From the very first day we became residents of Aiken we have heard much about the previous owner of our house, Miss Rachel. She was a good ol’ country girl who marveled everyone with her ability to stay active even as she approached a three-digit birthday. Everyone who has stopped by to welcome us comes with a story about the flawless Miss Rachel.
Miss Rachel never used her air conditioning, she toughed out the brutal southern heat by relying on the country breeze as a cooling mechanism. “Tougher than nails that Miss Rachel”. Oh, and she worked outside from dawn until dusk, tending to her flowers and lawn. “Never had a service, no not Miss Rachel”. Miss Rachel was a good old gal, the type who would greet you at the door with some homemade pie and big glass of sweet tea. “Never a cross word spoken from her lips; a good church going woman, Miss Rachel was”. No one mentioned her name without a smile on their face and a tone of reverence in their voice. Everyone loved Miss Rachel.
I was loving the stories and truly becoming Miss Rachel’s biggest fan, until the day I had to prep the house for the interior demolition. My job was to get all window treatments off before the demo crew came. Well guess what? Miss Rachel put those damn treatments up with about 1,000 screws and just as many nails……f*uck Miss Rachel was all I could say, it seemed. Not only was there heavy drapery everywhere, but she also put blinds in on every window, naturally with about 50 screws each as well….f*ck Miss Rachel. All day long, hour after hour of smashing my fingers with the hammer and having my shoulders cramp up from working with the screwdriver above my head. “F*ck Miss Rachel, f*ck Miss Rachel”, I screamed to no one. And it only got worse when I counted the number of windows…..twenty-five f-ing windows fortified with screw and nail overkill. That is when the rant began. “Who does this”, I screamed? And why in god’s name did Miss Rachel have to bolt the pulleys down to the floor with three screws each….really!? And who puts drapes AND blinds in a laundry room!? Apparently Miss Rachel does. I spent the entire day digging deep into my swear word reserves, hurling them at everyone’s pride and joy: the saintly Miss Rachel. With a redden face, angry heart, swollen fingers and a hoarse voice, it dawned on me that I am most certainly going to hell.