Beauty is in the eye of the beholder …


I’m not sure who first said that and I suppose I could call Google for the answer, but the “beauty” in front of me is really flat-out ugly.

I’m sitting in a living room with some of our “old” kitchen pushing against the walls. A stranger here would need a guide to get down the hall to the bathroom

The rest of our “old” kitchen is stacked in jumbled piles out in the carport. They are the cabinets from the “old” kitchen when we tore out the “old-old” kitchen like 25 years ago.

The “old-old” kitchen was Ponderosa pine and built on site when my Dad built our house.  Ponderosa pine cabinets were all the rage back then and when we moved in, well, it was sort of like our own “Independence Day.” We were in a three-bedroom brick out on the edge of town. No more rent. Just a place of our “own” … if we lived long enough to pay off the mortgage.

(If you’re having trouble following me here, just give up and go get ready for church.)

We did manage to have a mortgage burning a few years ahead of time. We also became something of an inspiration for that Great American County Song, Luckenbach, Texas … as in “A four-car garage and still building on.”

Anyway, with an absolutely beautiful blonde as my helpmate, I forged through the years from a time of young wife, old cars, little kids, and past-due bills to actually having two cars that would run.

(I’m having trouble following this myself.)

With that said, I will tell you that as I write this it is Thursday afternoon at the Smith Hilton and the new kitchen is due along about good daylight in the morning. Which, if the prints I have seen are true, beauty will be no trouble for this beholder.

’Course the bare walls and nail marks and missing appliances look beautiful to that blonde I mentioned earlier. She walks through the “old” kitchen every hour or so with a smile on her face, humming … “tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.”

Which, of course, is when the dance ends and the fiddler wants his money. As I sit and look, it suddenly strikes me that somewhere along the way I lost my title as “King Of My Castle.” My memory tells me I didn’t abdicate, but was overthrown in a quiet and easy revolution I didn’t even notice.

In all honesty, the new kitchen due Friday morning was not an overnight decision. The fact a new kitchen would cost about as much as two cars with leather seats made for troubled dreams.

My resistance ended one morning as I sat across the breakfast table from the blonde. It hit me that the “looker” I was looking at across the table sure made my oatmeal taste better. It occurred to me that a new kitchen was a bargain to keep my oatmeal tasting like ambrosia.

But I walk outside and look at the “old” kitchen and I am a bit sad.

I’m told the new countertop will be of granite, but I look at the blue ceramic tile of the “old” kitchen and get a bit melancholy.

But I felt the same way 25 years ago when The Ponderosa left the ranch. I had just made the last payment on a 1979 Ford LTD. With no car payments, I sort of looked forward to a week or so at Daytona Beach.

So, how will I feel about the new kitchen 25 years from now?

We’ll just have to wait and see, but to keep the Good Ship Marriage afloat I’m going to keep my mouth shut and my pocketbook open.

’Course when I pay the fiddler next week, that pocketbook …

Let me just say that if you see a man down on Noble with a tin cup selling pencils, at least say hello.


George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: