A Norman Rockwell Visit
I visited Doris, a long lost cousin in Hawaii, someone I haven’t seen for over 40 years. Another cousin told me at a book signing that Doris has clipped and saved all the news articles on my books and my career since the 70′s.
She was waiting in the driveway of her home when I arrived. She showed me to the door, took her slippers off and covered them with a piece of cloth saying, “The sun will fade them .” I took off my shoes and entered her home.
Her 90 year old husband slowly walked into the room toward his wheelchair, holding on to railings and part of the wall. She brought out a platter of mochi and canned soda. Each mochi was carefully wrapped in Kleenix. She excitedly explained how she had found them at Raley’s and seemed so pleased she could serve them. I carefully unwrapped one and it was soft and good.
She took out my Kapoho book and explained, ” I rushed through this book because I couldn’t wait to read what was in it. I’m reading it over, very slowly this time. You are so smart.”
Joy. That room was filled with joy. Both their eyes were alive with presence. As Doris shared how she takes tiny scraps of material and sews them into blankets and quilts, her husband joined by looking at her with such pride, as though she was describing a Nobel Prize project.
When he told stories of how he helped to build the Wilson tunnel in his youth, she returned what he had given her earliar. This was his story to tell and she listened as though she was hearing it for the first time.
Their wedding photo, taken in the 50′s was on a wall. Her Japanese embroidery work were displayed throughout the living room. On one wall, a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, glued and framed, a puzzle he had finished years ago. She explained the process of how she had glued the pieces together.
I sat there and thought, “There is so much respect and joy and gratitude shared between these two who didn’t have children. Conversations were based on what I would have considered trivia in my world, but they were of such significance to both. So much joy in the simplicity of things. She remembered spending nights in our home in Kapoho , eating fresh fish caught by my father. She was a Kapoho I had forgotten.
She gave me one of her home-made blankets sewn with scraps of material. I took photos and the one posted here is of significance to me. The natural physical distance between Doris and her husband and their folded hands on their laps capture the honor, dignity and respect still being lived after all these years together.
Joy in the simplest of things. HappyThanksgiving.