Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Welcome, Kind Fall"

Four months from today will we all be saying, "Hurry up, Spring! Hurry up, Summer!"? I hope I won't be. I'm truly trying to embrace all the seasons in their turn now even though August makes me forget to appreciate summer. 

That's all behind us now and Autumn, glorious Autumn is here at last! My bed gets dressed with   linens of a darker hue.

The old cranberry spread comes out and the faded ancient pillow with pink deer.

Otis registers his disgust with the whole Fall Housecleaning of his bedroom by crawling under the bed, bushy tail and hindquarters stuck out.

I go around the room dusting every single book and vacuum Zack's Teddy, being careful not to catch his tattered cravat in the vacuum. He always guards the books that sit bedside, current nighttime reading close at hand. 

Below the old green chair that was one of the two we found in the smokehouse when we moved here is a very special trashcan. And believe it or not, I'm going to show you a closeup of my trashcan. Oh, the depths that bloggers sink to.

Why am I showing you my trashcan? Because, as Dolly Parton's character said in Steel Magnolias, there's a story there.

First of all, it's a pretty trashcan. Second, it is almost 53 years old. And the third reason I'm showing it to you? It caused the first married argument between R.H. and me. In 1961 I paid $14 for it, almost half of my weekly salary--in our first week of marriage. What can I say? I lost my heart to that trashcan. And that $14 trashcan has lasted longer than any trashcan R.H. has ever bought.

On to clean the family photos on this table made out of the base of a Singer sewing machine my father gave me and to the books I simply must have close to me as I sit in my Quiet Time chair.

More books hidden behind the door, all cleaned for Autumn. Books that are special to me, all of Alexandra Stoddard's books, all of Jan Karon's, and now Louise Penny's mysteries are there as well as others that I don't want to get lost in other bookshelves in the house. 

Beatrix Potter's Little Black Rabbit on top gets vacuumed too. I rescued him from our daughter's yard sale years ago, and Jemima Puddleduck. What? Selling all her B. Potter stuff? Home they came with me, and many of her Breyer's horses too. 

(See, Tammy, how can I ever hope to become a minimalist like you?)

No books here but a few pieces of precious Royal Doulton plates. Precious because I once bought them for my mother and in her 80s she let them come back to me. She loved them. I love them.

And a Caldwell rose lamp that is one of my most favorite inanimate things in this house. I got it from my sister and it stood in my kitchen for a long time until an Italian fish lamp seemed more appropriate there. Now it's back in my bedroom with all the other roses.

My favorite chair, my slippers, books around me, a lamp over my left shoulder. A window.

And a picture of something that didn't get Fall housecleaned yet. It will take hours to clean this bookcase that sits on top of my dresser. It holds the books that I never lend out, not because they are first editions. Some are but mostly it's just books I've collected over the decades that I read over and over. 

The books of Gladys Taber, Frances Parkinson Keyes, Beverley Nichols, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, David Grayson. Special old Christmas books.

And momentos such as the first little black bottle of Joy perfume that R.H. gave me long ago. One pretty Autumn day I'll spread an old sheet on the bed and take everything out, clean it and put it all back, no decluttering here. 

But that's for another day.

"Ode to the End of Summer" by Phyllis McGinley

Summer, adieu.
                            Adieu, gregarious season.
Good-by, 'revoir, farewell..
Now day comes late; now chillier blows the breeze on 'Forsaken beach and boarded-up hotel.
Now wild geese fly together in thin lines
And Tourist Homes take down their lettered signs.

It fades--this green, this lavish interval,
This time of flowers and fruits,
Of melon ripe along the orchard wall,
Of sun and sails and wrinkled linen suits;
Time when the world seems rather plus than minus
And pollen tickles the allergic sinus.

Welcome, kind Fall, and every month with "r" in
Whereto my mind is bent.
Come, sedentary season that I star in,
O fire-lit Winter of my deep content!
Amid the snow, the sleet, the blizzard's raw gust,
I shall be cozier than I was in August.

Safe from the picnic sleeps the unlittered dell.
The last Good Humor sounds its final bell,
And all is silence.
                                            Summer, farewell, farewell.

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