I am caught in a trap of spending every dime that I have and more to maintain a decently-sized house that is situated about 5 houses down from the New Jersey Shore. But if I had my way, I’d be living in a little cabin in the middle of a forest.
I added a sunroom to the back of my house, and I opted to cover the walls with old-fashioned, tongue-and-groove, knotty pine boards. When I was a child, we had a knotty pine room in our house, and I have always wanted one for myself. There is something honest and real and tangible about rooms that are built from wood. After I had the sunroom built, I began remodeling my kitchen. Again, I said that I wanted knotty pine to cover the new walls, and I said that I wanted it for the ceiling, too. Finally, it dawned on me. There is something about wood–just plain wood–that I need to have all around myself. I think that I like wood because it is something that is real. It is unpretentious. It is simply itself.
“Unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything;”
Author: Lao Tzu
When I began to remodel my kitchen, an interesting thing happened. Before I had all of my necessary funds together, I knocked out an entire wall that stood between my tiny, dark kitchen and the tiny dining room on the other side. My kitchen had sky blue countertops and a sky blue floor. The cabinets were made of particle board and the vinyl on them was peeling. I hated my old kitchen, and I simply decided that I would take matters into my own hands and get rid of what I didn’t like. I myself knocked down walls and I gave away my cabinets on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I could not afford to replace everything.
Things were frozen into a seemingly permanent state of un-fix and finally, my friend petitioned her friends to see if anyone was replacing their kitchen and would have cabinets and appliances that I could buy for a reasonable price. Within a few days, someone stepped up to the plate and offered me their entire kitchen, at no cost at all.
Now, this is where it gets very interesting. I vaguely knew the person who came forward with her kitchen. In fact, I had seen her every week for a year or two. She had been bringing her child to my Story Hour [remember: I am a Children’s Librarian]. Because of the way that this lady had elected to live her life, I had totally underestimated her, however.
I knew that the lady had a house full of children. Someone had told me that. And quite honestly, I had felt a little sorry for her and all of her kids. I knew that raising a large family had to be quite expensive–especially in the Northeast. But when I went over to look at the lady’s kitchen, I was shocked. Her kitchen is as large as my entire first floor. In fact, I believe that it is larger.
It was a refreshing moment for me to discover someone who had no need to charm everyone around her and to mesmerize the world with the spectacles of her wealth. This lady is perfectly happy to live under the social radar. I had finally met a person who would rather be underestimated than to flaunt. Unfortunately, that is a rare quality in today’s society where everyone wants to seem to be much more than they actually are. I appreciate this woman’s gift of a kitchen to me, but I am honestly more appreciative of the lady herself, who is “Unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything” –
©Jacki Kellum May 14, 2016