The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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Good To Be Home

July 6, 2005

Well, I listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I stood this time around — the whole show, mind you. I'm sure patriotism had a bit to do with it but I had some good energy going and I felt like keeping busy. Mr. Sundberg often teases me, "Always have to be doing something, don't you, now," he says. Which isn't really true but I suppose it's one thing he thinks of when he thinks of me.

We'd planned an evening picnic on Sunday with family and I figured I'd get things going ahead of time so when the guests showed up I could spend more time visiting and less time in the kitchen. There was corn to shuck and watermelon to slice, hamburger to patty up and the macaroni and cheese to throw together. I made a broccoli, bacon and sunflower seed salad, and because I couldn't decide which I made both potato salad AND coleslaw. I was just getting going when Mr. Keillor and Prudence sang "Attics of My Life" and I got a bit nostalgic. Not a Christmas nostalgia where you miss people and think way back to times past but more of a right-this-moment-in-your-kitchen feeling. The kind where you stop mixing the chocolate cake and wonder just what everyone is doing. I thought about where I am and how blessed I am to be here. Not here in my house but here where I come from, where I'm familiar and people wave at me when I drive by and where I know where the roads go. A place where people bring extra lawn chairs so everyone has one and someone plans a treasure hunt for the kids and someone brings a cake that looks like an American flag.

There are moments I would like to freeze time, you know? Moments when everything seems in its place and there's a breeze and the porch swing creaks as the last guests say goodbye. You feel you've done what you can and there's not much more for this day, anyway. You sit on the swing and think about the stories that were told and how people laughed and a few cried and one or two slipped away for a smoke and returned and the grill went out but the Uncles got it going in no time. There was an argument in the kitchen and someone was locked in the bathroom when the doorknob came off and the Cousins had to leave early to get to another party. Johnny finally popped the question down by the creek and Joanie said yes and we toasted them with lemonade. Mother fell asleep in the hammock. The corn went over well, and so did the potato salad. No one ate much macaroni and there's still some chocolate cake left. That's all fine.

It's been a good day, and they'll be back, and in the meantime you know they're in the car heading northeast, or south, arguing about which road to take, interrupting each other with comments on the day: the swimsuit Joanie wore, that awful cantaloupe drink, how tired Aunt Elaine looks, how the grass is a bit torn up since Mr. Sundberg got his tractor. But wasn't that one hour of sun in the middle of the day just perfection?

The radio is playing in the kitchen and I'm thinking about next weekend's fishing trip and the reunion in August, and autumn, and how, at the end of this day, it's good to be home.

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