I stand beneath the loft rail gazing at the ornaments strung on jute. 

They sway in the slight current from the ceiling fan, tapping against the pine.  I run my finger along the old wood. We brought a stack of boards from my house in Missouri two years ago this weekend, strapped to the roof of my car.  One of the glass globes came from Jackson Hole.  Another honors Lucia, my mother’s patron saint  A third proclaims that sisters endure forever.  The final one announces Baby’s First Christmas, 1991.

I turn to study the baubles on the western wall.  The God’s-Eye from my friend Basimah Kalusi has protected my front door for twenty years.  My son bought the little license plate with my name while on an elementary school field trip.  I cut the butterfly and little flower from a card that Sally Kerchner sent to let me know that she keeps me in her heart.  I pasted them on a “Hope” tile which I found at a thrift store just when I needed its precise, enduring message. 

Penny Thieme gave me the little brown angel.  She’s lost one arm.  She suits me better with that handicap.  Beside her hangs a little glass ornament from Jennie Taggart Wandfluh, along with the flashlight which everyone in the Delta must keep handy.  I’ve had the brass key holder since my college days.  Each time I moved, I carefully taped its little brass screws to the back.  For reasons I can no longer recall, I left it in the junk drawer for twenty-five years at my house in Kansas City.  My builder affixed the holder to the wall right after he unhitched Angel’s Haven from his truck.

The rain has stopped.  I did not accomplish much today.  Yet I do not feel useless.  I lower myself into my rocking chair.    I close my eyes.  A sort of stripping away has begun.  I feel a flutter somewhere deep, as the grimy surface yields to the keen edge of the palette knife.  I cannot say what lies beneath the overlaying picture, but I eagerly await the revelation.

It’s the twenty-second day of the seventy-second month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


Friends: I will be traveling this week without my laptop.  If I do not contrive to write for the next five days, know that my quest to go a year without complaining continues.  I will resume my account upon my return to California.  If you enjoy my writing, please stay tuned.  I intend for 2020 to be a year of plenty in that regard.

Joy to the world.


P.S.: I borrowed my title for this entry from one of my favorite books, Pentimento, by Lillian Hellman.


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