An Oasis in a Storm of Family
The family gatherings occurred when Granddad killed the chickens, butchered hogs or a bull. Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations drew the family to crowd around tables, eating on counters, or sitting on the floor with plates balanced on laps.
The only room that was considered off limits for family functions was the sitting room or parlor. It was only used when special guests visited. The scratchy navy blue material on the sofa and chairs made sitting on them uncomfortable. The cushions were hard. At one gathering, some of us grandkids trespassed and had entered the sacred walls. We were giggling, laughing, and wrestling on the room sized carpet. One aunt heard the fracas and charged to the doorway, unsure whether to step into the sanctity of the room. Calling from the safety of the T. V. room, she said, “You kids know better. You’re not allowed in here. Now quit fighting.”
Slowly, we extricated ourselves from the pile, sorting our own arms and legs from the tangle. I’ll never forget my aunt’s expression when she saw my Granddad’s embarrassed and reddened face emerge from the bottom of the stack. My aunt was speechless. That was a miracle in itself, but the fact that we had been allowed in the parlor with the blessing of our granddad was nothing short of supernatural.
When the family gathered, it was hot, busy, and noisy. When I got tired of it all and wanted some peace and quiet, I stood at the door of the parlor and when I couldn’t see any prying eyes, I slipped inside. The couch angled back to create a cool, hiding place to escape the turmoil. My cave was found when I fell asleep and a search was made—my parents wanted to go home. I wasn’t reprimanded, but if I came up missing, I was found easily.
Another of my favorite spots at my grandma’s house was on the front porch. She had two green Adirondack chairs and a settee. That’s where Grandma would store the rolled up carpets she used to protect plants from the frost. When winter came the rugs were relegated to the settee. It was those rugs that drew me.
There were two tall hemlock trees in the yard. The siren song the wind sang as it slid though the needles, it played a heady melody. Curled deep in a roll of carpet, I was snug and warm. It was a spot where I could escape the noise inside of the house. It became an oasis of darkness and lullabies for me, out of the cold winter’s night air, tucked safe in the carpet cocoon.