School’s out. The ice-cream man jangles his jingle, enticing the kids with the lure of after-school treats. A neighbor, strolling down the uneven sidewalk, stops to chat on someone’s stoop. Birdsong competes with the singsong voices that drift over the tall backyard fence. Sporting a stylish apron, I hang laundry on a makeshift clothesline while a little boy plays in the dirt.
I am dreaming that I am the mother in “Leave It To Beaver.”
No, I am awake.
This is my life now.
At least part of the time.
It does seem like a bit of a warp.
If I let myself, I can catch scents and glimpses of my early childhood. Dick and Jane playing in the yard while Mother hangs the laundry. The smell of sunshine on drying clothes. An image of myself, age 6, flying down the hill to intercept the ice-cream man before he leaves our street. Diaphanous curtains blowing in the breeze from windows left open all day.
The work is hard, but the life is simple.
How often I have longed for simplicity in the past. How hard and how fruitlessly I have tried to achieve it.
But now, it is here. It is a gift.
One that came at a very high price, and through a means I would not have chosen.
“Tis a gift to be simple…”
Help me to embrace this gift.