Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sundays with my imaginary friends

For a whole decade, when I was in my forties, I literally spent Sundays on my hands and knees.

In the morning, I would polish the white ceramic floors in my condo -- a poor design choice in retrospect -- to an immaculate sheen. It was an obsession. I was like some kind of weirdo from Crazytown trying to scrub the dirt from my life.

When it was all done, I felt better, refreshed.

It didn't matter if the rest of the house was a mess, at least the damned floors were clean.

Then, I'd whip up some marvellous Sunday gourmet dinner for the kids who were head deep into movies and video games. They might have preferred pizza or takeout, but I was going to make sure we sat down for a family dinner -- at least what was left of the family -- dinner.

Back in the "Sad Rose" decade, after my husband left me, Sundays were my salvation. I would put on Blue Rodeo's Five Days in July for the cleaning and Valdy's greatest hits for the cooking.

I liked to imagine myself skating with Peter and Lou, then coming home to a crackling fire, and a whole mess of stew. We'd break bread, laugh, maybe play some board games with Bessie Smith singing the blues on the Victrola.

God, I missed my family. I grew up with seven people in the house, with hordes of relatives descending on the farm on Sunday for big feasts. In the Sad Rose decade, I was lonelier than a barn cat in a snow storm.

My life was a country song.

The songs I listend to, as corny and sentimental as they were, took me to my happy place on cold winter days like this one. On days which seemed the darkest, these songs surrounded me like a warm blanket.

My kids still remember those days. They can sing the lyrics to every Blue Rodeo song -- and there are a lot of them. Those songs kept me grounded. They kept me sane.

Today, Scott is sick in bed and it is left to me to do the Sunday dinner.

I embraced my assignment with gusto. I spit polished the kitchen, then put on some beets and beef stew.  Now it's time to enjoy the peace and quiet. As I sit here with the dogs sleeping at my feet, listening to the wind whip around the tree, I feel good for the first time in weeks.

Life has kicked us around in recent months.

But not today.

Today is for cooking and cleaning and spending time with my imaginary friends.

Sometimes it's all you need on a winter's day.

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