There is something about the autumn light this year. It seems so steely gray, perhaps reflective of my current mood. Or could it be the residual effects of Hurricane Ida, which is roiling around in the Gulf? I hear she is to work her way north and then east, grazing Savannah. Maybe there is a scientific explanation after all. Nevertheless, I have memories of a more rosy-golden Fall light. Of course, now that I think of it, I have rosy-golden memories of just about everything. I could ask myself if I remember only what I choose to remember. Is it a control thing? "I think therefore it was." Perhaps that should worry me a bit, but that is basically my outlook so I will have to embrace it.
Feeling befuddled and not in control is just not my style. In such a state, there is only one place to turn...the house. I was standing in my Nantucket Gray kitchen the other morning musing over how lovely the color looks late in the morning. Connected to the kitchen and breakfast room by a large doorless entry is my sunroom with more windows than walls (as the name "sunroom" would suggest). The focal point of the sunroom is a large, arched window which rises from practically the top of the ceiling (pretentiously called a "cathedral ceiling" - although if it really were in a cathedral it would be a very puny cathedral indeed) - almost to the floor. At present, the room is painted in "Magnolia Petals," a sort of blush - not quite pink and not quite peach and not white - a pinky blush is the best I can describe. It's the color of the inside of the magnolia flower near the stamen - hence the name, I imagine. Across the room from the arched window is a set of white double doors made of paned glass that lead into the library (which is what is was called on the blueprints. I seldom refer to it as the library since it also sounds pretentious. I usually call it "the room with the bookshelves." Somehow, Lindy from the southside of Chicago would not have a "library" in her house). It sounds all right so far; but, here is where it gets rather ghastly. Around the big wall of windows, arch and all, and around the double doors, I long ago stenciled a garland of magnolia blossoms. (You know, to tie in with the name of the wall paint. How clever of me!) I warn you, it gets worse. At the top of the windowed arch, and over the other door in the room - the one that leads onto the patio - I stenciled pale green bows with flowing tendrils. It was 1989 and the model home I saw in the subdivision was likewise painted. I thought it was stunning, and it probably was...in 1989. You would think that raising 3 rambunctious kids in the house would have ruined the "Magnolia Petals," but an upstairs playroom and seasonal wall washing has kept everything remarkably intact. So let's fast forward to 2009. The sunroom is now a relic of bad taste. I think it is time to sand down the magnolia petals and paint over the "Magnolia Petals" and go Nantucket Gray all the way.
In a completely coincidental happenstance, my sister, my eldest son and my grandson will all be coming into Savannah tonight - for different reasons. John is leaving for Afghanistan in a week and he and Jayden are coming home...home to spend some family time. I'll get to perch him (the baby, that is, not John) on my lap and read the library books I have for him. Judi is coming to check on Shorty - who is getting extremely forgetful and drives her car like a bat out of hell. If I'm lucky, I can get Judi to install my new kitchen faucet. (One day I'll have to tell you about all the things she can do.) With all that, the magnolia petals will bloom another week. Their days are numbered, however, and on Sunday I will be off to ACE Hardware to get a couple of gallons of Benjamin Moore's Nantucket Gray.
I'm giving Katharine a treat for Thanksgiving - a week in Chicago with her beloved Uncle Rudy. She was only 4 years old when we moved away and does not remember anything of that wonderful place where she was born. Rudy's boys, who seemed so much younger than she when they were young, are now her contemporaries and friends aside from being her cousins. Strange how a few years separating people in childhood melt away in adulthood. She will be in very good and gentle hands, and has been happier than I've seen her in some time. It will be hard not having her here, the first holiday we've spent away from each other. Nevertheless, she will return home with great stories to tell. And as for me, after dinner at Shorty's with the family that remains, I will be able to spend a very long Thanksgiving weekend with Benjamin Moore - with whom I am quite smitten.
Have I told you how much I love the hardware store on the island? I have often thought of challenging myself to do all my Christmas shopping without leaving the island. I could probably do it all at the hardware store. Aside from a bookstore, it is like heaven on earth.
It will be good to be back at the hardware store. It will restore a sense of normalcy in a very abnormal couple of months. I'm looking forward to turning my attention to the house once again. It needs nurturing. It needs to know I love it because this is where my memories live. It needs to know that, no matter where I am, it will always be home. Home...next to "love" it is the best of all words.