This kitchen was originally built in 1956, and, I believe, renovated in the 80’s. The walls are bead board, the real deal, painted white, with imperfections galore. Only two or three people can happily be in here at once. The small stove/oven and fridge are new. The stained, white farmhouse sink is not and is worn. The cabinetry is basic and utilitarian.

Pots hang from a rack like Spanish moss. The laminate floor is peeling under the sink. There is a spot that feels soft in the floor by the window. It feels like you could almost fall through, depending on how much weight you put on it. It makes you wonder why it’s soft, and it sounds like leaves crunching under there. It makes you feel insecure. It makes you think about the cemetery behind the house and wonder how far back it starts, and if anyone really knows where it begins and where it ends.

A small cross made of glue-gunned shells is propped on one window. A silver cross hangs by a ribbon on the other. I like them; they feel optimistic. There is voodoo here on the island, and the lighthouse keeper said he wears his cross necklaces to ward off evil. But he also sells jewelry, so he is most likely trying to make a sale. It almost worked; he kind of creeped me out, and now I think of the missed opportunity to buy his jeweled protection.

There are open wires above the fridge, going into the breaker box. A folk art piece hangs by the breaker box, reading “Drunk as a Skunk” with beer bottle caps framing it. There are old White House vinegar jugs lined up like the Von Trapp children on top of the cabinets. An old Coca-Cola cooler covers the soft spot in the floor.

The clock ticks, steady, counting the seconds until the others awake. The birds chirp, which make me think of Snow White and her insane cheer. At home, I get pissed off at birds that have the audacity to chirp in the morning. Today, though, they don’t bother me. I concede that I am on their turf, so I deflect my morning-bird-rage to the uneven table that challenges my early morning productivity; yielding wobbly, inaccurate typing. Meanwhile, the children wage a snore war in the next room.

I expect to notice lingering crab odors from last night’s dinner, but I don’t.  It smells like Grandma’s old kitchen; clean but well-used from cooking over 60,225 meals over 55 years.

The dirty dishes pout in the sink, forgotten after the bottle of wine sang her sweet lullaby. One of those old chair/stools sits by the stove. It’s actually another art piece, painted with the words “This was my Grandmother’s kitchen stool”; it probably was, given the chipped paint and rusty spots. It holds the coffee pot since there is not enough counter space…odd that the coffee pot’s usual importance is so diminished there in the corner. The husband’s coffee usually has a front row seat, but here, on the island, it can sit in the corner and just be a face in the crowd.

Island cottage