• the meeting

    Time to Go

    Time to Go

    The dust has settled, the boxes are packed. A pile of trash stacked six feet high is collected in the front yard with a big sign that says “Free”. A pile of cardboard boxes and broken things are stacked in the back of the house waiting to be loaded up in the truck to be taken to the dump. Everything in between is swept up or taped shut or in a pile to be put away in the house somewhere. The garage sale is officially over. The dogs are happy because they are lose to run the property again.

    My parents are at meeting (church) and I’m left to be the cleaning fairy and hopefully do ten loads of laundry and maybe my mom’s dishes that she hasn’t been able to get to in three days. But as I sit here in the quiet of what has been a noisy roar these last few days, my thoughts clamor around in my brain begging to be written down and possibly put to rest.

    Whenever I spend more than a day or two with my mom and dad in my old home town, the inevitable subject gets brought up. The subject is never far from anyone’s thoughts. So it didn’t surprise me at all when it came up after dinner last night.

    We went to dinner with my grandfather and my aging great aunt. As we were leaving my Grandpa hugs me and asks if he’ll see me at meeting on Sunday. Sadly, I have to smile and tell him no. I see the disappointment in his face. He is crestfallen. It hurts me that I have to keep hurting him in this way. His life is centered around serving God. He is a true Christian in every sense of the way. He only wants the best for me and in his mind going to meeting would be just that. The point that we differ on is that I don’t want to be part of the meeting any more.

    I could go on and on and on about this. And in my own weary brain I am. I know every argument and I know that I must examine my own motives before I go launching into judging others. Is it pride that keeps me from wanting to go back? Is it that I want to justify my choices? Is it just the fact that I don’t want to give them another chance to reject me? Is it that I want to run run run away from my relatives that say hurtful things? What it boils down to is that I am more afraid of the people, than I am of God.

    I have a clean conscience before God. He knows everything I’ve done and I have peace with that. I’m not hiding anything. But just the same, I don’t think I need to dredge up every wrong thing I’ve ever done and put it on display for the meeting people to say, “Brenda is such a wanton woman, she must grovel, grovel, grovel to us to prove to us that she will never go astray again.” or “Oh, that Brenda, she is such a villain. Let us learn from her example and keep our children from going to colleges far away and learning the evil doctrines of the world.”

    That makes me so angry when I see that happen. I understand why it happens. If I had kids, I’d want to protect them from making bad choices too. But I hate it more than anything when I see my parents being judged for my choices. My dad really believes that it is his fault that I’ve left the meeting because he let me go to college in a town far away. If he could have kept me close I would have married a nice meeting boy and lived happily ever after. And maybe I would have. But I would still be me. I would still be struggling against the confines of my close knit family that makes me feel afraid every time I make a choice that might not be in line with theirs’. Seriously, I think it would come down to what color skirt I wore, or what I bought at the grocery store. Or if I skipped town for a day and didn’t call and invite somebody to go with me. Some day we would have disagreed on something and I would still be the black sheep of the family.

    No matter how many people have good intentions in wanting me to come back, it will eventually come down to something like this. Every member of the meeting has their own take on what I must do to be accepted back into the fold. I don’t have the time, nerve or fortitude to jump through every body’s hoops. I will never be able to please everyone. Making it past the first round of family members would probably cause me to commit more horrendous deeds than I’ve already done. Sometimes I think the only way to be accepted is to lead a double life. Put on a front that you are this or that and keep who you really are, a deep dark secret. As anyone knows, who has read anything on this blog, I’ve never been one to keep secrets. Which is really the whole reason I created “Secret Agent Josephine” in the first place…

    And that is why I can never spend more than two or three days in my old home town.

    p.s. Sorry to drag everyone through my dirty laundry but sometimes you just have to write it down to get things sorted out. The garage sale was fun and in the end we made $300 plus probably $40 in pennies that we haven’t counted yet.

  • Family Matters

    World’s Most Embarrassing Garage Sale: Day One

    World’s Most Embarrassing Garage Sale: Day One

    Phew! The first day is over. One day down, one day to go. I’m covered from head to toe in dust. I feel like an old woman. But that’s good because I need a good workout these days so I can be prepared for climbing steps all day when I’m in Paris. I hefted boxes, hung 1,367 dresses, skirts and blouses, threw out fifty million old moldy boxes and chased the dogs around the yard a few times. They kept escaping from their special side yard. They wanted to be in the middle of it all.

    Just like my six-foot-tall, willowy cousin who is only twelve year’s old!!! She is so going to be a supermodel by the time she’s fifteen. It’s funny to watch her be all beautiful and gangly at the same time. She has no clue where her arms and legs are going. She’s like a colt who just learned how to walk. She looks like she’s sixteen, she has a body to die for and she has a brain of… well a twelve year old (of course). So she wants to play tag and hide and go seek with all the other kids her age. She wants to run and jump through things that she can’t fit through. She almost knocked over a table of glasses and breakable dishes three times. We had several mishaps while she was running in and out of our make-shift clothes lines (which are just poles stuck through the rungs of two ladders). She knocked over my mom’s stereo, by tripping over the cord and almost killed my dad’s Sirius satellite receiver. She was like a bull in a china shop. Good thing our China shop was only worth pennies.

    The truth is, we are just selling trash. All the crap we have for sale is soooo worthless! It’s dusty, it’s dirty, it’s old and if it’s supposed to work it doesn’t work. One guy wanted to know if a little pink fan worked. (I used to have an all pink bedroom when I was 14.) So we plugged it in and as he tried to turn the knob to turn it on, the knob turned to dust in his hand. A plastic electric fan turned to dust! What kind of conditions make an electrical fan turn to dust? My mom has been keeping every single thing since the beginning of time. I’m so glad I’m a purger instead of a pack ratter.

    I even unpacked boxes of dirty underwear today. Dirty, holey old underwear! Who would ever buy dirty old underwear? I was so embarrassed in so many ways. After I finally went through every box of clothing and threw out everything that was stained, ripped or moldy I felt a lot better. It’s just horrible to know people are sorting through your stuff and they’re going to have to lift a pair of crusty jocky shorts to find some other treasure underneath.

    Even with all the trash, we did manage to make $200. We would have made more but we started just giving things away. It took so much work to get everything out and cleaned that the thought of putting it all away again or loading up the truck 500 times to take it all to the dump gives me hives. I think by end of day tomorrow I’m going to pay people to take our junk.

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay