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Carol Perkins: Where is your quiet space

Previous column: Carol Perkins: Small Town Kindness

By Carol Perkins

Where is your quiet space? Where do you go when you want to be alone, block out the world, think, or ponder?

My place to think is lying in bed in the afternoon with my CPAC mask over my face and the machine humming softly. I stare at the ceiling and think. Not that I need a quiet space because the entire house is quiet. The older we are, the quieter the house.

I've been thinking about my grandmothers, both of whom brought up nine children. Where was their quiet space?

My grandmother Sullivan went to the pond behind her house. She gathered her pole, dug some worms, put on a scarf and usually a long sleeve sweater if the weather warranted, and stood on the bank for an hour or so. When I went with her, I had to be quiet. "Fish won't bite if you're making noise," she would say. If she caught a fish, she usually threw it back. I didn't see the sense in catching one only to throw it back, but I was young. The catching was the sport; not the keeping. In blackberry season, she took a bucket, and while she was fishing I tried to fill it without attracting too many chiggers. Plunk-they hit like pennies into a tin can. When she laid down her pole, I knew she was ready to pick, too. She gathered the berries in her apron (which she always wore) and then dumped them into the bucket. Very few words exchanged between us in that field of weeds around the pond, but I felt happy in the silence.

My grandmother on the other side went to the barn to milk her cow. My mother tells how my grandfather did not believe in women doing farm work, but when she insisted she have her own cow to milk, he gave her one. She didn't have to milk a cow; there were sons and farm help to do that, but this was her quiet time. I remember seeing her coming back to the house with the milk bucket.

A friend of mine used to sit in her car for some peace and quiet. Sometimes, she fell asleep or read. Often it was so cold, she wore a coat. My mother took afternoon walks through the field behind her house until it became unsafe mainly because of the coyotes she heard almost every night howling through the trees. Also, as she got older there was a danger of her falling and not being able to get back to the house.

When I was young, I didn't want a quiet place. The more confusion around me, according to Guy, the happier I was. Now I'm happy with no sound, sitting at my computer writing my stories, and taking a nap in the afternoon with my mask and the humming of the machine. Where is your quiet space?

This story was posted on 2019-01-16 08:53:05
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Mysterious Mama Cat comes for the food and the sunshine

2019-01-17 - Downtown Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener,
This is the feral town cat "Mama Cat," named because in her younger days she was too wild to catch and spay and was always pregnant and near starvation. She's always been afraid of people and every loud noise, but she will stop here briefly because there's cat food and a safe spot of sunshine on the porch shelf on a clear day. In 2017, thanks to Mitzi Bault and a live trap and good Vet, she was spayed and no longer has to mother babies. She is healthy now but still insists on no touching - just the food, quiet safe shelf and sunshine, thank you. I thought of this recent photo moment when I read Carol Perkins' question in this week's article, "Where's your quiet space?" - LW

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