Sunday, February 23, 2014

Matters, occupational and other, in Billington's Cove

"Do you perceive you live your life through love or fear? They are very different manifestations. My favorite quote is by the English novelist Iris Murdoch. She said, “Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.” I like the idea that all that love is, is acknowledging another’s reality."
Milton Glaser in How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
via Brain Pickings, Literary Jukebox.
James advised The Reading Man that until his foot was completely healed, he hoped TRM would be able to fill in doing small, odd jobs around The Cove.  It had somehow become one of the services offered by the shop, though the community was filled with handy persons who could fix anything, everything.  "Use my toolbox," James offered.  "If it can't be fixed with what's in there, I suggest they call a specialist."  Robert thanked him and said, if there were any house calls to be made that day, he would need to borrow the tools.  Otherwise, he could bring what he'd brought with him on his open-ended coastal holiday.  Robert had found over the years that rental cottages often benefited from tightened hinges, unstuck window latches and caulked shower tiles.  No rental agent had ever complained.

On the counter near the register, James offered a limited array of snacks - boxed candies of the non-melting kind, packets of cheese and crackers, bags of pretzels and chips, Slim Jims and beef jerky, that was about it.  Customers often grabbed an assortment to take on board.  Robert thought something freshly baked would have more appeal.  As he wanted to tell Gloria about his present occupation, while he was visiting he could suggest the possibility.

He worked about three hours that first day, never much of a lull between transactions, and gave silent thanks for his daily walks.  Had it not been for them, he suspected he would have been the worse for wear by the times James' son arrived to help out.

With the hope of savory lunch items yet uneaten, The Reading Man arrived at Gloria's front door and saw his favorite table was vacant.  Fiona peeked around from the kitchen and came out immediately.  "Not your usual time of day," she said.  "I know there's mushroom quiche."  His reply was, "Whatever you have.  I've become a working man again."

Gloria delivered the plate with green salad on the side, a cup of tea and eyebrows raised in question.   "Helping at the hardware store," he said as she waved him to go ahead, start eating.  "Saw the sign James put out and figured I could make myself useful.  So far, so good."   Between bites, he said in as off-hand a way as he could muster, that the snack department would benefit mightily from fresh baked goods and did she think that would be possible, packaged, perhaps, in cellophane bags, just a few to start.  He'd buy any leftovers and have them for dinner, he promised, not that there would be leftovers.  "You really are determined to eat your way into a pair of those fisherman's pants, aren't you?"  "It has become my goal," he told her.

Putting a hand on his shoulder, she told him, "You may be the kindest growing boy I've ever known."  Robert placed his hand over hers and said, "Thank you.  I suspect I am the luckiest."


Erin in Morro Bay said...

"Thank you - I suspect I'm the luckiest" - TRM is one truly blessed, who recognizes when he's been gifted by the universe.
We have a few jobs for him here once he has his tool box together.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - As I am wont to say, TRM is NOT confused, he gets it. I appreciate that, for writing about someone who doesn't get it wouldn't be half as much fun. I will send him your way if you promise to send him back when your tasks are finished. The handles have fallen off most of the kitchen cupboards and that's just the start of it. xo