Monday, May 26, 2008

Folding Clothes in an Irish Pub

One morning, as Bill and I were having our coffee at the dining table, I gazed down into the utility room. It is adjacent to the kitchen, and the door is usually closed. But for some reason, it was open that morning.
It was as if I were seeing it for the first time.
An old desk, piled high with books, stood against one wall; our second refrigerator hummed in the corner. On the opposite wall was Great-Great Grandpa Kane's (or "Keane," as his name was spelled in Ireland) steamer trunk, which he brought all the way from Dublin, Ireland during the potato famine in 1849. It is battered and ravaged by time, and although I have always treasured it, it didn't seem to look right anywhere. Bill's metal detecter leaned against the wall, a couple of pairs of shoes on the floor beside it.
The only thing in the room that gave me pleasure was our vintage Coke clock. And it kept perfect time.
I spent half a day cleaning, but after I finished, it was just a room. It had no rhyme nor reason to it, as Maw Maw George used to say, and something had to be done.
It was then that I realized the room could be used for just about anything. Since the washer and dryer were behind louvered doors, you would never know they were there.
So I mulled over the possibilities, later that day coming up with an idea.
I turned to Bill, "You know what would look nice here?"
"A booth!"
"A booth? In a utility room?"

"Well, it doesn't look like a utility room. The washer and dryer are out of sight. And we're not using this space for anything but junk. It has no personality whatsoever."
Bill stared at me, not saying a word.
"It would be nice, especially during the winter. We could have our morning coffee there, or a glass of wine in the evenings."
He shook his head, but he joined me in moving the old furniture and junk into storage. Later, we discussed where we might find a booth. A restaurant sale? Have a carpenter build one?
Eventually, though, we went on to other things, and the booth idea fell by the wayside.
Or so I thought.
A few weeks later, I was away from home most of the afternoon. And when I opened the utility room door on my return, the first thing I saw was a booth! Sitting in the utility room, bright and new and looking right proud. It was a corner booth, too, even more than I had hoped for!
As it turned out, Bill had bought the booth in pieces and put it together himself. He looked right proud, too.
I admired my new booth for several days, considering my decorating options. An old country store? A coffee house? A pub?
That's it...a pub! We would celebrate our roots with an Irish pub!
I set to work, dragging out tins and menus (both of which I have collected for years), pictures, framed scenes from some of my favorite movies. And a neat Killian's Irish Brands mirror which I found among Bill's things.
The Coke clock would fit right in, so I left it where it was.
I'm still accessorizing our little Irish pub, though not everything is Irish; it's kind of an eclectic mix. It's coming together rather nicely, though, and I'm planning to display some of my favorite things, many of which had been packed away for years.
The refrigerator looks right at home, and Grandpa Kane's trunk has finally found its niche. I plan to laminate some of my menus and place them and a few tins on its tattered surface. Hang a few pictures above it. (Something tells me this is not the first time the trunk has seen a pub; from stories I've heard through the years, Grandpa loved his stout!)
Our utility room is now more pleasant. And much more functional. Although the room is not completely finished, we sometimes have our morning coffee in the booth, and occasionally enjoy a glass of wine. I often make out my grocery lists there, jot down ideas for stories. And reflect with friends and family over a soothing cup of hot tea.
The table is also a good place to fold clothes, warm from the dryer nearby. And I'll take an Irish pub over a junk room anytime for that monotonous task!


Sandra Ree said...

I love it, now that’s something I could appreciate. Once again Brenda you deliver a great read. I just don't know why you haven't been on Oprah yet! Seriously. :)

Suz said...

Cool project, great pictures, and (as usual) terrific writing. I'm glad you're enjoying the new room!

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley