Once at a family gathering my grandson, Theo, said to the big boys, "Let's go to the pool and you can do stuff to me." He meant fun stuff like tossing him around. That's one kind of stuff.
Then there's people who make stuff, like my friend, Leslie Howett,
artist, dancer and teacher, who makes these beautiful little birds out of clay. Follow her on Instagram at Lesliehowittstudio.
Then there's my friend, Buffy--Elizabetn Marie Barton, also know as Buffy Barton Davis, thanks to her dear departed husband, Steve Davis.
Do you ever wonder how people on TV and in the theater manage to look so good? So perfect with every hair in place and no run in their stockings? all those TV pundits are brilliant, yes, but what gets me is how sparkling clean their glasses always are. Mine are always so smudged I can barely see.
There was a TV show back in the 90's, based on the movie, Baby Boom, about a working mother trying to do it all. She is visited in a dream by June Cleaver and Margaret Anderson, the mothers from Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. Of course they look impeccable in shirtwaists and high heels and pearls. When our heroine wails that she can never live up to their perfection they say, "Darling, we're actresses! We don't iron these dresses! We don't even put on our own lipstick! It's all done by someone else."
And that's Buffy. She works in the wardrobe department on Book of Mormon on Broadway, maintaining the costumes, even pantyhose. Each morning Buffy checks every single piece of apparel that will be seen—and unseen—on stage for flaws, tears, wonky zippers; she mends every little hole and then she steams everything. And thus perfection on stage.
This is Buffy's late husband, Steve Davis, in his starring role. We know who kept that Santa suit looking so good, who combed his beard and did a dance to try for a smile from this unhappy customer.
Remember the bottle cap project I started last year? I had the idea but Buffy executed it. She got my idea immediately, outlined the necessary steps, including washing the bottle caps which never would have occurred to me,
. then sorted them by color.
She thought of asking our painter friend, Bonnie Woit, to donate some old canvasses, made dates with the Sunday School and Nursery School teachers, organized the materials and led the children in gluing on the bottle caps with minimal spillage. And made it fun for everyone. I'm exhausted just writing it all down.
Years ago when I saw how terrific Buffy was and knew I wanted to be friends with her I didn't invite her for coffee--I volunteered to work on her committee at the church fair. We decorated Christmas wreaths and had a ball. Haven't I said it's more fun to be inside doing the work?
I've told you about my grandfather's expression, "Let the Job Talk to You." PopPop would have loved Buffy.
Here's to all of you who do stuff. You make everything better.
To be of use
BY MARGE PIERCY
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.