Things that go right

Some mornings the shade rolls up straight on the first try and the toast doesn't burn. It's the humdrum things going right that make life worthwhile. In Costa Rica recently I lost some favorite things - my old blue jacket, my comfortable pullover sweater, and my old, old wonderful bird book. I felt deprived for a little while, all through lunchtime. Then I began to realize I could go on without them. I had another sweater and I had enjoyed the bird book for a long time.

I came home to Columbus, unpacked, and did the laundry. I like to put my hand in the clean socks to check for holes that need darning. I didn't need a bird book to do that. I looked out of the kitchen window, and there was Shivers, my cardinal friend. His name is Shivers because he still retains a remnant of his begging habits, left over from the summer he was a young bird. And Pinkie came to the window for a peanut. Pinkie is a squirrel with a nose slightly pinker than the other squirrels'. They were here to welcome me home.

The morning paper came. The light came on when I flipped a switch, and when I sat down in the kitchen, the chair creaked in a familiar way. In the warm kitchen world, there's a lot of interesting things to do like squeezing soapy water out of the dishcloth or putting away the plates. The panorama from the window changes momentarily. Shivers flies away but two rabbits stop by.

Two rabbits. A month ago I saw only one.

There's a book from the library. It's large print. I can read the small print , but I like the large-print books. They're so positive and reassuring. I can read at the kitchen table, or I can write a letter. My mother still likes to hear from me, and it doesn't matter what words leak out of the pen. ''I'm making vegetable soup today,'' or ''Pauline is moving to California.'' The blue ink on the white paper looks good to me, and it will look good to her. She likes me. She's my mother.

There's something about the mail that's very nice. The sound of letters falling into the box is a friendly chunking sound, and sorting the mail is a pleasant pastime. I look at all the coupons. Here's a good one for peanut butter. I read the catalogs; maybe I should order a pair of folding scissors or a set of nesting baskets.

I can write a poem at the kitchen table. The magazines often send them back, but the grandchildren never do. They like what I write about the Sloth and the Sea Otter. When I say, ''It's a long way down from the top of a horse. And a long way up there, too, of course,'' they think it's funny.

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