To Raleigh and Back

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It is said, that “All good things must come to an end”.  That was certainly my sentiment on Tuesday, when I watched Jenny pack up her familys’ things .  All sorts of pictures from the last four days flashed in my head . . . Jenny and Sydney with Brynn and Ryan, sitting on a quilt in the shade of a maple . . . Will working from the kitchen table, oblivious to the commotion of three little ones, big meals, bathtime and early mornings, watching one by one, as folks came down stairs to find their day.  It does not matter how long we are together, I am just never satisfied.  I always wish for one more day.  
I came home on Wednesday.  Oh how quiet the house was that day, as I gathered my own things.  It was a bright day and a bit cooler than the days before it.  The last ten days had been miserably hot.  The drive is much easier for me, now and within a few hours, I was back at the rabbitpatch.  Christian and Tres were there, and so I started supper right away.  The boxer was happy to see me and I was glad to see him.  While supper cooked, I sat in the den surrounded by my plants and books.  The morning table stood faithfully waiting, by the window with the old oak peaking in.  I felt like I was in the midst of friends, and that was comforting . . . and beautiful, really.  
I called Mama, to let her know I had arrived safely.  As old, as I am, she still wants to know. There are some. very few things that   do remain the same, in life.   Mama is making the best of the situation.  She misses Daddy deeply-and how could she not?  Her neighbors do all sorts of things to help out.  My cousins, have taken charge of all the yard work-and then there are her friends. Sadly, three of them are widowed now, all in the last year or so.  What a comfort they are.  No matter what anyone does, Mama has had to adjust to a new way of life and of course, that in itself is at times, overwhelming.  Nothing is as it was . . .or easy.  The good news is, Mama is doing what she can to “stay the course”.    . .We all are.

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Tres has been with me a few days now.  He is on a break from school, til the next semester starts.  His dog has lived at the rabbitpatch, a few years and is sadly not doing well.  Tres had a trip planned  to the coast, to visit his best friend  and Sarah -but now there is a hurricane expected to come through in a few days!  I just found out a day ago and so I have taken inventory of the supply shelf.  We are fine, but will need to secure, everything outside that is not nailed down.  It is quite early for a hurricane, but it has felt like September, the last few days, as the air has been cooler and dryer – and the floss flowers are trying to bloom, too! 
This year has thoroughly disoriented me!  School closed in March and the pandemic descended, Daddy died in April, there was a frost in May!!  The way we do things have been altered drastically, – the unrest of society . . .and an early hurricane too! – And the subjects we must ponder . . .a cashless society?  for example.  “Old people” have always been accused of “not keeping up with change”.    I “wear that same hat”  now , for I am most certainly, one of  them. 

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The days before a hurricane are full of anticipation.  We all listen to the many updates and track the storm fervently.  We go over supplies repeatedly.  We  must anticipate losing power and roads being closed.  Country folks worry about such things especially, for there are trees every where likely to tumble.  . .andwe are always last on the list of assistance from the county.   It will be the farmers that clear our roads.   We do not usually have to worry about major flooding, for though creeks may rise, they do not  cause the same predicament that rivers do.  
Once “Farm Life” went without power about two weeks.  A lot of folks have generators . . .but of course, the rabbitpatch does not.  I hung a water  hose, in the “Quiet Garden”, for there is a fence around it covered in roses, deeming it private.  We showered there.  Food was cooked on a grill, twice a day.  I set up a place to wash clothes.  I had a tub for soaking, one for washing and one for rinsing.  It took all day for them to dry for I could never wring them out efficiently.  I will never forget the day the power company trucks rode by,  A lot of us were working in our yards and we all cheered at the sight of them.  
Other times, hurricanes passed without too much ado.  . . A few days of wind and rain.  If heavy rains come first, then the chances of downed trees increases dramatically.  I always  pray for my trees, in their presence , before a hurricane.  
A leaning pine was here, when I first moved to the rabbitpatch.  It was growing on the edge of the young woods.  It was dreadful to see.  Everyone that came here, encouraged me to cut it down.  I can’t even cut a Christmas tree and so the thing remained.  It was a tall tree and there was a stable and a chicken coop, that were dangerously close.  Everyone said I would lose one or the other, when it fell.  It was very likely.  There was one place the pine could fall, which would spare both-just a sliver of open space.  I talked to God about it.  I asked Him, “why couldn’t I be a normal person, instead of caring about an unsightly leaning pine.”  Certainly, life would be so much easier, if my heart were not so soft, I thought.  I do not have a bit of mercy for poison vines, nor the awful thorned ones, but the pine had yet to harm a living soul.
  As a storm approached, one year, I had an idea, that the pine would not make it.  I was right.  The pine fell neatly between the two structures, again not harming a soul.  You can draw your own conclusions, but that is exactly what happened.
I have also entertained the thought, that one of the old warriors will land smack on the house.  How God works, is His business, after all.  Faith does not spare any of us from tragedy.  If it did, you could sell it like hotcakes-but instead, Faith is a comfort, you have in spite of hard times.  It is knowing,  that we are not in this alone.  I have had my fair share of calamity.  Even now, I do not understand what I was supposed to glean from some of them.  My mind is either too dull, or very slow, probably . . .and sometimes, I think . .”maybe it was not about me!”  Someone else may have gained some value from the whole affair -and I just happened to be there, as well.  
For now, this morning is bright and slightly cooler.  All of the sheets are line drying.  The sick dog is not any better.  I have made chicken and rice-and scrambled eggs, but he fancied neither. The good, local veterinarian  prescribed more medicine, yesterday, so maybe “Champ” will  show improvement, shortly.  
Since, it is a fruitless time to do any yard work, I will concentrate on housekeeping, for the next day or so.   . . and just like Mama . . “Stay the course.

Remembrances from Raleigh . . ..

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11 thoughts on “To Raleigh and Back

  1. Oh Michele, the pictures of the grandchildren are adorable! I will keep you in my prayers and pray the hurricane loses strength and does no harm. Stay safe, my friend.😊🙏😷

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  2. It is always hard to leave the grand babies and go back home. Hope the storm causes no major problems for you. Your mother will always miss your father How could see not, when she feels she has lost 1/2 of herself. I remember what my mother went thru losing my father – she grieved until her death 3 years later. It is sad to lose someone you have spent so many decades with. Love and hugs to you and your family – stay safe.

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  3. Michele, as always, your words pierce my heart. I pray you are safe. I also am an extreme tree lover, I loved that story of your pine. This line is resonates with me so much! “Faith is a comfort, you have in spite of hard times. It is knowing, that we are not in this alone. “

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  4. You have such a beautiful family, Michele! I pray that the hurricane spares your area (and all places where people live, for that matter), but I do love your definition of faith. It doesn’t protect us from harm, but it does mean we never face anything, no matter how bad, alone. And that’s a gift.

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