It is Saturday morning, early enough, that it seems like me and the mockingbird, are the only ones in the world. The mockingbird sings from the patch of young woods, at the far corner of the territory. His song echoes with an almost magical lilt and comes through the open window of the old farmhouse. It is breezy enough, to make the pines whisper and a bit cool for an open window, but I like listening to his morning prelude, so I get a warm blanket and sit quietly, beneath it, in the dark, like an odd, old woman. I am not sorry one iota, for these moments. In fact, I feel privileged to know such a time.
The sun came up with a gentle light. I saw rain clouds in the near distance. By this time, a dove cooed softly and the wind had all but stopped. The sun dimmed and the rain clouds moved on, without much ado. . . and the pines stood still, without a refrain.
After all of the commotion, of last weekend, I am hoping this one, remains as peaceful as it has started.
Daddy celebrated his eighty-fourth birthday, yesterday. My sister Connie and her husband Mike – and niece Hayley , took him and Mama out for lunch. I stopped by after school with his favorite ice creams. Mama made her trademark, pineapple cake and someone tied a balloon on the mailbox. We are having a party next weekend to celebrate Christians’ and Daddys’ birthdays.
I can scarce take it in, that my daddy is eighty four -and that my “baby” can grow a beard in twenty four hours. It just goes to show , that even though we can measure time precisely, it still slips through our fingers stealthily -and slyly, with the skill of water.
I am at the rabbitpatch again this weekend. There is a fair share of things to be tended to, besides the usual housekeeping. The first mild days of the year act like a prod of sorts, on me-to get on with my business. Right now, my business is getting the rabbitpatch territory cleaned up. Besides the winter refuge of leaves and more small branches, there is the old refrigerator and a dryer to be removed. Besides that, there are two pieces of furniture in the house, that are long past their days of glory. Neither will make the trip to my future cottage. . .whenever that is.
The floors are in awful mess due to the rain and there is laundry to be put away -and the boxer is getting a bath. Besides that, tomorrow is Saint Patricks’ Day, when you have even a drop of Irish blood, then it calls for a celebration. We take our Irish heritage seriously and so we never let the day pass quietly. Jenny and Will, even got engaged on a Saint Patricks’ Day, years ago in Savannah, by a grove of live oaks.
This year, we are having a pot of hearty potato soup thickened with Irish cheese – and reuben sandwiches. It is a simple fare, compared to most years, but it still counts as a patronage to our ancestors, who had names like Hiram, Henderson McDuffy and Asabella Leary.
I started my housekeeping, cheerfully. The “spark” does not stay there as long as it used to, I notice. I wonder how in my late forties, I could clean the whole house, every nook and cranny, all day long. Certainly, I was tired in the evening, but the house fairly sparkled . . . in those days. What a difference a decade makes! I value cleanliness, as much now as ever, but I sure do not accomplish now, what I used to, in a day. It has helped that I have remained steadfast, in my desire to live without any clutter, but it still takes me twice as long as it used to, to scrub the floors -and I did next to nothing in the yard.
While I was out, I did note that the peach tree blossoms had been faded by a cold night, a few days ago.
Sunday morning dawned cold. I did not rise before the sun, this day. Neither did the birds. It was a quiet early service for a while. There was a light frost, which is natural in March. . . and which is why the peach tree, should have waited to bloom.
There was just enough chill in the air to warrant my hearty Irish soup. I still have housekeeping, too. I worked on and off yesterday til I just gave out. The farmhouse is so much bigger than it used to be. For some years, the house was just the right size. Grandmama was here and three of my sons. Every bedroom was occupied and the kitchen table was full at supper. A cake did not last, much more than a day or two, in those days. The clothes line was full, if the sun was shining and the broom was always out and handy. Those were merry days.
Now, boxes are stacked in corners, awaiting their destiny . . . .as am I. I remain optimistic, and patient . That is why the boxes are unpacked and I have pots waiting to be filled with clumps of flowers and sprigs of cuttings, for they are moving too. One day they will bloom on a small yard around a neat cottage. Grandchildren may have to share a chair at the table and folks will sleep in odd places, for it will on occasion, be a full house . . . that takes a half day to clean! And while I am dreaming, I should include roses – a lot of them.
I had the walls washed and the windows cleaned in the little den, before nine. I started a pot of chicken boiling, for the soup base. Then I tore the sofa apart – and moved it and the rest of furniture, making a total disaster, altogether. The boxer had not planned on this interruption and his face was filled with shock and disapproval.
By noon, the room was put back together and smelled like orange and rosemary. The soup was done and I only awaited a soft blanket to dry. Of course, there was more to be done . . .but it was only noon.
My bedroom was a piece of cake to clean. The sunroom was awful. It is in need of repair, which is disheartening in itself. I tend to ignore the room as it is a pitiful sight. I set about that task, which took twice as long as I expected. No matter how much I cleaned, it was hard to feel but a slight satisfaction, in my effort. It needs painting and the ceiling needs new paneling. The floor is two different kinds of vinyl and so no matter how clean it is, it is nothing short of an eyesore.
I took a stroll around the territory, as the sun was out and the wild violets are blooming. How sweetly the shy little violets make me feel. They are stalwart little things and do not fear the frost. The grass is greening in patches and some of the lilies are up . . .so are the irises. The boxer ran, leaping and bounding joyfully. Boxers, naturally like to celebrate and will do so “at the drop of a hat”. On this day in late winter, there was reason to be glad. A good deal of work had been accomplished, we had wandered, without hurry and a good supper was waiting. Dear Diary, There is always something, to be glad about.