At my father's house

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Even before my husband's accident (see yesterday's post), my father had called and left a message.  He'd be out of town this weekend, he reminded me, and he knew that we were expecting guests.  "If you'd like to use my house to entertain," he offered, "it's yours."  We have but one downstairs air-conditioning unit in my own house; yesterday's heat was soaring toward 100 and humidity was pushing the discomfort zone farther.  I try never to impose on anyone, never to take advantage, but this time, I thought, I will say yes.  Once I brought my husband home with a splinted, throbbing hand, there was no question:  We'd get relief at my father's house.

So after a lovely if delayed restaurant lunch with my son, my husband, and our guests, I packed up the appetizers and glassware and drinks I'd purchased earlier in the week, and we set off—my husband's poor hand elevated in the passenger's seat beside me, his cousins and aunt (all three beautiful, for beauty runs deep in this Salvadoran clan) in the back.  I drove into horse country to show off the land I love, the rolling hills of glory.  Up and down the hills, past the old barns and the "Madison County" bridge, past fields high with corn, beneath a dipping sun, we went, and then I turned and headed for my father's house.

Inside, everything was the way my father keeps it—the dozens of rare and gorgeous flowers in bloom on the deep sills, the collections of rare and wonderful things smart on their shelves, the table polished and waiting, the counters spotless.  Outside, the gardens were weedless and the bird feeders were stocked.  In every inch of my father's house, my mother is honored—her affinity for beauty, her curiosity, her standards of care and cleanliness.  I can't explain, really, how much love I feel when I see what my father does, still, for my mother every day—there at their house, or at the cemetery, where he has built for her and maintained a garden.  But I can say that yesterday, in my husband's family, my father's house had its perfect guests—three women who are themselves peaceful and appreciative and dear, three women, who said, in their Spanish-inflected way, "It's really all so beautiful."

Because it is.


bermudaonion said...

While we're suffering through the heat, here in the South, I forget that not everyone in other parts of the country have the air conditioning that we take for granted. It's nice to be reminded from time to time. I'm sure your father didn't feel like you were imposing.

Lilian Nattel said...

That is lovely, Beth--there is so much love in that house.

Beth F said...

What a fine refuge.

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Your father's house sounds like a wonderful retreat! I'm sorry to hear about your husband's accident. I hope he recovers soon. Having family visiting from far away is exciting and a bit stressful. You seem to be taking it so well.
I love your description of that area! And your "Madison County" bridge.
I read the prequel to that book, too. It's fun to get the background on the characters. I know I shouldn't but I think that the author is writing about his own life or a bit of an idea he has about himself. And the movie, Clint Eastwood, is such an interesting pick for the romance. I'm not used to seeing him in the domestic setting.

Have an enjoyable time sharing with your family.

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