Friday, July 19, 2013

540 E. Harrison Street

I have a chronic case of Hurry Sickness. It's been documented by family in countless conversations and communications. It's been noted by my children. It's a part of me ... that whirling dirvishness that finds some twisted pleasure in spinning like a tornado instead of blowing gently about like a breeze from the ocean.

However, in the summertime I have discovered a cure. In the early mornings I sip my coffee a bit more leisurely at ease on the patio. In the warm afternoon air, I savor the bliss escaping with a good book. In the evenings, I take a walk and listen to my iPod. I find pleasure in seeking out warm weather tunes that play as I clean or cook. In July & August, I withdraw from the busyness symptoms. The hurried pace of my life is replaced by more solitude and silence. By simple pleasures enjoyed with family and friends. By an ease that can exist uniquely amidst warmth, sunshine and the drama of summer storms.

Perhaps this is a result of summers spent with my grandparents. The unhurried pace of life at 540 E. Harrison Street offered a completely different experience. There I was content to walk and talk with my grandfather and to help my grandmother with the from scratch meals she prepared in an air-condition-less kitchen. There reading a book outside as I sat in the clover and watched the bees was the best way to spend an afternoon. There afternoons at the park were followed by leisurely meals at Poe's Cafeteria where we visited with all the relatives and friends my grandparents knew from that small town in southern Indiana.

I listened to records and played with toys. I didn't spend a lot of time inside as I recall and little to no time -- except for the treat of Saturday morning cartoons -- in front of the television. Laptops and Smartphones were non-existent. But picnic lunches after church and singing during car-rides bring a smile to my heart portable DVD players and a Nintendo DS will never touch.

At 540 E. Harrison Street, we spent evenings around the oak wooden kitchen table playing games -- a card game named Liverpool Rummy could take 3-4 hours. And after lights out, my brother and I would sneak downstairs and sit outside the swinging wood kitchen door and listen to our parents and grandparents laugh and talk. My grandfather would smoke his pipe on the back porch. Popcorn would be made on the stove. I remember the meals ... my grandmother would make these amazing green beans ... homemade beef and noodles ... fried chicken ... and PIES. Oh how I miss her pies.

None of this could happen without a leisurely pace. Without an unhurried life. Without an empty cloth calendar whose only purpose was to show the days ... there was no lengthy list of to do's or places to rush to. From scratch cooking and simple pleasures ... they need time devoted to them. They deserve time. And the benefits we receive when we devote to them are immeasurable.

So in late July and August, I honor the memory of 540 E. Harrison Street by knitting, reading, relaxing with my family and friends, walking, talking and just plain slowing down to notice the stuff I can sometimes get too busy to notice other times. And, perhaps someday the 540 E. Harrison cure will expand into other months of my life. I would like to be a breeze instead of a tornado. There is always the possibility I can find an easier approach to my tornado tendencies ... anything is possible.

Wanna join my at 540 E. Harrison Steet ... just for a little while?
                                                                                                                                                                         -- Jenni