It’s been one of those weekends. I only had a couple of things on the “agenda,” leaving a lot of room in the margins for getting together with my sister Mess Cat and her family. Or not. Whatever. Free time. That has become a precious commodity around here. So it was a nice surprise.
Several times this weekend, I’ve called Mess Cat or she’s called me.
“Hey, whatcha doing?”
“Nothin’ much. Just piddlin’. You?”
“Oh just putterin’ around. Nothing major.”
And this is how our several phone calls went all weekend. (With the exception of her painting trim in their new house. And I think she did refer to that as “putterin’.”)
This afternoon we puttered around at Mama’s. We sat on the porch swing and just soaked in yet another southern July day with highs in the 80’s and a nice breeze. Beautiful.
Later we checked around on things, uprighted a birdbath our two rambunctious boys decided would be cool to turn over to get the “dirty” water out. No easy feat, that one. We puttered around in the house, picking up, putting things away, emptying the ice bucket from the freezer. A whole lot of little and a little bit of nothing.
In case you were wondering, putterin’ and piddlin’ around are not related to laziness at all. In fact they are not for the faint of heart, for to putter or piddle around, one must have the ability to do things with ease and focus so as not to enter the level of frenzied activity that could be deemed “work.” Piddlin’ and putterin’ are good for the soul and not strenuous on the mind, body, or spirit. Think Andy Taylor and Floyd sitting around whittling on the bench outside the barber shop. Now you got it. Good stuff. It takes skill, I’m not gonna lie, and years of practice. But yeah, me and Mess Cat, I think we’ve got it down.
We’re working our way slowly toward the new normal. One day at a time. I like to think we are resilient. Like the Back Porch Rosebush. Before Mama’s back porch was built, there was a little set of concrete steps at the back door. Next to the steps was a rosebush. When they were getting ready to build the porch, someone, I think it might have been my brother-in-law Leroy, moved the rosebush to the other side where the porch would end. It’s growing quite nicely, and there were two beautiful roses on it when we were there today. It was a few months after the porch was built when we saw a sprig of green coming up through the floor of the porch. At first we didn’t really pay much attention to it. I think we clipped it back and kept on keeping on, what with Daddy being sick and all. It quickly grew back through the floor. Mama soon realized it was her rose, which somehow enough of it had been left in the ground that it was regenerating down there in the darkness under the deck. She tried rooting it and cutting it back some. The rooting didn’t go so well. In recent months my siblings and I haven’t really thought too much about it. Today, here it was in all its glory, thanks to all the rain, celebrating reaching the sunlight.
For Mess Cat, me, our brother and sister and all of our family, this is what each day is about. Reaching past the darkness towards the light and hope for better days, yet still connected to the darkness. Once you’ve been there, you can never leave it fully behind, but you can soak in all the goodness and love around you and reach for the light.
And so we do.
And while we’re reaching, we putter. And piddle around. And sit and be together.
That’s the best stuff in life. Being together.
As a summer treat to celebrate a beautiful day, here’s a great summer song to putter and piddle around to–y’all enjoy!
And yes, that’s Kris Kristofferson with the guitar and cigar. And if you don’t laugh with Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, well, there’s just no help for ya!