Somewhere North of the Moon


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There is a place, I  imagined and I go there often-everybody ought to.  I call it “Somewhere North of the Moon” and you can get to it from anywhere.

My niece graduated from High School,  a few days ago.  That is quite a milestone. . . and there are many more to come.  During the ceremony,  I began sending her wishes for a beautiful journey and of course, they weren’t ordinary wishes.  I will not spend a wish on such things .  The things that have mattered to me most came about without any grand effort on my part-and I have quite a collection that I have stored just north of the moon.  They can’t be stored on shelves or in closets and they have  certainly never showed up in my bank accounts-but they are very real and my heart remembers them clearly and calls upon them about daily.  I wished those things for her too.

I looked at my niece and remembered making a lot of cakes with her.  She helped me paint the barns at the rabbit patch and climbed in to places I couldn’t,  to find their secrets . We watched old black and white movies together.  Once we took a midnight stroll around the rabbit patch.  The account of all this is alive and well-just north of the moon.

I am a lot further on my journey than my niece is on her’s.  One thing I am completely sure of is , the road can take a turn you didn’t see coming and a bridge may be washed out along the way.  I ended up at the rabbit patch on account of such things.  Sometimes there’s a good long stretch of easy going and that may be shocking too.  No matter what you do and how carefully you plan,  the truth is things work out like they ought to.  After a lot of vain attempts and  sometimes  the “luck of the Irish”   along the way, I can declare with my whole heart it’s going to take some Faith.  You might start out without it, but you’re going to end up with it, more likely than not.  I have needed it to get around those washed out bridges- and to stand steadfast on shaky ground  and  at such times,  it is Faith ” that has made all the difference.”

I have a lot of beautiful things that I have come acrossed so far and  most of those things presented themselves in broad daylight.   Some events have  seemed a disappointment at first sight.  It took the moonlight to see their beauty.

I have been working on another Sunday dinner as I write this-and rain is falling again.  I listened to the “water music” while I peeled fresh peaches.  I washed young cabbages while the baby chattered with her sweet voice.  I thought of the roses and hydrangeas blooming in the yard.  What a pretty arrangement they will make for the table, I thought.  I sent all of that somewhere north of the moon where my redbirds , roses and wild violets  are kept- along with the way my mama touched my hand after  the graduation, when we said goodnight.  It all went north-somewhere north of the moon.

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                                          Go well, and live happily ever after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Spring to Remember


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Happy Birthday Tres

There is a birthday in the rabbit patch today.  Children grow up-I can prove it. I have five-and they all did just that.  My son, Tres is thirty one years old today-but I remember a time before now, when he was a child and I was young.

I was quite determined that my children would grow up just a bit uncivilized-and they did.  It was easy to accomplish this those days ago-before computers were in every home. Nobody had cable.  Most ball games were organized in a back yard or an empty field, by the children.  Who ever showed up got to play regardless of age or ability.  It was an uncomplicated time and I remain glad of that.

We read a lot of books and raised a lot of animals.  We walked many miles through wooded paths and watched meteor showers on blankets in the yard, no matter how odd the hour.  They all learned to play the violin and memorized poetry-still, my heart remembers.

I watched them play and predicted their futures by it.  Mostly I have been right.  Tres was my analytical child who sought answers.  He works in research today.  When he comes home to the old farmhouse on the rabbit patch, he immediately assesses what repair needs to be done next.  Now I listen to him about how to proceed.  This is the way Tres loves.

I will not see Tres today.  These days we celebrate on whatever day we can get together.  How it came to this still shocks me .  How does twenty years slip by?  It seems impossible, but it did. ” It s mystery to me” as my grandmama would say.

I think it may have been all those details that come with raising children, that confused me. I reckon there’s a cello waiting for me to play it-and a canvas waiting for me to paint it and I console myself with such notions.  I have some good friends, and we have good plans.  There is the inspiration of the rabbit patch that speaks to me with sweet thoughts.. .and there is Lyla, soon to be rambling in woods and learning to recite poetry by heart.  This is a good time too and I am glad of it.

I will think of these things when I say goodnight to the rabbit patch later on tonight.  I will speak of my “great expectations” under the millions of stars I have been seeing-and I will remember a spring from a long while back- and  with a grateful heart.   Happy Birthday, to my Tres.

 

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Strawberry Bread Pudding


  1. I take the basic bread pudding recipe and add strawberries, when in season.  We like raisins and cinnamon in the fall.

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          2 eggs                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                                                       1 2/3 cups milk                                                                                                                                      about 2 cups bread crumbled in to bite size pieces * I use old biscuits, but any stale bread would do.

Beat eggs and add sugar,milk:  fold in bread – Pour in a buttered pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 min.  If you are adding fruit, fold it in with the bread. I cut my fruit up in small pieces.

I bet bananas would be good, too. It is quite good without any fruit-and especially good when you share it with a loved one.

7e13f344ad5a8b1ac4040762a3041091*From the “Roses and Strawberries” post.

On Any Given Sunday


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Sunday does not pass in the same fashion as the other days-at least it doesn’t at the rabbit patch. All other days have their schedules and obligations of how I spend my life and Saturdays are often unpredictable occasions.  Chores around the rabbit patch can vary greatly on a Saturday-but on any given Sunday, I celebrate.  

A celebration does not have to be an “all out affair”.   I begin my celebrating at my “morning table” with Cash and Christopher Robin dreaming close by and totally unaware that I am singing their praises at the sight of them.  I am glad for them and make it known.  I do my best to remember all of the beautiful things that happened the past week. Conversations with my children are remembered and tucked in my heart for safe keeping.  I am glad for my parents and feel privileged that they are my own.

I keep a close eye on “Sunday Dinner” lest I get too caught up celebrating.  This past week I was especially happy because my daughter, Jenny was coming with “the baby” and my newest son,-her husband, Will.  This Sunday, the table would be full.  I was cooking and celebrating like my life depended on it-because in some way it does.  I put the biscuits in the oven just before twelve and sent Kyle out to gather roses.  

There was plenty of food-all slow cooked as it ought to be on Sundays.  The table was pretty too and fit for a Sunday dinner.  I made an upside down apple cake for dessert and was proud of that-but Lyla stole the show anyway.  I know everybody thinks their grandchildren are just perfect-but mine really is!  She is beautiful and very bright.  Lyla is a loving child and I am convinced was kissed by fairies before I became her “Honeybee”- well that would explain the magic she brings.

When everybody left and the kitchen was quiet, I began sorting out the aftermath of the event.  I washed the dishes and sang while I did it.  I thought about redbirds – I had seen a lot of them this past week.  I was glad I had roses to give mama and extra cake for daddy.  A friend dear to my heart for a long while, Janet had given me pillows with rabbits on them!  Another dear friend, Rae would be returning from a week long trip- I had missed her!  Friends ought to be celebrated.  The next thing you know, the kitchen was clean and I was eating my own piece of the cake made with fresh apples and caramel.

I went out and saw that the foxglove  was celebrating too.  Lilies were joining in like a chorus to an old song.  I heard some blackbirds arguing in a pine and wondered  what they had to quarrel about.  

It does me good to turn my thoughts to the rabbit patch often .  It does me good to celebrate often too.  How i spend my time, is how I spend my life and it makes me live deliberately when I think of that perspective of things.  I have found it a pleasant task to ” consider  the lilies” and to “look at the birds of the air”.  It makes no sense to me  to give so much attention to the complications of  the world and  ignore the genuine and authentic beauty in an ordinary life.  The answer to the worlds’ commotion might just be to remember the goodness of the week on any given Sunday.

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The First Part of the Day


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The first part of the day on a Saturday morning is a favorite time of mine.  I “rise and shine” everyday and wait for the morning light.  Every day feels like it’s my birthday, when I get up early.  I love the changing light.  Its’s an old and familiar magic-and nothing less.

The time of very early morning slips away dependably too quick for me.   I love to spend some time hoping for the best- and wondering what that will be.  It is a time to send prayers and best wishes to the world. I remember the reasons I have to be glad about.  This is the shine after the rise.

When I linger too long in sleep,  I feel like I robbed myself of something beautiful-truthfully that is exactly what happens.  Those days start with a hurry, which  I have decided is unhealthy and ought to be avoided .  All day long I miss my lost time at my morning table with its’ books, coffee in a china cup, journals and favorite pens.  That table is neatly piled with things that I love- And on Saturday mornings I spend a good deal of time there.

This morning, I am glad for Magnolia trees.  They are already showing off this year!  I walk by a row of them daily.  They are young trees.  I have been noticing their dear-to-my-heart blossoms in the highest branches.  I have smelled the fragrance that makes me stop in my tracks to breathe it in deeply.  A young friend of mine, Melissa spotted a flower on a lower branch, yesterday and invited me to go with her for a closer look and of course I did.  It was a lovely thing to do and I considered it time well-spent.

Finally, my “Mothers Day  Rose” is blooming.  It is really a pink ladybank rose, but it faithfully has bloomed on Mothers’Day for as long as I remember, until this year.  It is too beautiful for me to complain about that, though.  When the little pink roses hang about a picket fence and spill on to the grass of the “Quiet Garden” I feel like singing an out of season “Joy to the World”!

I plan “Sunday Dinner” on the first part of the day, on Saturdays.  Tomorrow will be an especially nice one  as Mama, daddy, and my  daughter, Jenny is coming with my son-in-heart, Will and our Lyla.  Lyla is just one. Lyla was born on an Easter sunday, which is a big factor in the “rabbitpatch” naming.  She calls me “Honeybee” because of a silly song I made up to make her laugh.  She says “Bee” with a french accent of sorts and it is adorable!  I will show her the Ladybanks  in all its’ glory tomorrow.

I heard a beautiful family story this week.  I wrote about my great-grandmother recently and how her husband died young and suddenly.  She was left with four children and a farm in a time void  of any organized social assistance-but she got some anyway.  As it turns out, the situation was as dire as I had imagined and it came the time that the farm was to be auctioned off.  Mama Hodges had lost her husband, and now she was losing the farm.  When the day of the foreclosure dawned, she and all the farmers in “Old Ford” turned up at the courthouse.  Not one farmer would bid.  They had made a pact that they would stand united on her behalf.  Mama Hodges bought her farm back for $1.00.  The compassion of those farmers did not last just that day.  Their nobility meant something for four generations.  This happened around 1940.  For four generations, that was our Mama Hodges’s house-the house known for its’ daffodils and  where Christmas came every year and called us all home. 

Beauty has many sorts of forms.  In the first part of the day I think about that- and my heart is grateful for  things like ladybanks roses and magnolias, for Sunday dinners with loved ones -and  an old story about a young widow and some noble men who conspired together to become heroes.

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I Remember


3ec30cddb619150761cd65733d65ef1bThe rabbit patch is wet and full of mud.  The air is damp and the garden is not fit for man nor beast-On these  kind of days,  I like to remember.

I talked to my cousin, Faith, last night. I don’t have much of any memory before Faith.  She is just a bit older than me and so has been there all of my life. Faith grew up in a full house-a house full of my cousins. My favorite childhood memories include the big fancy farmhouse with the huge kitchen she grew up in.  Her mom, my great Aunt Agnes was always in that kitchen.  The kitchen table was huge and the folks around it were loud .  Aunt Agnes had made a name for herself as a fine cook.  Her recipes are still used today and we declare they are the best every time we have them.  She made the pickles in the family each July.  Her house would smell like vinegar for days.  There would be huge  vats sitting around with concoctions known only to her.  I was always glad when she was through with that.  She wore perfume and played the piano like she was born knowing how-ragtime music and hymns.  Faith can too, though she wouldn’t admit it.  

Mama Hodges, was Aunt Agnes’s mom, and my mother’s grandmama. Mama Hodges was old when I was born, and lived til i had my first child.  She was old a long time.  She lost her husband as a young woman and wore black dresses or black and white gingham, every day til she died about forty years later.  Her house stayed “hot enough to cure tobacco” year round.  She made pound cakes on a regular basis-the kitchen always smelled like one. She raised her four children and a grand daughter too. None of us kids acted up in her sight.  We did not “disturb the peace” at her house as we were prone to do when we got home.  My sister Delores and I sat in that heat on Tuesday mornings without interrupting the adults nor getting up til we were told we could sit on the porch.  Mama had told us that elves lived there and she had seen them, so that helped us out on those long mornings.

There was a brother and sister that lived right by Mama Hodges, John and Dephie.  John made homemade wine . He gave me my first violin.  Miss Delphie crocheted things for babies and could make flower arrangements from things growing on a ditchbank.  Faith talked back to her once and got in big trouble.

Sometimes, Cousin Tillie would send a letter full of details about her travels.  She had quite a bit of status because she was seeing the world . It didn’t bother me one bit, that my world was just a few miles wide.  There was the Church, the A&P and people like Faith, so I was content.  

We had stories too.  It turns out my own Grandmama had saved the lives of all her siblings once.  They were on their way to school, when the horse pulling the buggy got spooked and ran like the devil was after him past the school and only God knows where else.  Grandmama was a little girl-but she climbed on to that horse and changed his mind!  That’s a story!  It made me fearful of making her mad when I heard it.

My own mama had a story.  Once when she was little, she snatched on my grandma’s china cabinet door and ended up pulling the whole thing over!  The precious china must have made an awful racket, shattering and breaking up in the little house-and at just that moment, God sent the preacher in the back door.  I am sure he saved her life.  Thank goodness he had the good sense to stay awhile til things settled down.  That must have been mighty hard on Grandmama.

I remember these things now on days like today. This is where I came from.  These are  people I remember .  They had dreams when they were young too.  I could not imagine that as a child.  Now I wonder how Mama Hodges felt, becoming a young widow -suddenly, and left with four children and a farm.  I wonder what Aunt Agnes thought about when she was washing dishes all afternoon.  I think about miss Delphie making baby clothes for everybody but herself.  When i consider all of it, then I have a sense of pride and courage.  I knew these people.  They were real and they all had a story-and I vow all over again, that I will remember.

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The Church in the Wildwood


c1936acfac4b74957f2d3147fefe9d5fMostly, days at the rabbit patch pass in an ordinary fashion.  I am content with this as I love all things familiar.  The world and the habits of humans change by the minute, but the rabbit patch remains constant.  The “way” of the rabbit patch is timeless and unhindered by  how the world measures progress.  There is no status in the rabbit patch either.  Wealth, prestige and power are not valued on its’ holy ground.  The rabbit patch is my ” church in the wildwood” that I sang about as a child.

A dear friend, Jo Dee, came to Sunday dinner . We drank tea in fancy  glasses and talked freely about whatever came up. We have “no fences” between us.  Our hearts are “open books”.    We ate chicken and rice at a kitchen table yet I do not believe that royalty dines any better than we did this past Sunday-at that time I was every bit as wealthy as anybody.  

On Monday, I had car problems.  I drive an old car and can not complain.  It seems to be minor and I hope the mechanic will agree with me on that.  It did change my routine. With my extra time, I went on a walk around the property.  I was delighted to see that the fields behind the rabbit patch were a mass of lavender, white and pink blooms of sage.  Looking at acres of flowers  with that big sky overhead all at once , about brought me to my knees-it was that beautiful.  How nice to get a pleasant surprise on a Monday morning.  I was suddenly glad that the car had not worked properly today.

A trip to the mailbox yielded something else sweet.  A friend had written a letter!  I do not know the last time that happened.  On the envelope she had written a verse of inspiration.  Inside was a cheerful message and a question about goats!  This was a far cry from the usual fanfare of the mailbox and I took great delight in it.  Long ago, the women before me had a “correspondence table” and I declare that I want to do the same.  The art of writing a letter should not be lost because then the happiness of receiving one will be lost as well-and that would be a shame.

Life on the rabbit patch is far from glamorous, but it is not short on beauty nor selfish with its’ treasure.  It knows the language of love and speaks it well.   It is a place of tender mercy at times and it can be  a mighty fortress too.   It is my “Church in the Wildwood”,  where friends come to eat chicken and rice-and the fields of sage bloom all around it.

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