I’ll never be able to claim the idea as original. It was Krista Tippett in her podcast who spoke with author Ross Gay, and their conversation prompted me to begin. The part-time gardener and professor of English at the University of Indiana told Krista about his sudden epiphany to write an essay each day on something that delighted.
In March the coronavirus coincided with my 65th birthday. With what better backdrop, I thought, to mark a gateway into an elder chapter? I will make friends with reality and document tender awakenings in a year that highlights unplanned shifts – what a crazy luxury ride.
My promise to Ms Cook’s Table is a weekly documentation of beguiling moments. A bouquet of words with the kind of details that our ancestors in a slower world became aware. I have dwelled on this type of ephemera my entire life and it allows for the happy hair pin I am.
Ritualistically each day, I make a cup of tea with my beloved electric tea kettle and listen to a randomly selected podcast. This is a self-styled post graduate study that I am composing by listening to some deep thinkers and a few health gurus. Just today I completed the On Being podcast called Tending Joy and Practicing Delight when I heard the bleeping horn of the Lowe’s delivery truck as it warned of its honking big presence in my precarious driveway. Muscle men hopped from their perches to begin their science-fictiony conveyance of my new refrigerator.
As was not my custom, I turned my attention to both guys: one a young brownish man and the other an old whitish dude. They were outfitted in starling black knitted nose and mouth pieces and heavy black gloves. I would have been scared if I had not remembered that this was not a dream. They yelled their intentions from over 6 feet away and began the work of retrieval and placement.
Once they were inside I poked my head around the large opening in the kitchen to see how long it would be before I could gather a clinical spray bottle in my chapped hands for the wipe down. The young man was without boundaries. De-masked and with a dreamy smile, I saw that he was gazing at an object that he held in his hand.
“Is this who I think it is?” he said as he gingerly placed the tiny statue back on the shelf. “Who?” – I barked at him with concern as he was into my figurine collection of odd male characters. He lit up – “ Oliver Twist is one of my favorite books. Could this be Fagin?”
After they left, I stood staring at our super de dooper refrigerator. And I wished that I had handed over the figurine as a party favor to the beautiful young brownish man reading Charles Dickens.