The Rabbit Patch Remembers

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The last few days have been cold.  Nights are below freezing and in the day, we southeners, now don our “winter coats”.  I walk to the car, in the morning on frozen ground.  I do not mind the cold weather unless there is wind.  A cold wind is about unbearable.  I have always heard that “New Englanders were a sturdy lot-and I suppose they are, for I can not imagine day after day of these conditions.  Of course they have snow too- a lot of snow.  When it does snow here, the least bit, southeners  hunker down and no one is going anywhere!  Instead, we are home cooking hearty dishes like stews or beans . . .in warm, comfortable “house clothes”.  In the absence of snow, it has been business as usual.  

With December, just a few days away, many of us are thinking about Christmas.  I  confess now, that I think about Christmas all year.  Farm Life puts on quite a production at Christmas.  Houses, barns and sheds are covered in lights.  Reindeer graze on the lawns and wreaths are hung on doors and fences.  Bows adorn lamp posts and the affect is charming.  

I moved to the Farm Life Community, more than a decade ago, in May.  I met my first friend, here just a few days later.  “Miss Sylvia” came and presented me a cook book, of recipes compiled by the local women.  It was a “welcome” gift, and it is my favorite cook book.   The recipes do not  start with a can of soup or instant pudding.  These women cook from” scratch” and their dishes have stood the test of time.  

Miss Sylvia had deep roots in Farm Life and it seemed she was “kin” to most everybody, or else went to school with them.  She was glad to see that the old farm house would be occupied.  Every room needed painting and the yard was full of debris.  I was an awful mess, when she showed up.  I was telling her all that I was doing, and without a moments hesitation, she asked me if I decorated for Christmas?  I was a bit stunned at her question, but she went on and told me that the community placed great stock in good decorating.  I assured her that I did, and she seemed very relieved.  

As it turned out, Miss Sylvia used to work at a florist shop.  She made bows, and had earned herself quite a reputation.  She offered to make bows for me and so I took her up on it, each year, in early December.  One year, particularly stands out in my memory and I never fail to remember it, this time of the year.  It was the year that I used the red bows with small white polka dots.

I had the idea that the ribbon would be just perfect for a country home and I searched high and low for months, for it.  At long last I found just the right look and presented it to Miss Sylvia, as soon as I got home.  Miss Sylvia examined it thoroughly, and said at last, that “it was ugly!”  She went on to say, it wouldn’t hold up, and said again “and it is ugly, too”.  Being she was an elder, I sheepishly asked her to make them anyway.  A day or so later, she called and said the” bows were ready – and just as she predicted, they were ugly”.  Well, I hung them and I loved them!  I still laugh remembering that.  I always miss my dear,  Miss Sylvia, but most especially at Christmas.

Now, this year, all of my decorations are packed up and I may not even decorate at all!  It all depends on  what unfolds in the very next few weeks in what has become certainly,  a saga. . .selling the rabbit patch.  Either way,  if there is a sprig of pine on the mantel – or a wreath hung, it will be a last minute attempt to mark the grand occasion of my beloved Christmas.  Maybe this year, I will carry on the tradition of “Old Christmas”.  . .another thing I remember about Miss Sylvia, for she always marked the visit of the wise men, to the Christ child, with a party. 

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Work is especially busy, just now.  The violinists-over two hundred of them – are practicing  fervently and the children are also learning songs in various languages for the annual Holiday Concert.  I never tire of Christmas music.  I especially like the old music.  The old songs never fail to spark my own childhood memories. . .one being the year, that Grandmama got a tree in a box.

I do not know what I was expecting . . .but it was not what I saw.  I remember clearly the shock of seeing my first “aluminum tree”.  It was silver with blue ornaments. . . a far cry from the usual, little cedars, cut from a ditch bank.  Grandmama was so very proud of it and said, the folks in Florida, were using them regularly now.  To me, Florida must have been another country altogether and they musn’t have had. a single patch of woods anywhere.  Grandmama was “happy as a lark” with her modern tree.  I was speechless.  In my wildest childhood dreams, I could not have imagined an “aluminum tree”.  Thankfully, “Dean Martin” was singing on the record player, as usual, so at least something, made sense.

Every thing seems to evoke memories, this time of the year.  Of course, I am prone to being sentimental, on a regular basis, but I realise especially at Christmas, that I have quite a  storehouse of beautiful memories in my collection.  . .and I do not want to forget a one of them.  In some way, it seems that remembering, is like a “housekeeping of the heart”.  I sort things out, and tidy up any tattered fragments. It is odd that I do not remember but a few gifts that I received.  Instead,  I remember clearly, things like the tinsel that Mama saved each year.  Putting it on the tree, was slow and tedious work . . .taking it off was worse.  Mama was very particular about her tinsel, and how it was placed on the tree.  The task was not going quickly.  . .and that is all there was to it.  After the initial complaining and protests, for no one wanted to hang single strands of tinsel, a hush would fall on us.  It was as if we were in a trance brought on by the dangling silver. When the heat came  on, or the door was opened-the tinsel  would sway and flutter as if it had a life of its’own.  I was so happy when Mama traded the tinsel for a garland-yet now, over fifty years later, I remember the tinsel.

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As we bid November farewell, with its’ scarlet and golden woodlands  and with the blackbirds flying,  we know it did not leave us empty-handed.  November gives us a quiet, steady dose of  gentle beauty that stirs thoughts of home and hearth  – and makes us remember the most beautiful things. 

  

 

 

 

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29 thoughts on “The Rabbit Patch Remembers

  1. Oh such precious Christmas memories! You are making me feel the “spirit of Christmas”,
    December came fast for me, but I think after reading your post I am ready to let go of the fall after all 🙂
    I hope you get to celebrate your Christmas in your cozy new cottage!!! But if not, it will be an awesome Christmas anyway, the last one to say goodbye to the rabbit patch, for 2019 will surely bring you your new home to place your heart and love! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your tinsel memories stirred some for me, too. I’m old enough to remember the days of metal tinsel: it truly was made of tin, although very thin and flexible. Every year, we carefully lifted the tinsel from the tree and wrapped it around pieces of cardboard. The next year, we’d use the same tinsel: and the year after that, and the year after that, and…

    Today, I still put some of that same tinsel on my tree. It’s at least 68 or 69 years old, and maybe older. It makes me happy. ~ Linda

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading your post and visiting your blog makes me go warm inside- I feel the cold with you but feel warm and cozy and wanted inside. I know that there is a lady out there who loves everything I love and even more and even if I never see her in this human life, I would have lived with the satisfaction of having known her and loved her writing.
    Thank God for the Ms. Sylvia’s of the world who are bold enough to speak their minds. Even though the words may be ” undiplomatic”, the heart is pure that makes an honest comment. I love bows too.
    I am glad you are getting your wish and your dreams are coming true. It is that time of year for change. I am glad you enjoyed your time at the Farm Life community and we enjoyed it with you.
    I am not sure what tinsel is but the thought that comes to mind is – it is recyclable and environmentally friendly.
    Thank God for our penny saving mothers.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well, you made me cry in the first paragraph! What a lovely thing to say. Know I feel the same-I have someone dear to me, in you. Tinsel is like a thin and very flimsy shiny silver string. It was hung on trees at Christmas and maybe still is. Thank you all of your wonderful comment-It was a beautiful way to start my day. love Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michele, I love your ‘housekeeping of the heart’ – we also had a silver aluminum tree with red balls in our den eons ago. But among the most treasured memories – all of us gathering around the piano with instruments & voices singing carols. (My aunt would bring her flute from Iowa – which meant i had to play mine, too. Mama would play her violin, my older brother played the piano & everyone sang.) 🎶🎄🎶

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh no!!!I remember the tinsel and having to correct my little sister who would pitch it on the higest branches. No pitching… single strans only please. And yes the removal was even worse. Goodness…the things we do .
    A beautiful wreath on the Rabbit Patch front door may be all that is needed. That’s about the extent of my doing. I will pull out the little ,very little, artifical tree with lights and maybe pine balls hanging in the window. Maybe.
    I can’t wait to hear the end of this story about the possible move. You know farm life will miss you but someone some where is waiting . Love to you.
    ps. I am sending an emai. …check.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m all warm up for Christmas now,religious or not.
    I’ll keep my finger crossed for you to be in your new home just in time to decorate and celebrate but if that it won’t happen well,there will be a Christmas to celebrate aanyway and I’m sure a nice one too ,just without the hassle to take down the decorations 😉❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I could relate so much to this post, Michele! I also love Christmas, and love to decorate for it. And I remember that when I lived in rural Kansas, so many of the farmers decorated their houses (and outbuildings) and it was just beautiful. My grandparents also had one of those aluminum trees, with blue ornaments! Like you, I hated it. Christmas trees should be green, and at the time, only real would do. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Your posts are always delightful, but this one especially spoke to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I must have a real evergreen in my house or it isn’t Christmas. I have never seen a year without a live tree. Yes, I am still picking up needles the following December when I clean beneath the old radiator near where the tree stands.
    Then again, I am still to this day occasionally finding glitter stamped in the shape of “2000” from the Millennium party. Some say “Happy New Year”.
    I must admit, here in the anonymity of the blogosphere, that I more often than not return these little fragments of the past to the hiding places from which I’ve disturbed them.
    To find them again next year.

    May the peace of the season embrace you.

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

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