Of plates and silver spiders

There was a choice to be made this morning…between editing and re-editing, stifled by the pressure to churn out a piece to impress you, polished and perfect in every way…or casting upon the water what I love to do most…just to write and see what spills out.

I decided to post just the real and effortless writing that “happens” when I curl up in my worn-out wing-back chair.

It’s not that I don’t value you…it’s just that I know that I cannot come back day in and day out carrying the weight of trying to be someone that I am not. I will write with the freedom of the kind of friend who throws open her door, no matter how messy her home is and it doesn’t matter at all for she makes no apology…but just happily invites you in…and it is good.  Then you are free to open your door…and be who you are as well.


There’s a plate which hangs over my kitchen door: “Come in, sit down, relax, converse….our house doesn’t always look like this, sometimes it’s even worse.” It is the plate that once hung in my gramma’s kitchen. I remember the shock I felt when I learned that her real name was not “Gramma”…but that it actually was Florence. I have since come to terms with this as Florence means “blooming, flowering, prosperous” and that’s what being a gramma is all about, isn’t it.

My life with gramma is probably the reason that I love old people. Now I don’t mean “old people” to come across in any way other than full of respect and tenderness and delight. For as long as I can remember I have loved old people. They intrigued me as a child. The incredible and daring acts they undertook…like slowly descending step-after-step into a musty church basement with a woven forest-green picnic basket gripped tightly in one hand. A worn wooden cane, swinging loosely, hinged over the rigid forearm  that stretched from a white, taught hand gripping an old but sure handrail. Slowly, carefully.  I would hold my breath…staring and curious…against the squeezed-hand warning and “”shush, don’t you stare” from my gramma, already settled in her sturdy folding chair.


And, oh, the contraptions they used…so peculiar, mysterious and, at times, even unsettling to a bright-eyed little girl. I think about walkers, those silvery spiders creaking along. Crunching through gravel, rattling across rough, cracked sidewalks…getting hitched up over the hump of an unyielding steel door frame…alerting a flock of strangers’ hands to come extract an old person from the clutches of a heavy plate-glass door. Humanity at its best.

Yes, I was…and still remain a watcher of old people.  Not from afar, but up close where I can see why there is every reason to love them…the incredible and daring acts…all the plates and spiders and shushes…and, mostly, the way they have of arousing the best of humanity in me. How very fortunate, indeed, that there has never, ever been a lack of old people in my life.



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