It Happened on Bonnet Street

I meant to write yesterday, but I have felt awful since Easter Sunday-and I could not conjure a single thought.  Besides that, I was not up before dawn, which is the most likely time for me to wander tenderly with my spirit.  Otherwise, my thoughts are as shallow as those of  a goldfish!   
Thank Goodness,  for the garden and old trees and April skies, for such things implore me to stop everything . . .and get still.  If all else fails, there are the church bells, and a friendly robin and a family of rabbits that visit.  Such things make me set down my bucket of water or stop digging, to take notice.
Recently, April was full of rainy days and then, bright days full of sunshine. I am a fan of weather, in general and find both kinds of days, lovely.
Now , May, the sweetest month,  has  arrived to fill the hearts of poets and farmers alike. As a child, May meant, little goats and foals would be born.  I still remember how we would all get up and scramble to the pasture , in a mad dash.
At school, I was more apt to “daydream” in May, which was considered sinful.  I would stare out the open windows and wonder which field, Pop was plowing and what  Grandmama was doing  in the kitchen. I could imagine Mama hanging out clothes on the line and sister Delores Ann, playing merrily .  I was always especially homesick in May.   . .and the school bus  seemed as “slow as molasses in January” on the ride home. 
I must have been born, “a homebody”, for I still prefer to be home.  “Home” is one of the few places left, where things make sense, to me. 
“Familiar” is getting more and more scarce, in this world-and what a shame. We no longer, second guess anything, but  instead go head over heels over “new”.  We ought to all stop or at least pause.  Needing quantity over quality is an insatiable quest.  Rushing about to get more  often means we settle for less.  Oh, I hope to choose wisely and recognize true values . . not what is easiest, nor shiniest, at the moment.
I have noticed, that when people reflect on their childhood, they tend to remember what happened often, mostly. . . not gadgets.  The fondest memories are not usually related to convenience.  They are  things like supper, and Sundays and whatever else that occurred until it could be deemed dependable.  Isolated, the details seem ordinary . . . yet we remember. 
I am a sentimental one and the value of things tend to stick with me.   
Maybe that is why I am so thrilled to have a clothes line!  Kyle put it up about a week ago and it truly looks adorable-that is right . . it is charming.  Fragrant flowers grow at the ends of it and a decorative birdhouse too.  It is a short line, but it does hold a set of sheets, nicely.  When I announced the installation of a clothes line to friends, many of them out right frowned.  I laughed about that, for I may be the only one left that enjoys the quiet work of hanging clothes on a line . . .while a mockingbird sings.
Sister Delores and niece Dana came this weekend.  On Sunday, we visited with Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene and our cousins. There were first, second and a third baby cousin all chatting and snacking together that sweet hour.  Before we left, Aunt Christine showed us her newly planted gardenias.  It was the icing on my cake. All of my life, a walk around the yard, to look at flowers, has been the conclusion to a gathering.  In my earliest memories, it was Mama Hodges’ yard.  I did not enjoy  the tour, as a child, for the women treated it like a ceremony and talked quietly as we we walked listening to the history of each flower while the children had to restrain movement lest we trample some holy specimen.   Some how. it has become a tradition and looking at Aunt Christines’ gardenias, made me remember. 
On Monday, Mama, Delores and Dana came to the Bonnet Street rabbitpatch.  I made coffee and they brought Mamas’ favorite cake, that Aunt Christine has presented as a parting gift.  Delores Ann sews and so we made plans for curtains for the rosewood cottage.  Dana is on break from school, as she graduated this past weekend.  She talked about her dreams and concerns about how to proceed in life. . . until Christian came in with some of his artwork.  That changed the conversation and the two of them were in another world, for the rest of the visit.  We did take a  walk around the yard.  Well, the yard is ever changing. 
Just this past week, I found the courage to remove an unsightly long row of hedges.  The things were covered in thorn vines and poison vines too.  Besides that, they were spindly, despite my many hours of labor.  I made sure there were no little nests and since there were not, I said “good riddance”.  Now sunlight falls , where shade used to. Birds and squirrels have been feasting on the contents of disturbed soil ever since.   I must settle on what the future holds for this broader and sunnier patch of earth, on the north side of the house.  I take this matter seriously and I contemplate by staring at the space til I am almost in  trance.  The boys are used to this habit and know exactly that I  am plotting, something that may involve them.  I have heard them sigh, at the sight of me contemplating.  Tres caught on to this quickly and  sometimes would deliberately interrupt. 
Meanwhile, the grand children are growing like dandelions-and I miss them.  The youngest flowers around the rosewood need watering and work is an especially busy place, these days.  Mama can drive, now,  Tres and Sarah have birthdays this month (the same day!) and I will continue to ponder the north garden . . .and make my biscuits. 
Sister Delores took a few pictures for me to share . . so you can watch my garden grow, too.  The relaxing rabbit sits upon an old bookcase, now with  a hinged top. Picnic supplies are stored inside.

Something to Remember

The suitcase is unpacked and sits in its’ designated corner. 
Sister, Delores Ann, came on Tuesday and I returned to the little rappitpatch on Bonnet Street. It took a while to wash clothes and tend to the flowers, though the only one that complained was a young hydrangea.  Christian is a good housekeeper  and an outstanding friend to the boxer and the gray cat-but the small bed of “lily-of the-valley” were quite lonely, I noticed. 
The time that  I spent at Mamas’ was busy and rewarding . Mama trudged through her exercises, gallantly and impressed everyone.
Neighbors , family and friends came by dependably and helped out in various ways .  It was wonderful to visit with everyone. My own neighbors, at one time, cousins and an aunt and uncle, all came through out my stay making each day a sort of   reunion. 
April came and with it showers.  There has been wind, too.  I suppose March had to get in the last word.  With the weather having been unseasonably mild, there are flowers and trees blossoming all around. It is hard to top the pairing  of dogwoods and azaleas .  The spireas did not wait for Easter Sunday as their elders have always done-instead they took full advantage of the unusual conditions. and donned their delicate, but spectacular  flowers, early. 
For many years spireas were found in most every yard.  The bushes were well mannered and waited for the proper time (just before Easter) to bloom.  This allowed children with their “Easter dresses, patent leather shoes or coats and ties” to be photographed in a fairy land-like landscape. Mama remembers this tradition, fondly. 
The kids are coming  home for Easter.  I do not know now how an Easter meal, an egg hunt and a belated birthday celebration for Lyla will all fit in, but I am trying to convince myself that it will.  My Lyla turned 8 yrs old on one of  the early days of April.
She was a beautiful one and born on an Easter Sunday.  A young dogwood bloomed at the old farm  house, for the first time, on that day.  We brought her homes to quite a proper environment.  We played beautiful music, gave her candle light baths and spoke soft, beautiful words . . .she fussed anyway.. . a lot.  The only thing that comforted her was to take her outside, we discovered.  I spent a good deal of time under a crab apple tree in full bloom, with this child-til I declared her a fairy child . . .and a temperamental one at that.  Today, our Lyla is very artistic, bright and very compassionate. 
With a gathering in the very near future, Kyle helped me in  the yard.  Kyle is wonderful at yard work.  He enjoys it , from digging to mulching-and he doesn’t complain. We worked a day and a half and the yard looked like a young garden, when we were through.  I couldn’t wait for my children to see it.
I plant perennials that come back with their cousins and I prefer small blossoms, like pinks, thrift, candy tuft and the sweet dianthus- and   whimsical sages.  . . .Oh and roses!  I am quite a glutton when it comes to flowers.   I am just as bad about flowering shrubs.  I have a half dozen tea olives, seven gardenias and five azaleas-which bloom from spring to frost,  and several hydrangeas.  It is no wonder we are eating rice and beans!  

It was pouring rain, when they all arrived-it had been raining for hours.  The house was clean and the table was laden with dishes of food.  Grandmamas’ china with a dainty pale pink rose, was stacked and beside it cloth napkins.  What a lovely setting-just like the yard, they had all just dashed through-unaware of my pinks and dianthus! 
The meal was perfect and while Tres labored over the dishes, Sydney and the children decorated a cookie house with honeybees on it.   If I stepped in the dining room, shrieks rang out.  What an adorable little house they presented.  Each little face beaming with delight in their gift.  I beamed too. 
Brant hid eggs in the cottage, for it was still raining, while I read The Tale of Peter Rabbit” to the grand darlings and tied the easter bunny, eggs and Jesus together in a lesson.  Sydney had put  the scriptures’ account of the Christ, death, burial and resurrection, in numbered eggs, which we read together.  Lyla shed tears.  This moved me deeply.


 Afterwards, we all went to Mamas’ for the surprise party.  I had made an ice cream cake and Brynn presented Lyla with a bouquet of flowers. 
Through out the day, Baby Banks had been held nd adored by everyone of us.  He barely complained and smiled at every body til he was fast asleep in Mamas’ arms. 
That night, when the cottage was still, and Grandmas’ china   was back in the hutch, I replayed the precious details of the day and my heart was full.  Now, there was a beautiful memory that belonged to this rabbitpatch on Bonnet Street.  . . and suddenly the place felt more like “home”. 
All of my efforts to create a cozy, happy dwelling, paled in comparison to  our children building a cookie house at the dining room table, the drone of the male voices filling the air and the new babe cooing. 
I felt like ‘sugar plums were dancing in my head” as  I drifted off to sleep.  That was a good thing, for the next day was Easter Sunday at Mamas’ andI needed to be back in the kitchen before the robin sang. 
It was still raining, when I woke.







“I Must Tell Them”

It is morning here as I write from the little rabbitpatch on Bonnet Street.  The air is cool and filled with the music of song birds.  First light has come, while most of the neighborhood slumbers. 
Though I remain a fan of rural living,  I am thankful that the town I live in is a small quiet one.   I realise now, that I grew up quietly.  If a car drove by, we all stopped what we were doing to wave.  The low rumble of a tractor is quite different from sirens . That is why I especially love morning time, in the town.  I could go on and on about such things , but too much has happened to  do so. 
I went to see Jenny and her family, last weekend.   I took a long walk with the little girls.  We stopped in to see “Aunt J, which was delightful.  She never fails to make me smile.  She is loving to  my daughter and grand children  and it does my heart good to know she is their neighbor. 
After that, we visited with the “laughing river”-my old friend.  We said hello to some pines whispering and to daffodils blooming.  We saw a bluebird who perched and watched us, too.  It was a happy time, for me. The river was shining and sapphire blue.  I always feel like the river remembers me, when I visit.
I came home and went back to work on the huge storage cabinet, newly built. It is finally finished and neatly stocked with all sorts of treasures-photographs, a few toys, my journals spanning several decades, the baby dress I came home in, Kyles’ piggy banks, the bunny that Tres slept with-tokens of precious memories.  The only thing in it, that I have no attachment to is “the business box” . 
Yesterday, I gave the cottage a deep cleaning for at last those horrid cardboard boxes were out of the house and the paint and sawdust too.  
The work week arrived, and with it the routine.  The weather here has been acting like spring for a solid month and so I am working outside, at school, in little gardens, which thrills me. 
Everyone was happy at the arrival of spring in early February.  Most every day the temperature was 70 degrees- and a lot of days 80!  The birds got busy and Miss Sylvias’ irises, now planted, just out the kitchen door of the rosewood cottage, are blooming.  It has been windy since long before March.  Any minute, folks will be picking strawberries. I find  the weather lovely . . but quite  unnatural-and I am a bit wary.  I do not want to “rain on any ones’ parade”, but I can not help but wonder about such a thing, as a very warm February.
Christian had a birthday one Friday. He detests fanfare and so I gave him a book-and we shared a special meal.  I told him the story again of the day he was born and he talked to me about his hopes and dreams.  To have a meaningful conversation, is a rarity these days.  . . but  oh, how beautiful. 
Christian has never been a big talker and the substance of his conversations  is never shallow.  He does not speak like a fool, that rattles along as if something is loose somewhere.  He speaks with thought. . .and after observation and  much consideration.  Such folks are few and far between these days. 
Brant, Sydney and their darling boys came home one weekend.  We  gathered at Mamas’ for a Sunday dinner.  
Mama had knee replacement  surgery on a Tuesday.  Sisters Connie, Delores and I are working in shifts for the next few weeks, cheering Mama along.  Mama dreaded the surgery, but she could hardly get around.  I am glad to report that she has made great strides in her recovery.
 I went to Raleigh  – in between shifts, so   what a lot of bustle for me!  Baby Banks is 4 months old .  For now, his heart belongs to his mama, though I got a fair amount of smiles. Ryan is three.  He is a small bundle of cheer and shine to me.   Usually, when I am visiting, Ryan is so excited to sleep with me.  Though he had said he was the first evening, I sensed a lack of enthusiasm.  Brant was encouraging him and mentioned that he could take care of me, should some need be.  About fifteen minutes after Ryan had snuggled in, he sat up and looked at me with a somber face and said “Honeybee, you are going to have to be brave”.  Then he slid out of the bed .  He looked back and  said “I am sorry, but I love him.” ( his daddy)  I laughed myself to sleep that night. 
The next morning Brant was up early for he leaves for work before dawn.  Sydney was up, for she had a class to attend.  I was up to have coffee before the boys got up several hours later . . . only, they didn’t- for Ryan woke up within a few minutes and little Banks was up, shortly after.  Sydneys’  mom joined me just a few hours later and between the two of us, all went well.  We had a sweet visit and enjoyed sharing such a special time with our grandsons. 
I declare again, that grandchildren are a wonderous gift-and not short of a miracle. 
I had a dreadful time when my own children grew and flew from my nest.  They would come home to visit and I would cry for three days when they left.  This lasted for years. Tending my nest, was the most important work I would ever do and since the nest was mostly empty, I couldn’t imagine the possession of fulfilment nor such gumption ever again.  None of my close friends, though they were sympathetic, had experienced this type of grief-for that is what it was.  I didn’t dare let on to my children about it, either.  I planted and cleaned and created with fervor and lied in wait of their return . . .for years.  Christian was unaware that he was my saving grace. 
When Lyla was born,  . . well, I had a renewed spirit and that changed everything.  Now, there are four little blessings that call me “Honeybee” and my gumption has returned in full force.   As I plant their birth flowers and fix up another old house, it is with them in mind, that I work.
I am always on a hunt for something beautiful because I want them to know all of the loveliness of life.  “I must tell them”, I think  when I listen to a magnificent piece of music, or read a tender poem-or smell a sweet blossom.
”  I must tell them. ”  

“Raised in a Barn”

It is cold, dark and still-and not yet dawn, as I write this.  If there is another soul awake, in this small town, they are quiet too, for the place is silent.  Winter mornings are like that.   They are born like a lavender whisper.  Even the early birds wait for the light, to sing.   
A lot happened last week.  I had major dental surgery on Friday.  I had put it off, til I couldn’t.  Mama said “do it” and so I did.  Sisters Connie and Delores-and niece Dana came to help out.  Connie drove us to the facility and tended to the business, as she is well versed in that area.  Delores and Dana met us there, prepared to stay  the weekend.  The office staff was quite amused that I had such a crowd with me.  I guess it was a bit funny, but for me,  I was one glad chicken! 
I will spare you the details, just know I am on a liquid diet until further notice.  I did not work all week and had time for reflection on the event.  I thought of all the support and assistance my family offered.   They were all at my beckon call.  Dana listened to me recite the alphabet, for my speech was affected.  All was good until I got to “Q”.  Dana encouraged me to keep trying, when suddenly I thought aloud . . .”When will I ever have to say “Q”?  We all laughed at that. 
A few days later, I was painting roses, then a dresser and then going through a few boxes of still stored items.  I found a journal that Christian kept at a very young age.  . .he has always kept a journal.  It was entitled “A Christmas Story”.  He wrote about Kyle, who was around nine at the time.  Kyle had been hired to clean a neighbors’ yard and invited Christian to help him.  Christian, around five years old, had declined.  The next day, Kyle had a gift for every one of us.  Christian was impressed for he concluded his entry with . . .”He (Kyle) didn’t buy anything for himself.”  I did not miss the significance nor the beauty of this. 
I still have a dozen more boxes to go through, for a storage closet will soon grace the hall of the humble cottage on Bonnet street..  Mostly, for such collections as Christian’s journals, and other keepsakes to be stored in. 
 Winter has always been a good time for such projects-and since I always seem to end up in an old house, it is especially true.  Now, when I was a kid, this wasn’t so true. 
Winter was a time to ramble in the woods.  Every child in the community was a cousin, one way or another.  it mattered little to any of us whether we were first, second, third or fourth-we were cousins.  We banded together and took to the woods for hours. 
We knew every acre thoroughly.  There was always a dog with us-and a pony or two. We were not allowed to traipse the woods in the summer because of snakes, poison ivy, ticks and red bugs-but after the frost, the woods were our playground.  We had all sorts of landmarks.  There was an old warrior tree that had fallen .  We always stopped there.  There was an abandoned house, an old school bus and several ponds.  The largest oak, that I have ever seen grew in one patch of the wild woods. . .  We always knew where we were.  We kept up with time by the sun and somehow, we always made it home by supper. 
On rainy stretches, we took to the barns.  Every one had a barn, in those days. Big, two story barns . . and the ponies were welcome to come in too.   Those barns became forts or homes, depending on our whims.
One barn looked as if a good wind could surely topple it, I thought.  I was wary of that barn-but the thing just fell down, a few years back.  Another barn was owned by a family with a nervous mother.  She sounded an alarm about every fifteen minutes, that somebody was going to break their neck or need stitches or some other calamity was nigh.  Honestly, all sorts of things were possible, but none of it ever happened. 
The best barn to me, was Pop and Grandmamas’ barn.  It was sturdy and tidy.  There was an old Victrola and benches, and chairs-oh what a good place for the dolls to grow up!  When I hear the expression “raised in a barn”  well, I laugh because I was and do not have a single regret. 
In their earliest years, my own children enjoyed that same sort of liberty.  They spent  winters in the woods, with a dog and a lamb-and a pony.  Often, I accompanied them, but not always.  We carried books. picnics and sometimes a kite, for there were many fields resting, in winter. My grandmother wandered with us sometimes.  At seventy five years old, she went over a fence to stand beneath that big oak tree, that I mentioned earlier. 
To me nature has a sermon-quiet spoken words, heard  by the heart.  Nature is authentic beauty that provokes my gratitude.  It never fails to validate my faith and it does not fail to spark wonder.   
I strongly prefer wild places, where I am surrounded by truth.  . .  and where things make sense.  Thank Goodness, that nature is not easily swayed by “band wagons” but instead goes about its’ own business . . .which, we all depend on. 
I am no longer living on the edge of  woods and, so I console myself that the sky above me is a wild place. A garden, also is a wild place-even flower beds-and even potted geraniums.  These things will keep me tethered to  nature, my beloved friend.  










































Before Christmas . . .and Beyond

It did not snow on Bonnet Street, though it was certainly cold enough to.  The days leading up to Christmas were filled with all sorts of weather. 
It rained a few days and felt like early April. The bitter cold came next. It was the wind- and it blew with malice, for two days.   It was well below freezing and there were power outages, because of that.  The boxer and I braved the harsh elements, for a quick stroll around the cottage.  I wanted to experience the extreme weather.  We did not linger, but I have now seen this particular sort of wind. 
I think this Christmas was the coldest one in a long while. I remember it was  1989 the last time, that pipes froze at Christmas  , for the children got a pony and cart that year! 
 School closed for the holidays and I got a quick visit with Brant, Sydney and those adorable boys.  A few days later, I was in Elizabeth City with my adorable girls. My  grandchildren are truly the icing on the loveliest cake I could have ever hoped for. 
The children were full of joy and not just because of “presents”, for we use great restraint to keep the season pure-though Brynn expected “gold, frankincense and myrrh” at one point and Ryan was convinced it must be his birthday.  The little “brother and sister cousins” , for that is what they call one another, are so happy and loving to one another.  Watching them, is one of my very favorite occasions.
We had several gatherings .  We all met at Mamas’ for each one.  She had company for several nights as well.  Every bed and a couch was used. 
At meals, every surface was laden with dishes-and the table was surrounded with chairs seldom used.  Looking back . . I feel blessed.  You can not have too many loved ones.
In the midst of cooking and visiting and decorating, I  painted a very large book case, I had made for the house. Now, all of my beloved books are sorted and stored in one location-with the exception of a collection of very old books.  They are in a cabinet, that belonged to my dearest friend Julies’ grandmother.  There is a door with etched glass that will protect them from the dust we kick up in the rosewood cottage. 
Julie was an avid reader and was always studying various subjects. . . hence she was smart as could be- and sassy as fire .  We could not hold a secret from one another, for we were were bound in a way,  that made it impossible.   I can not think of her, without tears welling up. 
  We continue to observe “Old Christmas”.  . .just as Pop and Grandma did.  We received little gifts and it stuck with me to remember the journey of the wise men to find baby Jesus. At Farm Life, Miss Sylvia revived my memory.  She had a celebration of “Old Christmas” every year. 
I  have had to discard the arrangements of pine, rosemary and cedar, for their beauty had faded.   . .  and was strewn on tables and every floor.  I did make a fresh bouquet, for I love the wild scent of evergreens.     Paired with fruit,  this winter fragrance  makes the cottage air as  wild and sweet as a patch of young woods.. 
I love winter.    The horizon is  fringed   with  a lace woven by the bare branches of trees, at rest.  Sunlight falls in patches of earth, forbidden in months like June.  The coldness and early nightfall seem to invite all to go home early , with its’ beckoning lights shining through the windows. If all goes well, the kitchen smells of savory, slow cooked foods-or maybe bread and coffee. 
Of course. my winters of yesteryears,  remain my favorites.  I did not have to beg the children to come in for supper, for the chill and dark of a winter evening crept up on them swiftly . How content I was to see them gathered, as I cooked.  I have always loved winter. 
Now with a new year dawning, I find myself remembering the  years with all of my elder. I go through my collection of lessons taught, of loving acts and practical life skills.  I love remembering our “way of life “.  I glean from the memories, what wisdom I can and preserve  what beauty,  I can. Even now, much of the lessons, remain true and worthy of consideration,  even in this flashy and flying age.  I was not handed “fools’ gold” for my pockets, as a child.  Now, as an older soul-I can recognize it a country mile away.
O what riches, I was bestowed . . . the kind that “moth and rust do not corrupt”- nor do they end up in a yard sale!  They do not break or fall out of style but instead, increase in value. . . and I think they bear repeating.
I suppose the new year has rekindled my gratitude and inspired me to love  . . .deeply  .  . . to live simply and with pure intensions.  I will strive with diligence to live with authenticity- and to be as genuine as I can.  “Putting on airs” is such a waste of energy- and besides, I’d rather be dusting furniture than practicing such a thing.. 
Sometimes, I have wondered if living  in your own specific spirit, might be our intended purpose.   After all, that  in itself, is truly a monumental feat and is only accomplished through countless acts of courage. 
 In addition, to my lofty notions, I want to surround myself with as much beauty and peace as this world will allow.   This will only come with consistent effort-and to stay that country mile away from “fools’ gold”.   . .That stuff is everywhere.










From the Rabbitpatch Diary

In less than a fortnight, many things have happened.
  As soon as baby Banks came home from the hospital . . Ryan developed a temperature and a cough.  With an infant in the house, Ryan was quickly taken to the doctor.  As it turned out, he had RSV.  We have probably all had it at some point, for it is a common ailment       . . .but dangerous for infants.    Therefore Brant and Ryan have been living downstairs and Sydney and little Banks dwelling upstairs.  What a predicament-and right off the bat! Ryan could not understand that he saw the baby he had waited for at last and then the baby whisked away-and with his mama!  Thankfully, Brant and Sydney are as capable as can be and handled it like champions. They should  be able to have their own little family reunion this weekend.  . .and soon, those of us waiting in the wings, will have our turn to see our beloved baby-and our precious Ryan. 
An autumn wind blew  for a few days.  Every jewel the trees owned was cast on the earth beneath them.  What a colorful carpet was created in this little rabbitpatch!  The temperatures have remained warm, up until this very morning.  When I went out, before the crack of dawn, I was greeted with a coolness, that warranted a jacket.  I like all kinds of weather, (though the sultry days of mid summer are my least favorite) and so, I welcomed the crisp morning, with open arms.  It is almost Thanksgiving, after all! 
Memories are being made at the rosewood cottage.  Tres and Sarah have visited several times.  Mama comes and  we all enjoy a good meal.  Sister Delores and niece Dana have visited, too. The place feels more and more like “home”, on account of this.
Conversations around a table, are my kind of occasions. Such times lend my life a valuable substance and remembering  them later, is heartwarming.
What I remember about my childhood are those ordinary kinds of things-like conversations around a table.  I remember our way of life.   . .and it was a beautiful and uncomplicated way.  We went to see “Mama Hodges” on a weekday morning, we went to town to get groceries, and we went to church on Sundays- other than that we were at home.  There were few things to rush about.  If rain came and there were clothes on the line-or if the ponies got out . . then a commotion ensued.  Other than that, we were an orderly lot enjoying a peaceful life. 
Organized sports were created within the family.  Daddy made a top notch basketball goal and we all enjoyed that.   Cousins Chuck  and Chris would join us, as they lived just beyond the pasture-and many nights we played til it became too dark to see the ball. Sometimes Daddy hit flyballs in the evenings for us to catch. (I was awful at that)   We played badminton and volleyball- and cousins would gather for kickball, races, high jump, long jump and the pasture was full of ponies for rides back in the field, along the edge of the woods.  Likewise, tutoring and music-and “therapy” took place at home.   . .often in the garden-sometimes, while  hanging clothes. Mama was good at therapy.  
 If I could hand a “silver platter” to my grandchildren, it would be laden with such things.  The business of childhood is short but mighty powerful, after all. 
“The government changed the clocks again.”  I laugh every time I remember  saying this.  My grandmother Warren, in her later years could not understand why we had to change the clocks. She asked me a lot of questions about the why and what for of it.  She was convinced that the school, I still work at, was trying to get me to work more hours.  Finally after a long while, I whipped out-that “The government changed the clocks.”  She was satisfied at last. 
 Regular readers know, that I am not a fan of this practice.  I do not like “Daylight saving time” which has never made a bit of sense to me.  The sun sets and rises as it pleases so no one can claim any sort of say about that.  Man can not save up daylight. . .or create a minute more of it.   . . besides, I like for it to be dark when I have supper!  It is no wonder, that my dear grandmother was confused about it. 
Part II
The weekend is here now-and full of pleasant prospects.  Sister Delores and her family are coming on Sunday for an early Thanksgiving celebration.  We will gather at Mamas’.  I have been up for a while with “visions of pies and pumpkin bread dancing in my head” .  I am cooking what I can in the rosewood cottage kitchen and then heading to Mamas’ to spend the night.  Mama and I will finish up more details tomorrow morning.   Sister Connie may be able to come for the Sunday meal and Christian too, if he can get off work in time. 
On Monday, Mama and I head to Raleigh to meet baby Banks!  That is a “red letter day” for me!  I am so excited about seeing my dearest little boys.  I can’t wait to see Brant and Sydney either.  I just enjoy seeing how lovingly they raise their children-now at last together, since that awful episode with RSV!    
The eve of all this is a happy time for me. 
Yesterday, we had our first frost of the season.  This was a bit of a “late” frost, for this area. 
How beautiful the world was that morning, I noticed as I drove to work.  The first light of the day cast its’ shine and transformed even the dullest spots.  I smiled remembering that Daddy always woke us with the same  morning greeting on  frosty days . . . . “Jack Frost came last night!”  When we were quite young, he would tell us that Jack Frost had a bucket of ice and would paint the world, while we we slept.  We would spring out of our dreams, sure one morning that we would catch him in the act. I still like to imagine that and will abandon science altogether, . . in the event of frost.

A Child is Born

Autumn days are finally here . . on Bonnet Street. A fortnight ago, the brightest blue skies appeared.  Mist and fog veil the dawn and  there are branches of some trees donning scarlet and golden leaves.  Now the air is tinged with the scent, known only in October.  I love October!  Besides being especially lovely, it is the prelude to the holidays and cozy nights . . .with slow cooked meals. This particular, October we are awaiting the arrival of Brant and Sydneys’ second son . . .and Ryans’ little brother. It is a holy time, to me.
As I get older, I consider many things sacred .  Even planting twin cedars, gifted to me by my much loved Chris and Aino, was a time of reverence. To me, planting something, that sprung up in a woods, miles away, discovered and then gifted, is not short of wonderous.   . . .
  As I watch the yard becoming a garden, I am as grateful as can be.  Already, my steps have created footpaths, for a lack of rain,  deems it necessary to baptize my floral community, every other day.  I treasure natural occurrences . . . such as footpaths.  They tell your story, in a way. 
I notice things as I go along toting a shovel or those buckets of water,  That is how I realised that a scrubby bush, was actually a young crepe myrtle abiding by the fence.  Just recently, I found something else to love.
The fence between my house and my next door neighbors’ home, is covered with honeysuckle, confederate jasmine and ivy.  A slab of cement is along that path, at the end of the driveway-I suppose the remnants of a shed.  I turned that area into a potting and painting station.  My back was always to my neighbors’ home.  I let the clambering vines clamber with great  liberty, while my back was to them. When I am on a task, I am unaware of anything going on around me.  I have proven this time and time again.  Once my late husband walked in the kitchen.  I was playing my violin, while a pot was smoldering on the stove, filling the air with smoke!  So, it is no wonder, that I missed the tremendous oak growing in the middle of the neighbors yard.  It all started because  of a small, ivy covered tree stump and a lantern, that Mama had given me. 
The lantern was intended to be used outside of my back door, but the electrician deemed it worthless.  I thought . . .maybe not.  One day it came to me, that it might work on the little stump of a tree that had died young, many years ago.  It turned out, that the lantern was a good fit.  I was pushing the ivy back, when I saw the tree.  I was stunned at the beauty of it and remembered that Pop and Grandma had two of them, outside of their little farmhouse.  I do not know how long I stood there . . .but when my trance was broken I made haste to relocate my work station.  Now, I have a beautiful view of a patch of earth, with three old trees, for there were two more as well!  I felt I had “struck gold”, though gold paled in comparison.
Do you remember my “Quiet garden”  at the old farmhouse?  Well, I have found a spot to make a “Quiet Walk”  around the little rosewood cottage!   Granted, it will be a short walk, so I will have a bench, to contemplate or to dream . . .or to  pray or to rest upon. 
A lot of things can come to pass, when  you’re sitting   under an old tree.  Of course, right now, I  can only afford to practice such leisure arts, for brief moments, for  I am either painting or scrubbing or planting, and besides a job and housekeeping.  I am enjoying the work and the results have been quite pleasing . . .but I have not seen the grandchildren much and miss them terribly.  Hopefully, this weekend, that will change. 
Part II 
I declare that every morning there is more autumn colored leaves, than the day before!  There are apricot leaves and plum leaves and lemon yellow ones, too,  now.  Just a day or so ago, I started writing this post! 
Every morning, I wander around the yard, to start my day.  It is a dark and quiet time.  This morning,  before going out . . .Brant called.  He had another son!  His name is Kenon Banks, (Kin-an) named after Sydneys’ dear grandfather.  My heart was filled with gladness.  Mother and son were fine.  Brant and I were both crying with joy.  A picture proved what Brant said . .” He is beautiful. “
Afterwards, as I strolled, I took great note of the sky so I could tell Banks, about the stars, he was born beneath.  I noticed the air-cool and still, and the damp soil beneath me.  When I came in, I lit a candle and said a prayer of thanksgiving.  Now, in my spectrum of joyous events, nothing tops the birth of a grandchild.  After all, there is another somebody to love deeply, to hope for and to be loved by.  He will certainly bring gifts . . and I want to give him my own gifts. 
I was blessed with two wonderful grandmothers and decades later-one fifty years!) their love and influence, hasn’t dimmed.  Being a grandmother is truly, all it is cracked up to be. 
Part III 
 Though nothing compares to the birth of a grandson . . .still I   will mention that big progress has been made in my humble cottage.  At long last, a cabinet now abides where the washer and dryer used to.  It is a lovely piece and, made from old wood  that was rescued from ” the four corners of the earth”.   Tomorrow, the pantry door, which is a fancy old screen door,   salvaged from the barn at Farm Life, will be hung.  I am sure it will be the only screen door on the inside of a house in this small town, but being hopelessly sentimental . . . .I like it.  When the “dust settles”-and I mean that literally-I will  post pictures. 



From the Rabbitpatch on Bonnet Street


Niece Hayley was married last weekend on a beautiful day.  The air was not so sultry that day and a slight  scent of pine was present.  The sun shone brightly as if to say “Best Wishes!”.  Hayley and husband Carson are now out west on their honeymoon.
The closing for the rosewood cottage, was on the Friday, before the wedding.  Everything went smoothly and thank Goodness, for the days before were harrowing, with “urgent” details.  Cousin Chris, spent a day doing some repairs one day, that I was unaware of til the last minute.  He abandoned his own agenda to help me in a hurry.
Since the closing, I have been painting.  It all started, when I painted the dining room.  It turned out lovely and so the large hallway was gloomier than ever.  I got half of that painted and stopped because my bedroom was so shabby, I couldn’t bear it.  When I was too weak to climb any longer, I stopped that too.  Hopefully, I will complete the hall and the bedroom, this weekend.
I also planted two heirloom roses, that I purchased for two dollars each, on the clearance aisle at a nursery.  I knew there was hope for them and I wasn’t wrong, for they have each bloomed with fragrant blossoms, and not long after they came home.
 With work and housekeeping, I have stayed busy.  I realised that time was racing by me . . my life needed some balance.  I intentionally started seeking  beauty, in every spare moment allowed.  I soon found out, that finding something beautiful, was a delightful task and did not require a struggle.  Anytime, I have  desired to put things in perspective, nature has always provided the means to do so.  Somehow, things get sorted out, in the natural world and in a natural way.
Sunlight falls where it can, in the woods.  Birds and squirrels work without comparing their gains to other birds and squirrels.  Trees are stalwart members of the natural world, providing protection, substance and residents, and yet they never boast.  Overhead, the canopy, that we call the sky,  treats all without favoritism, without prejudices, and without malice, though everything  that has ever happened . . has been witnessed by the sky.  It is impossible to declare, as man likes to do, any sort of system that rates worthiness in nature, for all has a place of significant value that is dependent on one another and is relied on, as well.  After all it is the soil that grows a mighty oak.
I thought about such things as I walked from one class to another and as I made my way to and from the car.    How I love wild places!   . . .and it does me good to bind myself tightly to them.  My spirit is just too uncivilized to stray for long whiles.
School was cancelled due to the hurricane, we call Ian.  So far, it is breezy and raining at the rosewood cottage. So far, no roof leaks nor flooding on Bonnet Street-and the new kitchen light is shining merrily.
Time would tell, if these conditions lasted or not.  I made soup and meanwhile, took everything out of my closet!  The cozy closet (another word for “small”) had only been scrubbed as after all, I was only staying a few months.   . . I still laugh at that- but anyway, I wanted it painted.  The lightest shade of green suited me and since the bedroom is mostly white, I could indulge in violets that could clamber as they pleased, in the dark, amongst my wardrobe.
This venture took a long time.  When finally, I could put my things back in place, the breeze had ceased and the rain had too.
And now, it is Sunday.
Today, Mama is coming for a Sunday dinner.   I have hardly cooked, since I bought the rosewood cottage.  I have been restoring and always painting.  I have also taken an additional role at school, which requires a much earlier start.  In light of this,  little time  is left for cooking and writing-and reading .   . .all things that I love.  Today, I aim to mend my ways!   We are having baked chicken and creamed potatoes, which we will smother in gravy, string beans, corn salad (a very simple and old recipe) and bread pudding for the dessert.  . .and I am as happy as any lark, ever dared to be.

” I Am Here”

The past weeks  were filled with all sorts of things.  Just before school started, I took a long weekend in Elizabeth City.  Lyla was starting first grade on that Monday and so very excited about that-unlike her grandmother had been at that age. 
There was a movie night.  We made brownies and redecorated the little girls’ bedroom.  We rearranged the play room and had a small shopping spree, all before that Monday.  We were busy. 
I don’t even remember why Brynn was crying, but she was in Jennys’ arms one morning.  I was in the kitchen and overheard Brynns’ little voice, full of distress.   . . .and I heard Jenny soothing her little daughter.  Jenny repeated “I am here”  several times. in a hushed tone.  I was deeply moved.  What comfort, she spoke. 
My own Mother still says those words to me, and most especially these last two chaotic years, when one thing after another sprung up.  “I am here” is a language of love. 
Mothers  say it-and I feel like God says it too.  Somehow, I know I am never really on my own in the business of life. I may complain and over think things as if I am solely responsible for my fate . . . for a while.  When I have become weary and exhausted my dim mind – in other words, when I have given up-I suddenly realise, all over again, that God says to my heart, “I am here.” It is never “old hat”. 
It does amuse me, that I always seem to go through those  same tiresome motions like a very dull human. 
My own school started, too.  I had to be at work on Tuesday.  Some of the children came in beaming with “great expectations”-a few did not.  An especially dear little one was crying quietly.  I knew why she was crying. for she too was leaving a small farm with wood and field-and a big sky overhead.  She was leaving solitude and her animal friends, which she is very devoted to.. .  In all the many years that have passed . . .I have never forgotten how that felt. 
The next day, that especially dear child was laughing and playing on the playground. 
 I have planted more flowers around the rosewood cottage.  There are more pinks, for I can’t get enough.  I have planted a few white chrysanthemums-and I need a few more.  I found a few echinacea flowers that reminded me of the old farmhouse and a small rosemary bush begged to come home with me.  The yard is starting to look cheerful-and I am too.
One day, recently, I discovered a cascade of white blossoms on the fence.  It was confederate jasmine.  What a lovely scent they lend to the air!  I was thrilled.  Finally, something was blooming that I didn’t have to dig a hole for!    Another day, a bush that I had allowed to grow along the fence, was suddenly donning pink blossoms.  That bush was a young crepe myrtle!  Another  delightful surprise.  Maybe, I now hear, at long last . . “I am here.” 
So far so good on all the commotion involved in buying a house, these days.  When I bought the Farm Life house, I simply signed papers and went home.  The process is very different now.  It is complicated and the volume of details is exhausting.  I was so happy for the holiday just because, I knew the bank was closed and I wouldn’t receive another task to do “immediately”! 
Another reason-and most of all-I was happy  for the holiday, was that the family was gathering at Mamas’ .  Brynn and Ryan have September birthdays, so we all shared a wonderful meal which concluded with cake, ice cream and gifts.
I watched the children playing.  I try not to intervene, but to simply observe how they play together.  They rarely argue and what Lyla says goes, for Brynn and Ryan are sure she knows best.  Dolls and tractors, tea cups and trucks, are all cast into the same dramas.  Ryan may become “Captain America” at any given moment-but somehow, the story continues.  I feel as I watch, that I am getting an understanding of them, that  happens only in this way,  Their natural tendencies are unhindered, at play.
Tres had been tinkering on Daddys’ old tractor, the last few times, he had visited.  This time he gave Ryan rides on it.  That was a sight. 
I sure miss Daddy. 
 I don’t understand it, but it bothers me that Daddy will never stand in the small yard around the rosewood cottage-nor will he eat in the little dining room-neither will Grandmama, nor  Uncle Randy and aunt Carolyn, nor aunt Josie.  To me, this matters, though it is a senseless notion.  I have at least planted things in their honor.  I mention their names almost daily.  Just remembering them, honors them. 
It finally rained.  It was on Saturday.  I have missed the rain.  My collection of rain water had dwindled to a mere small bucket, so I was glad for that too.  I decided to paint the kitchen that day. 
The rosewood cottage is small and the dark beige walls throughout the house made it smaller and gloomy.  I worked all day, into the night.  Watching the kitchen brighten seemed to implore me to work.  When Christian came in from work, he was pleasantly surprised with the  scene of a now happy, kitchen.  I wished I had baked a cake.   
It rained again on Sunday . . .and so I started on the dining room.  Finally, that evening, I ran out of paint. 
The closing is scheduled for Friday.   I am excited, nervous and happy all at once.  I am also still bewildered.  Like usual,  I never saw this coming.  I moved here in a mad rush and was sure the place was just a pit stop.   . . now I need more paint .    . . and flowers for my garden.  . .  and most of all to remember not to “lean on my own understanding”.  

For the Love of a Dog

There are but a few swiftly waning hours left of my summer.  Hence, I have cleaned out every closet and cabinet in the little house on Bonnet Street.  I have also been jumping at every command the bank issues-not” my cup of tea”, I told the loan officer., the other day. I have unpacked boxes, whose fate remained uncertain, until recently. 
I start school this week.
  Now the first signs of a garden are evident, in the back yard.  Phlox, pinks and russian sage  have settled in nicely, just like the peach tree.  Brant gave me two Indian Hawthorns- They are the beginning of the “living fence” that I hope to create.  A young butterfly bush is blooming under an old bird house . . .and there are birdbaths.  My grandfathers’ old wagon wheels are propped  against an oak tree. Tea Olives, Holly, Cape Jessamine, roses and such things dance in my head like sugarplums- Oh, the heart of a gardener is full of hope! 
Last weekend, we gathered in Raleigh.  Brant and Sydney were quite the host and hostess.  Sydney made a cake, that was one of the best, I have ever eaten,  When I get the right flour, I will attempt it myself.  Brant made a small fire one night for smores.  Lyla, especially loved that.   My sons watched sports together and my daughters chatted.  The “brother and sister cousins” frolicked about.  Nobody wanted it to end, in fact Brynn declared she was staying! 
I doubt there is little else with the same degree of satisfaction, as that derived from a loving family.  All other accomplishments pale in comparison. I see my children raising their own with tenderness and thoughtfulness and my heart floods with joy.  Another thing, is that they know their children deeply and thoroughly.  I watch Tres being the kind of uncle, every child wants.  The scene is like watching a poem, to me. . . even when the grandchildren are naughty! 
I realised on my drive home, that at last, the place does feel like home.   . .and I felt glad about it. 
A house does not become a home in a flash.  At first, it is a place to keep your things, like a huge closet-It is also a place to sleep and a shelter, all admirable and traits to desire.   But a home, is more than a structure.  It is a place in your journey, where someone has a birthday.  It has the back door for  our loved ones.  It smells like supper cooking.  When you know  which window the sun shines in-and when and know personally, where the sparrow builds a nest . . . then you are home. 
I suppose for me, it also means hours playing in the dirt and welcoming the young flowers to their new home.  I have had conversations with the oaks, too.  I know where the boxer likes to rest . . and there are the chiming church bells.   
To think, that less than a year ago, I was picking up curtains and clothes out of the yard, seems unreal.  I knew then that the place was surely unlovable and very temporary.  It was the only rental in this small town that allowed a dog, no matter how much money one had.  So, for the love of a dog, I had taken it.  I did not want to rent either.  I cleaned it and tolerated it.  I went on a quest trying to get out of it . . That was a short lived affair.  I remember feeling trapped.  I mourned for the old farmhouse and the countryside.  . . some days, worse than others. 
I was glad to have a home and that the neighborhood was quiet.  I reminded myself that at least there were old trees.  Nothing convinced me that I could love the place, though.    I felt ashamed that I was ungrateful. When  the deal was struck with the landlords it felt safe to plant the potted friends, from Farm Life.  I felt inclined to buy my beloved pinks . . .and then I dove head long and started a garden.   So far, so good, with all the business that goes along buying a home.  Things can change at any given moment, but I will remember that under the old oak, covered in dirt, I fell in love with the rosewood cottage . .  on a rabbitpatch .   . . for today . . .that is enough.

“Out of the Blue”

The sultry days of August are upon us.  Every day is as hot as the day before-and the one to come next.  Sometimes, a shower pops up and I celebrate every one of them. When the showers leave, mist forms and quiets the  wilting landscape, for a while.  Despite the awful conditions, I have been scurrying the last few weeks. 
Mama and I visited Aunt Christine again and got to see her grandchildren and a great grandchild as well.  It was another lovely time. 
Brant and Sydney came for the weekend. I made tarts for the occasion and Sydney baked a cake. Brant worked the whole time and the visit with little Ryan and Sydney, was too brief to suit me, for I can never see them too much. Still, I was glad to have the visit. 
The next day, Sister Delores and niece Dana came.  Niece Hayley was being honored with a bridal shower.  Mama and I ,  Delores and Dana attended that on Sunday.   The affair was at a delightful cottage like home, that was nestled in a grove of old trees on a country road.  The ladies were all friendly-and so we all enjoyed ourselves.
I left afterwards for Elizabeth City. 
 I was there four wonderful days.  It was just too hot to walk by “the laughing river”. . .so,  I told extra stories about dolls who drank strawberry tea with a talking kitten.  It was a golden time, altogether.  In a week we will all gather in Raleigh for a weekend gathering.  I suppose this will be the grand finale of our summer, as in a few very short weeks we return to schedules and days measured by the almighty clock.   Mama and I got in  another visit with Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene.  This time I was so happy to see my cousin, Gena as well.  Gena was the first “living doll” in my life.  She is younger than me and I used to love the afternoon visits in the yesteryears, at Pop  and Grandmamas’, when she would follow us around the yard.  She wore pristine dresses and had curls peeking out from under hats.There was never one iota of unkindness in her . . . .and that is still true, today.
Something has come up, which I could not have predicted.  Regular reader know, that I prefer fields and woods to streets-and moon shine to street lights.  I have certainly always said so.  While, that remains true, “something out of the blue”  came up. . .I am in the process of buying the little house on Bonnet Street.  It happened this way .   . . 
The landlords offered me a deal, that would have been foolish to decline, even if I am a devoted fan of rural living.  This is one of the reasons, that I have been scurrying about, for there is a lot of business to tend to.  I of all people, know first-hand, that anything can go wrong in the process . . .still, I planted a peach tree.  I have planted pinks and phlox, as well-and said a prayer as I did so.  As I worked and dreamed, my heart softened til at last, I knew that I was in the right place, at this particular time.
The little house on Bonnet street is older than I am-of course, I love an old house.  I must confess that I have entertained a few notions about some improvements, I may attempt. A small pantry, moving the laundry  OUT OF THE KITCHEN.  That has been a thorn “in the side of the house” .  As far as I am concerned, it is an unnatural thing to wash clothes in the same room, that I bake my bread in.   A little clothes line would suit me, too. . . .and roses.  I know it may all come to nothing-but I like letting my imagination “run wild” on occasion.  It was imagination that made the first rabbitpatch, after all.  It was not a garden, when I got there.    . . and I have already planted a peach tree. 
Now, tomorrow an official appraiser comes. I know full well, that he is not interested in my housekeeping, nor the fact that my flowers are blooming their hearts out .   He could care less about the lovely second-handle table, that is freshly painted and affectionately named  the “Scott”, after the cousin that I got it from. . . .I also know that there isn’t a bit of harm in a  good presentation.  Besides that,  I love a tidy house, myself. 
I can declare with all certainty, that I can not predict the future,  but  . . . time will tell, as it always does.

“Whatsoever things are lovely . . .”

The week after our holiday,” Beside the sea” was full of good things.  As is my habit, I did mope the first few days.  Then I painted flowers and read more Thoreau” .  I did  extensive housekeeping and created more house plants from my little rootings. . .  and all of that acted like a tonic on my dampened spirit.   
The painting of the flowers, came first.  I am satisfied with my roses.  For some reason, painting roses, feels like listening to an old familiar song. This week, I decided to paint violets, using watercolors.   I have a small beside table that I employed as my “canvas”.  Watercolors have a mind of their own,  I remembered, from years past, so I consoled myself, that I could just paint over, what could not be forgiven.  Thus, I began the project.  Of course, my violets would  be shades of faded  pink-for I can not be a realist, for “love or  money”.  The thing took days.  There was the drying of the paint, before applying new paint and then as always, I looked at at it and added as I felt pink violets would grow, if there was such a flower.  My violets grew happily on a corner and then cascaded down a leg of the table, and over the drawer .  Christian is an artist, and so I used his eye to guide my attempts. 
After several days of  “watching the garden grow”, I was finally satisfied and literally, sealed the deal.  Guess what I love about watercolors . . it is that they do have a mind of their own!  I would have an idea in mind as I painted, but before my eyes, a violet would nod in a direction I hadn’t imagined or a leaf would decide its’  own fate-always better than I had intended. 
 One day, Mama and I went to see Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene.   Aunt Christine is Mamas’ sister and lives about a half hour away.  It was a delightful visit-and Uncle Gene is quite entertaining with his humor, though Aunt Christine says “he is not that funny.”  I found out that Aunt Christine loves dishes and has  beautiful collections to prove it. 
The next day, I practiced making pastry .  My first effort, a few weeks back was less than what I desired-and so I hoped for better this time.  I was rewarded with a tender, flaky concoction and so, I will continue to practice the skill, for  it is practice that makes the difference between “beginners’ luck” – and a good cook. 
   After a very hot and dry spell of 100 degree days,  rain showed up like an old, long-  lost friend.   How happy I was to hear the rain tapping  on the tin roof.   When the wind picked up and it became as cool as May, well the world seemed friendly and  more cheerful, altogether.  I painted a flower pot that afternoon.
Mama and I left for Raleigh, the next day, to spend the better part of the week. We found little Ryan as adorable as ever-and Sydney -carrying the “little brother” is at last feeling better.  Now, she has the glow of an expectant mother. 
Ryan says anything he wants to these days.  One day, he asked Mama for a snack.  Mama said “lets ask your Mommy”.  To which Ryan replied, “I’m asking you.” Sister Delores lives on the outskirts of Raleigh, so she visits, when we are there and Mama spends a night or two with her, during our stay. 
In the evenings, I watched Brant teach Ryan how to hit and catch a baseball.  My own Daddy did the same thing, I remembered.  
Though, I have never liked the summer heat, in the south, I do like the leisure days.  From attending school as a child and then working at schools, the summer has, most of my life, represented liberty.  To me, owning your life is the truest form of wealth.  I had much rather decide when I eat or sleep- (Clocks are often poor indicators of such needs.} and  I do not consult a clock, to know when to make a pie or when to read, or paint or write.  For a bit of a the year, I can do as I please . Thus the summer is a time of indulgence for me, too.    I do not like the hateful heat, nor the mosquitoes either.  By now, the light of day is too long to suit me.   . . .but oh, there is more to the season . .
 .   . .For the cape jessamine blooms and so does the magnolia.  The lowly mimosa trees shine  like champions in July-The song of the cicadas ring out and tomatoes taste better in the summer.  The chaotic business of the world seems a bit more distant-even if it is for a short while, when roses are blooming. 
It is written that “love covers a multitude of sins”  .   . .  I have found this to be true -and so I will let the earth love me with roses and cucumbers , with a fan, humming in the house, and the greenest grass of the year. 
There is not enough time, even in the longest days of the year to count all of our blessings .. . for prosperity and abundance may not be in plain sight.   Sometimes, we have to look for the evidence.  For it is also written . . .“Whatsoever things are true,  . . .whatsoever things are pure,  . . .whatsoever things are lovely . . .think on these things.”