Monday, October 21, 2013

My column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I did some autumn cleaning last Sunday in preparation for our monthly League of Extra Ornery Songwriters meeting, which was at our house this month.

The League is a collection of our songwriting buddies that gather to play new songs, share information on equipment, gigs and the meaning of life.

As always, we gave the house a once over, tossing magazines in the recycle box, which is hard for us to do. We keep them stacked on our benches and coffee tables, thinking that one day we’ll get around to reading them, but we rarely do. Then at the risk of looking like slobs, we sort through the stacks and toss the ones we’ll never read.

At one point I looked up at the ceiling fan and it had dust bunnies the size of Chihuahuas tangled in cobwebs, swirling around.

I cleaned the fan, and then headed outside to spray the sidewalk. Afterwards I went around back to sweep the leaves off the deck, which is a perpetual job this time of year. We have a water oak the size of Rhode Island in the yard. It sheds leaves in an orderly fashion. Unlike other oaks that once bitten by frost, spend about three to four weeks, turning leaves into a tapestry of gold, rust, orange, and red before falling; the water oak spills bushels of leaves each day over the course of fall and winter.

As I swept the deck, I heard an acorn the size of a dime smack on the metal surface of the roof, and then race down the slope before bouncing off the deck and into the yard. It sounded like an old timey pinball machine.

I learned the hard way that you should never look up to see the acorn rolling off the roof. Last year while sweeping, one fell from the top, gained momentum and smacked me right between the eyes. I heard it, but I never saw it coming.

Today, one of the final chores was to get fresh flowers for the table and for the desk near the entryway.

Most of the flowers and vegetables are gone now, but the Old Maids (Zinnias) are still showing out.

Planting those flowers is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We planted them a few years ago and each summer they bloom prolifically until frost.

I was out rolling up the hosepipe when Jilda walked by clicking the scissors as she headed to the flowerbed.

A moment later I heard her gasp. I thought she’d stepped on a snake basking in the October sun, but when I stepped to the edge of the yard, I saw a bouquet of butterflies feasting on the nectar of the Old Maids.

I pulled the phone from my pocket and tried to snap a photo but each time I got close, they erupted off the flowers into a colorful cloud. There were too many to count.

After a few tries, I decided to just stand back and watch the show for a few minutes. It’s interesting that we started out cleaning our house and ended up seeing a butterfly ballet.

I shot the photo below today and it has nothing to do with this post, I just liked the picture.


  1. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Pour me another cup of coffee, Rick--I enjoy your company!!

  2. LOL- I spent last week PURGING my old magazines. It is an addiction of mine and I am finally getting it under control. If I haven't looked at it in months-out it goes-well except for my complete "collections". lol

    Sounds like Fall is FALLING all around you- xo Diana

    1. It is falling all around. We'll have to move our trees in tomorrow.

  3. I don't think I have read such a tender and real day at someone's home. Thank you, Rick.

    1. thank you Susan. I appreciate you.

  4.'re use of words is practically poetic! I see the images you paint with words so clearly as I read! Love this post!

  5. How nice that a day of cleaning could be so enjoyable. : )

  6. Dear Rick, what a lovely phrase and image--"a butterfly ballet." Thank you for that. Your story moved along and I could see the both of you cleaning and then we come to the denouement--butterflies feasting on the nectar of zinnias. Bright colorful zinnias over which hover glorious butterflies. How lovely. Peace.

  7. That must have been a beautiful sight Hard to take shots like that.

  8. You are more than welcome to host the next meeting at my house...I can't offer beautiful butterflies, but I have plenty of those dust bunnies. Bring your longjohns, we're expecting snow showers tommorow! I'm sure enjoying your CD! Thanks for sending it so quickly!

  9. Nothing like having guests over for us to chase the dust bunnies... I guess we are all the same, we all clean up before the company arrives and then we tell about it. They can know about it but we don't allow them to see our dust bunnies.

    Hope you have a good week.

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