Warm mouth watering home baked sugar cookies piled high on a white-rimmed plate. Green Tea in French hand painted teacups on the dining room table, a hand-painted sugar bowl is nearby to sweeten the sipping. A lace antique tablecloth wraps the room in warmth.
Mrs. Higinbotham is never in a hurry. Mrs. Higs does not have 100 things to do, or at least she never acts like she does. She only has to do this very present thing, to be in the very moment with us now. She embodies the Art of the Welcome.
Mrs. Higs does not have an I-Phone 5 S or a laptop or a kindle or a tablet or and an I-Pad or even a computer for that matter, but she is sharp as a whip and up on every news event. She and Mr. Higinbotham read the print edition of the Corvallis Gazette Times and get their news at 5 p.m. on regular Television. Mr. and Mrs. Higs do not have cable television and the television in the wood paneled den of Mr. and Mrs. Higs has antennae with bunny ears, and that is the television where Mr. Higs watches all of his football and basketball and baseball games.
. And my twin boys and my baby boy who tells me he is not a baby any more like to play Pac Man on that old television set, and that Pac Man game is the old fashioned kind, where you shoot at the little Pac-Men with hand held guns, way before WII was even a word. And that Pac-Man video game is slower than slow, but my boys like it anyway.
Through the sliding glass door in the dining room, on the covered porch, I see a white-collared button down shirt and polyester blue slacks and black socks hang drying on the clothesline. The apples overflow in the red wheel barrel near the green barn in front of the creek, which is bordered high by overgrown blackberries.
You hear the hum of the riding lawn mower and you see Mr. Higs in his suspenders and flannel shirt, and he takes my sons out on what they call the tractor, and they go in circles around the tree lined grassy property and Mr. Higs strolls along with my boys and he talks to them and chuckles and encourages them not to go too fast.
And inside, wood is whittling down warm crackling in the brick encased fireplace in the living room next to the dining room where Mrs. Higs sits with me and my sweet daughter Rachie and my friend Jeanie who has been my best friend since first grade. And Mrs. Higs pours me another cup of Green Tea and we share, how are the kids, how are my parents and how is life.
I am back as blonde-8-year-old on Arthur Circle where my friend Jeanie lives in a ranch style blue house and that is where Mrs. Higinbotham would be peering out of the kitchen window watching us play “Na-Na” with Jeanie’s two older brothers whom I had a childhood secret crush on.
And, we’d holler, “Na-Na” and then run away and Jeanie’s brothers and the other neighborhood boys would chase us until we wore ourselves out. Then we’d go back into the house and as we walked in, the welcome scent of warm sugar cookies invited us in, and the kind words of Mrs. Higinbotham in the kitchen greeted us, and she was smiling and offering us those just-baked cookies on a plate, which she placed on the family room table.
And, while today Mrs. Higinbotham offers us Green Tea to savor with her sugar cookies, back then she served those sugar cookies with a tall glass of cold milk.
We were welcome. We still are.