The Chalkboard in the Kitchen



I have a small wooden framed chalk board that sits above my stove in the kitchen at the farm.  It is not fixed to the wall.  It just sits atop the stove and you can pick it up, lay it on the island, write something and place it back where it goes for everyone to view. Next to the chalkboard is a decorative glass dessert bowl with several pieces of colored chalk with which to write.   Because I live with artistic people, there is often a drawing that accompanies the message.  

Anyone can write a message, but I have never seen a house guest write a message or draw on the chalkboard.  It is as if they feel it is reserved for the thoughts ofpermanent residents only.  This surprises me because we have had several storytelling and artistic folks frequent the farm.  

I got the board to inform family members what I was planning to cook for the next meal.  We are sometimes quite independent in the kitchen when schedules get busy.  It evolved into a place for self expression - todeliver a welcome, message, prayer, thought of the day, etc.  

It reminds me of the wall my college housemates and I had in a house we rented Sophomore year.  We had a large wall in the dining room.  We would have markers available for partygoers to draw or write on the wall.  This was so much fun especially during the next week as we enjoyed the party art and text scrawled on the wall.  Today we would have taken a picture of the wall and those memories would not have been lost.  But in the 80’s, we just painted the wall before the next party and new memories were made.  They live only in the minds of those who attended.  (Good Times!)

It is interesting when I see a new creation by someone elseon the chalkboard in the kitchen, think Charlottes Web.  I am usually the one who writes the messages on the board, I think, because I am usually the first one in the kitchen in the morning and do a lot of the cooking.  I like to have a welcome message for visitors to make them feel special; that their arrival was anticipated with joy and important enough for recognition.  I like to honor special days with remembrance.  I like to write an inspirational quote or scripture that won't leave me alone.  (This nagging thought is usually a sign that I need this truth and well….maybe other’s do to.)  For the past several days, the saying “Kindness is Free” has been the script on the board.  Last fall we had gentleman from a national sheep magazine, interested in doing a story, visit the farm and my daughter welcomed him on the board and drew a fluffy sheep in the corner.  It is such a good rendering of a Windsor Wool Farm sheep no one has erased it.  All messages and art are now illustrated with a fluffy sheep that now resides in the bottom right corner of the chalk board. The sheep has been wearing sunglasses lately, possibly a summertime addition.  This morning I wrote the words “God Bless America” and drew an American Flag (this is the extent of my art skills).

The little chalkboard in my kitchen is like a time capsule.  Being conscious of the ever changing nature of my family, I am feeling as though I need to document the little messages and artwork that are inscribed on the board.  I don’t know how other’s feel about the little chalkboard.  I find great joy in its visible, yet unobtrusive place in the kitchen.  It is a way to edify and build up, honor and remember, celebrate and enjoy the happenings on the farm and those who pass through it’s kitchen.

P.S. The sheep is now sporting an “Uncle Sam” hat!