week too, sure didn’t help) of all the goals I didn’t accomplish and historically, this year, for the first time EVER I. GAVE. MYSELF. A. BREAK. and let myself blame the lack of forward motion on the pandemic. (ALSO, some woman called LITERALLY the same day we closed it to grill me on the particulars of how could she rent it and what did I think of her business idea? I hung up on her.) Yeah, it’s an excuse, but it is also, most definitely a reason and hideously beyond my control and I couldn’t see any other way around it. So you see, I haven’t given up but am making some adjustments and attempting to calm the control-freak that so loathes this constant state of limbo and not-knowing. Lots of sarcasm and a snarky sense of humor seems to help.
“…I don’t need very much now,” said the boy.
“just a quiet place to sit and rest.
I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening
herself up as much as she could,
“well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting
Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.