And, oh, what a reality it is, y’all. I lived in a volunteer house in Illinois for two years, a huge Victorian monster with cracked plaster and splintery floors and a big sunny kitchen where we created community around the dinner table. But this, THIS, is a recently renovated, tastefully gentrified three-bedroom bungalow furnished with donated desks and plush couches. There is a Jacuzzi tub in the master suite, and the (free!) art museum is literally right down the road. Not exactly simple living, guys.
My time here has been declared Dana’s Week of Pie. We have vowed to bake a pie every other day. Today’s pie is a much-anticipated buttermilk, not yet sampled but looking deliciously golden. Monday’s was an oatmeal chocolate, eaten hurriedly as everyone crowded around the front windows to watch the nightly entertainment: a young-ish gay couple who leave their windows open and lights on apparently for the express enjoyment of bored volunteers who like to watch other people eat dinner.
Aside from Jacuzzi tubs and pie baking marathons, things here in Cincinnati are relatively quiet. There are Halloween block parties and road trips to worship with the Brethren oldsters, of course, and right now some neighborhood kids are in the kitchen baking trail mix bars. We’re working on chore schedules and cooking rotations, and I’m attempting to institute regular prayer and some spiritual formation. But in general, things are quiet. And each day resembles the last. There is a daily routine, here, a hurried morning and nightly dinner with everyone present. No one jets off to the other side of the country and there are no airport runs because there’s no car to get there. Every morning, I get to wake up (at 8!) on the same couch, take a shower in the same bathroom with the same shampoo, make quality fair-trade coffee with organic milk, and sit down leisurely at the kitchen table to do the day’s work. Every night, I get to hang out with four awesome volunteers and eat dinner as a family. And I am telling you, readers of the blogosphere, that this normalcy is soothing to my rambling soul.