Crazy, I know it was crazy, but I decided to polish a few pieces of silver the day before we left on vacation. Polishing silver was not exactly a necessity. In fact, it wasn't even on the master list I had created the day before, but there I was standing at the kitchen sink polishing a small restaurant tea pot and a plate monogramed with the letter "A" and other bits and pieces of silver collected over the years.
Some of us hearth goddesses have an extreme need to leave our homes in perfect condition when we are going to be gone for awhile. I knew a woman who vacuumed herself out the front door as she was leaving and left her vacuum cleaner in the garage. I'm not that bad. Ok, maybe I am. I hate leaving dirty laundry in the hamper or dishes in the dishwasher. When I come home, I want only to unpack, not clear a mess from days or weeks before. This time the need was a bit more intense since our home is for sale, and there was going to be an open house while we were gone and, I hoped, some showings as well. That still didn't explain the desire to polish silver.
I remembered the short story by Tillie Olsen, "I Stand Here Ironing," in which the main character thinks about the circumstances of parenting her first child. It has been a long time since I have read that story, but, if I recall correctly, the mother in the story reviews her life and some of its difficult decisions as she irons, smoothing out wrinkles.
As I stood there polishing silver, I banished tarnish, rubbing slowly and deliberately, and I thought about my Grandma Hansen who always polished my mother's silver when she came to stay with us. I thought about people I have gone antiquing with over the years and the pleasures and treasures of those days. I remembered the delight of finding a napkin ring engraved with the word "Aggie." Our son's school nickname was "Aggie." Who was this "Aggie?" Another napkin ring is engraved with "David," and how happy I am that occasionally there is a David at our dinner table.
I breathed in the view from my kitchen window, a rooftop view I happen to love, even though a recent potential buyer was negative about that view. To each his own. I will miss this view, but I wonder what I will see from my next kitchen window.
I polished the silver and I slowed down, resting in the time out from the real list for the day. Polishing the silver--not much time or effort for so much pleasure.