The Sound of Silence
A household of children. Seven to be exact. No alarm clock is needed to start the day. Jack will be the first out the door. He got in about 11 pm last night after a late “case”; an emergency appendectomy. He has his routines down. A cup of coffee, cream no sugar. A soft-boiled egg and slice of toast. The buzz of the electric shaver signals he is about to embark on his day. A kiss goodbye.
Next up bacon begins to sizzle in the fry pan. Steve, Rob and Jon arrive on cue, sitting watching television while their breakfast finishes. Abby last to come down the stairs, yawns. It is not her thing, mornings. Breakfast finished, the boys walk out the door and on to school. No bus is needed. It is less than a mile to school. Abby waits for her friend Tina. Soon there is a knock on the door. They exchange a few words and set forth on their walk to school. No lunches needed to be made today, everyone gets hot lunch.
Martha comes down the stairs. “Have you had your breakfast Polly?” she asks. “No mother. I thought I’d wait for you.” They sit over coffee and the last of the mornings French Toast. The clock ticks. Just then the door bell rings. Helen.
“Well good morning Helen.” “Morning Polly. Here’s the paper.” The morning ritual. Helen lived next door and got the morning paper. She was always up early. After finishing it, she brought it to us. We got the evening paper and it was hers the next day. It was a morning exchange that had taken place for the last 5 years since Helen retired from school nursing. “Everyone out the door no problems today?” she asked. “No problems.”
This was the routine. This was always the routine. The older boys Jack Jr, Rolf, Jay were off to college and beyond now. A similar routine took place when they were younger. The clock ticks.
The house is different. Not the old colonial I remember. I look down. A dish in my hands. I wash it, dry it and try to remember where it goes. The cabinets don’t look familiar. I’ll leave it on the counter. I feel tired. “Where is Mother”, I wonder. So quiet. I open the door. A beautiful day. The birds are chirping. I can hear the ocean crashing in the background. What to do with this day? Who will I see? Will I remember them? I go sit on the couch. The clock ticks. The day is endless.
The snow starts at 7 am today. Lauren is off from work. She works at the College. She is recovering from a case of the flu. Bob is up first. He brings me my coffee this morning as he does every morning. I turn to my side. Mornings are not my thing. We turn on the television. We watch the weather, channel 3. Then, we turn on Morning Joe, MSNBC. Bob is first in the shower, dresses and with a kiss goodbye is out the door. I hear the chime of the Grandfather clock downstairs. I am home today. My routines are becoming more related to home than work. I am a nurse. Within the last year I have gone per diem. This means I go in when I am needed, if I choose to go in. Things were different when my 3 girls were small. I stayed home with them. A day was filled with what to do based on what they needed doing: Transport to a friend’s house. A trip to the library to get books or to start on a paper for school (this was before computers in the home). A snow day meant sleep overs with friends or the friends came to our house. Winter brought sledding, and occasional ice skating on the pond in town. The clock ticks.
I pour my morning coffee. I make my bed. I listen as snow plows make their way down the street. I take my morning shower. I sit with my I Pad and “converse” with old friends and new friends. I called my daughter Sarah, and left a message to be sure she stays safe on the roads today. She doesn’t live far, but she gets involved in her life and it is morning. Mornings are not her thing. Lindsay lives on the island of Nantucket. I face book texted her to find out how much snow she got out there this past weekend. She is busy as her good friend just got back from vacation. The clock ticks.
Lauren awakes and looks pale. I feel her forehead. Fever seems down. “How about French toast?” I ask. “Sounds good to me”, she says. I whisk together eggs, pumpkin spice blend and cardamom with a dash of almond milk. While the whole wheat bread “toasts” on the old cast iron skillet, I slice strawberries, and place a handful of raspberries over the top of the now finished dish. A sprinkling of white powdered sugar. Everything is placed on a tray, with some strawberry yogurt and warmed maple syrup. A mug of Hazelnut coffee, fresh from a Keurig finishes the breakfast. “How’s that?” I ask. “Good Mama”, she says. “Thank you!” I finish the dishes in the sink. I look out the window to see the snow coming down harder now.
The weatherman didn’t make the storm out to be much of anything today. Yet a car had to stop from turning down our road, not five minutes ago. I think the plow drivers are tired of plowing the snow. This is the 7th or 8th snowfall in about 4 or 5 weeks. At least 2 feet of snow sits on the front lawn and much of the same on our roof. The gutters on this old 1805 colonial are pulling away from the house.
Lauren sits watching television. I sit writing my blog. And the clock ticks…