I’m taking a vacation day and this afternoon I’m at home. The sun is shining, it’s hot outside, and inside the house it’s still and silent. I’ve just finished puttering in the kitchen: starting a batch of yogurt, cooking veggies for dog food I’ll be making later, making a pasta salad for dinner, and preparing toasted breadcrumbs that I’ll be using in stuffed zucchini for dinner.
It’s in these moments like these when I’m content to be doing simple tasks around the house that I feel most like myself. Perhaps that’s why on days like this I’m often taken back in time.
Hot summer afternoons like this remind me of settling down in the living room with Mom after lunch (or dinner as we called it back then) for a time of rest. Mom would lay on the couch and I’d settle in to dad’s recliner. The drapes would be drawn to keep out the heat, a fan would be whirring on the end-table, and the TV volume would be turned just barely loud enough to hear.
At 1:00pm every afternoon there was a movie–a matinee–on TV. Perhaps it was a ruse on my mom’s part to entice me to have an afternoon rest, but I remember those afternoons fondly–likely with more nostalgia than I would have of a time spent alone in my bedroom for an afternoon nap. She was a smart woman, my mom. (She used to race with me in the morning to see which one of us could finish making her bed first too. I’ve only recently realized that these races were little more than a way of getting me to make my bed. Again, pretty crafty on my mom’s part.)
Today, as I pad around the house doing this-and-that I imagine I can hear the whir of a fan, and I’m tempted to close all the binds to darken the rooms, and I find myself wishing I had curtains on the windows, instead of blinds, that would wave and dance in the warm breeze blowing through an open window.
Sometimes I wonder if my children have special memories of ordinary moments from the past that creep up on them unexpectedly. Perhaps hot summer afternoons sitting on a blanket on the front lawn with library books; or summer lunches of fresh fruit, crackers, and cheese; maybe listening to stories played on the record player on nights when it was too hot to sleep.
I’ll have to ask them. I’d like to know what ordinary moments live on in their minds like the afternoon matinees with my mom do in mine.