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  • Cheré Dastugue Coen

The Sill

A guest blog post by Karen Ott Mayer.


I swore never to let it happen again. But then, there’s the whole “never” word which is tempting fate at best. As I’m washing dishes, I look through the extra-wide 1923 windows that face me. With a view of the ancient Magnolia, the window fills with green shapes.

And then, the window sill. Wide, long and perfect for placing life’s chapters in progress. It’s a cluttered mess. I fuss at my husband who leaves his debris, yet studying it, I find little of his presence. It’s all me.


I study the collection. While cleaning out our wine rack recently, I found an empty bottle of champagne, one I shared with my 85-year-old Dad earlier in the year when his patent hit final approval. Next to it, another empty Parducci bottle which I can’t seem to throw away. Having briefly known the vintner John Parducci in northern California during the 1990s, I keep it to remind me of humbleness. I remember Parducci as unassuming, driving an old truck and wearing worn khakis despite his wealth. My mother always says you’ll never know those with real money because they don’t need to show it.


Moving down the sill sits the statue from Haiti that needs repairing. Bought from a college friend for $2 in 1987, the concrete piece has followed me everywhere. Next to it, the Italian salt and pepper shakers are washed but need filling. Two glass flower vases rest next in line, serving as a reminder for me to take a minute to cut flowers for the house.


A $1 pair of sunglasses rests behind the vases. I put them there so I won’t lose them as I did another pair recently in the field. My friends and family own fancy brand names with exact styling. I grabbed these on the way out of a store back in the summer. Anyone who knows me gets the reason I don’t own $100 sunglasses. I’ve littered the world with lost pairs. The only pair I know for sure I’ll never find fell in the lake while jet skiing.


I dry my hands and pick up an odd bolt on the window sill. I remember finding it somewhere in the house and asked Kole about it.


“I’ll need that!” he replied. “Don’t lose it.” So, I put it on the window sill for safekeeping. With a barn full of parts and tools, I wonder why this little guy is so special. But with a father and husband who are always tinkering or deep in grease, I’ve witnessed the agony of that lost part so I trust his words.


Vitamins, a dog tag, and a pewter vase. What to do with that antique pewter vase? I don’t have an answer yet.


I turn the water on again and wash the next pan. By this time, another farm visitor has arrived so I leave my chores and the sill that’s marking time.


Karen Ott Mayer writes from Moon Hollow Farm, located among towering trees in north Mississippi’s Hill Country.

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