Small Town Advantage

A young robin has commandeered the front porch. She’s clearly not brooded before, is nervous as a tic and easily frightened off her nest. Hey. This is MY house, birdie! I’ll tolerate her motherly behavior and enter and exit through the garage until she hatches and her brood flies. This will take some time, I know. The UPS man will give her a thrill with some frequency, but otherwise my front porch is not terribly busy. The house ferns will not grace the area until the night temps stay at 45 or better, so Mrs. Robin will settle down enough by then to put up with my intrusion.

I spent the morning squaring away my calendar, rearranging conflicts. Sorting my check book, I find I have developed a tendency to pay things twice. This is annoying and bespeaks some addling of my brain. Mostly it means once I’ve done anything at all I immediately dismiss it from my head. That’s not new; once I commit anything to paper I just let it go. Having written several articles on the history of my location, folks thought I was an authority on the Brandywine Valley, specifically West Bradford Township, and for the time it took to research and write, I was.

When finished, my mind dumped it. Why should I keep it? I have more than enough cluttering my memory banks. The bad thing is that now I even forget where I put the written form. Recently I’ve discovered the familiarity of researching something I’d forgotten I’d done two decades ago. While writing the material, which seemed more and more familiar, my sluggish brain recalled something in my files that looked just like this current work. Folks, that is a disturbing waste of time. But it also has improved my writing over the past.

Today’s material is a rework  addition to my memoir about living in proximity to the Amish, as familiar to me as my brother. Coming from the orphanage, all individuals I met seemed odd and fascinating at once, but the Amish stopped me in my tracks. Even at Reading Market, while I knew these intriguing people bore no resemblance to anyone I knew, I understood that my exposure to people outside the orphanage rendered me quite limited. It also made me, once I was free to, be quite bold. Curiosity overcame my innate shyness, so shy was quickly abandoned. Curiosity owned me. It was the beginning of “she has no filter”. I had carte blanche to go where I chose  and with that freedom also said what I pleased, asked whatever I liked and held nothing back. Not much has changed, even by decades of time.

While startling and intrusive, simple folk who had no airs excused me, thinking all children should be curious.  They indulged me, happy to satisfy my curiosity. Because they were generous, I learned lots of things most kids don’t know and didn’t ask.

Life will be, for all practical purposes, over when I no longer care to question. I have learned to avoid any and all who think I’m audacious. At my age I tend to be very aware of the sands in the hourglass. The fewer left, the faster they go. And I still have much to learn.


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