The Time to Wait | Beaufort County Now

My only plans were to get the house in perfect order. Rabbit Patch
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The Time to Wait

    Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.

    Christian left the house especially early yesterday, for work. My only plans were to get the house in perfect order. If I am home on the weekend, that is what I do. . .at least when school has started. When Christian came home from work, the place looked like a battle had occurred, in his absence. It all started because I was looking for cobwebs in the hall.

    The ceiling has celotex tiles, which the real estate agent had disliked. She had suggested that really everybody she has ever known, dislikes them too. Still, this did not move me, to tear something else up in this old house.

    As I searched for webs, I noticed that the tile that was loose, now for years was separating from the ceiling and the one beside it had followed suit. I got a chair and peeked beneath and discovered there was bead board . I can not explain why, but the loose tiles came down so easily -and so did the ones that were not so loose. Half of the tiles were down and scattered in the hall when Christian walked in. I thought he was going to cry by the dismal look on his face. He has lived in a perpetual state of such incidents, for most of his life, after all. . .and apparently, "it ain't over yet".

    I surveyed the calamity in the hall, and really was about as shocked as he was. I truly never meant for it to happen. I felt like I had been "caught with my hand in the cookie jar" . . .taking the last cookie . . .and broke the thing in the process.

    I was tired too. I do not like any sort of ceiling work and make meaningless vows to never attempt it again, after any project that requires a ladder and craning your neck. I cleaned up, what had accumulated . About half of the ceiling was on the floor. . . but the bead board, when painted white was going to be lovely.

    The sun rose on Sunday casting no more than a blush, on the territory. A coolness came in yesterday, so that I could raise the windows - and it remained this morning. How good it felt outside. It was a quiet "early service". Now rest assured that I have applauded on occasion, at an "early service". I have sang . . and yes I have danced like a joyful child-but this morning was still and silent and so I was too.

    I wanted to see Mama and Daddy today as I was gone for much of the summer, most especially, in the last weeks. I had planned on a "Sunday supper" and so I started a pot of brunswick stew - and a chicken was roasting all before eight o'clock. . . and of course, there was that ceiling.

    I did make some progress on the ceiling, though it is a bigger job, than I anticipated. Every job always is. I did not take into account removing the staples. . .nor that it would take three coats of paint, to properly finish it. One day, I am going to plant flowers all day. . . and watch the rain fall on them, in the evening.

    I worked on that ceiling, carried out the debris and pulled grass along the garden path. All of the food was cooking as I went about my business. By evening, somehow beyond my wildest dreams, I had the car loaded down with food and was on my way to Mama and Daddys'. The ceiling was not finished and the kitchen was not clean, but we would have our supper.

    It was pitch dark, when I returned to the rabbitpatch. I made a feeble attempt to restore some order. One thing was certain, the house was in worse shape than it was on Friday . . .and tomorrow was Monday . . .and that changes everything.

    On Monday, I woke to an alarm. There is just nothing natural about that.

    The sun made up for its' lack of fanfare on Sunday, for Monday dawned bright and clear. The sweet cool air was lingering and nobody was complaining about it. Within a few hours, I was greeting the students. Most of the students, I know well, for we have spent years together. I know the names of their dogs and many of their grandparents. I watched the kindergarten parents walking through the parking lot and thought, many years ago, that was me and I remembered the anticipation of the first day. There are just some things, that stick with you no matter how old you get.

    Monday turned into Tuesday and then it was Wednesday. The leisure days of summer are replaced with routine and duties to be done at a certain time. I actually bought a daily planner, and will try not to record what is blooming, along with lesson plans. . . or the grocery list.

    I drive past the quiet pastures and fields and feel like I am visiting with old friends. How good it is, that amidst the constant change in life, some things remain constant. . . and often, they are the most beautiful things.

    Christian and I were talking about this one night over supper. We were going over the contents of our day. We both had the "usual" kind of day. . . at least for us We had both attended our work and made it home safely. Now we were back at the rabbitpatch sitting around the kitchen table enjoying supper. We decided first, that a good supper was always fitting, for a good day. . .that in a way it was like a small celebration, every day. . .and then, there was the time after supper when it was quiet and so unlike the day -free of tasks. It is a restoration, of sorts, and the dogs and the cats were napping, and would only rouse when we retired for our own rest. One dog, sleeps on the floor by Christians' bed-and Cash, the boxer and the cat, Christopher Robin curl up together, where I sleep. It is always that way.

    That night, when I went out to say good night to the world, I saw the stars shining boldly. The haze hung over the fields and the beauty of it all, did not go unnoticed. I realised that for a long while, I have and shamefully so, been in a state of "biding time" -a sense of "waiting until" was always present. While we ought to hope and pursue our dreams, there isn't a bit of harm in the time spent waiting. Some of my greater lessons have been revealed, while in the act of waiting. . . and things like the time after supper and silver clouds shrouding old fields, make the waiting so very pleasant.


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