The Mockingbird has sung his morning hymn, and the sun has risen over the barn, making the old shabby thing look holy. It is Saturday morning at the rabbit patch. I enjoy the leisure feeling of the early mornings on the weekend. I wake up early, as I always do and lie very still- for the moment that I stir, Cash, my boxer, needs to go out. It is apparent that he will perish, if I dawdle. He takes to dancing around and pleading in tones only made by dogs. No amount of chatter convinces him to wait. Moon Shine gets up and races around the room as if the devil is after him. I get up and hope Cash will not die and that Moon Shine will not trip me, in my morning stupor. Christopher Robin, wakes up well mannered and considerate of my predicament. Moon Shine waits nervously, for Cash to come in, by the window. When he does, they both settle back down. I drink coffee and ease into the morning, gently.
When, I am not in Elizabeth City, I plan “Sunday dinner” on Saturday mornings. I will put away my lovely china with the redbirds and ribbons today. It is March after all. In tribute to my Irish heritage, I will set the table with Kyles’ collection of green glass. Most of the pieces are very old. I have collected dishes for each of my children, for many years. Each collection is different, and were selected by my children. Kyle, my landscaper, chose green. Most of the pieces are very old. Many are “depression glass” pieces. What a lovely table it makes-especially in March, and with us being just a little Irish.
My great, great, great grandfather was Henderson McDuffy O’Leary, and straight from Ireland. He and his brother Enoch, settled in the Lake Phelps area, where my sister Connie lives today. Henderson and Enoch were farmers. They fought for the north in the civil war. I wondered how unpleasant living in the south, that must have been for them, at that time. Once, I spoke with a historian, Dorothy Redford about this. Ms. Redford wrote “Somerset Homecoming”- which I think should be in every North Carolina school. It is the story of how Redford found the descendants of the slaves of the Somerset plantation, on Lake Phelps, and held a reunion. The “ Today Show” covered the story. Ms. Redford told me, that more than likely, these Irish brothers had family up North and wouldn’t have fought against them for “love nor money”. Thankfully, both brothers survived the war. Henderson is buried at the “Hollyneck Church” that still meets today. I found Uncle Enoch in a family cemetery in a field, not far from Connies’ house. The “Union” tombstone of “Captain, Enoch O’Leary” was lying in the edge of a field-me finding it, was surely “Divine intervention”, I convinced myself. Kyle and Christian were with on me this outing. They were little boys and traipsing through field after field looking for a grave, lost its’ appeal for them, early on. When we found Uncle Enoch, they were shocked and thankful. They were in full agreement that God or some angel, had put an end to the search. I put flowers on the grave, that were growing on a ditch bank, and cried. There is no explanation for my behavior that day, except that I am Irish. You may see now that whether Ms. Redfords’ explanation was right or not, it sounded reasonable to me.
Today, I will wash the green dishes, for use tomorrow. I love to wash glassware. It is a relaxing task. I can not wash precious dishes hurriedly. Of course, I think and dream while I wash them. I find I can only think of pleasant things, while washing glass. The sunshine through the kitchen window makes the glass appear to be lighted. Being Irish, it is perfectly fine that I often ask the dishes about the hands that washed them before me. “Whose table did you grace by your presence?” I ask- and I wonder.
I am making a pie tomorrow- from an old recipe, but one new to me. It is a caramel pie, that requires you boil sweetened condensed milk, in the can for several hours. I have never heard of such a process to make a pie, but apparently it is at least a sixty year old recipe. I will give more details tomorrow and credit to its’ origin.
The March air is chilly and the wind is light this day. It is a good day to do some housekeeping while an old movie plays. It is a privilege not to rush today. It is a privilege to wash green glass and watch it sparkle near a window, where the spirea is blooming-and to make a pie from an old recipe, someone was generous enough to share with you. I am grateful for every day, but some days are just so pure and simple, that it just makes you want to cry at the beauty . . of course, being alittle Irish . . . I always do.