Sometimes I wonder why I am the way I am.
Then I go visit Momma and Dad.
Sunday afternoon Caroline and I drove down to BSG to get ready for a farm tour they were going to host the next day. Momma and Dad are good at many things, and one is educating the public about responsible beef production. Monday evening was the third time in a year they’ve opened their farm to the public and made themselves available for any question asked. Any question asked.
Momma and I went over the timeline for the evening, the expected guests and our last minute to-do list. As I was gathering up the diaper bag and getting ready to head north Momma spoke these all too familiar words: Before you leave, will you help me with something?
Over the last fourteen years (since I last lived at home) this request has resulted in:
Googling some 1960s musician to “see if they’re still alive”
Crawling under beds
Reading a devotional that really spoke to her
Searching through the attic
Programing a cell phone
Trying to read her own writing
Lugging a tote of my high school memorabilia downstairs and to my car
Checking her email
Using scissors to cut, trim, snip or kill something
But Sunday afternoon was different.
Sunday afternoon she wanted to me to set the microwave clock.
I asked her what time it was. While she checked her watch I simultaneously walked over to the counter and grabbed my phone. A generational thing.
“4:57,” she said.
“4:55,” I rebutted, showing her my screen.
Within 15 seconds I had the microwave set, from 3:18 (I was just as confused as you) to 4:56. I’m a peacekeeper.
She went on to ask if I’d also set the clock radio under the spice cupboard while I was there. I looked over at it: 12:23. I set it for 4:57.
Out of curiosity, I glanced over at the oven clock: 4:20.
The clock that hangs over the doorway (this one actually has hands): 7:15.
The coffee maker: 9:07.
What in the world? It was as though every clock in the kitchen had reset itself throughout the day at different times.
I asked Momma about it. She went on to explain that they’d all been “off a bit” for months but she didn’t mess with them because she was afraid she’d accidentally set a alarm or timer and she would wake up to the sound of the microwave making a pot of coffee with Italian seasoning at 3 am.
This wasn’t only room in their big old farmhouse that needed some attention when it came to living in the present. While every room the in house had been demolished and eventually restored (you’ve read The HouseThat Built Me series, right?), not a single room in that homestead was keeping time. But with every clock, whether far ahead or way behind, came a lesson
For the sake of time, we’re going to start in the kitchen.
The microwave, set from 3:18 pm to 4:56 pm: Be patient. Perhaps if I type this enough in my writing I’ll begin to listen to myself. Time and patience travel hand in hand, though sometimes one seems to drag the other. Do remember that its only when nothing is certain that anything is possible.
The spice cabinet, set from 12:23 am to 4:57 pm: Use the good stuff. I know you’re saving the good wine for a reason worth it’s taste and you’re saving the good hair product for the days when you want to look your best and you're saving the expensive candle for when company is coming over and you're saving the good china for a meal worth presenting and you’re saving the bubble bath for the day that you really deserve it and you’re waiting to break the starch on your favorite jeans when it’s a day that matters. I’ll only say this: The people that died yesterday had something planned for today. Use the good stuff.
Oven clock, set from 4:20 to 4:20. The oven clock wasn’t reset. As it turns out, the oven (installed during the kitchen remodel the same summer I was born, 30+ years ago), hasn’t worked in at least a decade, so its worth no ones time to rub their fingers raw trying to twist the knob. But remember that even on your worst days – when it seems nothing can go right – that even a broken clock is right twice a day.