Life can get pretty ordinary. Work, shower, eat, sleep, repeat. It can drive someone insane, if they stop long enough to think about it. As Johann von Goethe said “A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.” Although in 2020, I don’t think there have been very many days that could be defined as ordinary, but enough to drive you insane nonetheless. So, I did something out of the ordinary on Wednesday. It wasn’t a big thing. It wasn’t premediated. But it was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in awhile.
I work in retail and we have in-house charge accounts, which means sending out a stack of statements at the end of every month. Wednesday was statement day. It was also church day. That meant Addie was supposed to be at youth group at 5:30, the same time I close the store. Needless to say, she was chomping at the bit. So I grabbed the stamps, envelopes, and statements hot off the press, loaded everything and everyone up, and off we went. I didn’t want to hide in a Sunday school room doing statements. Nor did I feel like getting a cramp trying to fold them in the front seat of my old Volvo. So I drove to the park, which boasts the nation’s longest footbridge.
The park also boasts one of the oldest homes in Rusk, Texas. I’ve always admired it and the one next door.
And, while not 100 percent sure no one lived there, I was PRETTY sure. So I walked up on the porch like I owned the place. After peering in a few windows (I have no shame, really.) I confirmed no one lived there, at least not full time. The rooms were filled with relics and decorated in period style. I settled in comfortably on the porch swing, enjoying the rapidly falling temps.
The historical marker outside the home.
My view from the swing to the house across the way.
My borrowed perch.
There was a breeze, but not enough to ruffle my papers. I folded, stuffed, licked and stamped. And I absorbed the failing September light. And I thought about the women who had sat on the porch before me and hoped they would be happy I was there, enjoying the view from the home they must have loved. I wondered how many lovers held hands, leaning against the railing, hoping for a stolen kiss. I considered how many generations of squirrels had climbed the oak tree beside me. I thought about the babies made, and born, in those rooms. Nearly 200 years is a long time, and more history than I could appreciate in roughly 90 minutes. It was an ordinary task in an out of the ordinary way. And I had never enjoyed it so much. I was sad to leave, but thankful for the chance to sit, reflect and enjoy that porch, if only for a little while.
So I challenge you on this Friday, find something ordinary this weekend and turn it into something extraordinary.
Peering in the front door.
The Perkins House – Rusk, Texas