The Icing on My Cake


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Yesterday, was a big day!  Yesterday was full of celebrating, food, family and surprises and commotion.  I, who shy away from parties given for me, wouldn’t trade yesterdays’ party,  for “all the kings’ horses”!  

I turned sixty years old, a few weeks ago.  . .and my family wanted a party to mark the occasion.  No matter, my protests, they just would not let the subject rest. Finally, I agreed, being worn down by their pleas.  Today, I am glad of it.

I always enjoy family gatherings, but to be the “center of attention”  has always been overwhelming to me.  When Tres wanted to make his smoked barbecue, and was willing to spend all day, on it . . .well, that made a difference.  Mama and Delores made plans whether they had my approval or not and so, I felt selfish to deny, the love that was behind, all of their desires.  Mama came up with the idea, to surprise Brant and Sydney with gifts for the baby-and that sealed the deal for me. 

Jenny joined forces with Mama and Delores . . .and so, we had the party.

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It was almost cold in the early hours, when Tres started smoking the pork. I was not allowed to arrive too early, for Mama and Delores wanted to decorate.  Though, they all insisted, I not bring a thing, I finally convinced them otherwise.  I busied myself with my “light duty” tasks, til just after noon.  Chuck and Melissa, Chris and Ano, Delores and Dana were all there when I arrived.  The men were around the smoker.  Delores was setting up a “corn hole” game and Christian was running extension chords, for his guitar. I floated  around, free to roam between the groups and visit.

Will and the children, and Brant came shortly after, while Jenny and Sydney went to pick up chicken.  Lyla bounded into my arms as if we hadn’t seen each other, the week before.  I took Brynn to “show her off” to everyone, but Brynn, being a shy baby wailed pitifully at the first unfamiliar face. I calmed her, Will calmed her, but she remained on the verge of tears, and cried til Jenny returned.

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Christian played his music in the shade of an old tree, with daddy sitting close by. Neighbors came over and we begged everyone to stay and join us.  One neighbor, who adopted the puppy, the boys found months ago, abandoned beside the road, brought the puppy, now known as “Buddy” over.  This thrilled the boys to see the pup happy, cared for and with such a loving owner. 

Delores organized a corn hole tournament of sorts, which she took seriously.  Dana had made Lyla a magic wand from  a stick and ribbons and Lyla was as “happy as a little lark” with that.  Brant, who can not be still, climbed on the roof of the house, and removed branches.  Lyla was very concerned about this and kept her eye on him, the whole time.  Sydney grazed on sweets, as she can not get enough of them these days, though she is as tiny as can be.  Ano and Melissa sat on the porch . . .and Brynn slept.  I sashayed  around, like a “big shot”  surveying her kingdom of loved ones.   This is the way the hours so sweetly  passed.

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By mid afternoon, we had the meal.  Brynn had awaken from her nap and was more tolerant of her predicament.  Since the day was fair, folks ate outside and inside.  We always make a big production when the cake is presented, but this time, when we all gathered for the cake, we shocked Brant and Sydney with our gifts for the baby instead!  There were little shoes, sleepers, blankets and matching Christmas pajamas!   I almost cried with sheer delight.  Next I opened my gifts.  Delores and Dana mad me a plaque that says “Welcome to the Rabbit Patch”!  I got flags with rabbits and “Honeybees”  , even cookies with honey bees on them! Some cards had money, there was a bag of fine chocolate- a little book, people had written greetings in -goodness what a storehouse of things!  I have to mention, that Delores gave me a teapot with tea that blossoms!  Edible blossoms unfurl, in to tea!  Now, that is fancy and all of the women were struck by such a novelty while the men sat stone faced and unsure of how to react.  None of them felt that tea made from flowers was appealing.  Of course. I am quite anxious for a tea party with Lyla!

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After all of the joyful commotion, Dana and Lyla joined Brant, Christian and I  for a back yard concert.   Dear Diary, I have to say, “that was the icing on my cake”.  

Ano and I cleaned the kitchen while Jenny made plates for Mama and Daddy to have an already prepared Sunday Dinner.  Tres packaged barbecue for folks to carry home.  Kyle and Christian loaded the cars.  Delores was supervising her on going tournament with total dedication, as she was winning!  Lyla was worn out and starting to get cranky.  

When I went out say good bye, Melissa (Chucks’ wife) said “This was good ” and went on to talk about the value of family.  That was the perfect conclusion to the end of a spectacular day. 

 

 

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Tres, KyleBrant, Sydney, Jenny with Brynn, Will with Lyla and Christian

 

 

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These Things I Hold in My Heart


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I came to Elizabeth City on Monday , in fair weather.  Hundreds od blossoms adorned the lawns, the woodlands and even the roadside.  The three rivers were as blue as could be and all of the world seemed to be singing.

Lyla had been at the window, watching for my arrival and she did not miss the moment I drove up.  She always greets me with a long and joyful greeting- It is a treasured moment  and typically, I hear her scurrying and calling out “Honeybee!” I drop all my bags and she is in my arms quickly, for a long embrace, whether it has been a few weeks or a few days, since “we were together”.   Little Brynn smiled at me  and  it seems at long last, that she considers me “familiar” now.

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  Each morning begins with feeding a pair of ducks, from the porch.  I so hope they show up one day with ducklings. Will, often has coffee on the porch and Jenny and the children, follow, shortly after.  I am usually up first, and while the coffee brews, I sit on the back deck, to collect my thoughts and watch the birds and squirrels.  I saw the yellow tanager twice, the first day!  She was flying hastily, but the yellow bird did not go unnoticed. There are several pairs of cardinals and there are always robins.  One morning, Lyla and I watched a blue jay, gathering nesting materials.  Lyla was very amused, at his antics. 

On Tuesday, Lyla and I went to the grocery.  We had a long list and so it took a while to gather the items.  Lyla is quite helpful at finding the items and reminding me to “stick to the list”.  When we got back, the day called to us and so we all spent the afternoon in the back yard.  Lyla is learning to swing and she takes it quite seriously. I was reminded of the poem, “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Lyla memorized the first stanza and recited it for her dad, when he came home.  My own children memorized poetry regularly and I remain glad, for a semester of poetry is hardly enough.  I still remember my third grade teacher reading “The Duel” (E. Field) to us-and then “Fog” by Sandburg.  Of course, I prefer the old classic poems that have a rhythm and rhyme.  I am on a mission to revive the lost art of  many things, for my grandchildren, . . which includes meandering,  and pretending knowing the name of birds and flowers . . .and poetry. 

 On Wednesday, Lyla rode her tricycle to the laughing river.  The water was a deep indigo color and along the way were irises and a mock orange – and  a hodgepodge of oxalis, violets , buttercups  and coral bells in the yards.  The breeze blew the spent blossoms of dogwoods in the air and I told Lyla, that it was raining flowers.    

When we got home, Lyla and I began making a banana pudding.  After supper, we carried some to Miss Thelma.  I have been giving Lyla lessons on good manners, which I think is another “lost art”.  The visit with Miss Thelma, gave Lyla the opportunity to practice and she did everything just right.  Good manners mean you are thinking of someone else, pure and simple. 

On Thursday, Lyla and her mom had dental check ups, and errands to run.  I took Brynn out for her first solo stroll.  The day was as glorious as could be .  It was a short walk to the river and Brynn seemed to enjoy the cheerfully laughing water. Brynn is a happy baby and so very beautiful. She has learned to clap her hands and what a precious sight to see her laughing and clapping like a little doll.

After baths, everyone settles in for a quiet evening.  It is always the same.  One night, Lyla gave a violin recital and recited her poetry, for us.  That was a special night.  

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One morning, I woke up and “out of the blue” . . it was Friday!  It seemed like as fast a week, as I have ever lived, had passed .  Time is much shorter when it is measured, I think.  (This is why, in the summer, I abandon clocks altogether and the calendar is only useful for bill paying and birthdays.)   The early morning smelled like rain, and the heavy clouds confirmed the chance.  Today was the day to pack . . .for all of us.  Will and Jenny are coming back, for a gathering, on Saturday to celebrate my sixtieth birthday, which was on the 18th.  Tres, Brant and Sydney, my sister, Delores, niece, Dana, and cousins, Chuck and Chris are all coming.  I am not the sort that wants a party for me, but this is almost like a reunion and I am looking forward to it.  

There are a few things in life, that I can not get my fill of-springtime and grandchildren -family meals and Christmas -leisure strolls and the nights when we all sleep under one roof, again.  Dear Diary, The older I get, the less  I know, for sure.  . .but these things are certain.  These things, I hold in my heart . . .and will abide for now and be treasured every year, hereafter.

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Rare and Beautiful


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It is a beautiful Easter morning at the rabbit patch.  The sun came up brightly and the birds have been singing their hearts out.  Now, there is shade in places, where weeks ago, there was not – and there are more roses than there was. Dogwoods and azaleas are blooming, which is especially fitting for the holiday.   

There is a small turkey in the oven, because after a long spell void of Sunday dinners, we are having one today. Regular readers know, that I am as “happy as any lark”, under such circumstances.  Daddy is “holding his own” in his battle, with that hateful condition, that mimics Parkinsons – and Mama is right beside him.  They are in this together – no doubt about it.8502324da5fbc6d0c527edbf2b66d0e2

There has been a lot of good news at the rabbit patch, lately.  I do have some one very interested in the house – but that is not all, and pales in comparison, to the best kept secret of all.  At long last, I can tell, the beautiful news . . .Brant and Sydney are expecting a baby in September!!!  We found out yesterday, that it is a boy.  My first grandson-and Brants’ first child.  Only Lyla, was disappointed, as she wanted “a baby sister, cousin”!  Thankfully, the cupcakes were served, shortly after the blue balloons were released, to announce, it was indeed, a boy.  (Lyla had her heart set on a little girl, which she would name “Rosie” . )

The weather was perfect yesterday for the “gender reveal gathering”, hosted by Sydneys’ parents.  What a beautiful area, they live in.  There are rolling hills and lots of trees and farms, though they are on the outskirts of several large cities.  Her parents were friendly and made us feel at home right off.  Sydneys’ brother greeted us and took Kyle and Christian under his wing, immediately.  Everyone I met, was just delightful, cousins, aunts, grandparents . . .all new people to love and to share  in the grand gift of  this little son. 

Sydney was quite sick at first, but since, has been feeling much better.  All of her doctor visits have been full of good tidings.  The baby is healthy and the doctor said “He had a beautiful heart, a few weeks ago -and though I am sure that statement was made from a medical stand point, I took it, as I always do . . .spiritually and my own heart , lept with joy -for God talks in such ways.  I have been praying for the baby to have a beautiful heart, a clear mind and good health.  One can have a brilliant mind, or good looks, and these things are useful tools, but it is the condition of the heart, that matters most, I think, for it does not fade in time, nor lose its’ value.

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While the turkey baked, I found lots of things to do. There was a lot more than turkey to cook . . . and  I am leaving for Elizabeth City tomorrow, after all.

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I was making the gravy when Christian walked in the door.  He had to work this morning, and so how glad I was to see him, in time for the Sunday Dinner.  The biscuits were a warm golden hue and I pulled them out, just as Mama and Daddy were coming in the kitchen door.  We had  string beans , corn, brunswick stew and creamed turnips and potatoes . . and the grand finale was banana pudding with a meringue, that could be bragged about – if I were that sort.

Daddy was moving slow, but he made it to the table.  We all enjoyed the meal and then Daddy and Christian strolled around the yard, while Mama and I packed food up for them to take  home with them.  

I cleaned the kitchen up and still had plenty of food left, for Kyle and Christian, for two meals.  I am always sure they will starve, when I go away, for a few days.  If I am not with Jenny, I am convinced she isn’t resting enough-Tres could stand a home cooked a meal and I hope he is keeping up with school and work  . . . and so you see,   the habits of motherhood remains  as  constant as the North star.  

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In the evening, the boxer and I took a stroll around the territory.  A thick blanket of clouds covered the countryside and hushed everything.  There wasn’t a bit of movement and the air was cool.  it would have been a wonderful time to entertain lofty notions or at least gather my thoughts, but the peace of the moment didn’t allow such things.  I was simply there walking in the twilight, with my dog without a thing that would occupy my mind long enough for me to ponder.  I noticed the beauty around me. Some late blooming, wild  daffodils fairly glowed in the  absence of light and there was the mightiness of the old oaks .  . .but nothing would stay put , in my mind, long enough for me to dwell upon.  It was a rare and beautiful time. It felt like a sacred time.

And really, Dear Diary, all of life is rare and beautiful . .  these last few days, especially.   

 

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Blessings for a Whippoorwill


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Typically the forecast for April, is “rain, likely”  . . hence the saying. “April showers bring May flowers” – Today was no exception.  With that being said, I started a fire in the garden . . .again.  There is but one corner left now, to burn.  I put the house plants out to collect the rain.  Not long afterwards, a gentle rain began falling.

Christian was up early, as usual.  He took a look out and said “It’s a good day for you to write.”  I do not know why, but  I do especially, like to write when it is raining.  Rain hushes a farming community and so the rabbitpatch is quiet and so very conducive to  thinking great thoughts or entertaining notions, when it rains . and  I  do like to get still, more than ever these days. 

I grew up in a world, where you worked steadily and made the most of your time, but rushing was limited to bad weather coming, and clothes were on the line  or there were strawberries that had to be picked for company.  Rushing was not a habit, in those days. Now, we live in a world of convenience .  Folks, mostly buy their berries and very few yards have a clothes line.  Yet, everyone is in a hurry.  Porches are seldom occupied and supper is often from a bag . . and I declare, we have lost, something beautiful. 

Of course, in spring, I am least likely to rush.  I do not want to miss “the time of the singing of  birds” nor the sweetness in the air.  Should I live to see a hundred springs, I will not get my fill .

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Since, it was raining, I concentrated on housekeeping.  I made a bold decision.  I packed my winter clothes up – shoes and all.  (This is surely a testament that I believe in Spring . . . and the sale of the house. )  The only thing I have had to unpack, since my huge packing up, in the fall . . was my spring clothes.  I have been quite surprised, at this, for there are at least forty boxes, scattered through out the farmhouse.  They are in every corner, stacked neatly and labeled.  Of course, I have not made a trifle or done any decorating in a long while.  The china cabinet looks dismal, without a thing to brag about.  So do the bookshelves, but all and all, we have still lived comfortably. 

I tackled the linen closet next.  This was an easy task as I had at least cleaned it out.  Packing up the few extra sheets took no time.  In the meantime, a man came to fix the lawn mower.  The repairman was kind and fair, thankfully.   Though it was raining, he mowed a streak or two, to show me his success.  Now, I must wait, for a fair day. No matter, my enthusiasm, . . I will  mow  around the flowers .fe0f2bc97af47025a4bc3626d1bfed1f

Sunday was born like a lullaby, softly sung.  The birds did not even raise a ruckus as the light shyly ascended on the rabbit patch. Not long after, I rose, it started to rain.  I still love rain.  We have had the rainiest year on the local record, but this has not dimmed my love for rain a bit.  Of course, I love sunshine,  and clear bright evenings, but the sound of a gentle rain, has a beauty too.  Many times, I have planted flowers in a spring rain.  It is a an awful mess, but the best insurance of success with the young plants, that I know of.  I do not like to drive in rain, though.  

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 What delightful moments, the season affords!  On Monday, the first rose of the season, bloomed at the rabbit patch.  It is a fragrant , yellow rose and  was quite a surprise for me.  Another good thing about Monday, was that at long last, the rabbit patch territory got mowed.  I hummed as I cooked supper, listening to the sound of the mower.  (Kyle did the honors.)    How it lifted my heart to see the rabbit patch being restored to its’ former  glory.  There is still much left to be done, but there is less than there was.

On Tuesday, I heard a whippoorwill sing.  Few things are sweeter in the evening air, than the song of the whippoorwill.  He sings as if all is right in the world .  I remember clearly, listening to the whippoorwill, in the quiet evenings of childhood. In the lazy hours, after supper, we would often sit outside til dark. Mostly, the low hushed voices of the adults made me drowsy.  The later it got, the less anyone said anything.   We would always look for the first star and then the big dipper before we went in.

I doubt any one of us,  would have ever guessed that a half century later,  the simple substance of those evenings, would still be treasured- more so than any  “Kings’ ransom”.   or written about.  After all, no one could have convinced us, then, that “our way”  would be lost, nor that . . . those evenings in spring, would have made all the difference, for me.   Dear Diary,  Bless that whippoorwill,  that made me remember.

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. . .And There is April


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Sunshine has been scarce the last dew days.  Spring is full of flowers – and rain.  Though we did have, a fleeting storm, Monday night, mostly the showers have been light.  Days are born in mist and how lovely the blossoms are in mist, I think.  Suddenly, the  woods are  green!  They are the color of jade now, as the trees are adorned with young leaves,  The dogwood has a few blossoms, too.  . . and now, the birds sing, celebrating the time “when flowers appear on the earth.”  You would think, that all of this splendor, would make for a merry heart, naturally. . . but yesterday, I cried.

Being sentimental, I will cry at the drop of a hat . . .at beauty.  Kind words, make my heart well up as does acts of kindness.  When something good happens to someone, I cry tears of joy, whether I know them, or not. This has always been so . .but this was not the circumstances, yesterday.  Yesterday, I cried because the lawn mower wouldn’t start! 

Kyle was caught completely off guard, by my behavior and stood there looking stunned.  Before, you consider me totally mad or “fragile”, be aware that the territory is about three acres of yard – and I went through this all of last summer.  Had it not been for my neighbor, Susan, I do not know what I would have done.  If the grass gets too high, you will need a tractor, which mows  it like a hay field -and it is very costly.  It is no small thing to be behind in mowing, on the rabbitpatch, and  I am just weary of this predicament.  Still, it was much ado for an untidy yard.  I did apologize to Kyle for my outlandish display, but I am ashamed, that recovery,did not come swiftly.  I counted my blessings – and I have so many.  This is the best remedy I know of, for such occasions.  By the time I went out, to bid the world, good night, I had calmed down from my tantrum, and felt foolish.

The stars were out, after all and the faint smell of clover hung sweetly, in the cool air.  There was a chorus being sung, by tiny little night creatures -and a killdeer pierced the dark, with great excitement.  An evening in Spring, is lovely.

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I slept soundly, and convinced myself , that in spite of myself, all was well.  Life is more than one moment, thankfully.

I rose the next morning, to an  “early bird” singing like his life depended on it. It mattered little to him, that it was still pitch dark.   It mattered even less, to him that the grass needed cutting. A new day was just over the horizon and so he sang an especially sweet prelude, because of it. Today, I would not be ill tempered, I promised the Heavens.

A few hours later, I was driving past the quiet pastures and the fields of winter wheat.  The emerald grain, is now knee deep.  Sunlight flooded the fields in long slanted rays and the once, bright corners of the field, are now shaded.

At school, the children are telling of sightings of young bunnies and finding kittens. . . .a sure sign of April. I remember finding kittens as a child.  It was a joyous affair and we would spend a morning trying to catch them, for they were feral as could be.  None of the adults ever shared our enthusiasm for  the discovery of wild kittens, under a barn. I do not know what Grandmama held against cats, but as it turns out, Mama is scared of them!    She is to this day and don’t you know that there is more than one story about that. I did not find  this out, til many years  after childhood.   I knew that when we we would run in the little farmhouse full of excitement,at our  find, the adults shared odd glances, with one another, that became familiar over the years.  No matter what, children can never be convinced that finding a litter of kittens, is not a sheer and divine stroke of good luck.  

Only one kitten was ever tamed.  It was a calico and I thought she was beautiful.  I named her “Frosty”.  She never did allow us to hold her, but she like to be petted.  To this day, I love calico cats. 

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The week passed, with every day fairer than the one before it. It is no wonder to me that people fall in love so easily, in months like April, for the earth itself, seems to encourage it, with the lilacs  blooming , butterflies wafting along and all the nest building.  Such things conjure up tender thoughts and soften hearts, in the young.  . .and  in the poets. 

Surely the wild hyacinths, do their part, to lend enchantment to the season. A few are blooming by the garden, as they always do.  They smell every bit as good as their fancy cousins, even if they aren’t as regal.  Beyond the garden . . .the white tufts of clover are abundant.  I love the smell of clover – almost as much as the roses in June.  Some people do not like the hodgepodge look of such a yard.  Many will go to great lengths, to rid their yard of “Aprils’ flowers”,  but it is but a few short weeks of the whole year . . so mine abide.  . .and the bees are happy.  

Somehow, I was able to live up to my conviction, this week and not pitch another single fit.  I do hope this is not a short lived affair – for life itself, is a short lived affair. . . .really a sacred one.  One of the most beautiful and brave things we can do, is to live  authentically,  recognizing  our truth.  . . and some times our truth may not be so charming, and may include things like tantrums. . . but truth is always of great value, for it acts as a compass of sorts, and shows us our short comings, so that with practice, we will get along better as we go. 

Besides, there are too many  loved ones in my world  -and too many hyacinths to waste a moment .  There are the fields and the woodlands . . .and a laughing river.  There are the robins and young rabbits, to consider . . .and there is “April”.  

Dear rabbitpatch Diary, Might I dwell on “whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, and whatever is lovely’  .   . . always.

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Happy Birthday Lyla!


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Lyla turned four years old  on Thursday.    On Friday,  Tres picked me up after school and we were on the way to Elizabeth City to celebrate.  Brant and Sydney joined us on Saturday.   Lyla had gotten her first bike, from Will and Jenny, and so it rained, as it often does, when children get a bike.  We were set to attend a festival too, which seems to evoke rain, as well.  Not to be outdone, Jenny concocted a last minute plan to go to an indoor facility with all sorts of games and activities  -and so, Lyla soon forgot all about the band and the petting zoo, she was looking forward to.   

Afterwards, we all came back to the house for cake and ice cream amongst Lylas’ beloved decorations.  Lyla is such a domestic soul, after all.  She loves her dolls, cooking and just like her grandmother, Miss Claudia loved to decorate for occasions.  Miss Claudia had a wreath hung for every holiday-including sporting seasons.  Lyla, I expect will follow suit.

The cake was presented with great ceremony, which thrilled Lyla.  Since the rain had let up, Will took Lyla with a doll, in her basket, out to practice riding her bike.  The little boys found a mud hole to play in.  The littlest boy, eventually took most of his soiled clothing off, which really tickled me.  He was but a few months older than Lyla, after all, and childhood affords such liberty.  When the guests left, Tres and i cooked supper .  He did the grilling and I worked in the kitchen, while  Jenny gave the girls a bath, for Lyla had chocolate, from head to toe.   When at long last, the children and the kitchen were clean,  a peace settled in .  Lttle Brynn, has a cold and she went fast to sleep.  I looked in on Sydney and Lyla snuggled in a bed watching old cartoons and the young men were watching a ballgame, quietly, against all odds.  Dear Diary, My heart was so happy.

I can scarce take in that Lyla is four!  I watched her riding her little bicycle and marveled at the slyness of time.   It is startling to consider.  I know first hand, that children grow up in “a flash” , and as it turns out, so do grandchildren.  Oh, I shouldn’t waste a single hour of this beautiful life! 

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I got up early on Sunday.  First there was the breakfast and I planned on making a Mexican soup for folks to carry home with them.  Brant and Sydney had to leave early and Tres couldn’t tarry, either.  While the coffee brewed, I went out and was greeted by the tanager.  It was good to see he had stayed.  Oh how I wished to see his mate, but the yellow bird does not venture far from her nest.   

True to their word, all did rise pretty early.  There was a scurry of showers – and suitcases and bags were being brought out.  Car keys were laying in plain sight, and oh, how it all dampened my spirit.  Jenny and I packed a box with cake and soup for Brant and Sydney.  We hugged several times, as if we lived on different continents (which makes me shudder, to think about) and Lyla cried.  By the time, Brant and Sydney had driven a mile, Tres said we would need to leave shortly. 

Tres had a long drive ahead of him.  He works a full time job and goes to school full time.  Tres writes papers, that I  can not made heads nor tails of-He  certainly does not write about such things as  violets and young rabbits. I knew right from the start , that Tres was the intellectual sort, for he “wondered” about everything, from a young age.  Still, he will waltz with Lyla and coo back to little Brynn.   He also loves to cook and travel.  

Lyla and I made a dash to visit with Miss Thelma, before I had to leave.  I had given Lyla a lesson on visiting etiquette.  I prefaced it with “since you are four . . ” and Lyla took it very seriously.  She followed every rule, which took great restraint.  Miss Thelma was pleased to see a well mannered young child -and so was I.  In the “old days”, when I was a child, manners were taught with great diligence.  I can remember my grandmama saying ” Even if you didn’t have good sense, you ought to know how to act.”  Adults would stop in mid conservation, to correct a  careless child, for it was that important.  When we came back home, and Lyla was in “earshot” I told everybody of her success.  Only God knows what will happen next time, but today was a victory! 

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Tres and were back at the rabbitpatch, by one.  We had listened to a lecture on the way there, but on the way back, we talked.  I listened to my sons’ dreams of living out west for a while, and then California, maybe go back to Europe . . .for he has already done quite a bit of wandering.  My heart lurched at the prospect of all this traveling, but I encouraged him anyway.  My son was speaking his truth and above all, I want my children to live their truth. He softened every new dialogue, with “but I will always come back home,  a lot, Mom.”

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It was a beautiful day.  Dogwoods dotted the countryside.  Wisteria and jasmine adorned the edges of the woodlands. Great clouds of pollen gusted through the air.  It was spring and the little wildflowers  blooming all along the roadside were proof of of it.  

The rabbitpatch was mighty quiet after all of the commotion of the last few days.  My azaleas and dogwoods were not yet blooming.  The sycamore was covered in new tender green leaves. The spirea had faded a bit. The hydrangeas were starting to leaf out and some of the running periwinkle was blooming.  Birds were singing and chattering.  You would have thought the rabbitpatch community was all in cahoots to cheer me up . . but it didn’t work.

It never fails, after a gathering with my children.  I am downtrodden and melancholy, when we part.  I am not a foolish young mother . . .I am an OLD foolish mother.  Why I have not ‘grown out of this” is beyond me.  I miss them every one thoroughly -and I wish I had made more soup.  I wish I had tucked little love notes in their bags and on and on I go working myself into a sad state.  I didn’t make the pancakes for Lyla and  I left laundry for Jenny and poor little Brynn has a cold!  Oh, if only they all came in for supper every night, I could manage. 

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Being an old hand at mourning, after a holiday, I knew the remedy.  I reminded myself how blessed I was to have my children.  They are loving and devoted children to me . . . and very importantly, to one another.  We do not quarrel, but instead lift one another up.  We are as likely to boast on each other, as anything. . . and as Tres says . . .”They all come home . . .and often.

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Hope is Golden


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There are few things as pleasant as waking when you please, to a choir of songbirds.  Add to that, an open window, with a soft breeze blowing, causing the pines to whisper . . .and a faithful dog sleeping by you. 

Duty always calls at the rabbitpatch, and today is no different.  I started several tasks yesterday, that need to be finished, not only the garden fire, but I also started on another deep cleaning in a room. . .I hope to finish today.  There is just something about the liberty of doing things, when you see fit. 

 When “the spirit moved me”, I pulled the bed in the bedroom, that I was cleaning, to the center of the room.  You would have thought, this had never been done before, for it was beyond dusty.  All of this was cleaned before Christmas, when Kyle was on a “leave of absence”!  He came back just a few months ago and couldn’t possibly have accomplished this mess!  I declare, I could have grown potatoes right there in that corner,   the bed stands in!  

Oh how wonderful I felt, when a few hours later, the room fairly sparkled and smelled so clean.  clean cotton and orange may be my favorite housekeeping scent.  I smelled clean, too, for I sloshed a good deal from the bucket, on myself- and I am sure there were cobwebs in my hair.  There are two rooms left, for the next time, “the spirit moves me”.

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At noon, I still had some gumption, so  I decided to finally clean up a corner of the rabbitpatch, which I had been dreading for months.  Everything not nailed down through the winter, was in that corner.  The leaves were a foot deep and odd shaped things poked out in places.  Only God knew what lurked in the heap, so I hit the pile, with a broom,  and made some racket.  This alerted the boxer, who came bounding to protect me from . . just some trash and branches.  I admired his gallant effort, anyway.  

I had dumped three wheelbarrows, when the rain came.  Big droplets fell hard and quite suddenly.  There were at least a dozen more loads left, but at least I had started.  

I was cooking a quick lunch, when the rain stopped.  It took some convincing, but I willed myself to  go back out and pick up where I left off.  I was already dirty and so it made sense to work til another shower fell.  I could not burn, but I could haul.  Truthfully, I was never going to be in the mood to do this task.  . .my track record was proof of that.

I do not know how many trips, I made to the garden-more than the dozen, I had guessed.  At one point, I seemed to be in a mechanical trance.  I would dump the load, smell the cherry blossoms and trudge back to the shrinking heap of now, muddy leaves.   Oddly, I do not remember thinking about anything as I worked, except being too cool, from the raindrops and willing myself to go on. I kept waiting for rain, so I could stop without feeling guilty.  It never rained again.  The temperature dropped, the wind picked up, but not a drop fell and so I finished  . . .and I was glad.

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Now you can believe, that I slept soundly that night.  I knew Monday was coming . . .and that always changes everything.

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This Monday, was a work day for teachers.  I usually take those days off, to stroll by the “laughing river” with Lyla or bake cookies.  Sadly, Will lost his grandmother, a few days ago.  The funeral was this weekend in a town southwest of Wilmington-about three hours away. This is Wills’ third significant loss, since Christmas.  “Miss Mildred” was so dear to him.  I admired Will, for all the times he visited her, even at that distance.  Will has lost his mother, grandmother and his oldest friend in  just a few months.  What a series of tragedies, for this young man.  Such seasons are life altering and I intend to comfort Will, as best I can.  I consider Will my fifth son, after all.

When I drove up to the rabbitpatch, after work, I immediately saw that the pile of wood and shingles had been put away.  These things were left over from a previous repair.  They had set there, for months, ruining the look of the place.  I almost cried, I was so happy.  Kyle and Christian, spurred on, by my work yesterday, had moved them to a proper location, in the barn.  Clean up after the winter, on a property this size, is not for the faint of heart.  . . and we are not finished, by any means, but I have hope now- and Dear Diary,  hope is so very golden. 

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On the drive home, I had noticed the fields of winter wheat.  This is my favorite crop to watch grow, though when the cotton blossoms, that is lovely too.  Just now the tender wheat is an emerald green.  In the shade, it almost looks blue.  In a few months, the wheat will turn golden .  No matter, the stage of the cycle of wheat, it is bound to make you want to kneel right there. 

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Daddy has an appointment  today.  The forecast was for  a  cold rain and a lot of wind to follow.  The mountains got snow, and so I thought of my friend “Sweet Anne”. 

Sweet Anne is a hostess to somebody constantly .  She walks everyday at the crack of dawn, and watches her little neighbor, board the bus.  Otherwise, she is visiting waterfalls, dining out or listening to world renown  choirs.  

Now, the cold rain fell as predicted, all morning.  Thankfully,  Daddy got a good report.  It took everything in me, but I went to the grocery, afterwards.  I really tried to think of something I could cook tonight, but we were out of milk, which stopped the biscuits and the pancakes and the creamed potatoes.  I did not have tomato sauce, which meant no spaghetti and besides that, we needed dog food!  No matter what I could concoct for supper, it always came back to that dog food. There was no way out of it, I was going to the grocery. 

I drove back , past the winter wheat field, that I love, to the rabbitpatch where things are blooming and the yard needs mowing -where supper would soon be cooking -and the roof wasn’t leaking . . .where a warm love abides and takes the chill from a cold, April rain.

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