Stargazer  KSR

The boy’s grandmother had painted murals on the bedroom walls of all the grandchildren, including those of this boy.  When he was eight  years old, he graduated into a larger bedroom and decided he really liked clouds and would like her to paint some on his ceiling, so together they talked it over  and she also thought it would be a good idea.

They lived in the Northwest where the skies are often overcast and rainy, so they knew a dark and dreary sky would not be a cheerful thing to see even before you got out of bed.  Seattle does not get the huge white  clouds that the Southwest is accustomed to seeing, but when the days are clear and sunny there is no place on the planet more agreeable with the sun glistening off the water of Lake Washington, Puget Sound and the mountains in the distance reflecting their snowy tops.

So it was agreed that the sky must be warm and that the clouds should have some touches of peachy tones on their edges showing that the sun was indeed shining on the world outside his window.

A tall ladder was found and the grandmother put on her paint-covered jeans and went to work creating a fantasy ceiling for this little boy.  The ceiling was much larger than the boy’s previous room, and the work much slower because of the position of the painter.  Michaelangelo had it easier because of scaffolding he was able to use, but the clouds magically appeared on the ceiling, and the grandmother stood and surveyed her work.  It needed just one more thing.

With phosphorescent paint and a map of the night skies, stars and the constellations were put in their approximate positions.  When it was dark, the ceiling became alive with the twinkle and sparkle of all the stars.  It was just like being in a world of your own and you could imagine that an actual Stargazer came each night to place them in their proper places.

At the end of the day the family went into the newly painted room, lay on his bed and looked up at the stars on the ceiling, and declared the endeavor a success.

One evening when the boy was about thirteen years old he announced to his mother that he was about to take his friend Mary up to his bedroom to look at  the stars in his ceiling.  Shortly after that, the ceiling was again painted white.


Tootling through the Poppies  KSR

To paraphrase David Brooks:  Most of us think we are pretty wonderful.  We try to balance our virtuous self-image with our selfish desires, and keep our  image in positive territory.  We give ourselves permission to cheat a little because when we look at our overall life we see that we’re still a good person.

Most of us measure ourselves leniently.  This is what Yom Kipper and the confessional are for.

When I was a child I had a small book called “The Naughty or Nice Book”.  The naughty part showed a little girl who did not make her bed and did not match her newly washed socks and put them away,  so was not permitted to attend her own birthday party (which was in full swing in an adjoining  room,)  until those chores  were done.  I could identify with that girl.  And besides she probably got cake and ice cream later anyway.

The naughty girl impressed me so much That I don’t remember exactly what the nice litle girl did that was so nice.

I have a friend who says she is thoughtful but not nice.  She unfailingly remembers everyone’s birthday dates even if she has just met them.  Quite amazing considering she is nearly 90.  She says her gift is dates but she can’t remember anything else worthwhile.

My friends are mostly all nice with a little naughty thrown in.    “Nothing wondrous can come in this world unless it rests on the shoulders of kindness.”                                                                                     


Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?   KSR

I don’t wear a watch.  What is the point, because they are either fast or slow, and does anybody really know what time it is anyway?  We have a collection of old clocks, and they each have their own opinion as to the correct time of day.  We have silenced most of their voices so as to sleep in peaceful quiet.  Two of the more pleasant songsters dutifully chime out the half hours.  Our friend Bill,  is a clock man and has an extraordinary collection of antique timepieces, and allows them all their happy jingles, some on the quarter, some on the half and three-quarter as well as the one important hour.  It was a disconcerting cacophony when we first met at their pleasant dinner table some years ago.  I’m sure it takes some time and thought to wind and/or stop them all before an extended trip, but they are lovely.

Each of our clocks has a story of course, some more interesting than others.  My favorite rests upon my living room mantle, and I have loved it all my life.  It first belonged to my great uncle’s family and was given to him and my aunt for their wedding and decorated their mantle all their lives.  As a homesick child, when I was sent to live with them on so many occasions, I lay in my bed and listened to it chiming the hours.  It became a constant comfort to me then, but I no longer keep it wound since it is quite heavy and sits too high for my short stature to reach any longer.  It sits  beside a smaller English clock and the two of them quietly convene throughout the hours.

One of the two which are kept running belonged to my grandmother’s husband, and has a lovely Westminster chime.  It passed down to my parents and then into my care some years ago.  Another antique wall clock was discovered hiding in a charming old shop in Edmond, WA. a very long time ago too, and caused some excitement to our clock friend when he first saw it as it was missing an ornament on its top.  He immediately went online and found the correct piece which was duly implemented.  There are a couple of annoying cuckoo clocks, one of which actually came from a trip to Germany in my suitcase.   Another Navy clock reminds Dr. Advice that he once sailed the seas, and keeps it as his responsibility to readjust it according to whether it is Daylight Savings Time or Real time.  A small Early American kitchen shelf/mantle clock which probably sold for a very small price from a catalogue when new, and for which we lightened our wallets a bit, was meant for a granddaughter, but alas, at this time, she hasn’t a mantle or a shelf on which to put it.

There is one uniform time-keeper  which keeps all the rest honest; and that is the computer which keeps track of the time and the date, so that we can all rest easily.