School started back today for us. The hurricane may have littered our yards and sadly taken a few trees, but we fared good, compared to our neighbors, on the coast.
The children came back with all sorts of tales of the storm . . .and the clean up. I was complaining because my back was “out” and everyone had either stepped in fire ants, gotten scratched or had blisters from working. Still, I can not imagine the destruction that some folks or dealing with . . or the loss.
The good news is that people are helping. A building supply store is offering discounts on the items needed to rebuild. Civic groups and Churches are sending meals and many, many people are making all sorts of donations. Folks are doing what they can to ease the suffering . . .and that means so very much. It is a silver lining and a testimony, that there is goodness in the world.
Brynn had her actual birthday on Tuesday. I thought of her all day and wondered how we ever got along without her. I gave her a music box, that plays “You Are My Sunshine”. The first ginger lily of the season, bloomed on her birthday and I couldn’t help but notice.
Brants’ little son, should be here any day now. When the phone rings, there is a scurry to answer it. Sydney remains as calm as can be. I do hope the baby inherits her perpetual sense of peace. There is a full moon this weekend-and apparently it is a rare one. Though science does not support the notion, that a full moon has any thing to do with impending births. the prospect is exciting.
I remember the days before I became “Honeybee”. Truthfully, I was unsure how to be a grandmother. Everyone said it was wonderful and many told me, I would need to adjust my budget , for I would want to buy everything available for the modern child. I would also tolerate poor behavior, as it was not my problem, after all . . . and worst of all, I would love the grandchildren more than my own children! This was not my nature at all, and so I was convinced I just would not get it right. Well, none of that happened. What did happen was that I found a new kind of love. . .a realm I did not know existed. Being a grandmother is “everything its’ cracked up to be”. And there is more good news, it happens quite naturally. You love them because they were born. It is an uncomplicated, pure affair
By the time, you are a grandmother, you know what matters-what lasts for all times. The passing of many years, now pays off, for because of that, there are stories to tell. We will celebrate at the drop of a hat and sing praises of our grandchildren, “til the cows come home”. Grandchildren renew our strength . . .and we are not scared to use it. We stand in the shadows ready to pounce at the slightest inkling that we are needed. The world and its’ cares, are lost on grandparents . . .all because we are head over heels and hopelessly smitten with those grandchildren.
I remember my own grandmothers with great fondness. My maternal grandmother was right next door. she kept Baby Ruth bars in the”Kelvinator”and gingersnaps in the cupboard. She gave me coffee on occasion, diluted with canned milk, in a china tea cup. This was a great privilege, as children ought not to drink coffee. She told stories which were full of tragedy and promised to buy me a monkey, when she got rich. I took it for granted, that she loved me better than any one else in the world, for that is how she made me feel. I was not a pretty child with my reddish hair and freckles . . .and skinny, but I felt beautiful in her presence . . .and she convinced me I was bright, too. She died suddenly when I was ten years old, now fifty years ago, yet I can still remember the sound of her voice. In those short years, Grandmama loved me enough to last a lifetime.
My paternal grandmother lived til ninety three. She was as sweet and tender a spirit as I have ever known. She taught me to love flowers and birds . . .and to pray about everything. She had a hard life, but she was not bitter about it. She felt blessed. She loved animals, wild and tame -and mimosa trees. She was generous and she was the least judgmental person I have ever known. I am so thankful that all of my children, got to know her and know her well.
It is no wonder that I take the role of a grandmother, or in my case, “a Honeybee” so seriously.
Every day of the week was clear and full of hot sunshine. With my back out, the house and yard were mostly untouched. I have two projects going on in the house, which are two ceilings now. The laundry room had several loose tiles too, and so I “peeked” beneath to find more beautiful bead board. At least, I will not even have to paint it, for it is a lovely shade of green. I just can not get on a ladder now. I can barely get in the car, so both rooms are about half done and quite unsightly. The piles of branches in the yard are right where I left them, so the territory is as awful as the house. Kyle is living on his own now, and Christian works long, odd hours and is barely awake for supper. That leaves it to me and the boxer. The boxer doesn’t let it bother him and so neither do I.
I believe now, that flexibility is crucial to a happy life -or at least it has been for me. I make plans, like everyone else, but things seldom fall into the place, I had designated. Expectations require a lot of energy and if you “set your heart on it” . ..well, there is always the chance of unnecessary disappointment. Many many times, things have not worked out as I expected and as it turns out, all was well in the end, anyway . . .and often better, that I could have imagined. I still, faithfully plan supper and what I am wearing to work, the night before. . .but lifes’ plans are a different story. When situations do not work out as I had thought would be best, these days, I am reminded that I am not in control, and I am relieved, for I know my ideas were wrong. It has only taken my lifetime and A LOT of gooseberry nets to learn this.
Moving slowly, has its’ advantages, I am finding out. Down the garden path, I notice the floss flowers are setting new records, for they are everywhere! The chives have gotten a second-wind and are blooming again. They are a pretty sight and so full of flavor. Now and then, I catch a glimpse of a golden leaf floating to its’ destiny. They seem to dance as they fall-a grand finale to their season.
I do not mind time, the way nature tells it. I couldn’t argue with a full moon or a sunrise or a ginger lily for – “love or money”. I can not complain with mornings bathed in silver fog nor with golden fields . I have no quarrel with the lowly and aggressive , swamp flowers, for they are as bright a yellow as I know of. These are the “bells and whistles” in nature. Time is ushered in, gently . . .in the most beautiful manner . . .and invites everyone to celebrate.
A lot can happen in a short time. The last few days bears witness to that. Since, I rarely watch the news, the fact that a hurricane was coming came as quite a shock to me. Of course, I found out in time to prepare, thankfully. By all accounts, it did not seem too threatening for inland Carolina. Still, I did not take it lightly. School closed on Wednesday, which allotted me ample time.
I went to the grocery, which was chaotic. Next I put gas in my car. These two things are crucial for hurricanes. I have been without power for two weeks in the past, and the memory lingers. (This also means without water, for many country dwellers.) In light of this, I set up the familiar supply table with water, flashlights, wipes for messes and wipes to bathe with, if need be. There was hand sanitizer and candles and paper towels. I spent Thursday, cooking and cleaning.
Since the dryer needs a repair, laundry meant hanging the clothes on a line. I love to hang the clothes out, but felt very rushed, under the circumstances. I washed clothes, linens and the dog beds. There was a constant light wind and so that helped my progress.
I also boiled eggs, made a pot of soup and a pot of dried beans. In my “spare time” I cleaned the house, from top to bottom. Somehow, Christian came home to a nice dinner, as well. I was tired when all that was over. I willed myself to shower close to midnight. I had the notion to make a caramel cake . . .and fry chicken . . .just in case, but I lacked the gumption, after the shower. There was wind and rain, when I fell asleep.
Christian and I woke early on Friday. The wind was blowing with a fiercenesss and rain was hammering the countryside. Since Christian works six days a week and has to be at work at three am-well we rarely get a single day together. I told Christian “we are going to have a big breakfast and then I am frying chicken for later.” That is when we lost power. . . .You can never tell, how long that will last. We had cereal for breakfast.
Christian composed a song and I wrote in my journals. I also made quick calls to check on family. Mama and Daddy did not have power, but they do have a generator. Will and Jenny did not have power, but Tres did, surprisingly. Tres lives in Wilmington, where the storm landed. Brant and Sydney were fine and had power. I had no idea how other folks were faring and hoped for the best.
There is never a shortage of tasks, at the rabbitpatch, but every job seemed to demand something, we just didn’t have. I could have finished the ceiling, but it is a dirty job. A coarse dust falls with every tile and without the prospect of a shower, I wasn’t about to attempt that. There was also some painting to be done, but being a messy painter, I knew better than to start that, without water . . .well a lack of water stops a lot of things.
I ended up doing something else, I never planned on. I unpacked a box. It was a box of clothes for the cooler weather sure to come. This was the only box I have had to unpack . . .since the whole affair of almost selling the rabbitpatch. It did not make me melancholy to do so – and most especially, when I found the navy cardigan, I had forgotten, I had. Just a few months ago, I would have felt defeated, at unpacking any single thing, I think, but it was not so today. It seems “Hope springs eternal” rings true for me, after all.
I am the least likely candidate for sainthood, that you know of, but it seems a peace, has taken root in my heart and abides faithfully. This is not due to any gallant nor noble act on my part, for I was growing weary by the whole thing. It is quite overwhelming to plan your future. Precision is impossible because mankind just is not capable of knowing every detail that may arise. Now, we still ought to do what we can, but woe to the one that assumes he has so very much power, in the grand scheme of things. I can say all of this, have learned a lesson the hard way . . AGAIN . .but now, in the midst of my “quiet season” the Truth shines clearly and without a hint of malice. Instead of reproach, It serves as a source of comfort and a sense of well-being wells up inside of me, like a joyful fountain. What a shame, I had to become thoroughly exhausted, to gain sight of the beauty, right in front of me . . .where It has always been. My hopes and dreams are alive and well . . .and so unpacking that box, was of no consequence.
An hour or so later, the power came on. I cheered, Christian was smiling and Cash, my boxer pranced around the house, as if he were responsible for the lights coming on and the window fan purring. I closed my book and started frying that chicken. I mixed up the caramel cake, as my desire for it, had only increased over the hours and opened the refrigerator, at long last, with a tremendous sense of liberty.
We ate supper and agreed it was about perfect. The cake turned out light and velvety. It was like a slice of celebration and it only added to our high spirits. I put the hurricane supplies back in the pantry and settled in “my nest”, which is a soft sofa, in the den . . .when the lights flickered several times, before finally shutting off for good. I counted on the thing being resolved by morning, but I woke to Christian getting ready for work by flashlight. The sun shine gilded the countryside without mercy and in the absence of any breeze, it was hot. I made six piles of branches and stopped. While I worked, I noticed the morning glory was bragging and the periwinkle blossoms of the floss flower were too. Some pale lavender spikes of the loosestrife remained and so the territory is all shades of blue and lavender, which is lovely. One day, I am going to paint a picture and call it “The Rabbitpatch in September”.
Just after the noon hour, the power came on and so I jumped in high gear, to get a shower and actually make it to Brynns’ first birthday party. I had given up all hope but consoled myself, that I would just go on her actual birthday, on the tenth. Now, I jumped in the shower, with renewed gratitude for water. Oh how good it felt to be clean. Since, I keep a bag mostly packed, I left soon afterwards.
The party was a success, even in the wake of the hurricane, Even a great grandparent made it! There were also two of Jennys’ faithful friends, Sarah and Michelle – and the cake had somehow survived the power outage and was perfect! Brynn surely thought so.
Jenny and I talked after the last guest left, about how stunning t it was for us, that little Brynn is a year old! The last year had been very full for our family. It seems something was always shocking us. There was heartbreaking loss-and hopes dashed. These things take a toll, but despite the days of sorrow, we can not deny, there were blessings, too. . .and Brynn is a blessing..
I always say, the best meals are the ones with a baby in a high chair.
Christian left the house especially early yesterday, for work. My only plans were to get the house in perfect order. If I am home on the weekend, that is what I do. . .at least when school has started. When Christian came home from work, the place looked like a battle had occurred, in his absence. It all started because I was looking for cobwebs in the hall.
The ceiling has celotex tiles, which the real estate agent had disliked. She had suggested that really everybody she has ever known, dislikes them too. Still, this did not move me, to tear something else up in this old house.
As I searched for webs, I noticed that the tile that was loose, now for years was separating from the ceiling and the one beside it had followed suit. I got a chair and peeked beneath and discovered there was bead board . I can not explain why, but the loose tiles came down so easily -and so did the ones that were not so loose. Half of the tiles were down and scattered in the hall when Christian walked in. I thought he was going to cry by the dismal look on his face. He has lived in a perpetual state of such incidents, for most of his life, after all. . .and apparently, “it ain’t over yet”.
I surveyed the calamity in the hall, and really was about as shocked as he was. I truly never meant for it to happen. I felt like I had been “caught with my hand in the cookie jar” . . .taking the last cookie . . .and broke the thing in the process.
I was tired too. I do not like any sort of ceiling work and make meaningless vows to never attempt it again, after any project that requires a ladder and craning your neck. I cleaned up, what had accumulated . About half of the ceiling was on the floor. . . but the bead board, when painted white was going to be lovely.
The sun rose on Sunday casting no more than a blush, on the territory. A coolness came in yesterday, so that I could raise the windows – and it remained this morning. How good it felt outside. It was a quiet “early service”. Now rest assured that I have applauded on occasion, at an “early service”. I have sang . . and yes I have danced like a joyful child-but this morning was still and silent and so I was too.
I wanted to see Mama and Daddy today as I was gone for much of the summer, most especially, in the last weeks. I had planned on a “Sunday supper” and so I started a pot of brunswick stew – and a chicken was roasting all before eight o’clock. . . and of course, there was that ceiling.
I did make some progress on the ceiling, though it is a bigger job, than I anticipated. Every job always is. I did not take into account removing the staples. . .nor that it would take three coats of paint, to properly finish it. One day, I am going to plant flowers all day. . . and watch the rain fall on them, in the evening.
I worked on that ceiling, carried out the debris and pulled grass along the garden path. All of the food was cooking as I went about my business. By evening, somehow beyond my wildest dreams, I had the car loaded down with food and was on my way to Mama and Daddys’. The ceiling was not finished and the kitchen was not clean, but we would have our supper.
It was pitch dark, when I returned to the rabbitpatch. I made a feeble attempt to restore some order. One thing was certain, the house was in worse shape than it was on Friday . . .and tomorrow was Monday . . .and that changes everything.
On Monday, I woke to an alarm. There is just nothing natural about that.
The sun made up for its’ lack of fanfare on Sunday, for Monday dawned bright and clear. The sweet cool air was lingering and nobody was complaining about it. Within a few hours, I was greeting the students. Most of the students, I know well, for we have spent years together. I know the names of their dogs and many of their grandparents. I watched the kindergarten parents walking through the parking lot and thought, many years ago, that was me and I remembered the anticipation of the first day. There are just some things, that stick with you no matter how old you get.
Monday turned into Tuesday and then it was Wednesday. The leisure days of summer are replaced with routine and duties to be done at a certain time. I actually bought a daily planner, and will try not to record what is blooming, along with lesson plans. . . or the grocery list.
I drive past the quiet pastures and fields and feel like I am visiting with old friends. How good it is, that amidst the constant change in life, some things remain constant. . . and often, they are the most beautiful things.
Christian and I were talking about this one night over supper. We were going over the contents of our day. We both had the “usual” kind of day. . . at least for us We had both attended our work and made it home safely. Now we were back at the rabbitpatch sitting around the kitchen table enjoying supper. We decided first, that a good supper was always fitting, for a good day. . .that in a way it was like a small celebration, every day. . .and then, there was the time after supper when it was quiet and so unlike the day -free of tasks. It is a restoration, of sorts, and the dogs and the cats were napping, and would only rouse when we retired for our own rest. One dog, sleeps on the floor by Christians’ bed-and Cash, the boxer and the cat, Christopher Robin curl up together, where I sleep. It is always that way.
That night, when I went out to say good night to the world, I saw the stars shining boldly. The haze hung over the fields and the beauty of it all, did not go unnoticed. I realised that for a long while, I have and shamefully so, been in a state of “biding time” -a sense of “waiting until” was always present. While we ought to hope and pursue our dreams, there isn’t a bit of harm in the time spent waiting. Some of my greater lessons have been revealed, while in the act of waiting. . . and things like the time after supper and silver clouds shrouding old fields, make the waiting so very pleasant.