It’s not a magic carpet like Aladdin’s. But magical moments do occur on this center stage rug.
We arrived at my brother-in-law’s apartment to find him standing with his walker in the midst of chaos. David and my sister Pat, who had died about a year before, were both extremely neat and orderly. So the chaos was unusual. But then everything was unusual. David’s health had gone down sharply and he wanted to downsize. We had offered to help.
The first thing we noticed was the long stretch of rolled up braided rug, so long it was hard to walk around in that small apartment.
“I need to get rid of this rug,” said David coming right to the point. “You think you can take it to Goodwill?”
It was a big rug for that small apartment, a study in greens. I immediately felt sad that we wouldn’t see it there at David’s any longer. It was an important part of the apartment he and Pat had occupied for years. Many family occasions we’d enjoyed in that home with the rug a center of our seating area–birthday parties, 4th of July gatherings, unplanned visits. I could picture so well Pat almost dancing across the rug with arms wide open to welcome us. It had been part of the furnishing in their big beautiful North Carolina house as well, maybe even their West Virginia house. It wasn’t just part of their house, it was part of their home.
Charles and I looked at each other. We’d been looking for the right rug for our living room in the house where we’d recently moved, a rug with shades of green, a touch of red mingled with tan and gold. Just like this one. I’d always held an affection for braided rugs.
“David, would you mind very much if we took this rug home instead of to Goodwill?” I asked.
Somehow we hauled that van home in our modest van.
The rug took on new life.
Three young teenagers from Uganda spent several days with us not long after we laid the rug down. They were part of a group our church helped sponsor called the Daraja Choir. The program took elementary age children for a year, traveling over much of the U.S. performing at churches and staying in homes. They had lessons each morning at the church with their teacher and performed at the church one night. Their leader, Kaws, prompted them to put on a private show for us–on the rug. It was a memorable occasion for all of us, including several of our grandchildren. I can still see the expressive bright faces of those little boys as they danced and sang Christian songs in their language and in ours.
Our little Charli began taking gymnastics lessons. She practiced and put on shows on the rug almost every day. When her cousin Mattie came to visit they both worked out routines based on movements they had learned and a lot of imagination–and energy! There is a favorite area on the back lawn where they also so their tricks. But the rug is more often the chosen stage.
Then Mattie started dance lessons–pop, tap, and ballet. I love it when she shows us her solo for a recital or when she and Charli use the rug for their various, sometimes unbelievable, activities. They can bend themselves into such wild shapes, I think even a pretzel maker couldn’t compete.
We enjoyed hosting a Bible study in our home for six weeks one year. The rug made our circle cozy and casual for sharing.
At Christmas we all gather around the rug by the Christmas tree after dinner. Charles reads the Christmas story, usually from Luke, but this year he read prophecies of the Messiah from Isaiah. This year Charli read “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” before we began opening gifts. The grandchildren arranged themselves on the rug for digging into their stockings.
The rug gives nice space for working puzzles. It’s a good place for amateur chiropractors to do their cracking. It’s an ideal place, too, to test out a new robot or lie down and read a book, or practice for a school drama.
The rug has had several houses before ours. Like us, it’s no spring chicken and is somewhat faded. It’s not a magic carpet. But it’s seen many a magical moment as the center of our family and friend gatherings. And as a stage for some wonderful performances.
David came to see us a few months after the rug moved to our house. I gleefully pointed out how his rug fitted so nicely in our living room, how appreciative we were for it. David, not a sentimental person, only shrugged and said something like “That’s good.” To him it was just a rug. To me it is a magical center stage.