Friday, November 24, 2017

Five Minute Friday: FAMILIAR


Today I'm linking up at Five Minute Friday, writing for five minutes on a given prompt.

This week's word: FAMILIAR.



Before starting to write, I did a quick Google search on the etymology of the word familiar. As we might expect, it comes from the same root as the word family. Familiar can also  refer to a spirit that someone might summon if they want to contact the dead.

But I like the Old English sense of the word: "on a family footing."

It makes me think of our family's farm in PEI. The property is sold now, so I won't be going back to that particular house anymore. But during the many summertime visits Richard and I and the kids made to visit Mom and Dad, it was always the familiar things that truly made it "home."

Almost immediately after arriving, we'd go to the pantry to run a glass of cold water from the tap. Our own city water could never compare to the well water on the farm.

The first thing Jonathan would do was go out to the porch to find the buckets of old Legos, drag them down to the parlour in front of the TV, dump them on the floor, and spend the next few hours filling and dumping.

(Even the words I've used -- pantry, porch, parlour -- seem like "home" words. Others would probably call those rooms the kitchen, the mudroom, and the living room or family room. You can call them that if you want, but those weren't our familiar terms.)

Allison would go to the cabinet in the kitchen and look for some old copies of Reader's Digest, or upstairs to the bookshelf in the hallway to find the Little House books or the old school readers. 

Finding the familiar things in their old familiar places was comforting. 

Before the farm was sold we took a few small pieces back home with us: a plate with a house and tree painted on it in blue; a cow figurine with little blocks that you can remove to change the date; a water jug; and a few other things. 

Using these familiar items and recalling exactly where they were in the farmhouse gives a sense of continuity between past and present, there and here, one home and another. I suppose it really does put me on a family footing.


photo Jeannie Prinsen Nov. 2017



10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Tara. I always appreciate it when you come by!

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  2. Familiar things in familiar places - that thought brought comfort in just reading it, Jeannie.

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    1. Thanks, Tim. I can imagine a lot of people going back to their childhood homes this Thanksgiving weekend and feeling that sense of everything-in-its-place. Mind you, sometimes that can feel a bit suffocating too; I guess everything can potentially have a downside.

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  3. Hi Jeannie,
    We're neighbors on fmf today. ☺️ (I find it funny since I'm pretty sure you commented on my blog last week.) one of the things that is very familiar in our home is my dad's national geographic on the back of the toilet or the counter of the sink. It always helps me know I'm home. And also lots of dogs.

    Thanks for sharing this. ☺️

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    1. Hi Julia - I did comment on your blog last week. We seem to be next door to each other often - nice synchronicity! That is neat about the National Geographic. We had tons of those at home too: my parents subscribed for decades! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  4. Jeannie, this is just wonderful, and points out to me the depth and heart we can find in the familiar...and I use the words pantry, porch, and parlour too!

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    1. Thanks, Andrew! I know people don't really have parlours anymore, but that room was the parlour and always will be. I'm glad to have you here today.

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  5. Question about the "porch": is it an enclosed room of the house or open to the outside? In the South, we have front porches where people can sit and read or visit with neighbors while taking in the fresh air. (That doesn't happen very much anymore, sadly.) Some are screened in to keep out the bugs; those are usually in the back of the house. I wondered when you mentioned that some folks might call it the mudroom.

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    1. In the case I'm speaking of it is an enclosed room. You would open a door from the outside, enter the porch, and then open another door to go into the main part of the house. But I think that is probably a limited regional usage. Like you, I would normally think of "porch" as the unenclosed front part, like a front stoop or (if it wraps around) veranda.

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