"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle." -Thich Nhat Hanh
This is one of those quotes that really resonates with me. If you hadn't figured it out already, I love quotes. I make it my business to look for a good one every so often to bring my thoughts into focus; make them more easy to digest. If you pay any attention to the media, you will see the extremes of materialism. People with little to nothing, living in poverty. And others living with such excess, that it borders ludicrous. I am thankful to fall somewhere in the middle. Comfortable enough to check off the vitals on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and living humbly enough to keep me hungry...determined.
I moved back to my home state, after a two year stint in the Nation's capital. Although DC was a remarkable city, I never had space to myself beyond the walls of my studio, and eventual one bedroom pad. No grass, or deck to call my own. Since coming home, I have stumbled on a unique gem- an old garage, in dire need of some TLC.
Living in the home that my dad grew up in, it is a fixer upper to say the least. Some new paint on the walls, updated fixtures, and a nice new plush carpet have done the trick thus far. Every day, I see more potential in this old house, thankfully. It was filled with a lot of love over the years; it still is. We work to make sure of that. To complement the tangible warmth my grandparents left behind, we are bringing the physical space into modern times. I get to flex my DIY chops in the main house, but the garage fell into someone else's able hands. Enter James.
I met James, while working at Filomena's in Georgetown. I was just looking for some part time money, and ended up finding a whole lot more; I found a partner. Fast forward a little over two years, some bad jobs, and a few different apartments and James is still along for the ride. It was always apparent to me that James was a special person, able to find joy in the small things- a nice meal, a good hike, some fresh air, or a last minute day trip. Of late though, I have noticed his potential to create joy for others too, in the unlikeliest of locations.
Nonny and Homer, my late grandparents on dad's side, were very simple. They used the garage to house their two cars, and little else. As they aged, and stopped driving, the garage atrophied because it really served no purpose any longer. Well, it is back and I hope they are smiling down on the shenanigans we have unleashed.
James is a whiz at finding fixer-upper projects. I thought I was crafty until I saw just how resourceful he is. He assumed the kitchen throne and now the crafting throne too; alas I will have to find my worth elsewhere. I am ok with this, as long as he shares the fruits of his labor. Thankfully, he always does.
James began by gutting the garage and simply cleaning. Then slowly but surely, he began to populate what we now refer to as the cave with new pieces. First came a vintage bar he refurbished. Next came the dart board, table and chairs, and the popcorn machine. Thanks to my dearest cousin and confidant, Patty, and her darling husband, we now have a margarita machine and some lovely signage. Some vintage sports memorabilia, serious snacks, sound system, and a few bar stools legitimize its man cave status.
More importantly though, more than the "things" inside the garage, are the memories that have since taken root. Family and friends gathering to share a meal, play some darts, listen to music (country music typically to appease James), and just laugh. My papa is 85 years old, and has found a new hobby in darts. Never too old to discover new sources of merriment, I say. We definitely eat our fill. James makes some mean dishes on his charcoal grill, the smell of smoke never quite leaving our clothes. It's a fine smell, though. I don't mind.
Some nights we will simply play a game or two of Cricket. Other nights we watch the rain fall. The common denominator, though, is that delicate comfort that settles in when you are with people you love. Little else is needed to make my picture any more whole. Would extravagant amenities be nice? Fine dining. The whole shebang. Sure. Few people would argue that. But I don't think more "things" would make us any happier. Just some folks sitting back, eating, drinking... laughing. In the garage of all places. My garage of plenty.