A quiet holiday follows a homeful of visitors
The house is quiet now.
After a flurry of lunches and last-minute visits on Tuesday and Wednesday, the children and grandchildren have all gone their separate ways.
No more big dinners. No more cereal on the floor. No more half-filled glasses littering the countertop. No more kids. No more babies. No more chaos.
As I said, the house is quiet now.
Needless to say, the cat is relieved. Our cat, faithful readers may recall, has a disposition that might be charitably described as abrupt. Not only does she not suffer fools gladly, she brooks no interruptions in her daily routine – which consists, now that I think about it, mostly of curling up on one of the beds and sleeping most of the day.
I sometimes forget that she’s getting old. If memory serves correctly, she’s 12 years old this summer. I don’t remember exactly how cat years convert to people years, but she’s obviously getting a bit long in the tooth.
The one thing I noticed during this most recent visit was that she had some trouble getting over the gates we put up to block off the stairs from our toddler grandson.
I can remember when the cat could stand flat-footed and jump onto my shoulder. Granted, I’m not very tall, but still, the difference was considerable.
The cat is not what you would call affectionate. She will, when the wife and I are here alone, sometimes hop up on one of our laps in the evening while we watch television, but that’s about it.
I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard her purring and still have some spare fingers.
The house, however, is quiet now, and the cat quickly slipped back into her routine. She has the run of the house, with no interfering gates, but still she seems to spend most of her time curled up on one or another of the beds.
We’ve been out to eat a few times — something we didn’t do much of when we had company.
But mostly we just sit around, working on projects of one sort or another or watching television or just enjoying the quiet.
The first night everyone was gone, we sank into our chairs, exhausted. We tried to watch some television, but I think we both dozed off. I completely forgot a meeting I had planned to attend.
So now we’re gearing up for projects that were forestalled while we had company. The wife is back at work on a quilt she’s making, and I laid in a supply of materials to wash and stain the deck. That task will have to wait until we have about three days with no rain in the forecast, but in the meantime there are other things I can do.
Sometimes I just sit and marvel at the silence.
Some may think that bone laziness, but I figure I’m entitled. Besides, it sounds so good. After a few weeks of constant activity and stimulation it’s nice to revert to peace and quiet.
We’re back on an even keel, and just in time for the long weekend just past. We went to the movies, did a little shopping, and then Monday decorated some family members’ graves. Everything is back to normal.
But it’s so quiet.
— John Beal is the retired editor of The Explorer’s sister publications, The Shawnee Dispatch and Bonner Springs Chieftain.