Her son was getting married in two weeks and she wanted her home spick and span for the occasion. She knew her mother-in-law was a meticulous housekeeper so when her husband’s family came to their home to celebrate with them she wanted her place to shine.
I knew her as a customer at the doughnut shop where I worked and she’d asked if I would come and help her with her preparations. Thus I was cleaning and polishing one morning while she was looking after other details; after dinner I was helping her with some food preparation.
She handed me a bag of small carrots and wanted them cut into sticks; with her thumb and forefinger she showed me how long she wanted them to be cut. They were, of course, of odd sizes and I wondered if she wanted the extra cut off each one. Like Martha of old being cumbered about much serving, she made some dithery comment about getting them all the just the right length.
I attempted to commiserably comfort her. “Yes, in this old world there many disasters: bombs exploding and blowing homes to pieces; hurricanes flooding cities; mud slides burying whole villages – and carrot sticks not exactly the same length.”
She thought a moment, then laughed and said, “Yeah, aren’t we crazy?”
I remember reading one female writer’s comment years ago (wish I could remember who): “When you expect everything to go perfectly, even a run in your pantyhose can achieve the dimensions of a tragedy.”
Yea and Amen. We get so flustered over minor imperfections in details that we miss all the small delights in our days.
The path of beauty is paved with little common stones that sparkle in the sunshine of contentment.