A common (dis)interest

I was doing some gardening the other day and found myself piling up vines of morning glory I was pulling out.  I love morning glory, but they completely took over the last couple years.  I let them go last year because it felt sacrilegious to pull them like common weeds.  This year I had no reservations.  All those seeds from last years crops became tenacious tendrils that snaked their way through every flower bed, bush and even sidewalk cracks.  It was way too much of a good thing.

As I stood over a three foot wide, foot high pile of entwined cast offs, I couldn’t help thinking how strange it seemed to be treating a beloved flower like weeds.  It’s because they had become common.  They were no longer special.

We tend to ignore the common things around us.  It’s natural to be more enthralled with the exotic than the mundane.  In the spring, the robins are everywhere, and while they’re welcome as a sign of warmer weather on the way, we don’t really pay much attention.  I’d much rather see the bold colors of a cardinal in a forsythia bush.

We do it to each other too.  The good looking are popular and often get further in life while the average (common) folks are overlooked.

Aside from looks, we see people everyday whom we ignore.  We have our friends, our circles of influence.  Who cares about strangers, right?  How many of your neighbors’ names do you know? What do you know about people you work with that you aren’t in direct contact with throughout the day, or even those you talk to a lot? I worked where I am now for over a year before learning that two other guys there shared my love of big band music .

Who knows what interesting people surround you? There are whole worlds to discover in your daily life.  You’ve got to poke your head up and look around once in a while.  Put down the phone, turn off the TV, get off the computer or tablet (after you’ve read my post) and go explore!  Take an interest in the common.


P.S.  They’re still really pretty.

A place to lay your head

Between last fall and this spring, I helped 3 people move.  Each was a different situation, and each gave me things to reflect on.

First, the good thing: I got new furniture and decor out of the deal, but I earned it.  So there ya have it.  The selfish end of things.

The first move was last November for my sister who moved to her own place for only the second time in her then 47 years.  The other time was a good ten years ago and only for a year.  She has personal things to cope with that I won’t go into for the sake of her privacy, but she lived with my parents in an apartment at the time of the move.  It was a big step to go out on her own.

The first time she went on her own, she was urged to do so by those around her, but she wasn’t really prepared for it, nor did she really want to go.  This time, it was her choice and desire to have a life of her own as we watch our parents advance in years.  They won’t always be here.

It was a triumphant and encouraging event, and I was very glad to help. I gave my sister things I wasn’t using and I call her and try to encourage her as much as possible.

The next move was my parents in January, precipitated purely by financial needs.  My dad was 83 at the time, 84 now, and my mom is 76.  My mother has arthritis – spina stinosis. Her back, knees and leg make it hard to be on her feet for long.  My dad is in remarkable shape for an 84 year old, but he did have heart surgery more than ten years ago, and he is definitely slowing down.  Fortunately, they belong to a church whose members helped them tremendously.  I helped as much as I could after work and on the weekends getting ready for the move.  The day of the actual move, the good church folks had the majority of the work done by the time I got there after work.  There were still quite a few more trips with the minivan that evening and subsequent days, but the big stuff was moved and most of the furniture even in place.

It was great that they had good help since neither my mom nor my dad wanted to make the move from the comfortable apartment they really liked where they had become friends with the landlords and their toddler son.  With my sister in her own place by this time, they were adapting to an empty nest for only the second time since a year and a day after their wedding.

So when I go there, I feel somewhat at ease that they have adapted to their surroundings, but the place is so small.  So very small.  I can’t help think about all the wealthy estates with so many rooms, they never even set foot in some of them and have amenities they never use.  Nevertheless, my parents have all they need and all they can really take care of at this point.

The final move was my cousin who had to move from the house his grandfather built and his mother grew up in, which he lived in for the past 22 years.  The move was forced by his siblings wanting to sell the family home out from under him.  Fortunately, he was able to move in with his fiancee at her apartment.  But, as with my parents, it was a downsizing.  He put many items to auction and gave a lot to my brother and me who helped him with the move.  That worked out well for us.  Indeed, we made out well between the things my parents couldn’t keep and the things my cousin couldn’t keep.

I reflect on all this in my own home that I share with my brother and love very much.  It’s 100 years old this year.  We’ve done a lot of personalizing and improvements.  One thing we didn’t have to do, because it was already here, was to install a deck.  It was a major selling point with a great view of Bethlehem.  I am so thankful for everything I have and for a loving family.  I would do anything for them.

I still wish my parents had a little more room, but we all have what we need: a place to lay your head.