Sharon Randall: Back to the future
By Sharon Randall
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 1930s, 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 I 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 backyard.
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?
Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394 Henderson NV 89077 or www.sharonrandall.com.