A Delightful Thanksgiving . .with Good Tidings

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Let me declare, right now, that this may be one of the loveliest autumns, the south has ever seen.   Still, the golden and crimson  leaves cling to the woodland trees  and the neat rows of the Bradford pear, that are in a good many yards -are just spectacular.  Daybreak  has been brilliant and the trees are lit up with  the morning shine.  There has been frosts most every day which only adds to the fanfare of morning.   . . and the smell of wood smoke hangs in the crisp air.

I always remember  “Pop” in months like November.  Pop was my mamas’ dad.  When, I was a child, Pop “ruled the roost”.  He was a prideful man and looking back, I think,  a  bit vain.  In the spring and summer, the farm was a busy place.  Every task was important and we were taught to work as if our life depended on it . . .for in some way, it really did.  I learned early on to avoid Pop, if he was fixing a tractor or a set of plows, for he was apt to go to hollering at any given moment.  Anyone in the vicinity of the scene was at risk of being blamed for a lost bolt or a smashed finger or a lost wrench – well whatever calamity arose.  By suppertime, Pop was over his grudges and all was well.  But in the autumn, when the crops were harvested and the smoke house was stocked and the pantry was full of canned vegetables, Pop wasn’t nearly as cross.  

I remember early mornings, when the frost was spread thick, Pop would be tending a small fire in “the lot” or inspecting the hooves of a pony.  The lot was a fenced in area behind the farmhouse.  A pasture was on two sides of it.  Goats, a herd of ponies and a horse and for a while a mule were in the pasture.  There was also a pig parlor.  Sometimes Pop would be in his tool shelter taking inventory of his tools or sharpening things with blades.  Pop was always in the lot doing something,  but in the autumn, Pop was not so prone to cussing.  In the fall, Pop was happy long before supper.   

Work has been extra busy and this is the normal business for this time of the year.  There have been all sorts of  community service projects.  Pies were delivered to the elderly, canned goods were delivered to a food pantry, baby blankets to a hospital, large baskets of household goods were given to some more seniors and we are not finished yet.  It was a short work week – for Thanksgiving is tomorrow!

I started cooking last night for our gathering.  I cooked enough collards to feed Atlanta!   . . .and the fine city can also have biscuits!  I use the biscuits to make stuffing, so they were put in the refrigerator , minus a few, that were eaten hot-and with butter. On Thursday morning, I will haul my wares to Mama and Daddys’ where My sisters and I  will join forces to make this Thanksgiving another beautiful memory.

After school on Wednesday, Christian and I took up housekeeping . . .again.  Tres comes home tonight and that was all the motivation that we needed. On Friday, we head to Elizabeth City for an encore of the holiday. 

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I went to sleep with a smile on my face, for Tres was home – and the house was tidy -and the kitchen counter was laden with an abundance of dishes.  


Thanksgiving dawned clear and bright. Mama was cooking the turkey, so there wasn’t a bit of rush about the morning.  Christian had taken the day off-, and so he, Tres and I had a light breakfast and coffee.  I always say that conversations with Tres are never dull.  Hence we talked about the role of molecules in medical research, the future of the rabbitpatch and  other things.

Finally, I can share with all of you, some good tidings . . .Against the odds, Tres is moving to Elizabeth City!!  I have often bragged shamelessly about Tres’ intellect- and for the record it is all true.  To further his career, Tres decided to pursue another degree – some sort of science, chemical and math something.  This complicated business of education is not offered everywhere and there were several universities that he looked into.  Jenny did some research and found out the the university in Elizabeth City, offered a very comparable course of study .  To make a long story short, Will and Jenny were of tremendous help . . .and so were Lyla and Brynn.    If you think that I am thrilled, you would be “spot on” .  Wilmington, was too far from the rabbitpatch to suit me, after all.  It took every thing in me not to try to persuade Tres in a direction.   . .but do not think for a moment that when all was said and done . . . I was happier than any lark ever dared to be.

The Thanksgiving gathering was delightful.  The leaves rained down in an autumn brisk breeze while I listened to my niece, Hayleys’ dreams and later we talked about the genealogy  of our family, for Hayley and I share this interest.  Delores made a chocolate cake, which I thought was good . . .twice.    Connie did more than her fair share in the kitchen and still managed to catch up with all of our current affairs.  Brant and Sydney came just past the twilight hour and so that was my special and very grand finale, to the holiday.  


P.S . . and most especially . . that baby contest concludes in two days and Ryan has a fighting chance, it seems to win.  Without further ado, . . .I am asking for votes again, like any good “Honeybee’  should.  We have two days and you can vote once a day.





A Late Autumn Frost

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A cold rain has been falling for days. One night, there was a slight chance of snow and you know I had my heart set on it-but nary a flake fell at the rabbitpatch.  We did get our first heavy frost -and oh, how lovely that was!  The fields where corn had tasseled out, just a few short months ago, were now transformed into fields of diamonds.  The first light fell in long slanted hues of peach and apricot, making quite a spectacle of the frost .  The pine trees  were silver  and even the ditch banks were glossed  with luster, this day.  

I decided then and there, that a late autumn frost, is a beautiful sight to behold.

For the first time, in a long spell, I am at the rabbitpatch, for the weekend.  Will and Jenny were attending an out of town wedding and besides the old farm house, looked like nobody loved it.  There was no lack of options, on what needed to be done.  Still, I moved , about as fast as “molasses in January”.  Outside the wind howled and at times sounded mournful.  Rain came in before noon.  That was only thing that caused me to hurry all day, for the line was full of slightly damp clothes.

Brant called. He entered Ryan in a cute baby contest on a whim . . .just for fun.  (And because he is sure that Ryan really is the cutest baby in the world.)   Of course, it was for fun . . . until we found out that Ryan is in second place – and there is a cash prize.  Now, we have all taken to campaigning for Ryan!  We are a ridiculous lot.

While, I cleaned and scrubbed, the boxer and Christopher Robin napped.  The wind never stopped blowing and the clouds were so thick, that I had a lamp burning, all day.  


I rose early on Sunday.  I watched the darkness fade away.  The sky was the color of pewter and the wind was still blowing.  As much as I love rain, I hoped today that I could line dry some blankets.  Today, I would tackle the kitchen and the laundry room – and remove the sweet light florals from my closet and replace them with heavier clothes, fit for late autumn.  This means unpacking boxes . . .again.  I did have a “false start” with the selling the rabbitpatch last year.. . right about this time. 

Oh what a dark time it was for me. . . and right at Christmas!  I didn’t even get the chance to “carry on” about it . . with the holidays, after all. Half of the place was packed up and I all but had the key to a dear, little cottage.  When the same thing happened again in June, some of the sting was lost, because “practice does make perfect”, it seemed.  Now, looking back, the whole thing is amusing.  . . .mostly.  I will put the place on the market and I will hope for the best.  . .sometime.

Last year was not the brightest year anyway . . at least for our family. But the sun shone fair on us some of the time.  . . for though there was loss, a baby was born . . and though there was grief . . .we all renewed our strength for one another.  There was some disappointment . . .but hope remained, untarnished.  None of us bore any burden alone.  . .nor the joys. ..and that makes the difference.  So, I will not grumble as I unpack clothes that will keep me warm, for it would just be sinful, to do so.

I trotted down the garden path, it seemed every hour on Sunday, to that clothes line.  There was plenty of wind, but the clouds dimmed the sun.  Once, I missed the dryer.   . . but I glanced at the great trees, and that spurred me on to love the planet, as best I can.  Besides, I have seen a significant decrease in the electricity bill.


The hours passed too quickly, til Sunday became Monday.  The thick clouds remained and so daybreak came without a bit of fanfare. On the way to work, I was pleasantly surprised that the relentless wind had not robbed  us of the beauty of this autumn, for the woodlands were a mass of all shades of gold and crimson.  There I was in my warm clothes,  driving by quiet pastures and fields at rest, and autumn in its’ glory . . . .and it moved me deeply.

There are certain moments in every day that I love.  Morning  time is one of them.  There is  also the time when I return to the rabbitpatch, after work.  The boxer makes quite a production of my arrival and Christopher Robin, my silvery gray cat purrs gently.  – and for some reason, I feel like I have left the world outside  the drive way, for my own world, on the rabbitpatch.   Then, there is  the time after supper.  When the house was full, and every bed occupied, it was an especially favorite time.  All were gathered, safe and sound.  We had reunited around the table and somehow, this time seemed to renew “the ties that bind”.  Now, the old house has several empty beds and vacant chairs around the table, but the time after supper is still a favorite time of day, for me.  The contents of a day vary greatly, but the morning comes faithfully.

 On Wednesday morning, there was sunshine! What a welcome sight, to see the sun rise over the oldest barn.   I had missed the way patches of sunlight  fall on the territory, lighting up the fresh fallen leaves.  The oak leaves are the color of honey and the sycamores shed a mahogany leaf.  The lowly sweet gum,  not beloved by many, bears all the colors of autumn-even a plum color.  Under these circumstances, I will not hold a thing against the sweet gum . . .in late autumn.


Forgive me, but I can not help myself . . .This is where you vote for Ryan –























































“Angels in Heaven”, Know I love Ryan








On Friday, just after school, my friend Sara and I headed north to see our grandchildren.  Sara and I have been friends about twenty years – and as it turns out, our grandchildren are but a few miles apart.  Little Ryan lives in Wake Forest and Saras’ grandchildren live in a community, just a few minutes away. 

Sara knows the route well, for she has been driving it for over five years.  Regular readers know, that I am quite a slow learner when it comes to driving anywhere unfamiliar.  Besides that, I am just not cut out, to drive  bumper to bumper at seventy miles per hour.  I have lived in the country for most of life and for a while in a small town.  Neither prepared me for the commotion of an interstate in a city, where everyone seems under the assumption, that they have at least nine lives. 

One day, in a friendly conversation, Sara mentioned a bakery, she frequents when she visits her daughter.  When I was in Wake Forest with Will and Jenny, and Tres, we drove right by a bakery with the name, Sara had called.  It was right around the corner from Brant and Sydneys’ and I decided it had to be a fluke, but as it turns out it was the bakery, that Sara had mentioned. . .Hence, we planned a visit.  I was thrilled, for Sara agreed to drive, in a heart beat.  

The hours flew by.  We always share recipes, and talk about our children.  Sara is building a tiny house in the mountains and we talked about  the Charlotte Mason method of education . .  and books.  It was a lovely drive and we made good time.  It is wonderful to have friends.


If you think, I brag about my grandchildren, you will know for sure now, that yes I do!  Ryan is simply beautiful.  He is a cheerful baby, too.  He is two months old now, and coos like a little dove.  He smiles and will laugh out loud, on occasion.  I fell in love with him, all over again and could not stop gushing over his beautiful skin and perfect little mouth.  I found myself staring at him and not a single thought would pop in my head, in those moments.  I  prayed over him and proclaimed my love for him over and over.  I sang “Roses are red, my love. Violets are blue-Angels in Heaven, know I love you.”  

Then there was Sydney and Brant . . .they are surely the icing on the cake.  Sydney is just so sensible, it astounds me!  She is a young first time mother, yet she is confident and so very loving.  I have yet to see her show any signs of frustration.  If Ryan frets, she knows why.  She fairly glows with contentment.  Brant is hopelessly in love with his little son.  I have never seen him happier – and that means everything to me.  He changes diapers, gives baths and picks out Ryans’ little clothes with great thought.  Brant told me, that all the time he is working, he is thinking about coming home to Sydney and Ryan.

We cooked a lot for a “Sunday dinner” at Sydneys’ grandparents.  They live in a beautiful area of Chapel Hill. There are small rolling hills and  pastures and woodlands behind them – and a stream.  Brant and I rambled through the land, as we used to in his childhood.  The weather was perfect and I declare the place was holy.

The dinner was nice.  Sydneys’ parents stopped in, on their way  back from a trip to the mountains and so did Seth, Sydneys’ younger and very well mannered brother.  I felt right at home with all of them, as if we had known each other, always.  Again, the gratitude just welled up inside of me like a fountain, thinking of all the love that Ryan was born into. 


We drove back under a full moon, the color of butter.  Sydney is used to the traffic and did not flinch as folks were weaving in and out of lanes- “The country comes to town”  I thought.  Brant and Ryan slept and I looked for every “lucky star” I could find.  

Monday morning dawned cold and bright.  Everyone had to work, except for Sydney and I. We drank coffee and ate left over cheese biscuits.  I spent some time with Ryan and secretly vowed not to cry when I left.  The holidays are just around the corner after all, and we have some wonderful gatherings planned.

Sara came just after noon.  We were both full of stories of the holiday . . .and we told them all.  We also stopped at the little bakery.

We drove back and admired the bright leaves that made the countryside all the merrier.  Sara loved having company and I was glad to ride  . . . so of course . . we will do this again.

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At Last, It is Autumn!

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The drive to Elizabeth City, last Friday. was just beautiful, for now the woodlands are tinged with shades of gold and crimson. ..and the sprawling fields  are warm shades of russet and ginger.  This is only the prelude of the splendor to come, but what a welcome sight to see the countryside proclaiming the season.  The three rivers were filled with “still water” this day and looked as if they were gilded in silver.  Along the banks were floating, colorful patches of scarlet and orange.  

Autumn is here at last, and there is so much I look forward to .  There is the first frost  -and a cheerful fire  – and soft blankets and books scattered throughout the  farmhouse . . .well,  autumn is a beloved time at the rabbitpatch. 

It had been but two weeks, since I had seen my little grand daughters, but it seemed like a fortnight.  Lyla came bounding out the back door squealing in delight with her little arms extended.  Brynn was squealing and  laughing, in Jennys’ arms.  It is always a merry time, when I arrive.

  Within a few short hours, Lyla was tucked in “our nest” listening to stories about “the winter woods” and the doll community, with the talking kitten, that live just on the edge of them.


Saturday, was a busy day.  Jenny had a brunch to attend, so Will and I took the girls to a their pediatric appointment. Afterwards, we took a walk to the park.  On the way back, Lyla picked some floss flowers growing on a vacant lot, for her momma.  Lyla has a very thoughtful heart, for she always thinks of others.  She even had taken the doctor a piece of chocolate!

Jenny came home to a quiet house, for Brynn was napping and Lyla and I went to visit Miss Thelma, the ninety five year old neighbor.  

It started raining early on Sunday.  Outside it felt like early September.  Lyla and I made “honey cakes” for breakfast”.  Afterwards, we went to the grocery.  I wanted to leave my loved ones tokens of my love.  Often this shows up in food.  Lyla decided to draw.  By early evening, I had made a large pot of chicken and broccoli soup, pimento cheese and a concoction of apples and raisins, like my Aunt Agnes used to make.  Lyla had a stack of delightful pictures and had signed her name and age on each one.   At long last, the food was packaged and the crayons were put away.  We took Miss Thelma her share of our efforts, stocked the refrigerator and there was some to be delivered to “Aunt J”, on my way home.  

The sky was all sorts of colors..  At times, it was apricot, then it was lavender and finally a lovely rose seemed to bloom, in the heavens.  The low lying mist looked like pink whispers  hovering over the fields.  


The rabbitpatch is dusted with sycamore  leaves.  I enjoy the coppery carpet, for about a week.   . . .then the leaves of the great sycamores become a nuisance, for they are large and curl up, shortly after their fall.  The next thing you know, you are wondering where the steps are and  wading through leaves to get to the car.   The  territory will be in this state from now to Thanksgiving, for we are not in short supply of old trees . . . and thankfully so.

I love old trees -so much, that they are one of the first things I consider, while looking for the next rabbitpatch.  Before I ever step foot in the door, I have surveyed the yard, noting what grows there and also making sure the boxer would be happy.  The cat, “Christopher Robin” just wants a sunny windowsill.

The work week was a short one as Friday was a teacher work day.  With Halloween being on Thursday, I  took Friday off and headed back to  Elizabeth City, after school on Thursday.  Lyla was the cutest little witch . . .a good one she assured me and Brynn was what most babies are . . . a pumpkin!  The night was warm and a constant wind blew, making it hard for Lyla to keep her hat on!   We walked the little village til darkness had settled in and was as familiar as an old friend.  I did not wear proper shoes and so when I got home, I knew I would sleep well this night.


Brant and Sydney sent pictures of little Ryan and what an adorable baby!  I do not feel the least bit ashamed to say so, for everyone needs someone to cheer them on and love them whole heartedly , too  . . .and to let them know that they are highly valued.  We ought to point out everything right about our grandchildren, and in their worst moments, let them know that we believe they will do better next time.  

Friday morning was close to cold!  I was quite shocked when I stepped out of the back door.  The sky was bright and the wind had not stopped blowing since the night before, but this wind had a chill to it.  I must admit, I love this kind of weather.

I do not mind the shorter days and I do not mind the colder nights.  Of course, I love every season and declare each one my favorite, upon its’ arrival.  In that way, I am fickle, but each season has such wonderful virtues . . . for when it snows, the whole territory seems white washed in a magical shine, then comes April and “flowers come to earth” again and then in June the wild honeysuckle blooms. . .but just now when the landscape is fairly aglow with  color and the gold and ruby leaves raining down ,  well, I fall hopelessly  in love .  . . again.  It seems to me each season is the best.


I do not know how Sunday arrived so quickly – most especially with that “extra hour”.  A lot of nice things happened, during my visit  – ordinary things -things that are routine now.  Lyla and I made “honey cakes”, we practiced violin and told stories.  We also got in several visits with Miss Thelma.  Jenny and I cleaned the nursery and ended up with two bags of toys to donate.  I rocked Brynn to sleep, as I did on a regular basis in the summer.  There was a lot of cooking .  Halloween got put away and Lyla worked on her art.  Plans were made for Thanksgiving and Christmas secrets were discussed. Little Brynn loves me now more than ever and just like that .  . .it was Sunday.

When, I was approaching the rabbitpatch, I saw the lights shining through the windows and that cheered me.  Christian, the boxer and the cat gathered around the car.  Christian helped carry every thing in.  The boxer pranced around joyfully and “Christopher Robin” purred sweetly.  It is always the same, but it never fails to warm my heart. 


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