We were soon at Patty’s house. This is a very nice wooden place of three stories, with a bit of lawn and a rather amazing garden. Patty is, by the way, a Master Gardener, which explains the garden.
I do not know, actually, quite what a Master Gardener is, but she is one, and she had to go through all sorts of programs and take all sorts of classes to garner that particular status. I gather that people who have earned Master Gardener certification then volunteer their services to their communities and to people with an interest in horticulture. Patty herself, for instance, volunteers at Rhode Island’s rather famous Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. But, more about that later. (1)
Anyway, we arrived. I carried the luggage (with some difficulty) up several flights of steps into the house, then up another set of stairs to our bedroom on the second floor. It was when I found myself sweating and grunting and slipping and generally endangering life and limb on the stairs with bags that had been, apparently, packed with lead bars and osmium(2) barbells...that I thought to myself...“Gee. I wonder if we brought too much stuff.”
Only one photo today, and it actually has something to do with the story. It is of Martha and Patty at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, which is a rather cool place, really. But I’m still cheating because this actually happened several days later. Still, it was in the same month and year, so some small progress towards verisimilitude.
This idea, far fetched as it might seem, was re-enforced a few seconds later when I almost, but not quite, threw my back out as I moved our third or perhaps seventh (I don’t recall) suitcase over the threshold and into the bedroom. When I say “almost,” I mean that my back just decided to hurt like the devil on rocket-powered roller skates rather than absolutely paralyzing me, which is what it normally does when I do something stupid like haul too much sh1t too far. So I was terribly, terribly lucky. Sort of. In a way. Actually, let me think about how lucky I was and get back to you.
Fortunately, though, I was able to heroically and stoically conceal that fact from everyone. Stoic and heroic. That’s me. Strong, silent type. Not a sign did I give. You betcha. Well, except for the moans, groans, and vituperative cursing, but since nobody heard them, they didn’t happen. If there are no observers then there is no phenomenon to observe. Ring up Schrödinger's cat. I’m sure he’ll agree.
Anyway, I crept carefully back down the stairs (ouch, ooch, erk, etc.) and then Patty very kindly served us up a light snack. Afterwards, we toured her home a bit, or at least as much as we could see in the gathering dusk. As I say, it is a large, wooden house, not quite a hundred years old (I think), very comfortable, and very attractive. It has three stories -- well, three technically, but she’s never used the attic, even though it is finished and the former owner had his office there.
The first floor contains the kitchen, the dining room, and two additional rooms that are like connected twin living rooms--or, if you like, one living room and one den. This, the first floor, is decorated with art and furnishings, much of it in the form of antiques -- in one of the two living rooms, for instance, there is a coffee table which is actually a wooden sled dating back, oh, who knows how long? Let’s just say that when Citizen Kane was looking for his Rosebud, this sled was already old. Maybe it was used to haul maple syrup on some salt water farm on the coasts of Maine.
Some of the other art scattered about is Patty’s own. She’s taken up sketching and painting in recent years. And she’s very good at it.
Just off the first of the two living rooms there is a stairway that goes up and up, and finally comes to come to the second floor. Here, there are four large rooms -- two of which are used as bedrooms, one is a catch-all, and one is Patty’s office -- plus there is a bath.
All very pleasant and I understand why Patty loves the place. Though, unfortunately, but wisely, she has begun to consider the day she will have to move. It is not coming anytime soon. She’ll be there for years to come, I’m sure.
But, it is an older house with multiple stories. To get in and out, and to get to her office and bedroom, she has to go upstairs. And, eventually, that will be difficult for her. (About the same time that Martha had her fall, Patty had one as well, and while she--like Martha--has recovered, the experience of being unable to go and down stairs is still something she has to keep in mind.) Eventually, she will have to think about other options, and she has begun to consider them.
Which is why I say that she is wise. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said that “The duty of planning tomorrow's work is today's duty...” Normally, I’m not too fond of C.S. Lewis. His concept of a properly Christian society is a bit too absolute for my taste. But, here, at least, he’s got a point. And, so, Patty is living up to her “duty.”
It is something that we...Martha and I...may have to do a bit more of ourselves, in time. If nothing else, we need to consider how long we can be comfortable in Central Texas.
But, that’s a meditation for another day. Right now, let’s move on.
Next time, I’ll get to Providence, Cranson, Pawtucket, Pawtuxet, and...Beans and Buns.
More to come.
1. For more on Master Gardeners, go here: https://ahsgardening.org/gardening-resources/master-gardeners/ and here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/lifestyle/master-gardener-training.htm
2. Osmium is a chemical element with the symbol Os. It is the densest element found on the planet--roughly twice as dense as lead. However, it is extremely rare and therefore moderately valuable. Last I checked, it was running US$400 an ounce. So, if Martha really had had a few kilos of it squirreled away in her luggage, ripe for resale, I wouldn’t have minded a bit. Still, it is bloody toxic, so just as well she didn’t.
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