Tranquility

It was a bit too early for her. The chair wasn’t fully exposed to the sun.

In fact, i did not intend to jog my memory when i placed the chair on the patio by the kitchen. i put it there last night while i waited for the knock-off egg grill heated up for the steak i was cooking for supper.

Then was the first moving moment i had with this chair. i was reading the Vanderbilt magazine and the tribute to Perry Wallace, a man, four years younger than me, who will always be a hero to me. Perry was the first black basketball player in the SEC. He was from the poor, black neighborhood of Nashville. He was a dreamer. He reached his dreams, and he cared. He overcame so much more adversity than i can imagine. i cannot adequately tell his story. Andrew Maraniss did in Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of  Race and Sports in the South and then Andrew did it again in the article i read last night. i was impacted emotionally again.

Then this morning, i put out my sun tea to sun and took on yard tasks. i cleaned out the nice bushes lining our backyard en route to our sitting area (yes, Joe, where i sometimes sit though never enough; never enough), then i erected the garden box for planting roma tomatoes and strawberries for the first time in about twenty years. You see, i used to have some wonderful tomato and strawberry plants alongside our northwest fence, but Maureen wanted flowers there. My plants went away. So i’m trying again.

After completing the minor destruction and construction required, i started inside when i stopped. There was this chair there, too early for the sun to hit full force, but it was there. i swear she was there too.

You see, my parents traveled pretty much all of this country and Canada during their retirement. They began in a RV, towing a little Toyota truck and then a Volkswagen bug, and then they  upgraded to a fifth wheel and a full-sized pickup. They took off. Saw all of the continental states except Alaska, which they tried to reach but turned back due my mother’s first really serious asthma attack. They also hit, i think, all of the Canadian provinces. Pretty amazing really.

Then they got into a routine and left in front of the first winter storms heading West until they reached our home. 1985 to 2001. Every year. They would stay in a motor home place for seniors on the ocean in the South Bay and come to our house every day (unless they decided to explore for a day or two). They would do projects (god bless them), read, watch television, nap. He never stopped except for his naps. She did the projects, knitted, read, solved puzzles, cooked supper (Maureen’s thrill was to come home to my mother’s Southern comfort food), and then we would play bridge. Glorious times. As i said, i am a lucky man.

The time was January and February. My mother loved to stop all of the going on’s and go out into the Southwest corner’s winter weather. She would move a chair from one of the places we had placed them in the shade into a place where she could sit and face the sun.

i can picture her in that chair above, facing into the warm sun. Her head would be tilted back; her eyes were closed.

She was at peace. Tranquility. i have passed through. i have learned to meditate to some degree. It is a good thing for me, but nothing like my mother, her drive to do things only surpassed by her husband, sitting there facing the sun in total quiet. At peace.

i wish we all could achieve her tranquility in those moments.

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