“Since we must eat to live, we might as well do it with both grace and gusto.’ M. F. K. Fisher
when i was growing up, i had a love-hate relationship with saturdays. no school, sleep in, laze around, watch tv, plan a sleepover: you name it. it was the first day of the two day ‘good times’, and, being a fan of relaxation from an early age, it was made for me.
however there was the issue of my dad, giving my mom a break, a house in the country, and plenty of chores. the saturday drill: wake up to find a list as long as one page of a yellow legal pad filled out with everything that had to happen that day. when the chores were done, you could play, free to be. so, nix the sleeping-in plan first of all. with a bit of math, you’d divide the 20-30 items (both indoors and out) by 5 (total number of wood kids….) or 6 (if some poor sap spent the night on friday and was silly enough to be here when the chore list appeared), and then check off the ones that you wanted. the reason to get up early?
to avoid things like: hauling huge branches, mucking the horse stalls, planting trees, or cleaning the toilets. the smart ones got to the list in a hurry, checked off: waxing the slate floor, dusting the living room furniture, driving around on the tractor, organizing the pot cabinet. my high school brother, who turns 54 this very day, was a bit of a night owl and was always the last one out of bed in the morning. we all know what this means!
now that i’m a grown up, i find that i’ve flipped inside-out in the way i embrace saturdays. especially in the glorious springtime! up early, savor that coffee on my deck as i make my very own chore list. my three kids, when here (darn that issue of college life anyway, i could use a strong hauler right about now), know what this list means. they’ve heard the lore, they’ve begged to be excused, feigned sprains and illness: all the tricks that my siblings and i all tried, and failed at, back in the 60s and 70s.
i love chores.
you won’t find me lunching out or shopping on a sunny day, the horror and the waste. rather, you’ll see me pulling the old poles out of the vegetable garden, sketching a new scape for the front ‘wild and casual and natural’ garden, and pulling out the pine sol for a nice fresh bit of floor mopping. the reward? loving the tradition that my parents instigated: love where you live, tend to your life, use some elbow grease and then, at the end of the day, freshly showered and ready for a relaxing evening: sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
nothing like it.