The heat of the day hung gently in the sun porch this May evening. The garden beds are filled now with burgeoning blossoms. A white bridal wreath spirea vies with the deep pink flowering almond bushes and stately pale lavender and deep purple iris stand at attention around the bird bath.
I came out to the porch to study, but succumbed quickly to an irresistible pull to sleep. When I woke up Brenda was outside the sun porch window in purple checkered pajama bottoms and a turquoise fleece jacket, on a lawn chair; head bowed, blond hair falling forward over her face as she filed her toe nails, unaware of my presence nearby as I had the blinds pulled down low against the setting sun. Molson lay at her feet, ears alert, surveying the neighbourhood.
I allowed myself the luxury of a gradual return to full wakefulness and then called a greeting.
She turned in happy surprise, and, social being that she is, gathered up her manicure accoutrements and came inside to join me.
We sat together, the quietness broken only by the gentle hum of a neighbour's lawn mower and the chirping of a host of birds hidden in nearby trees and I asked her how her day was.
It's a high pressure time right now at the end of the school year where she works and her brow furrowed as she thought back to the day gone by and the days that lie ahead this week.
"We'll get through it, we always do," she said, but then she caught her breath as she remembered one more thing that she had to do tomorrow. She is highly conscientious and tries to stay ahead of things and do the very best she can but this time is hard. I suggested she write it down. She took out her i-phone and made a note.
She talked about how we affect the people around us. She said that just choosing a greeting that went beyond the normal "Fine," or "Well," in response to ordinary polite conversational inquiry, affected the atmosphere.
"When people ask me how I am, I always say, 'Fabulous!'" she said, "but today I told them that I have to come up with a new response."
She said that she had decided on, "Extraordinary!" but a co-worker said, "Brenda, you should tell people that you are 'Slendiferous!'"
"Splendiferous isn't a word!" laughed Brenda, but her coworker showed her in the dictionary that indeed it was. And it is, to my surprise, a late middle English word, meaning "brightness bearer." What a perfect word for Brenda, who is so much like my dear mum.
I'm not sure that I would dare a "Spendiferous," but I may venture a borrowed, "Fabulous," or even an, "Extraordinary," for the rest of this week--and see what happens.
My daughter; my teacher.