“Back to the Future,” May 15, 2018

Sometimes life turns full circle to remind us where we’ve been and show us where we’re going. It’s midnight. I’m standing in the kitchen of an empty old house ironing curtains.

Why? The curtains need it. But I need it, too. Ironing helps me think. I ought to iron every day, if only to de-wrinkle my mind. It’s been pretty wrinkled lately. Moving will do that to you.

After 12 years in the desert, my husband and I recently sold our home in Las Vegas, and plan to move in a few weeks back here, to the coast of California, where we each raised our children years ago, and now hope to watch our grandkids grow up. Last week I packed my car to the brim with boxes, warned my husband not to hurt himself in my absence (he’s on the mend from hip surgery) and drove 500 miles from Vegas to Pacific Grove, to a house that for most of my adult life I called home.

It was built in the ‘30s, a two-story Craftsman bungalow with enough woodwork to need dusting nonstop. My late husband and I bought it in the early ‘70s for less money than people pay now for a used car.

I love this old place. There was a time in my life when I was sure it was the only house I’d ever want to live in. But things change and we change, too.

My children grew up chasing each other up and down these stairs. If you know where to look (and I surely do) you can see the marks they left behind. After they grew up, we lost their dad to cancer and I lived here alone for seven years, just me and a cat that didn’t like me.

When I remarried and moved to Vegas, I rented the house to people who took better care of it than I did, and found a home for the cat where she was happier than she’d been with me. It was hard to leave this place with its homey feel and its great wealth of memories. But I was ready to move on with my life. I never dreamed I would move back into it someday.

So here I am, ironing curtains and lining shelves and chipping away at a long list of things to do to get ready to move back in. I’ve been sleeping in a bed we bought for the guest room and eating at a small table in the kitchen. That’s the only furniture in the house. A few dishes, towels and bedding make it livable, but not cozy.

Empty houses echo in all sorts of odd ways. Tonight, I thought I heard my daughter playing piano and my boys bouncing a basketball in the back yard.

I take breaks from my “to-do” list to play with my grandbabes who live nearby. Yesterday, Wiley, who’s 5, said, “Nana, I like you a lot. I like you more than 100 percent. Actually, I like you a million percent. A million is a lot more than a hundred.”

Have I mentioned Wiley is brilliant? I swore I’d never be the kind of grandma who says my grandkids are the smartest and cutest ever. But they are.

Six-year-old Henry, in his first year of Little League, hasn’t quite learned how to run the bases yet. (He recently avoided a tag while being chased all over the outfield and finally made it home.) But the boy can flat-out hit.

On Saturday, he smacked a line drive past third and darted around the bases like a beagle pup while the fans (and his nana) shouted, “Run, Henry!”

Life is a lot like baseball: A serious game for serious players. Henry and Wiley and my other grandbabes are too young to know that yet. They just want to laugh and run and have fun.

I pray they always will.

We start out fresh from heaven’s door, looking forward to life, never dwelling on the past, never fearing for the future. But somewhere along the way we forget to have fun.

Maybe that’s why God created grandkids — to remind us of why we are here.

My curtains look pretty good, if I do say so myself. Do you think we ought to get a cat?

 

Comments

  1. Maria says:

    Yes, that’s why God created grandkids….they know the secrets to having fun. They been my salvation so many times. Welcome Home:)

  2. KATHY WOODS says:

    SHARON, I LOVE YOUR COLUMN! ITS NOT ALWAYS IN MY PAPER FOR REASONS NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW. SO GLAD YOU MOVED BACK HOME. I THOUGHT YOU SOLD IT YEARS AGO AND I SAID THEN SHE WILL BE SORRY SOMEDAY. THERES NO PLACE LIKE HOME. SO HAPPY FOR YOU! LOVE HEARING ABOUT YOU AND YOUR SISTERS SQUABBLES AND YOU PRECIOUS BROTHER. NEVER STOP WRITING. I WISH YOU WOULD PUT THEM ALL IN A BOOK. REMEMBER ERMA BOMBECK? LOVE PRAYERS KATHYWOODS

  3. Kate Sciacca says:

    “Life is a lot like baseball: A serious game for serious players.”
    And a game of heartache for anxious mamas…. But, it is also the only game in Heaven…. what other game has the concept of “sacrifice” …. flies and bunts? What other sport has Angels and Padres and Cardinals? And there’s the element of eternity…. there is no clock, and as long as the batter keeps fouling off the pitch he can stay in that box forever 😀 Yes m’am, Heavens game.

    Take it easy, drink in the memories, and skip the cat 😉

  4. Mary says:

    Hi Sharon! We are excited for you to come home. My mom said she will have a plate of Snickerdoodles waiting for you. She is happy for you to adopt Buddy, the neighborhood cat that hangs out in their front yard! 🙂

  5. Peter and Connie Rankin says:

    Connie and I wish you all the best . We are with you all the way when it comes to Grandkids . Love them to death while you still can.

  6. Beth Heeren says:

    Hey, that’s great. I might just look you up in July
    Beth

  7. Katie Coburn says:

    Welcome home, Sharon.
    I don’t know you personally, but I have loved reading your columns for decades.
    I almost always laugh out loud, or cry, or both.
    What a gift you have to touch our hearts so deeply.
    I live in Carmel Valley, in a House we have been in together for 34 years….lots of memories.
    I hope you and your husband will be ecstatically happy back here.
    Maybe I’ll meet you some day soon. All conceivable blessings for you and your family

  8. James W Peterson says:

    Ms. Randall,

    A cat will find you.

    James

  9. Barb Fisher says:

    Sharon – Thank you for another wonderful column.

    I am sitting in a cottage this week looking across to the house where I grew up. It’s painted an ugly shade of brown right now, but in my mind’s eyes it’s white and so beautiful.

    This cottage had a screen porch that is now glassed in, but I can still look over and see that porch light across the street that used to flicker right at 10 PM. I knew to have myself home before she had to flicker it 5 minutes later. I swear I can see Mom sitting in the front yard visiting with the neighbors.

    I was able to visit inside about 6 years ago and just stood looking around at how small everything seems now. My bedroom is actually tiny, but I never thought so. There was plenty of room for my dolls and I to play school.

    The breezes coming across the yard from Lake Erie are a wonderful reminder of childhood too since we had no air conditioning “back in the days”.

    Oh yes, you are absolutely right about memories – I’m having some too this week….

    • Kate Sciacca says:

      Oh my gosh Barb…. I was blessed to visit my childhood home too…the folks who bought it from my parents some 50 years ago still own it! As my sister and I stood out front – about a year ago – a gentleman in his 40’s came out and asked “can I help you two?” So we explained that we lived in the house many years ago and he offered for us to come take a look… there were so few changes – I was shocked! But the room sizes were SO small – the “huge” kitchen was half the size of mine and the cavernous “bonus room” could comfortably hold maybe a couple chairs and a coffee table. But such fun, and what memories came flooding back… and tears…

Speak Your Mind

*