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“My smile soon vanished as the couple at the door introduced themselves as the new pastor and his wife from our church, coming to call.  I could easily have dropped dead with no regrets, but that would have been the easy way out. I graciously bade them enter, shoved over some clothes and a drawer for them to sit down, offered them some coffee, forgetting that I had no electricity to make any.  I ended up serving them orange juice and cake, which probably had gone stale.  (This had been my day to bake).  The two of them sat primly, chatting pleasantly, and were the two most tactful people that I had ever met in my life.  They acted as though every home was arranged as mine was that day.  Neither blinked an eye or showed the mildest concern at the havoc.  I had always been taught that the first step in being a good homemaker was to never apologize for the state of the home or the food, or any of the many things that could go wrong.  I was temped to do some explaining, I’ll admit, until the moment passed that it might have done some good.

For, at that dramatic moment, the half-chick awoke from his nap in the bedroom and came out into the living room, stretching and yawning, as only he could do.  He went promptly to the front door to go out and “do his duty”.  By then it was too late to have explained anything to this dear old diplomatic couple.  I watched for some raised eyebrow, open mouth, gulps and so on, but neither gave any kind of reaction to the half-chick coming out of the bedroom, going to the front door to go outside.  There wasn’t even a pause in the conversation.

After a suitable time, they arose with a “thank you” and “we’ll see you in church” preliminaries.  They left and I sat down and wept.  I was still weeping when my husband came home.  He was astonished and asked me what happened.  When I gestured with my sweeping arm at the mess and told him who had come to call, he asked me why I didn’t explain about the fireplace, the electricity going off, etc.  Tearfully I said that I did think about it until half-chick walked in from his nap, and then nothing I said would have made any difference.”

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Ted begins his remodeling of the house and Dorothy finds the electrical power out…

“One day, after an unusually strenuously work day, I drove home to find the house in a turmoil.  Ted had decided to erect a fireplace on an outside wall of the living room.  That sounds simple enough, but let me give you a picture of what I encountered as I walked through the living room that evening.  Ted had ripped out the entire outside wall of the house and had nailed up a huge piece of canvas over the opening.  It was the middle of winter but who would want a fireplace in the middle of summer?  That was Ted’s reasoning, faulty as it was.  A good portion of the floor was gone along with the wall, and Ted explained that he had to put a strong foundation in to hold up the fireplace.  OK…then that was the reason for having the wheelbarrow full of cement in the middle of the floor.  The rug was rolled up and stuck out at some ungodly angle across the room.  Another wheelbarrow was filled with bricks and completed the picture of my otherwise neat living room.

And, of course, the next day was my day off and the time to clean the house, wash, iron, bake, etc.  Naturally, when I started to vacuum the following morning I wasn’t surprised to find that the electricity had gone off.  Well, since I had an all electric kitchen, I was also unable to bake, wash, iron, etc.  “What the heck this will be a great time to clean out drawers and closets” I told myself, undaunted by it all.  Always the optimist!

Since I had a growing daughter, there always seemed to be outgrown clothes to be sorted out.  I had these outgrown clothes in one pile, clothes to be mended in another pile, clothes that needed bleaching in another pile, dirty clothes to be washed in another.  All around the room there were dresser drawers that I hadn’t  even touched yet when the doorbell rang.

Now, remember that the living room also had a flapping canvas outside wall, wheelbarrows of bricks and cement, and an open piece of flooring where the foundation had to be laid, as well as the mess I had made that morning.  My first thought was to ignore the doorbell completely.  This had been my wisest thought for some time.  But I quickly changed my mind, thinking that any friend of mine would laugh with me over the horrible mess.  I went smiling to the door to find a strange little old couple standing there.”  (to be continued in Post #14)

 

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