When I first saw the small, upstairs apartment in a brick four-plex building, I was delighted with its close proximity to the university and the covered parking space. It had two bedrooms and a front and back entrance. I told the landlord I would take it if he would paint the drab, dirty white walls of the kitchen. When he asked my preference, the answer that burst out of my mouth surprised even me.
“Buttercup yellow,” I stated with great confidence.
I had not been thinking of spring flowers and it was not a tint I had seen on a sample at the paint store. It was not a color I ever wore--but somehow it just sounded right. On moving day, as I put the key in the door that opened into the kitchen, I was almost afraid to see how it had turned out. Even though I was alone, I could not help making an astounded verbal comment.
It was breathtaking. The yellow walls and cabinets were just perfect with the white trim and dated dark brown appliances. When I lined the window sill with small pots of red geraniums one could almost imagine overdosing on the cheerfulness oozing out of that small room.
Everyone who visited was charmed with the little yellow kitchen. I couldn’t bear for there to be a dirty dish or anything out of place in that happy looking place. Like God’s mercies, its delight for me was new every morning. It brightened the darkest days. It was the one room in which I could not cry. Its warm ambiance was like being wrapped in a hug…a place to smile.
Sadly, I did not stay there a whole year. If I knew then what I know now I never would have let loud, boisterous, across-the-hall nosy neighbors run me out. Youth isn’t always sensible in its limited ability to make good decisions. I should have been stronger in dealing with rudeness and ill manners and put a stop to their intrusive behavior. Moving on was not the answer--but at the time it seemed to be.
A few years after I had left that town I was told my past short-term residence had been torn down. Since I never saw the empty space where the cozy apartment once had been, I can believe it still resides where it did those decades ago. That shows how certain memories can work to soothe. Maybe that’s a gift God gives us to unwrap when we need to rest our jangled and overwrought minds and think on pleasant things.
For some reason, in all the spaces I have lived it has never occurred to me to recreate the same décor. There were struggles and turning points in my life then, and that particular spot represents daily measures of faith and joy that pulled me through in miraculous ways. I wonder why I have left it in a memory archive not accessible to others. Maybe age has finally taught me a few lessons. One is to share the good stuff. What blessed us back when might bless someone else right now.
To this day I love to recall that dear kitchen and my red flowers with their sweet faces seeming to revel in the warm sunlight coming through the paned window over the sink, and the ancient but still useful appliances revived by a contrasting yummy color.
As I attempt to venture into the world of creative outlets, I do know one thing. I am not interested in weaving baskets or throwing pots, but the idea of a blank canvas and some oil paint has great appeal. I already know what subject will be my piece de resistance. First, I have to learn how to mix up some buttercup yellow.
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