No one told me when I rented the American Gothic House that I was going to get corralled into doing things out of my normal scope of life. But then moving from Portland, Oregon to Eldon, Iowa (pop. 967) and into a house listed on the National Register of Historic Places was already way out of my normal scope. So, in the spirit of jumping in with both feet and immersing myself in my new community, I am saying yes to everything.
“Do you want to ride on the American Gothic House float in the Eldon Homecoming Parade dressed up as one half of the couple?” YES.
“Do you want to come to the potluck dinner being held for the volunteers of the American Gothic House Center?” YES. In fact, since it’s raining and I just spent two weeks scrubbing my floors and only today unpacked the last of my moving boxes, why not just invite all 25 of them into my new house for dinner?! Yes!
“Do you want to come to the Gothic Area Tourism of Eldon (G.A.T.E.) meeting on Monday night?” YES. And as long as I was there, why not volunteer to put my house on the Christmas Home Tour so the town can sell more tickets and raise more money — even though I don’t own one Christmas decoration and will have about 100 people traipsing through the house in their snowy boots. Yes. (I did not, however, volunteer for the Santa Claus committee, nor for helping with Bingo night.)
And, last but not least, “Do you want to open a pie shop in town?” This question was posed to me by the mayor herself, Shirley Stacey, not more than 30 seconds after meeting her. “The town really needs it,” she insisted. Well, why not?…..YES. Tomorrow morning I go to look at the space Shirley had already picked out for me before I had even arrived in town! Cheeky thing, effective mayor.
Opening a pie shop is something I’ve been talking about for more than 10 years. If not now, when? Forget normal scope of life. Or, maybe this is what I heard people talk about during grief counseling, “This is the new normal.” Normal, new normal, abnormal — no matter how you label it, saying YES feels good.