In making choices for the new house, I have leaned heavily toward the practical—easy to keep, both because keeping gets harder as you get older and because I want to spend only the minimum time on housework, and durable. Getting back to the city means a knitting group or two and places to go and children and grandchildren. So I’m trying to select colors and finishes that will please me and still be functional and low maintenance. Therefore, I found myself rejecting the quite lovely tumbled marble kitchen backsplash that was the standard choice. It was indeed lovely, but my sense of practicality told me it would be too porous to be easy to keep behind the stove. We are both rather careless cooks, and although I know it could be sealed, the sealing would have to be renewed occasionally, and I don’t want to have to put sealer maintenance on my agenda. I am having some porcelain tile that has almost the same appearance installed instead. However, in the back of my mind was the thought that I knew the marble would not retain its lovely matte finish but would wear and get slick with age. Then it dawned on me how I know this fact. I know it because of this:
See how shiny those steps are? They are every bit as worn and slick as they look. I scooted down on my rear end when I was in my twenties. Of course, I was looking at a few thousand YEARS of wear by thousands of human feet. Probably not the kind of wear a kitchen backsplash would have, but the lesson did stick with me. (The photo is looking down from the top of Mars Hill (Aeropagus) in Athens.) I do think there is a lesson to be learned from my rather over-cautious backsplash conclusion, and that is that live, hands-on (or in this case, bottom-on) experiences have a lasting impression that is more vivid than a list of facts. It’s a pity that education cannot provide a sensory experience for every fact that needs to be learned in the classroom. (For the record, the natural marble on the top of the Acropolis was worn fairly slick as well.) However, I have high hopes for the durability of the porcelain tile—just think of potsherds and ancient porcelain vases. . . .
And, on a less-philosophical note, the weeks of hard work finally kicked in and riding a bicycle worked. After repeated trips down the sidewalk at the park, dad and daughter made the first bicycle trip to Meemaw and Grandpa’s house.