Farewell to February, with its’ paper lace, hearts and best chances of snow on the rabbit patch. February this year , woke the cherry and peach trees. Hyacinths and daffodils, bluebirds and mockingbirds-all roused for the warmest February, I have ever known.
The birthday party for Mama was nothing short of a grand occasion. My Aunt Christine-Mamas’ sister came. Cousins, first, second, third and fourth all joined in the affair, as well as the usual crowd. Mama had a corsage and wore it proudly, on her day. All of the details came together-and at last the secrets whispered for weeks, were revealed. My sisters and I gave her a music box, with a pretty verse about motherhood, engraved on the top. We chose, the song we first remembered her singing to us-the universal song of children everywhere-“You are my Sunshine”. Of course, Mama cried and had barely composed herself, when we presented a small box, with a necklace inside. It was a filigree heart and inside were little gemstones that represented, her grandmother, mother , herself and her daughters. We also gave her a scrapbook with pictures and handwritten notes of favorite memories and birthday wishes. We showed it to her, but thought it best, that she wait to read it as she was having a difficult time, keeping her tears at bay.
My cousin, Chris and I grew up like brother and sister. While, everyone had cake and ice cream, the two of us recalled long ago memories of running in pastures and woods. We grew up alittle wild and completely unencumbered in childhood. We worked too, but the farm chores were often pleasant. Chris did recall, that the sound of a goat in distress, was not something that he remembered fondly. Of course, a goat was most likely to have his horns caught up in a fence, in the furthest corner of the pasture. Somehow, Pop had designated Chris as the child responsible for goat rescue. I am sure that Chris “made himself scarce” when he heard the dreaded and familiar noise of a crying goat, but Pop was louder than any goat and a force to be reckoned with. Chris came down from trees, out from under barns and up from ditches, when Pop called out “Chris, go help that goat, NOW!!!” I told Chris, it has been a long while, since a child has heard that command!-and we laughed, about that.
Time is a peculiar thing, a complexity, of sorts. When you are a child, seasons seem endless. From one Christmas to the next is a very long time. Days are as slow as “molasses in January” in a school year- when you are young. We grow up and raise our children, and it seems we are in a permanent state. . . til they grow up. Only then, do we take account, that years turned into decades-and it seems “in a twinkling”. There is simply no explanation how twenty years seem to ” slip by”.
Truly, we ought not to “squander time”. I say this whole- heartedly and often . There is so much beauty for us to behold and it reveals itself in many forms. Surely, there is more to life, than “just keeping the electricity bill paid.” -I often say. And so, I look for redbirds and blossoms in spring, without regrets. I recite Housman’s “Lovliest of Trees”-and vow to be mindful, again- for I declare, it was not that long ago, that our mother sang “You are my Sunshine” to us as we hung clothes on the line, or snapped beans in the afternoon. It was just a while back, that my cousin, Gena, was “the prettiest little baby” and needed to be held tightly, in the front porch swing at Pop and Grandmas’ house.
I have been driving my “new car” to work, the last few days. There are so many bradford pears along the way, covered in white blossoms, it reminds me of a huge wedding! The winter wheat bears the frosty mornings like a champion. In the afternoon, the fields shine like emeralds. Of course, like Mama, I shed tears of joy, because, I too, feel so loved.
“If of thy mortal goods, thou are bereft, and from thy slender store, two loaves alone to thee are left, Sell one, and with the dole, Buy hyacinths, to feed the soul. -John Greenleaf Whittier