*This story was originally published in "Chew on This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder", a book of inspirational short stories by Gary Brock and Kelly Tuck, and is available for purchase here!
*Words of wisdom for inspirational thought are at the end of the story!
LOOKING THROUGH THE WINDOWS
As I stepped into the kitchen, I noticed my father staring through the window as the farmer was plowing the fields beside and behind our new home. It had been an unusually dry winter and dust was flying everywhere. The windy March day didn’t help either. My backyard appeared to have been plucked straight out of the Depression Era Dust Bowl.
“He’s sure stirring everything up, isn’t he?” I mused.
My father nodded. “He sure is. It’s mighty dry out there. He’s going to have to let it rain before he plants.”
Once I’d poured myself a cup of coffee, I sat down opposite him at the kitchen table. My father had come to visit for a week or so to help us get situated in our new home. I was glad he was up before I went to work so we could talk. He was starting to look a little older to me these days. Of course, some of those added lines may have been more of a product of his half-empty view of the world than his age. You know, expression lines etch a little deeper as one ages.
Dad and I were quite different in how we viewed the world. I’d always enjoyed laughing, joking, and making light of things, but he always veered toward cynicism and slight paranoia as if everyone always had an ulterior motive. I tried to help him view situations and events from a slightly different angle.
Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
“Dad, I hope you have a good day today,” I paused to take a sip of coffee. “Anything special on your agenda?”
“Not particularly,” he replied. “I think I will just see how many honey do’s I can mark off of Ellen’s list.” My father was extremely handy, a talent that I had not acquired. Whenever he came to visit, my wife always had list of items that needed to be tightened or adjusted — the type of projects that he was so good at. Dad really enjoyed himself while completing them since they made him feel useful.
While I finished up my coffee, he glanced out the window and noted how the grass was not very green this year, even appearing a little gray. “There is nothing like that rich green bursting through the earth in the spring — that green always puts a smile on my face. But that gray out there...it kind of bums me out.” He turned back to me. “You might better stop and get some Grow Green lawn fertilizer on your way home today, and we can spread it over your lawn tomorrow.”
Of course I would. I certainly didn’t want anything to deflate his spirits while he was staying with us, even though I personally didn’t see the point in it. I nodded, getting up from my place at the table to rinse out my coffee mug. “Will do.”
“You know, while you are at it, how about get a little TSP cleaner from the hardware store when you buy the Grow Green.”
“TSP?” I queried, setting my mug into the dishwasher.
“Yes,” he twisted around in his chair to meet my questioning gaze. “TSP mixed with a little bleach makes an excellent cleaner. It brightens things up.”
“Right,” I replied slowly, “but I’m not following.”
“Son,” Dad said in awe, “just look at your utility building back there.” He pointed toward the window. “The beige vinyl siding looks brown. You want it bright and clean.”
My brow furrowed slightly. I hadn’t noticed the vinyl looking brown while I was out there yesterday, and I was pretty observant. But it would take more energy to argue my point against his. “Got it,” I stated dryly.
As Ellen walked into the kitchen, I kind of rolled my eyes at her. She nodded in understanding. My father had a real knack for micromanaging.
“Good morning,” she smiled cheerfully. “I hope everyone slept well and had pleasant dreams.”
As Ellen began to pour herself a cup of morning coffee, my father turned to her. “Ellen, by chance have you changed the brand of clothes washing detergent you have been using?”
“Well, no,” she responded. “Why do you ask?”
“Look at your yard flags out there,” he pointed to the flags that decorated different areas of our backyard. “They look a little dingy instead of bright and colorful.” He glanced my way before instructing, “Tyler, add extra strength Vibrant washing powder to that hardware store list, and we will get those flags looking just like new this weekend.”
He’s on a roll this morning, I thought to myself, I need to leave before he adds anything else to my list! I gave him a thumbs up in acknowledgment of his request before I grabbed my wallet and phone and headed toward the door for work. “You two have a great Friday. See you this evening.”
* * * * * * *
Being an early riser, weekends were no different than the weekdays for me. Knowing it would be a couple of hours before everyone would be up, particularly my father, I decided to get a few chores completed prior to having him breathing over my shoulder and giving me directions. Many times, the training from his twenty-year military career, “Inspect what you expect,” came in handy, but sometimes it was a real pain. Looking over the chores, I decided I could clean the kitchen and nook area windows before anyone was up.
Just as I finished the very last window pane, I heard a familiar shuffle coming down the hall.
“Good morning, Dad”
“Morning,” he replied.
“Do you want me to get you a cup of coffee?” I offered.
“Thanks,” he said, “that would be good.”
He was already sitting in his preferred spot at the table by the time I’d brought him his coffee. As I sipped on my own, I studied him staring intently out the window for the longest time as he let his coffee cool. All of a sudden, he stood up, walked to the window, and surveyed the backyard as his hand reached up to the back of his head to scratch it in confusion.
Returning to his coffee, he glanced up at me with a quizzical expression on his face. “Did it rain last night?”
“No,” I replied with interest, “why do you ask?”
“The grass is so green, your utility building looks crisp and clean, and your yard flags are so bright and colorful.” He shook his head in awe. “They certainly didn’t look that way yesterday morning.”
pondered for several seconds before chuckling slightly. “Dad, I washed the windows this morning. Isn’t it interesting how a clean window makes you see more clearly? It’s kind of like a positive outlook.”
My father’s eyes seemed to glaze over as my revelation sunk in. I grinned, and said, “You know, that is what I always tell the children... How you see the world is how it is. It just goes to show you at any given time…
* * * * * * *
Your perception creates your reality.
* * * * * * *
*Chew On This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder is available for purchase here!