When the morning nurse came to visit she stopped by the kitchen on her way out.
“I use to visit this house years back. ” she reflected. “There was an old couple I used to come and check on. The house has changed quite a lot though.”
“That would have been Gran and Pa Prof. That’s Gran in there you’ve just visited.” I said pointing to the room next door. “She’s lost a lot of weight since those days.” I whispered.
The nurse was rather surprised.
“I came to a couple of garage sales at this place too. They were . . . . interesting.”
“Yes. We had a number of garage sales. And for me they were also, interesting.”
I talked the nurse through the major changes in the place and she could remember enough of the old house to visualise what it had taken to transform it all into a new and fresh beginning.
Even Gran got a make-over it seems. The nurse must have made visits in the couple of years leading up to Pa Prof’s rapid decline with cancer. Her memories were of them both sitting in the loungeroom on their lounge chairs, surrounded by the relics of their lives and the patina of coarse dust and cobwebs that I swear must have kept the house held together. We had very similar memories of those days.
“It wasn’t until we came across photos of those times and compared Gran to her state of being after living with us for 12 months that we realised just how much weight she had lost.”
“You’ve been starving her! I’ll have to report it.” The nurse quipped cheekily.
I smiled. When she moved in with us, Gran didn’t have the luxury of Pa just popping down the street and picking up countless take-away meals and treats for them both. It became a habit that weighed heavily on them both and probably wore Pa out more than necessary as he was dealing with managing his cancer treatment.
Thinner, greyer and looking all the more frailer, I could completely see how the nurse did not recognise Gran. I had to show her photos on the wall. She was amazed at the transformation of both Gran and the house.
“And we’re still getting rid of stuff. ” I added. “It’s taken a while.”
Her recollections of the garage sales were similar to mine. So much stuff. Such a run-down old house.
Every week it is as though Gran is concerned less and less with possessions and more and more with the television and the monthly transience of the various books and jigsaw puzzles that move through the house when delivered kindly by the library service.
This has made it so much easier to have some of the least favourable items around the place slip away. The two large sofa chairs that Gran and Pa sat in have moved out. The spinning wheel has gone to a keen spinner. Utilised and loved. Other, stuff, has been distributed by the Universe too.
“It’s not that I don’t like it, or it’s no good,” I often tell Mrs PP, ” . . . it’s just got a bad energy to me.” She seems to frequently agree, and so it goes.
Gradually, my clothes that I work in around the house and garden are also finding a second or third life. Rags for cleaning, ties for the vegetable stakes or if simply too far gone they are fast-tracked to the compost bin or worm farm. In this way, my closet and drawers are also being whittled down.
The newsprint that accumulates throughout the month gets stacked up and used in the garden. Sometimes at the base of pots before adding soil. Sometimes for starting new areas of garden where I use it to keep grass or weed growth down.
We are reducing. I’m sure that the Little Fella don’t think so, but I am finding that More of Less is working better.