This morning I was looking for the kitchen table. I knew right where it was. It was somewhere under a pile of papers. It was time to recycle and sort through another week's accumulation.
I never know when I can safely remove a paper from the pile. Maybe Bob hasn't finished with it. Usually this time of the year, when spring farm work has started, he doesn't have time enough to look over every page. Sadly, this poor spring weather has given Bob plenty of time to read.
As I was sorting through, making sure nothing important slipped between the pages, I came across a piece of artwork. The vibrant colored portrait was created by our granddaughter, Arianna. I almost added it to the recycling pile, but then changed my mind. I'd stick it on the refrigerator for a while, so she can see it when she visits — you can see how I have trouble with paper accumulation.
As I put it next to a drawing by Serenity, I thought back to when we had young artists living here. When Rebecca found a project she liked making, she didn't just do one, she made hundreds. One year, she taught her little brother how to make paper hearts.
Rebecca loved making hearts. Soon she and Russell were using up all our red and pink construction paper in their artistic endeavor. Our bulletin board, usually for posting school papers, overflowed with hearts. Still, they didn't stop.
Soon the refrigerator was covered with seasonal decorations. When we ran out of room there, we taped Valentines to windows so everyone could see the artwork. By the time February 14 rolled around, all the spare space in our house was covered with hearts.
There were fat ones, skinny ones, tall ones, short ones and real odd-shaped ones — usually made by Russ. I feared our over-exuberant artists would bury us in an avalanche of paper. I had to dispose of some of their deluge of love.
When I closed the fridge, a funny-shaped heart fluttered to the floor. I picked it up and headed for the nearest wastebasket. Immediately, I was overtaken by Russell, the artist.
"You're not throwing my heart away? Are you, Mommy? I made it especially for you." Tears filled his eyes, making it impossible for me to look at him — tears were also filling my eyes.
"I'm just dusting cookie crumbs off it, Russ," I answered, while banging the heart against the waste basket and replacing it on the refrigerator.
The fridge continued to look like a maple tree in the fall, and every time its door opened, a dozen heart petals drifted down across the kitchen floor. It was like autumn all over again, except I had to rake indoors.
You may wonder how I remember about these Valentine hearts. Well, I wrote about them in my column many years ago. I've been looking over the years again and starting collection for another book — by the way my current selection of books can be found on Amazon.com or by contacting me.
Anyway, we don't have our children here to make paper hearts any more. Now we have grandchildren to decorate our fridge with their artistic creations and photos of their beautiful faces. I've run out of room on the fridge, though. It's a good thing my computer screensaver shows family photos. I love that.
Now it's time to finish clearing the table of its paper pile — oops, I missed my chance. Bob just came in with the mail and a new batch of paper. It's a never-ending battle, and I'm losing. I wouldn't mind if it was all photos of our grandchildren and their artwork. Too bad some of that incoming paper is bills.
I'm sure you'll agree that it's never fun when bills stack up on the table or anywhere. It's more fun seeing a stick figure made by Arianna, Eli or Serenity.