As we all adjust to this Time of Corona, little comforts mean a lot. Including music, soft blankets, dog hugs and favorite meals enables us to maintain a positive and healing atmosphere in our homebound condition.
I have found comfort in returning to some of the food of my childhood—big meals with roast, potatoes, carrots and green beans fill me and fulfill me as never before. I’ve begun making tuna salad sandwiches for many lunchtimes—complete with potato chips, and yes, Miracle Whip.
Most of us are attached the the salad spread of our youth, maintaining fervid loyalty to mayonaise of a certain brand, or in many cases, Miracle Whip. It’s been years since I bought the original brand and variety, I had been opting for organic mayo, or “light” spreads. But my tuna sandwiches have brought me back to my youth, and I bought some of the original. It tastes good. It soothes me. It feels like home.
The things that tie us to the feeling of sanctuary, to places and people who made us feel safe, help us to remember that this time shall also pass. And that every little thing will be alright.
I recently posted several essays on my Facebook page, including the one below. I wrote it in 2003, when I lived near Kansas City. The sound of the cicadas took me back to my childhood in Springfield, Illinois. I was amazed at the response this essay received—especially from my family and friends in Illinois. It seemed to elicit that feeling of sanctuary, of a simpler time when we felt safe.
I share it with you, knowing that we are still safe, and that our homes are our sanctuaries during these challenging days…
The cicadas began their serenade and my heart flew out of my cool, quiet house into the sultry evening. Once again I was in the green wicker rocking chair on Grandma’s front porch, watching the sunset and waiting for the streetlights to turn on. Grandma and I could hear the TV through the open front door; inside, Grandpa was watching the evening news. South Grand Avenue was less than a half block away. The hum of traffic and the occasional siren were part of the evening’s music. But the cicadas were on front stage, as if the muffled TV and traffic sounds provided the orchestral accompaniment for a cicada concerto.
My heart then flew upstairs to Grandma’s guest room—the pink one at the head of the stairs. Later, after our bedtime snack of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet, Grandma would tuck me in. I could still hear South Grand through the open windows. As the night progressed, there would be fewer cars—but more sirens. Grandma would set a small black oscillating fan on the windowsill, and make sure that the breeze wafted back and forth over the bed.
When I was very young, she would line up 3 or 4 straight back chairs along the bed so that I couldn’t fall out. I always thought that she was over-anxious, but I enjoyed her care and concern. And, of course, I did have a history of sleepwalking. When I got a little older, she quit lining up the chairs and was content to pull a love seat in front of the stairs—so that I couldn’t fall down them should I get up in the night.
When she and Grandpa went to bed, Grandpa would turn his old floor model radio to a show from the Hotel Roosevelt in New Orleans. They played big band music and songs from the 1940s. I would hear the music through the wall, the raucous cicadas outside, and the somehow comforting sound of the occasional siren.
I awoke once in the middle of the night to a seemingly magical event. My bed had a soft pink blanket on it. I stroked my arm lightly over the blanket, and to my amazement, a trail of sparks followed the movement. I tried it again and again. Lying there in the dark, the dancing sparks looked like fairy fire, illuminating the sweet pink guest room. My head says it was static electricity. My heart knows different.
But now, my heart has fluttered back into my chest as I sit here staring at my computer screen. Grandma and Grandpa have gone to the great beyond. Their big brown house was sold. The new owner painted it olive green. It’s hardly recognizable when I visit my hometown. In a couple of hours I’ll go to bed in my pretty blue bedroom. I will fold the comforter back, exposing the soft blue blanket. I’ll turn on the radio and the fan. I will see fairy shadows where the streetlight shines through the lace curtain.
Drifting off into a deep, safe slumber, I will wrap the cicada serenade around my heart, anchoring it against the tide of poignant memories of days gone by.
I bid you good night, and send sweet dreams to one and all.
Love always, Rev. Carla