It is hard to say whether or not “March came in like a lion”, for February made such a spectacle of itself, masquerading like the late days of April. Either way it is the time of March -the time of daffodils and wind.
I came to Elizabeth City on Thursday. A cold wind blew and rain soon followed. It didn’t matter for Jenny and I had plenty to do -and it was inside work. We had high hopes of changing out the wardrobes of both girls. I thought that would take the best part of a day. We also had planned a special supper for Wills’ “Aunt J” and his sister, Mari. We wanted to go to a new grocery store and I wanted to make a caramel cake. I have never made one from scratch, and the icing takes a long while to make, for it must simmer for about two hours. There was a lot to do, for we were not short on lofty notions.
Lyla always celebrates my arrival by running in to my arms and then hugs me for a long while. It is always a wonderful feeling-to know you are so loved. Brynn has been warming up to me over the last month and now she is quite satisfied in my arms. One thing, I can say with certainty, is that it is a wonderful blessing to be a grandparent.
Jenny and I started switching the clothes out on Friday morning. I had forgotten that Jenny has a small group of mothers that pass clothes along to one another. There were four or five bins to sort. Each bin was holding the maximum amount of little dresses, coats pajamas, socks and every other article of clothing you can imagine. First we sorted by size, then by season. Of course, first we had to sort through the clothes. the girls had out grown. Stacks of clothes soon filled the bedroom, for mothers, with younger children and ones for Brynn to grow in to. It took all day just to get to that point. Then it was time to wash all to be used. That happened on Saturday. As we went along, we cleaned the closet out, as it seemed foolish not to do so. Now here it is Sunday morning and there is still one bin left!
There was a lot of activity amongst the birds this morning. There were doves and the robin that sits on the fence surveying the goings and comings of everyone, was in his usual post. He always sits in the same spot, and does not stir from it, in my presence. There were sparrows and wrens – and some noisy blackbirds. A pair of cardinals were frantically on some mission and then . . .I saw the Tanager. I had to look twice. He was as red as could be, and made the cardinals “pale in comparison”. I have only seen these birds a time or two, in the last few years. I do hope, he decides to stay.
Will and Jenny met friends for brunch. Will has had such loss recently, first his beloved mother, then someone he admired, a mentor and a friend -and last week he lost his oldest and best friend to a sudden and fatal pancreas attack. Well, the friends of Will and Jenny just wanted to do something to lift their spirits, hence, a brunch. The little girls stayed with me and it was a delightful and calm hour.
When they all returned, I walked to Miss Thelmas’ for a quick visit. She has a birthday, this coming Sunday, on the same day as Christian! Miss Thelma is turning ninety-five! She has been planning a party, for weeks. She showed me her napkins and she has party favors for all of the children. Her church will host the event. I am playing the violin, at her request, during the service. I am trying to persuade Christian to play with me. A good guitarist, like love, does cover a “multitude of sins”. I helped Miss Thelma choose an outfit and listened to her grand plans. It made me glad to see her so full of joy and anticipation. Jenny and I started on the last of the clothing, when I got back.
It took all afternoon, to wash and place the clothes in the drawers and closet -or into a half dozen piles with different destinations. By evening. the piles were packed and some sent on their way. The upstairs bedroom was orderly at last. Jenny and I were so tired, that we ordered supper out. Lyla was tired too, from trying on one dress after another . . . and shoes . . .and coats. I took a shower and told Jenny, how good it felt and that I was restored, body and soul, from those wicked stairs and sitting on the floor for hours. When Jenny got her shower, I asked happily how she felt and she said . . . “exhausted.”
Another thing I can say with certainty, is that Lyla and Brynn do not need any clothing for the next several seasons -and at this rate, Brynn may never need anything til she is in the fourth grade! It is a sensible practice, but it does require an amazing amount of effort. . .and so I never did make that caramel cake.
It rained again that night. Rain fell and muted the street lights. There was wind too. Lyla watched the young willow, from the nursery willow. The bare tendrils swirled gracefully. Lyla loves the willow. She loves to play under it when the leaves fill the branches, for it makes the perfect canopy to dance beneath-or to have a tea party. Lylas was upset that the willow was bare, so I explained to her that the earth was just resting. Now, Lyla loves the willow, but the other day, she was in the back yard talking to a little fig tree. I heard her say “Grow little tree!” I know you can!” Jenny says that Lyla often talks to the fig tree. I may be the only grandmother alive, that would say so, but this thrilled me with no end. It will come as no surprise that I talked to trees when I was but a child. It came about quite naturally. . .and I still do.
Before I left Elizabeth City, I noticed a few green, tender leaves on one of the branches of Lylas’ willow tree. I told her and she ran to the porch to see for herself.
Dear Rabbitpatch Diary, In a world so changed, from the one I knew, and I fear, some beauty lost , . . . I will remain hopeful . . for as long as children talk to trees. . . there is hope.