You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~ C.S. Lewis
Before we know, it’s become a game between us. The silver-haired, lavendar-loving lady I introduced you to here — Passionate About Purple — and I.
A game of catch as you can, get dibs, and swing into the only semi-comfortable seating in the break room. Calling it a sofa is a stretch. More like a worn down, little bigger than a loveseat respite, flanked by three equally spent ‘soft’ chairs. But… in a sea of hard metal card table type seats, it’s Taj Mahal of cushion.
“Go! Go! Go!” she urges me one morning as I make it across the wide room, nearly reach the door, then settle into slower stride beside her. After all…it seems a bit rude to push by her.
“Don’t wait for me! You can get there faster than I can!” she twinkles, with a featherlight shove to my back.
In and out of true inchworm movers in the hall, I dodge, reach the goal and land there with but a moment to spare… all the while hilarious old skit scenes from the 70’s Laugh In show are rewinding before my eyes. Those young ensemble comedians who used to dress up as the doddering to the extreme octogenarian in the park (Artie Johnson) chasing — um, I mean, inch-shuffling — lovestruck, after the hair-netted, support hose-stockinged woman (Ruth Buzzi) who always turned and clobbered him one for even thinking he could win her! I stifle those old childhood giggles bubbling up now. For…here I am in the real life scene…
Each break, waiting with bated breath for the time monitoring leaders to notice — Um, c’mon! The clock is on that minute! Holding my purse in my lap, so’s to be ready to dash before the slower ones even get out of their chairs. For if they do, well, I might be stuck standing blocked behind them a literal full minute and a half before they even move forward…And — my buddy’s depending on me!
Most people seem to prefer moving towards the back of the break room. Standing and hovering over the tea and coffee station. Twittering and chattering like happy crows in a cornfield. Or bursting through the glass doors, literal rain or shine, to grab a smoke.
Sooo….our only real competition is a couple of somewhat larger, older gents from another room. Even ONE of THEM can monopolize the entire couch. If our leaders are slow on the take of releasing us by a nanosecond, they can beat us there. And occasionally do.
Believe me… in those moments… I feel defeated by more than just a chair. Chivalry is dead, I think, observing their oh so cool glance right through my thin, frail partner. Though, once or twice, she braves the five inch space left beside by one hefty giant and just squeezes herself in… Me, not so much. And the one kind guy who does offer another woman his seat, when I know full well how much he wants it… well, he renews my faith. One of those old-time cavaliers who charmingly, in this case, reflects his bygone era love of barbershop serenade … 🙂
Father, I sometimes pray, if you want me and Anne to share today, won’t you please put your favor on us for that couch?
And… most often He does. Giving us once again little moments of story sharing that punctuate this temp job with LIFE.
Dare I say, even glee?
One such moment is the day I watch her truly leap out of her chair at the call of BREAK! Close behind, I grin as she sprints and dodges forcefully… something in me purposely slowing to see her grab it. Zippier than I remember her from last year, she casts her purse down on the seat, narrowly reaching it before another, turns to me and crows – “We got it!”
And in between nimble fingers flying over the rainbow of little squares she is knitting to make her annual Mother’s Day gifts for women at her church, she tells me fun and lively stories. How she has to get up at 5 a.m. to take her daughter to a meeting stop this morning where she’ll catch a lengthy ride to a job in Canada for the week, then drop off her granddaughter at school and get here by 8:15. If I were her, I’d be ready for a nap too.
She tells me once of an audacious young man who approached her recently in the grocery store. Expostulates in her Why I NEVER tone. “He actually asked me how OLD I was!”
Hiding my own wondering at her so-lined face, yet still energetic mind, I quip back. “You should have countered him with – ‘Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to ask a lady such a question?'”
She chuckles… says she will the next time. Ha.
Still, looking into her eyes… I try to picture the younger woman. “I had soft brown hair in those days,” she tells me…
Other days, we talk of moms who sewed our clothes, how she used to make matching outfits, same materials, different styles… for each of her grandchildren. She brings photos in to show me. Shares reminiscences from her childhood that make me try to envision that long ago childish curve to her cheek.
As our time dwindles down on this job to no one knows when the project will end, I bring her a little gift – one of my small pen & ink drawings of an old Mill House. She claps her hands like a child with a teacher’s prize.
One morning, she stops me on the way back to my seat, points at her screen. “They say we are almost done on my side,” she laments. “Oh… I’m sorry,” I whisper back. Knowing she hoped for a few more days. And… like last time, she seems abruptly out the door and gone…
I think again of these little teacup and saucer moments we have in life. Like spots of afternoon tea and crumpets with someone who opens a page or two of their book to us. Writes them somehow… into our own. I think I’ll save one of hers recently shared for another post…
And simply offer this one today as a Mother’s Day quilt square to you…
If birds were pink, I think they’d be made of swirling dogwood blossoms… 🙂
© Pam Depoyan
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend (and mom!) comes
from earnest counsel.
Proverbs 27:9 (Parenthesis, mine)
Photo note: I don’t know why my digital camera keeps dating my shots with January. Perhaps I need to re-read the setting directions? 🙂