Possumhaw: Make yourself at home



Shannon Bardwell



"When life gives you lemons, you don't make lemonade. You use the seeds to plant a whole orchard -- an entire franchise."


Anthon St. Maarten, author of "Divine Living"




The porch had been pressure washed, furniture cleaned and plants arranged. I invited a friend over for coffee. In advance I directed her to proceed to the back porch when she arrived. There she would find two Adirondack chairs facing each other from a good 8 feet apart. Coffee was prepared while wearing rubber gloves, and I served it to her at arm's length from a tray.


I was a bit anxious about having a visitor but figured if we abided by the rules, a long overdue visit would be a good thing. There on the porch we heard birds singing and fish splashing, and felt a gentle breeze.


We each shared what we had been doing and what we hoped to do soon. She shared of her children and their whereabouts. One family is in the middle of a move from one state to another. What would normally be a simple feat -- call the movers and load up -- is not so now. The good news was they bought the house they wanted, and they sold the house they didn't in one day. We deemed it a miracle.


Another child has five children, all out of school, and a husband who is still working. I loved hearing of her daughter and her family's schedule. I can't imagine feeding seven mouths three times a day, and that's just the beginning. The oldest does online school, and the younger ones have workbooks to be picked up and dropped off at school twice a week. Each child gets a daily 30-minute home piano lesson. The second to the youngest was to have her 5-year-old class play, as had those before her. Lucy's teacher made sure every child had a speaking part. Lucy was no exception. She had learned her part and anxiously awaited her performance, but the play was not to be. "All dressed up and nowhere to go."


So, Mom decided to write a play with all five children participating, complete with songs and costumes. Even if grandparents, family members and friends cannot attend due to social distancing, the play will be shared via video. I'm hoping to be a spectator of this family production. Hint, hint.


As bad and devastating as the pandemic has been, I can think of good things to remember. I'm hoping in time the good things will be what we do remember:


Life slowing down. Being mindful of others. Simplifying. Family time. Economizing. Sharing. Experimenting with technology -- Facetime. Facebook, Instagram, Zoom. Creativity and ingenuity. Staying home. Playing outside. Home cooking. Gardening. Home exercise. Using what you have. Getting rid of what you don't use. Following the rules. Global awareness. Reading. Listening. Writing cards and letters. Journaling. Board games, playing cards, and puzzles. Donating time and materials -- making masks, sharing food. Life can change on a dime, for good or bad. Make it good.




Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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