Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Easter Week

This could almost be one of my "Week in Pictures" posts, but I feel compelled to say a few words. It's been quite a few days.

Last Saturday, many tornadoes ripped through our state. For the first time since Hurricane Fran picked our street as Ground Zero, I experienced fear over the weather. I took the cats and went downstairs to an interior closet (in Fran we had to go to our dirt basement). I was so thankful I had bought a battery operated radio as we lost power an hour or so before the storm actually hit. My husband was a few blocks from this cemetery:

We were safe, thank goodness, but many others didn't fare so well. It's a reminder of our helplessness in the face of the weather.

In her usual schizo way, Mother Nature showed her beautiful side this week too. We spent a couple of days in Southport. The weather wasn't the greatest, but when you end a day looking at this, it's hard to whine.

I got up early this morning and drove to Greensboro. The choir was wearing new robes, thanks to the wonderful donations made to the church after my dad died. We had a moment of silence in his memory, and the choir members showed us after the service that each of the robes has a tag in it that says, "In memory of Ken Lewis." We were touched.

At my dad's house, everything is being readied for the estate sale. In the room where the dining room table groaned at Christmas and Easter, a card table holds dishes and silver that we didn't take. The kitchen counters are covered with pots and pans that were used to prepare his famous potato salad and pimento cheese, ham, turkey, beans. Pound cakes and pies. It's sad.

And saddest of all are the things he collected that we don't want. On this table there are newspapers announcing the end of WWII, Kennedy's death and other important events in history. He wanted us to want them, I guess, but we just can't take everything.

There's the high chair that my mother bought when my daughter was born. All of the granddaughters sat in in at one time or another. We're not taking that either.

And then there's the room that I can hardly bear to enter: his bedroom. The bed is dissembled, against a wall in another bedroom. His television and stereo lie in pieces on the floor. The books he was going to read have been shelved in the den. And the thing that is the very hardest is the sight of his clothes and shoes, neatly hung and lined up, ready for another day of delivering meals or singing in the choir or going to work.

The next time I go in the house, strangers will be looking through his things. Next will be the time when I walk in the empty house. God it's hard to say goodbye.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


(This photograph was taken at a previous exhibit.)

Friday night was the reception for the new photographs we hung in the Long View Gallery. The theme was renewal. You know how when you go grocery shopping and you're thirsty you buy a lot of drinks? And when you're hungry you buy more food than you would normally? I must be tired because three of the photographs I chose to hang were of sleeping people.

Saturday was the day I began the physical dismantling of my father's house. I brought back four or five pieces of furniture and boxes and boxes of photographs, Bibles, news articles, scrapbooks, etc. Last night, this is what my dining room looked like:

I had to get rid of a piece of furniture to bring one back. And in order to accomodate the large amount of archival materials, I had to clean out some cabinets. I got rid of bootleg tapes and old clothes and reorganized spaces to make room. The furniture looks beautiful in the new places, and I feel so happy about my choices.

It was a very emotional couple of days, made all the more so by the death of a very dear friend. In honor of her, I'm ending this post with a poem by e. e. cummings that was part of the gallery exhibit:

I Thank You

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

--- e. e. cummings