Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Farmhouse Register

The older I get, the more hurriedly time tries to dodge past and the more I appreciate the value in a farmhouse register. I have a long history with the old metal grate that blows slow, warm air to heat a homestead. 

If you've ever wondered why I resembled Hattie the Witch growing up, wonder no longer. 

When we were young, mom would instruct my sister and I to "go lay on the register" to dry our hair. So, without question or objection, we did. 
No blow dryer. 
No brush. 
Just two girls reporting to our individual registers, lying flat and waiting for the heat to kick on. This wasn't anything odd to me, as it was better than mom using a brush and No More Tangles (I call BS) to work through the knots in my hair. It also allowed me to slow down for a while and get my mind right. Trust me: you don't want to be rough housing when your sensitive scalp is lying against a metal grid. Years passed and styling products, blow dryers, hot rollers and (unfortunately) flat irons entered the picture, and the days of simply lying on the register as our beauty regiment were no more. I learned to miss the ease and quiet of laying on the register. 

But the register was more than a hair dryer; it was also a crystal ball. 

Want to set fire to an already-worn-out homemaker? Get off the bus and immediately ask her what's for dinner. Not that I have experience. I learned early that I could just go the dining room register, check the writing on the white butcher paper of the piece of meat being thawed on the low heat and determine quickly if tonight was a cube steak with gravy, beef and noodles or rump roast kind of night. We always ate well. That's why we could never put our jeans in the dryer. 

There are particular things that are not in my life's Standard Operating Procedure, nor will they be, ever:
Starting the day without making the bed. 
Buying low-fat ice-cream. Or low-fat sour cream. Or low-fat anything, really.
Putting my jeans in the dryer. 

I've never trusted gals who can get their jeans out of the dryer and zip them in the same day. How does that work? Don't you have to do the step-and-squat-step-and-squat for three mornings straight before wearing them in public?  Also, how do the jeans not became denim capris after one dryer session? So many questions directed towards those who don't rely heavily on farmhouse registers. 

From my teenage years to now, my jeans have never been in a dryer but always found a place on the farmhouse register for drying. It is a slow, low heat (think of smoking a 10-pound prime rib) that takes two days to fully complete the duty. But it saves trouble when I consider that I didn't have to lie flat on my bed and use a coat hanger to jack up the zipper. 
Alone. Not that I have experience. 

It was two weekends ago when I really began to consider, and appreciate, the simple service of a farmhouse register. With Cody in Denver for eight days, Caroline and I came in from the farm after choring in -2º temperatures. I considered dipping her in a warm bathtub, but then remembered that we didn't have one. So I unbundled her and sat her tiny body on the register while I removed my layers. 

She was as content as they come, 
feeling the warm air move 
through her footie pajamas. 

It reminded me of a childhood lying flat, looking at the ceiling and waiting for my hair to dry. Or even coming in from the farm twenty years ago and warming up on the register. It's amazing what comfort warm, dry air can bring to a person when they don't truly need anything else in that moment. 

Do you have a register in your life?

Maybe not a metal heat vent that blows as much dust as it does air, but rather a quiet, calm place to focus on one thing, only. 

Maybe yourself. 
Maybe your faith. 
Maybe your family.
Maybe your business plan. 
Maybe just your life's general direction. 

Go there as soon as you can. 
Refocus. Regroup. Recharge. 

And don't forget to lay out a cut of beef for dinner. 
You'll think me come 5:30 when you're trying to carry in five grocery bags, a computer bag and a baby and your husband asks, 
"What's for dinner?"

Not that I have experience. 

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