catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 2 :: 2009.01.16 — 2009.01.30


At home on a day in June

The Tuttle household is filled with pounding and laughter. 

“Thelma, you can really wield a hammer,” my dad tells his mother-in-law.  “Harold taught you well.”  Granny snorts.

“Harold didn’t teach me nothin’.”

“What was that, honey?”  My grandpa looks up from his copy of TIME.

“I said that I knew how to swing a hammer long before I met you.”  A few snide remarks fly around the table before the hammers drown them out, and Dad, who had been aiming to ruffle some feathers, raises his eyebrows and grins at me across the table.

Shaking my head, I reflect on how chaos and activity are no strangers to this quirky homestead.  My mom’s parents have come to town to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary, but their visit does not stop the arrival of a UPS truck, which this morning delivered yet another box from Dadant Bros. Bee and Wax Supply.  Now the house rings with noise and motion as Mom, Dad and Granny assemble a honey super to sit atop the bee hive in our back yard.

Kristin, the youngest in our family, comes down the stairs, followed by Taylor and Ellie, the two little girls for whom she nannies.  The girls, beautifully browned by sun and dressed for summer, plop down on the couch next to me and say that they’ve decided that yellow warheads are the sourest.  Our sister, Shea is somehow sleeping through all the pounding, and I’m pondering the possibility of putting in some more tomatoes and winter squash. If I do it today, we might have a few more vegetables in winter storage.

Had I been asked ten years ago, I never would have guessed I’d be living in my parents’ house at this point in my life.  But by an array of circumstances, both common and strange, I have meandered my way back to the nest and discovered it to be a place of comfort and delight.

People are always offering me their house when they go out of town, thinking that I must long for some quiet-and sometimes I really do.  But mostly, I love this crazy residence and all the people, plants and animals that fill it.  Thing is, we all like each other a lot (most of the time), and learn from each other (hopefully for the best), and the way I see it, we are living in a way that is fundamentally counter-cultural.  Our society puts a lot of pressure on kids to move out of their parents’ house as soon as they finish school or get an “adult” job.  Our family, however, still finds itself under the same roof every summer, and when we do the house erupts with stories, laughter, sometimes yelling…

A quilt, half-finished on the dining room table, Shea bent over the cloth, stitching her care and cussing simultaneously. 

Mom and our neighbor Betty chatting in the kitchen over coffee.

Dad, planning the evening menu and subsequent game night.

Kristin, reading Harry Potter for the seventh time.

And me-eternally tracking dirt and straw through the kitchen. 

I don’t have to love every minute of it, but to have this creative motion of life and love lining our walls, bursting through the soil and flooding the streets reminds me that I have been shaped and sustained by it…and, well, I feel pretty rich.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus