I wrote about my house last week. Maybe I should’ve talked about it as “home”? It’s definitely lived in. I have great plans to clean it this weekend too. I’ll see what actually gets done by Monday.
I don’t know if I think of my house as my home most of the time. This is where I live and keep all my stuff. Having lived here a long time, I do have memories of cooking holiday dinners for family, puppies piddling on my floors, my little brothers curled up on the couch watching Disney movies – back when they were actually little and still cuddled up to each other.
I had a deep need for a home when I was a young adult, maybe a deeper need than any of my peers. I need a place that’s mine, a place to rest between my interactions with the world. A friend of mine always wants to travel and views his apartment as a place to be in between trips. We’re at opposite sides of a spectrum – but he relishes his trips to his sister’s house during holidays. That gives him enough of a center. We all need a safe place where we belong, even if it’s not our own place.
My grandparents provided that kind of oasis. In a discussion with my siblings, all of us said we felt loved, and none of us claimed that we felt loved more than anyone else. The kitchen always smelled of good things, and Grandpa gave us ice cream and Vernor’s. The rules were clear and sane, and we were encouraged to play.
We played Rook at the dining room table in the evenings, which according to Wikipedia is a card game “played with a specialized deck of cards. Sometimes referred to as "Christian cards" or "missionary poker"… introduced by Parker Brothers in 1906 as an alternative for those in the Puritan tradition or Mennonite culture who considered face cards in a regular deck inappropriate because of their association with gambling and cartomancy."
Well, I learn new things every day. It makes perfect sense though. Grandma was from an area of Ohio with a lot of Amish and Mennonites. Even though she wasn’t one of them, she was pretty straight-laced Christian, though not in any kind of irritating way.
Anyway, the quiet evenings of pleasant cards and tea is a part of my life, a place where I felt home. The candy dish was always full, my uncle always had new projects to try, and the sheets on the bed were always crisp and soft. The soap smelled of roses and the quiet rustle of fabric was loud in the quiet. I can still hear Grandma laughing and Grandpa chuckling.
“Over the river and through the woods, to Gramma’s house we go!” And the long drive we took every month passed quickly enough because we knew the drive was worth it.
Whatever your beliefs, wherever you’re going during the holidays, I wish for you a place that you find special with people you love. And if you can’t have these things this year, may you have memories that keep you warm.