My grandmother, Naomi, was a funny woman. I don’t mean funny as in odd. I mean that she was often found cracking herself up. We all have those strange, personal ticks when we start laughing so hard we can’t stop. Hers was that she would place her tongue just between her front teeth so that when she was laughing so hard she cried, her laughter came out in a “thhh thhh thhh” sound. I can still hear it.
She was one to find herself funny, often not able to finish a punch line before “thhh thhh thhh” would happen. She’d often “bet you a nickel” when she was so sure she was right about something, and she’d pay up when she lost (which was a regular occurrence. Like her only granddaughter, she suffered from believing she was almost never wrong).
She had many amazing qualities even aside from her humor and five-cent betting. One of which was always being vocally thankful for her house.
Now, she and my grandpa didn’t live in the biggest spot around. Their neighborhood was one built in the 1940’s specifically targeting men who worked civil service at Ft. Knox (my grandpa worked at the motor pool as a limo driver- very cool). She often lamented that if they hadn’t spent all of their money on new cars every couple of years, they could have moved to a bigger and better house. Yet, every time she walked in, she’d say, “Thank the lord for a good, _______ house!”
If it had been blazing hot outside, it was “Thank the lord for a good, cool house!” If she’d been somewhere that was active and messy (often my own home), “Thank the lord for a good, clean house!” If it was cold out- and she hated cold weather- “Thank the lord for a good, warm house!”
As I sit typing, Kentucky is in the grips of one of it’s rare winter storms. My neighbor and his sheepadoodle just walked by, crunching the snow on an otherwise quiet morning. I woke up today to a photo on my Instagram feed of a ceiling fan at an apartment complex in Texas covered in ice. One of my best friends posted on Facebook that a loud bang at their house last night ended up being a frozen pipe in their garage. I know there are still people sleeping under the 65 overpass downtown, even in single digit weather. I made my way into our bathroom this morning and realized that repeating in my head was the phrase “Thank the Lord for a good, warm house.”
I realize that it’s this sort of thought that makes me do what I do for a living. I’ve talked before about a feeling of Thanksgiving- that warm, snuggly, happy place I go when the turkey is broken down into leftovers, friends have left, there’s a candle burning, and my third glass of wine is in my hands. I’ve talked about loving your almost-perfect home, because perfect doesn’t really exist.
I just love home. I love the idea that our fireplaces will be operable next week, and that shortly after, we’ll have a kitchen. I’m thankful that there are familiar smells here (a Bibliotheque candle and the scent of The Laundress detergent on my sweater). I’m so grateful that we’re closing in on this renovation (at least mostly. I still want to rework the sunroom and gut the master bath. See? Never perfect). Mostly, though, as I sit here thinking about the soon to come kitchen and new area rugs, I’m grateful for a good, warm house.
There are many suffering in our nation right now, and it seems Texas has been the hardest hit with unexpected cold. To help, head to this article for several options to donate.
** photo by Don Lehman **