Saturday, July 6, 2013

Gloria weighs the options - work or not work

Thanks to aloha on my mind for the photo.
Becalmed days did not arrive in Billington's Cove every summer.  They might skip two or three years in a row or they might show up as two distinct interludes in the same season.  Their appearance stimulated entrepreneurial activity on a level far removed from the usual commerce.  Tubes of sunscreen which gathered dust on their fading labels were spiffed up and moved to the front of the store with not-quite-silent prayers that their sell-by dates had not been exceeded.  In Cove garages and out-buildings, tarps were lifted from the sno-cone cart, the stack of beach backrests so comfortable for watching the outdoor movie(s), the shipment of foam ice chests that arrived too late for the last warm spell, the moth-proofed and tightly taped box of swap meet Hawaiian shirts, all sizes, that needed a good airing.  From vaults and climate-controlled spaces came film canisters and a fine vintage projector, spare parts at the ready.  Strings of holiday lights and sound system components might get a good workout, depending on how many days the heat lasted.  Some years the weather held long enough for a dance.

Gloria learned early-on that the meteorological change was pure opportunity.  Not just for expanded business, what with box suppers or dessert samplers on movie night for those who ordered them, but the chance to experiment.  She had been dreaming of miniature root vegetables, tops intact, packaged with a bit of creamy dip fragrant with fresh dill.  Or baby heirloom tomatoes, also dipable.  When she stepped out onto the front walk, after the morning with Mr. Guscott and The Reading Man, she breathed deeply of the soft air and began to write shopping lists and menus in her imagination.  Then she stopped.  She felt a pull in her arms, not quite a sag but a depletion, like a foreshadowing of fatigue.  Could it be that, maybe just this once, she could simply enjoy the warmth and not give every waking - and sleeping - thought to her work?  Please tell me I'm not getting old, she pleaded silently.  No, that wasn't it.  The tiredness wasn't about age, it wasn't really about work.  It was about play, as unlikely a word as she could conjure, having long ago turned her work and play into the same thing.  Now here was this pesky reminder that perhaps they were two different creatures, creatures who would need to be examined and compared, weighed, measured and evaluated.  Her heart, though, already knew what the choice would be.  Gloria loved her work, yet summer had just begun to shine with a very unfamiliar light.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

Oh Gloria - go for it girl! There will be plenty of time for work when the fog rolls back in. And the tourists from the hot, hot valley a hundred miles away will still come in a never-ending stream for the cool and the mist. Pack those small root veges and tomatoes and dip and go enjoy yourself!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Were she in a true quandry, I know Gloria would seek your counsel and get just the answer she needed. All true, they will come when the fog returns. Time to be out of the kitchen for a while. She thanks you. xo

Lisa H said...

Been there.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Yes. And there are different versions of "work." I will try and find a friend's quote and send it to you. Gloria deserves some time off. xo