Rain or Shine


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A suitcase is a handy thing.  Miss Claudia (Wills’ mom and my friend) gave me several and I have put them to good use-especially recently.  I had not even unpacked from my week long visit to Elizabeth City, when Brant announced that he and Sydney were coming home this weekend . . . with our Ryan!  I quickly sorted out my things and headed to Mamas’ to spend the night there. We had supper there while we all adored little Ryan.  He is a merry child and friendly . . .and so adorable.  What a happy time it was!

The next morning, Tres  and Sarah came, for it was he and Sarahs’ birthday weekend.   Sarah and Jenny have been friends for over a decade, so when Tres and Sarah started seeing one another socially . . .well, we were all thrilled . . and what a shock it was to learn that Sarah and Tres share the same birthday!  Will, Jenny and the little girls came too.  We had a big breakfast and then a delightful visit.  I was in “high cotton” having the three grandchidren all at once.   . .and my children . . .and Mama! 

 

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On Monday, I left for Elizabeth City.  We had all sorts of plans.  Tres and Sarahs’  actual birthdays were on Tuesday, so there was a special supper on that day.  I am still not over the thrill, of Tres living in Elizabeth City. There were several tasks to tackle too -and there was that big laughing river, inviting us to picnic.  

It rained  every day.  “Rain or shine”, the dinners went off without a hitch, as planned.  The tasks were all completed . . .but the picnic would have to wait.  Lyla and I read in the afternoons, while Brynn napped. til at last, we finished Charlottes’ Web.  Lyla was so concerned about the fate of Wilbur, that she did not take notice of  Charlottes’ decline, and so Lyla cried for a while about the tragedy of poor Charlotte.   I did too, though I have read this book to one child, and then another, over the decades.  There is a quote in the book, that struck a chord  . . . .

You have been my friend .  That in itself, is a tremendous thing.”

Will and I had just had a conversation about friends.  We both concluded that, in youth we gather.  We gather all sorts of possessions and gadgets. . .but we also gather friends.  Sadly, many only remain for a short while.  People move, after all.  Sometimes, what was so very valuable, in the beginning, may not remain so.  Some things, even friendships, are often temporary.  Now, I find no joy, in that fact . . but it is so.  I can also honestly declare, that I still love many folks, that I no longer engage with, for I do not even know where they are.   . .but I love them, just the same.  I also have friends, that I have had for decades.  . .and that is a “tremendous thing”.  With my own youth, having faded long ago, I felt a bit melancholy about the prospect of “gathering”-and then it dawned on me . . .I have made a new friend!  Her name is Elaine.  We met through Miss Thelma, Jennys’ ninety six year old neighbor-  another friend of mine, for about five years now.  Elaine and I have been talking a lot as of lately.  At first, it was about the care of Miss Thelma.  The next thing you know, we were talking about our families, our childhood and eventually chickens!  Now, I miss Elaine, when we do not chat, for a few days. That is the way of friendship. . . and so Charlotte was right. . .and I was wrong to ever think,  my gathering days were long past.  I may not collect old china anymore, nor do I need stuff to fill a barn, but I will always have room in my life for dear ones.

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Now, the rain did not halt Lylas’ fun, for she loves her doll houses and has quite a community, composed of rabbits, pigs, a royal family and dolls.  They must all be put to bed at night and awakened the next day.  Lyla considers this serious business, that she must tend to-or else, something dreadful will surely happen.  One night. Will was up with a flashlight (for the pigs live in a house on the back porch) for Lyla to put them to bed.  She had forgotten them earlier and was highly disturbed upon her remembrance of her beloved pigs, unable to dream in their little beds.

Brynn is busy, trying to say every word she hears.  She has a soft voice with a high pitch that seems to ring like a tiny bell-and most especially, when she says “Bee”.   Her favorite thing to play with, is whatever Lyla has.  When she is told “No”, no matter how kindly, it breaks her heart.  She covers her face and wilts to the floor, slowly and sorrowfully.  If Brynn is out of sight . . she is liable to be anywhere!  On a table, in a cabinet or anywhere there is water.  It is quite likely, that in mid sentence, one is prone to stop and ask “Where is Brynn?”

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On Friday, I thought it was Thursday-all day until I checked out the covid 19 numbers for North Carolina, for the day.  It was almost supper time, by then.  I do not understand the passage of time.  I had arrived on Monday, been there a few days-and suddenly, it was Friday! and June loomed just days ahead! I try to make every day count, for even a single day, does become  part of the content of a life, but no matter my effort, I am always startled by the fleeting  departure of time. 

Now, the covid 19 numbers have been dramatically increasing in our state .   One county even made the national news, for the consistent doubling of daily cases.   Still,  I can not complain, thinking of the plight of others.  Folks gathered in large numbers for the Memorial Day holiday.  Where they went afterwards their events, remains to be seen.   . .but we will likely soon know.  We all remain careful.  Jenny has only been to a strawberry patch-mostly our family, can all say  that same sort of thing.   For this reason, we trust one anothers’ company.  Of course, we are in a very unique situation.  Will works from home, as I was doing, till school ended on Friday.  Tres takes his classes online and we all order everything needed.  I say this because, I do not want anyone to think that I am taking the conditions lightly.  

Now tomorrow, the publisher (WordPress) will introduce a new way of doing things.  I just barely learned how to post lessons on line.  . .and order groceries!   The elders used to say, “if its’ not one thing, its’ another!”  They were right.

 

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Strawberries and Sweet Reunions


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What a bright, clear day came to the rabbitpatch this morning.  The young leaves on the old trees are a jade green-a color particular to the season.  Now, shade falls where sunlight used to.   A bed of watery blue irises brighten the entrance to the  drive and roses bloom everywhere.   . .but it is cold-and windy, again.  So cold that a scant frost fell last night, in the  corners of the countryside.  It as been a fortnight, since I last wrote in the diary . . .and a few things have happened.

Mothers’ Day was a quiet affair.  My sister Delores came with my niece, Dana.  Connie is a nurse, and she had to work.  After a nice meal, we gave Mama a new television. Thankfully, Tres is coming on Tuesday, to make the thing work.  Jenny said Lyla wished a mother robin “Happy Mothers’ Day”.  The robins are nesting in a bush by Lylas ‘back door.

 Until then, I am still cutting vines-this time along the edge of the young woods.  I will also cut branches that hang low enough to hinder mowing.  Here and there, I smell the wild honeysuckle, as I work. The place is full of privet too, and their fragrances implore me  to work happily.  I am in good company, they remind me. I have never been lonely in any patch of woodland.

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After a big breakfast on Wednesday, Tres and Christian started on a  few chores that required muscles.  I left for Elizabeth City!!  I had completed a full three weeks of quarantine-again, and thus was cleared by Jenny to visit .  There were hardly any cars on the highway.  Oh, how different the drive looked, since my last trip. Now the yards were green and there were newly plowed fields.  This was the longest I had ever gone, without seeing Brynn and Lyla .   . .so of course,  we had a sweet reunion.

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One day, we went to pick strawberries.  It was a perfect day to go berry picking.  Lyla surprised me, and filled her little bucket!  Brynn did not surprise me, for she ate strawberries during the whole ordeal, as I suspected she would.  We came home and washed the berries.  We gave a quart to Miss Thelma, which “tickled her pink”.  Miss Thelma sits on her porch so folks can visit safely.  She is ninety six and still looks so pretty sitting in the sunlight.  She has long silvery hair and a dazzling smile.  At the drop of a hat, she will recite poetry.  

With the abundance of strawberries, I made strawberry biscuits for breakfast, one morning.  I even made a glaze for them.  The idea of strawberry biscuits, had to be a good one, I thought. I prepared the strawberries the night before and rose early to make the dough.  While they baked, I made a glaze.  The house was filled with an aroma, that made you want to get up . . but the biscuits turned out “just fair”.  Well, we all  agreed they were good enough to eat, but nobody ate two.  

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It was picnic weather, for a few days.  Jenny, Lyla and Brynn,  ate under the beloved willow tree, one day.  I was visiting with Miss Thelma, who lives just across the street, and how pleasant it was to watch “the picnic”, we both agreed.

That same afternoon, Jenny put up a birdbath.  The sparkling water beckoned to the bird community and soon a robin, then a mockingbird and later a chattering blackbird ,  all visited to drink and bathe.  I felt quite privileged to witness birds splashing in water.  It was a cheerful moment and their antics quite amused me. It seemed like a long time since , I have taken such a liberty.  For in that moment, I wasn’t obligated to anything.  Nothing had happened, nor was expected to, in that brief span of minutes.  

I make great effort to lead a “quiet and peaceable” life.  The constant ruckus, in this world, in the most ordinary of  times –  and long before this pandemic ,  demands that I seek serenity, just to maintain some sort of balance.  Sometimes, it is just not enough to take notice,  sometimes I must stop everything and abandon all, for things like watching birds take pleasure in water.  Great thinkers have  always declared this truth, but I  found it was difficult to  completely clear my mind of any thought, when I attempted to do so.  Oddly, on this day, I seemed to fall in to this “place”.   “A little bird told me . . .” seems to ring true, now.

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Meanwhile, a storm came through and “made itself at home” and  lingered for days.  Wind blew and rain fell until at last it was cold . . again.   Brynn and I took to the porch and watched it rain.  The young willow swayed and its’ long tendrils bore the brunt force with ease and grace. (A willow tree never loses its’ poise.)  The dullness of the day warranted the streetlights to light and the willow seemed lit up with twinkling lights.  Brynn clapped her little hands and laughed in delight at the spectacle of light and wind on a willow tree.

We all woke to rain on Friday.  The world outside the window was drenched and soggy.  We were all pleasantly surprised when by mid morning, the sun was shining.  Lyla donned her rain boots and we took off for at long last, a visit with the laughing river.  We were so happy to see our long last friends, the little barking dogs on their balcony.  We had not seen them in months and I worried something  unpleasant had happened-but alas! there they were on this day, scolding us for walking by.  How glad we were to know all was well with them, even if they are grouchy.

I left in the late afternoon. heading back to tend to the business of a rabbitpatch.  Brant and Sydney are coming on Saturday night and so we will share a meal at Mamas’.  I will get to hold little Ryan, for our family could care less if the “state opens up”-we are not taking any chances,  so we continue to  proceed with  great caution, . . . and I suspect when little Ryan is tucked in my arms . . .it will all have been gladly worth my while.

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It was Always the Goats


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This may be the year that I will never remember clearly.  It is May . . and it is cold!  I am sitting at my beloved “morning table”  bundled up like it is January.  The daffodils bloomed in February, school closed in March and with Daddy being sick in April-we sure did not hunt for eggs this year.  I admit-and everyone that knows me, will agree, that “time” in general is not a strength for me  – but I feel totally disoriented- and this time, it is not due to my own fault.

I was going to paint a table and chairs today-but that cold wind howling outside my window, may make me put that off.  Of course, it is early morning, as I write this and so there is still hope for a milder afternoon.  It all started with me having time to clean up my act at the rabbitpatch.  I have an old porch out back by the old field.  It is a small porch, that was once attached to my grandmothers house.  I  saved that porch, and use it like a gazebo.  It has a roof and I have sat there many times, pondering, praying and gazing at the woods and field.  I love the view, for there is not a man made thing in sight.  I thought to paint the old table and chairs today . . .if possible.  My dear friends, of several decades are coming for an open air visit ,  in the next week or so, hence the table getting painted.  I might need to just use a tablecloth!

With all of the traipsing around the rabbitpatch, I feel like I am walking down memory lanes.  There was a time when, every stable was filled and chickens roamed the territory.  Tame rabbits played in outside pens, in the sunshine.  The small pasture had a miniature horse and a small herd of miniature goats.  I did buy the chickens, but every other animal had landed here, because mostly, children had “outgrown” them.  I got the reputation of having a “rescue farm” and so when a horse trailer pulled up unannounced, I didn’t bat an eye.  I really loved that time, but when Lyla was born . . well that changed everything.  Nobody wanted to feed horses, goats, chickens, a cat, a dog and twenty two rabbits, while I was away.  My dear neighbor, Susan did try, but the goats got out a time or two, after all.  . .It was always the goats.

Miniature goats are adorable.  They are loving little things, but they do eat roses.  I had several , when a farmer called wanting me to take three more.  He lived but a few miles away, so one day Christian and I headed in his direction, to bring home the little goats.  We went in the barn and there they were in a stall with the biggest goat, that I had ever seen.  He started snorting and pawing and bleating so loudly, it was deafening.  The farmer, slight in size acted like nothing was going on, in particular, and chatted away as he gathered a rope.  He explained cheerfully, that he would hold the giant, mad goat, while Christian and I caught the little ones.  I was in a state of fear, about entering that stall. . .so was Christian.  That goat had a rack of horns, the size of Atlanta, on top of everything else.

Have you ever chased a goat?  They are quick and nimble.  They can jump and dart on a dime.  That is what we were up against-and a goat we named “the devil”, right off.  It was a harrowing ordeal and it didn’t help that the slight farmer was red in the face, gasping and yelling out,  periodically, “Hurry up!  I can’t hold him much longer!”  Somehow, Christian and I caught two of them and made it out shaken, but alive.  The farmer was unratteled and joked, that “he thought we were country folks?”  I told him he could keep the other little goat.

Kyle came home from work a few hours later and loved our new additions.  He was quite disappointed, and could not believe that we had the heart, to leave the last one.  Christian and I didn’t say a word,  for we did feel guilty about that.  The next thing, I knew, Kyle was in the truck and yelled out that he was going to get the goat.  Christian started to tell Kyle, about the conditions, but I stopped him.

An hour or so later, Kyle came back, white as  a sheet, holding the little goat.  He had faced “the devil” and won.  On top of the awful circumstances, he endured, the moment he got his hands on the little goat, the thing stiffened and toppled over, like a wooden toy!  Kyle said he thought he had killed it, but the thing sprang back to life and took off again!  The poor farmer was in pain it seemed and had resorted to cursing, but Kyle heard him say “It is a fainting goat!!”  “Fainting goats”  do not crumple, they do not wilt, they simply fall over, like a doll would.  They remain rigid and even their face looks frozen in expression.

Visitors always fell in love with the herd of little  goats and would say things like “oh, I bet they keep your ditch banks clean.”  “No,” I said, “they just eat the roses.”

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The goats were always liable to create a rucus.  Once, during a Sunday dinner, I heard the sound of calamity, at the front of the house.  Christian ran to the front door, to see what was happening.  Several of the little goats, were being chased by a dog and bolted past him, galloping through the house,  I do not know why, I realised what was happening, but I ran to the back door, opened it and they never lost their stride, bounding the steps and right back to their stable.  Mama and Daddy were dazed, when I asked them, if they needed anything, while I was up.  It was always the goats.

The goat stables are empty now, and the blue roses, that I painted, on them, have faded some, but believe or not, I remember the goats, fondly.   . . .but not enough, to do it all again.

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May, the “Sweetest Month”


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 A fair  morning, when the birds are singing and little blossoms are making promises . . .and a soft breeze sweeps the territory  . . .beckons to me  -to linger, there in it.  The yard is a bit uncivilized now, for it has not been mowed in weeks.  I love the wildness .   I may be the only one, that does, but some how the wildflowers that that spring up, seem grateful and glad, that I dare to let them bloom.    The only things, I really quarrel with are poison ivy and thorned vines. 

In the evenings, I have been spotting the first of the rabbit community, appearing.  They are a skittish lot and likely to startle me, darting from under a garden bench.  The boxer is on high alert and bravely defends me .  He has never harmed a one of them, but chases them playfully, back to the young woods, that the rabbits call “home”.  There are fireflies too. 

June has always been the time of fireflies.  Country folks take notice of such things.  These last few years , things seem to bloom and grow “out of season”.  . .and it seems the peach tree is easily fooled.  I can not blame the lovely peach tree,  nor the fireflies, for I  think, that time flies whether you are having fun or not.

 

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Now I do not measure time,  by keeping up with minutes.  I like to do things til, I am finished or do things “for a while”. A sundial would be the best clock for me.  I know, by shadows when early morning, isn’t “early” anymore. ..and they also tell me when to start supper.  Of course I spent my childhood outside and so such things are quite natural to me.  I keep track of the calendar, for the bill collectors are  reliable folks.  And now . . .all of a sudden, “they say -” it is May!

May is called “the sweetest month”.  I am fickle, but for now I declare it is so.  The iris blooms and the cape jasmine will soon follow.  The birds sing merrily in the morning and the fragrance of the  wild privet fills the air.  Clover is starting to bloom .  I love the sweet, green scent of clover.  May is a wonderful time to bring a baby home, too.  My own Tres was born in May, on a mild, bright Sunday morning.   I could not wait for the sun to shine on him and  so we stood for a while, in the sunlight of May, before we went in the house.  I always remember that in May.

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The rabbitpatch  territory is almost tidy!  Every day, I do a chore or two.  The tasks range from trimming the roses in the “Quiet Garden”.  to stacking tin and yes, cutting vines, AGAIN.  I have stepped in fire ants (several times), and have scratches from thorns, everywhere.  Still, the rabbitpatch looks “tended” and I declare it may have been the geraniums, that sparked my heart, to even begin!  

I was shocked, when my sister, Delores, mentioned that “Mothers’ Day”, was this Sunday.  I should have known, for I had noticed my “Mothers’ Day” rose is loaded with blossoms, ready to unfurl, at any moment.  I have had this  “wild ” rose for almost a decade.  Peggy, a friend and neighbor, of Mama, saw it growing on a ditch bank, on her farm and sent it to me.  Every year, the bush,  I named “Miss Peggy” blooms profusely . . on Mothers’ Day.  How lovely, it looks on the old plcket fence, with its’ tendrils spilling on to the grass, splashing pink blossoms, like a joyful fountain.

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Hence, Delores’ announcement, we have plans to celebrate our Mama, on Sunday.  I do hope, we will “brighten her day” for the last few weeks, have been like none before them, for her.  She puts forth a gallant effort, but she has lost “the love of her life” – a love affair, that lasted sixty four years altogether.  In addition, Mama has had to face all the” business” , that comes with someone, dying . . in the “foreign”ways to her, of  this modern world – and the corona virus even complicates that.  Can you imagine, marrying the boy, that you crushed on, when you were fourteen?  You move from your parents’ home, to marry him, a few short years later-and think how the world has changed since 1958.  You are married for 62 years-and for the first time ever, you live alone.   . .well. that story, belongs to Mama, 

I think all us feel like a part of us has “gone missing”.  You feel “lacking” in some indescribable way.    I told Jenny, that it seems like our family, has been  “fractured”.  Still, though . . .I have a peace -“that does pass understanding”. 

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A lot of people are having a difficult time with isolation.  Let me be clear-that I miss my grandchildren .  I have enough chores here to keep me busy. I love the grocery pick up, for I can still cook.  I love to read and I am doing on line puzzles, which require a deep concentration for someone as inept as I am with puzzles.  The boxer and I spend more time together than ever  and clothes are not put in the dryer.  Supper is never rushed -and there is always something blooming on the territory.  I like solitude, in general. . .   and, I do not feel alone in the midst of trees, nor a flock of sparrows. The old field is good company and I greet the clouds as they pass over, and wonder where they have been. These habits were natural to me, as a child and have remained with me . . .I do have a rose bush named “Peggy”, after all.

It is a good thing, that I am odd, in this way, for a rural setting does not  come with sidewalks full of dog walkers and strolling couples.  If by chance, there is a siren, then folks stop what they are doing, for we are not used to commotion.

Of course, country dwellers do have large landscapes and big skies.  I can not imagine how I would fare cooped up in a third story apartment.   . .nor owning a small business, in such times.  . . nor having no one to miss seeing.  So, I can not complain.  . .most especially in the company of sparrows . . .and “Peggy” blooming her heart out.

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On Being “Wonderfully Made”


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It seems now, that a new line of demarcation has been drawn in my life.  The new season is “since Daddy died”.  There are as many lines now in my life as there are on my weathered hands.  

I can not write falsehoods and so there have been many gloomy days.  How could it not be so?  I do try to carry on .  I have been cleaning up the footpath to the garden.  l have moved some wild daffodils and apple mint, but sometimes, I just leave the spade in the yard and walk away.  I thought to build a small fire, one day.  I had gathered a good many of the fallen branches and so I lit and re- lit  the collection til at last a cheerful flame blazed.  I do not know why I “tuned up” and cried as I watched it burn.  Since Daddy died, I do such things.

I write these things in the diary,  not because I want  sympathy, but because I want to record authentically, the many variables of the contents of a life.  There is no gain, for anyone, if I “keep this to myself”.  It would be quite unfair for anyone to think, that all of my life is spent growing flowers, doting on my grandchildren and communing with nature.  After all “being on easy street” is always temporary, though I love that street.  Oh, how much pleasure, it is for me to write about the beauty of an ordinary life.   . .but life is far from from ordinary, at times for all of us.  We all get wounded, at some point and I can  not deny that. Recovery, is one valuable skill  to have in this life.  It is one of the most valuable skills, really for I can say, with full confidence, you will need it, . . and more than once.

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April has been much cooler, these last few weeks.  The wind, at long last has subsided to lively breezes.  I have spent some of my time, on the “winter clean up”.  It takes a while and the only thing that I enjoy less is cleaning the oven.  It takes blood, sweat and tears to accomplish all there is to it.  If vines and thorns were money . .well the rabbitpatch would be worth a “kings’ ransom”.  Some times, I wonder, why I bought the place . . and some times I wonder, how I will ever leave it. I really think that I will always love this patch of the earth – and yet be thankful  to sell it.  I do know one thing, I am the  better for  having known the place, but living here takes a lot of gumption.

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Since Daddy died, I have been thinking and reflecting a lot.  Now, I am fully aware of the theory, that we tend to make the departed, in to heroes and saints,  when they die. I have done neither.  I have started writing “Daddys’ story in  the journal that I keep for everyone in the family, that has passed on.    Aunt Agnes has a chapter, as does Aunt Josie, Uncle Randy and my beloved grandmother.   I write simply, “what I remember”, which is the title, of the journal, also.

As I write, I see no value in creating frills and flash.  The truth is enough .  That is how I feel now, more than ever, in my own circumstances.  Getting older can be very liberating-and I weed out what doesn’t matter, as vigorously, as I do the weeds along the garden patch.  At last, I believe, “that I was wonderfully made.”  The desires of my youth, do not apply now.  Presentation meant so very much,in those days.  I chased after “fools’ gold” and collected fine clothes and even bought “spanking new” cars, really, for other folks to “take notice”.  Thankfully, that era did not take long, for what a waste of vitality!  Now, I look at the silver streaks in my hair, and the memories etched on my face, and do not draw back in horror.  I embrace my life, faults and all, more than ever before.

I do not blame myself, for mistakes made in youth, either.  I suspect, in fact, that the many encounters with “fools’ gold” only enhanced my ability to know and understand   the properties of the authentic,  precious and genuine thing.

Sometimes, I think “if Daddy died, than anybody can”!  Ought I not to live, knowing this is so?   It is amusing to think such a thought, and I did laugh about it, later, but just hours before Daddy passed, I could not imagine him actually dying.  Even now, I can not imagine, how to live without a “father”.   . . but every day, I do . . . and the oddest thing has happened.  Somehow, I feel as close to him as ever.  I have not “seen” him, nor heard his voice-not even dreamed of  him, but I feel him, deeply. . .as if even death does not fully separate us.  

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While, I  have been “up to my ears” in the work of maintaining the territory and sorting out all sorts of notions,  the grandchildren keep growing up.  Little Ryan has two teeth and is crawling-and pulls up on whatever is in reach.  Lyla plays with her doll house/hotel, for hours now. at a time.  She recently hosted a birthday party for one of her dolls-complete with decorations and cake.  The darling Brynn, is babbling and climbing on everything-no matter the steadfastness of it.  

I know one more thing too . . .being a “long distance “Honeybee” . . .does not suit me!

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Lessons Learned, Under the Stars


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Mostly, everything in my life has changed.  Of course, the pandemic changed every ones’ life.  The way we do things, at least.  Daddy left  us a week ago.  I just can not get the way of time, for some times it feels like just yesterday and some times it feels like a year.  I am never quite sure what day it is.  How long has it been since I walked by the “laughing river”?   Is it still spring?  I think about all of this in the first moments, after I wake.  I am always shocked, for while I was living a beautiful ordinary life . . . the way of it, changed in a twinkling.

Grief is a force to be reckoned with.  It is complicated, understandable -weighs on you deeply and abandons you randomly, well there is just no “rhyme or reason” to the ways of grief.   It is bewildering, for  as I hang clothes on the line and admiring the beauty around me, I am  as likely to cry as to drop a clothes pin!  No one ever gets to be an expert on grief.  , , and “practice does not make perfect,” where it is concerned, . . .for grief is no stranger to me. Sometimes, when I am missing Daddy, I will think of my husband, my grandmothers, Aunt Josie and Aunt Agnes, Uncle Randy and my dog, Gage!  The thing washes over me til, I can not sort  it all out.

Yesterday, my sisters and I met at Mamas’ to write thank you notes – and poor Connie worked more on “business”.  Mama is doing as well as anyone could be expected.  I told Connie, that I sure hoped we gathered “just for lunch soon”, not because of the tasks, but just to share something besides sorrow, even if briefly.   

Now, when I quit thinking about myself, I realise  that much the world is grieving, the same as me.  Woe is widespread and beyond my “wildest imagination”.  There is fear and now, anger.  What a concoction of emotions have been stirred up.  Now, my heart breaks, for the many whose livelihood has been threatened and for the ones whose jobs demands that they just “carry on” despite the circumstances.  People like cashiers, truck drivers, medical staff and many, many others. They are all warriors, in a sense.   I confess, that I have not studied much of any thing in the last few weeks, but I have seen where folks are protesting these current mandates.  I will not cheer them on, though they have the right to do so. 

In my small world, I know that some folks do not practice social distancing, for they do not see the need or they are rebelling, for the sake of it.  The worse thing, is that I see a lack of respect for the ones (like me) that   are practicing “at full hilt”.  I do not pretend, to understand this virus.   . .but as I told my cousin, Sheila . .”if someone tells me, there may be a bear in the woods -and I hear growling . . .I am not going in the woods.”  and I do not need to be told to stay out. Besides, what if our lack of compliance, made someone else sick? Shouldn’t we consider that?  This is not the time to “throw caution to the wind.”

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Some time, in the midst of everything, I had a birthday.  I kept forgetting it, and every time someone  mentioned it, some task would present itself and distract me, from any  further thought of it.  One night, we sat around making a list of things to include on my next grocery order.  Mama needed tin foil  and we had borrowed something from a neighbor, that needed to be replaced.  I am loving “picking up groceries” I announced, and  joked that I had tried to order geraniums, but the store did not honor my request. 

Much to my surprise, Delores brought me a half dozen pink geraniums, when we met at Mamas’ to write those “thank you” notes.  What a lovely surprise . .  .what a sweet moment.  Today, I planted them and the rabbtpatch looked happy .  

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The geraniums seemed to inspire me and so one thing led to another.  I worked in the “Quiet Garden”  for a while and then picked up branches that have come unfastened in the April wind.  At long last, we burned the garden.  Burning the garden, is a big event at the rabbitpatch.  Besides all that has transpired  recently, April has been windy and so we burned “late” this year.

Though there is much more to be done, progress was made and in the end, the rabbitpatch looked less shabby, than it has in months.  When the first stars were out, I took a walk around the territory. 

I thought the beauty of the place, no matter how neglected, was  still as charming as any place, I have ever seen.  I also knew all over again, that the sprawling lawn, was just too much for an old lady.   . .especially one with grand children.  The old farm house had outgrown me, a few years back too. 

Not so very long ago, it seemed the place was as good as sold.  I was shocked when the deal fell apart, just days before finalization.  I was beyond mere disappointment.  I never got angry, for I had prayed for many seasons and I knew better than to argue with God, for I have  never won a battle with Him.  Now, as I walked under the silver, shining heavens, in the beloved silence of the countryside, I was grateful for this past year at the rabbitpatch.  I was not stranded, after all, but placed lovingly in the right place at the right time.  I felt very protected -really from my own self.  My plan would have deprived me of the “holy” season that loomed ahead.  

Now, I still plan to “sell the farm”.   . .but I will bear in mind, that human “plans” are often shallow and pale in comparison, to what God knows we need.  In my case, maybe I was hasty . . .certainly, I was void of understanding.  I realised, my own dream was not harmless, as I had thought.  . . and had I dared try to rush God? AGAIN?  Oh, what lessons I was learning under the stars!

Really, life is mysterious and full of complexity.  There are few dependable things.  By now, you would think the whole world would know this .  I know very little, but I do know that somehow, pain and beauty can exist in the same moments. “Change” is usually another opportunity -and I ought not to dread it, as I  am in the habit of doing. God always answers prayers -He just doesn’t always say “yes”.   . .and “leaning on you own understanding” is an awful practice.  

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