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Looking out my Backdoor: Thanksgiving-therapy with vinegar


November 22, 2017

Maybe it’s the phase of the mountains of the moon. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of Mars with Saturn on the cusp of the night sky in the morning fog. Maybe aliens from within or without have invaded and sucked my energy into a vortex to be re-used when I am reincarnated as an artist, punished for my past life, forced to paint a thousand renditions of velvet Elvis.

Such was my state of mind this morning as I kicked myself metaphorically around my casita, wondering why I couldn’t feel more thankful.

’Tis the Season. I’m supposed to feel Thankful. Of Good Cheer. Deck the Halls and Folly Lolly Lolly.

Fortunately, for my state of muggling mind, this morning Leo showed up early to help me wash windows. My house is tiny, but it is walled with windows, not much for walls, just windows, each one 5 feet wide and arched to 4 feet high. I bask in the light, refuse to block windows with curtains.

Window washing is my least favorite chore. I make my bed as soon as my feet hit the floor. I cheerfully mop my floors almost daily. Dirty dishes are NOT left to pro-create in my sink. But I put off — avoid — ignore washing windows as long as I can.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, Leo, who helps me keep my little corner of my world looking like a magical garden-park, thinks I should wash windows once a month. I can successfully outwit him and procrastinate for three or four months.

So last week I committed to this week, grumbling all the while. Today is the day. The deal we struck is that I would wash the windows inside and Leo wash them outside, which requires ladders and/or arching one’s body over large pots of foliage.

Armed with spritz bottles of vinegar and piles of cotton rags, in tandem, we attacked the dirt, dust and window grime. Leo cranked up his boom box with Christmas tunes, in English. I growled, under my breath.

As a therapy, window washing might be under-rated. As the windows began to sparkle, I began to sweat, also good therapy.

When we finished the windows, Leo, young enough to be my grandson, said to me, “Do you feel better now?”

“I didn’t know it showed.”

“You lonely, Sondra. You lonely.”

No man that young has the right to be that perceptive.

It’s a feeling. It will pass. My windows sparkle. I won’t have turkey for dinner but I could if I wanted. I’m hardly suffering.

Mostly, I’m content. Holidays aren’t always the best time of year. I’m surrounded by all kinds of goodness, living in Paradise. My family is battling Northern elements.

So, yes, Leo. Today I feel lonely. I feel separate.

Not lonesome enough to hop a plane to the frigid north. But should you want to come south, I’ll meet you in Puerto Vallarta.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com. Email [email protected]


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