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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Time to Slow Down

Saturday here at The Willows is the kitchen staff’s day off. The dining room is closed. They deserve a rest after feeding us so well all week. I’m not starving, however. Today’s noon meal was my left-over-fare day. The second slice of prime rib I brought home from Thursday's meal, sauteed in butter,  tasted delicious!

I’ll be getting out soon to enjoy a leisurely stroll to the administration building where my mail is being delivered these days. There are people playing games in the Garden Room and I may play bridge sometimes but today I took time to read about Paul Salopek, the journalist who is tracing the path of humanity from its beginnings by walking from Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley to the farthest tip of South America. He is scheduled to come through southern California in 2019. Easy, he says. You just bend forward and let gravity force you to put out a foot so not to fall. That’s how walking goes and  s -  l - o - w  is the name of the game. For his journey, (sponsored by National Geographic,) his reasons for doing it and all, you just need to go to I am interested but not sure I’ll spend the time reading all about it. I may wait and see the movie if there is one and if I’m still around in 2020. 

I’m busy enough right now learning to slow down in my own way and it is helping me greatly to not have a car to jump into any time I get the notion to go. I’m learning to walk again just to get places, but I doubt I’ll be walking off campus much. It’s enough to smell the flowers along The Willows walkways. I’m not going back in time hundreds of thousands of years as this Paul Salopek is but I find it enjoyable to be walking instead of driving, washing dishes by hand and drying them with a towel and forgetting that we're surrounded by shopping malls here in this secluded garden spot. Brings back my childhood when we used soap flakes in the hot dishwater. Even shaved them off the bar of soap. “Ivory,” no doubt. The advertising slogan on the radio was a spooky haunting voice calling “Ivory Soap. It floats!” It did too.

I bought a supply of new underwear at Macy’s the other day and will try washing it with the special soap they featured at the check-out counter. No rough tumbling machine washing for these silkies! But, so far, that’s about as far back in time I want to trace humanity’s methods. I’ll not be hanging a living room rug out on a clothes line and beating it with a hand held rug beater. I won’t be scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees or even throwing the dishwater out on the rose bushes. I could have a dishwasher if I wanted one but I’ve found that it seems more of a chore loading and unloading it than to swish them around in the sink and dry them with a white sugar sack towel. (Or is it a flour sack? I always manage to find these soft and absorbent gems for sale somewhere, though it’s not easy.)

Well, it’s time to mosey down to the mailbox. I even have time these days to page through the ads that fill the box, but not the ones for cars or groceries. What a joy it is to not have to look for and plan any meals except breakfast and light lunches! And, as for dishwashing, I don’t miss scrubbing pots and pans one little bit!

I’ll enjoy reading about Paul Salopek’s slow walk, but seven years without wheels? And I’d surely miss the sofa nap now and then. Going back in memory to my own beginnings is enough for me. Even one lifetime’s changes have covered up most traces of this one old lady’s sojourn on the planet. How can a fellow see what it’s like to be a Neanderthal man by walking his paths today? Guess I'll just have to wait and see.


  1. Fascinating journey of Paul Salopek and I like his definition of walking, "You just bend forward and let gravity force you to put out a foot so not to fall." Happy to hear you are enjoying The Willows life. When I was growing up, we had a Weeping Willow in front of our house. It was planted near a Flowering Plum tree. The WIllow was my favorite as it's delicate branches dramatically bowed toward the ground. Reminded me of a brides veil, and my parents let the branches touch the ground before trimming. I always felt sorry after a trim because they cut it up too high and it looked funny. Poor tree but didn't take long before the branches hung beautifully low again. Do you have Willows on your property there? xo , Julie

  2. I'm impressed with how you move forward in life Mom! You set such a great example for all the people in your family. You've helped me to appreciate all the wonderful but simple pleasures of life. I like how open you are! Not shy to talk about washing your underwear, something we ALL can relate to! See you Tuesday!!