There's peace in things being where they should be
September 9, 2020
A good many years back I had dinner with some new acquaintances who had recently moved to our area.
After we ate, I asked the mom — I'll call her Daisy — if she happened to have a toothpick.
Daisy directed me to a cabinet to the left of the kitchen sink and said toothpicks were the one thing her family — in all their many moves — always knew where to find.
She said the first thing she did upon arriving in a new home was to put a carton of toothpicks in the cabinet that was closest to the left side of the kitchen sink.
Every house they had lived in had a different configuration, as houses are wont to do, but Daisy said there was invariably a cabinet somewhere left of the kitchen sink.
Daisy's family moved on a regular basis, thanks to her husband's job. Their kids had become experts at stumbling through the jumbles of packing boxes and confusing streets and unfamiliar store names and unknown faces.
Even so, Daisy had discovered there was a sliver of peace to be found in always having one thing — even an item that was itself only a sliver of wood — that was reliably where it should be.
Predictably, Daisy and her family moved on after a brief time here. It's been close to 40 years now since she told me about her toothpick trick.
It pops into my mind now and again, as it has several times this summer.
We have enough uncertainty in the world that I find myself craving the familiar, the known, the dependable.
Maybe you do, too.
Daisy's long-ago parable reminds me there can be a moment of solace in something as basic and simple as … well … a toothpick.
In a cabinet to the left of the kitchen sink.
Right where it should be.
Betty Williamson is feeling philosophical today. Reach her at: