Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tin Tub Bucket

No posts the last few days because: I wrecked a car Saturday which was fairly depressing and mildly traumatic. So I didn't have the time nor the inclination to write the music reviews I had planned. After 11:00AM I spent the rest of the weekend trying to get control of a sloppy house figuring it was the one area of my life that should be in control, unlike a highway in which another driver can decide to make a left into your lane with no indication that this is about to take place. Then I got the new Oxford American in the mail so I read the article on the painter Carroll Cloar and felt like I met up with a long lost relative. His paintings were a time portal for me and it was like I was a child growing up all over again during the many barefoot North Mississippi summers (never mind that his locale was Arkansas)I spent visiting my grandmother who lived in a house almost identical to this one painted by Cloar.
Her house had no air conditioning. No television. Just a radio-clock that could only pick up the local Ripley, MS country station. It had a bathroom, but for some reason the bathtub leaked so it became a home of boxes of mason jars and spiderwebs. The bathroom was tiny and cramped and lit by a naked light bulb with a pull string. The window in the room was boarded up and you always hoped the light bulb would work during the night as you wouldn't want to get stuck in the dark with the spiders. Without a bathtub we had to bathe in a big tin tub bucket in the middle of the kitchen and dining area where your relatives would wander the whole time. It was embarrasing to say the least, but a cold dip in the tin tub wasn't too bad after a day when the temperatures easily hit a hundred degrees.

The house in Cloar's painting probably had 4 rooms. That's all that in my grandmother's place. The living room doubled as her bedroom. She wouldn't sleep in the real bedroom which was stuffed with a bed, a dresser, and mountains of junk. Then there was a kitchen and dining area combo. She had a washer in there too, maybe even a dryer (all I remember is clothes being hung on the line in the back yard). And then the little bathroom. Here's a peek into the kitchen.

By the time I came along, the little table would be replaced by a huge freezer. The door to the bathroom would be gone, replaced by a sheet creating a hall where the washer was before a new door to the bathroom that never opened properly was placed.

I know this post is getting sentimental, but sentiment is not a bad thing. I will dare to utter what sounds like a cliche - for such a small house, there was alot of love there. And on a day like last Saturday I was in need of some love and my memories triggered by Carroll Cloar's art were the first salvo back against the chaos that life was throwing. My own loving family took care of the rest.

No comments: