Friday, February 21, 2014


Couldn't you just DWELL HERE?  We’ve been plotting and planning and measuring for the new kitchen---just a tiny affair downstairs, one little wall-counter maybe 8’, with a corner turn into 4’ with the old black stove off on another wall, big and independent, sitting there like a huge squat frog with little round red handles to break the stern black-and-steel  of her face.

I want solid white, sturdy cabinets, like the metal ones above, with a pale top, perhaps Corian, but what I’d LOVE is one of those concrete counter-tops, pale pearly gray and forever, with the faint marks of the maker’s touch. We haven’t arranged for anyone to do it yet, and the times make me long for dear old Truman Burke---man of all work, who “did for” everybody I knew of.

Daddy did all our building and re-modeling, as he was a master with wood and cabinetry, but Mr. Truman---he was an artist of his own kind.

Truman Burke---that's a Mississippi name, a Southern name, a name for a solid citizen who IS who he is and does what he does and everyone thanks him for it.

“Cars actin’ up. Better call Truman.”

“Truman, would you take a look under there? She’s makin’ that zzzzzwhoo sound again.”

“How’s Marlee n’ em, Truman?”

“How much I owe you, Truman?”


A mainstay of this great nation, a real person who does what he does, raises up from his hunker over your carburetor, wipes his hands on an oily rag, leans into the window and asks about the family. And when the voice from under the hood says, “Try ‘er now,” you know you’re on your way, your day lightened and your way eased by that noblest of Americans---the small-town mechanic/carpenter/ handyman/plumber who everybody relies on and everybody knows by name, though it’s not there on an oval over his heart. A man who cleans up nice and shakes your hand in church and will stop anywhere, anytime, to help a stranded motorist/puzzled map-reader/kid hunting his dog.

He’s a man with a calling, perhaps not from On High, but from the earth---the gravel of the first roads, the concrete and the asphalt and Firestone tires and Valvoline and Quaker State and maybe I got a part to fit that.

Truman does his part to lift the flag and keep this country on the move. God Bless all the Trumans---I hope you know one.



Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:

A man for President if ever there was one. Vote true, vote Truman!!

harleygirl said...

My uncle was the handyman for us. He did all the jobs that no one else could/would do. We had a whole list of things he was going to do for our little, run-down house...and then he passed away suddenly, in 2006, while I was pregnant with my second son. :( It was such a huge shock, sometimes I still look for him, walking up the road. So many times I'll need a job done and wish for Uncle Jimmy. And he was a pleasant man; most people really liked him. I still have a bedside stand that he built for me, and a clothes rack that I use every day (because I don't have a dryer) and it is very special to me. I wish there were more men like that in the world today. :)

diane b said...

Unfortunately they are not so easy to find these days but I do have helpful neighbours. One of which is a kitchen maker and he installed a new kitchen for us wile we were away on holidays.

Kim S. said...

My granddaddy, Cary Easterwood, was a 'Truman'. Wudden a thing he couldn't fix! And I want that kitchen, too. I watch a lot of HGTV and am always hearing disparaging comments like "This kitchen hasn't been updated in 10 years!" I'd like a kitchen that hadn't been updated since 1942. Old painted wooden cabinets, tile countertops and backsplash, huge old range and a big round table smack in the middle of the floor. Sigh.

Sandra Norman said...

Been dreaming of one of those concrete counter tops for several years now.