“Wild and Sweet”

These latter days of autumn are very akin to winter.  Nights are cold now and so we rise to heavy frost that shines and sparkles in the first light.  The barren fields, are covered in a dazzling luster.  I woke to a strong north wind, yesterday.  that stripped most of the leaves from the old trees- and carried them to their destiny, far from the rabbitpatch. Now the shade on the territory is scant, reduced to thin lines that curve and zig zag, across the territory, when the sun shines. 
Recently, I don a coat and gloves in the early morning and the car must be warmed up.  I do not mind cold as some do, but I will complain if there is a gusty wind, in addition. 

With this being our first Thanksgiving, without Daddy, and  my friend, Julie dying just before the holiday, well, it was a gloomy time.  I counted my blessings, reciting them all day, for I have so many.   . .but grief was ever present.  I could not shake it – and to say otherwise,would be sheer falsehood.  Mama and I spent the day together, with brief visits from Kyle and Christian -and Jenny, Sydney and Sarah brought the grandchildren in the afternoon.  Those moments were bright spots.  Our family would be gathering on Friday, so  Thursday just felt hollow and so lacking.  I suppose a parade could have passed by, and wouldn’t  have altered our state of mind.  Mama and I went to bed early.
Friday was better.  It was a mild day and just right for our outside gathering.  There were all sorts of tasks and that helped too.  I stirred the caramel sauce and Mama decorated the garage.  A turkey was roasting and Brant and Tres were frying another one.  Sydney came in with a huge pan of macaroni and cheese, that took the place of the turkey, the minute it came out.  Jenny had a corn pudding, my sister, Delores came in with a ham and a casserole.  Delores began organizing the food and Ryan sought out little sticks and rocks, Brynn stuck close to her Mama, as she is shy.  Often she will cover her face,if she is given too much attention.  Lyla and Christian took a walk . .and so how soothing the hustle and bustle was.  We wore masks, when we weren’t eating and took extra precautions to be safe. Those practices are habits now, for us. 
Tres is out of school now and so he is at the rabbitpatch!  Christian and I are thrilled.  The boys have cut wood, fixed the dryer and Tres fixed two doorknobs that have not worked for a year.  We have deep conversations- real content, that provokes thought.  We have tackled science, government and religion, already.  We have discussed  documentaries and of course, what to have for supper.  Conversations with Tres, always inspire me to “do better ” . 
 Will and Jenny moved this weekend!  Wills’ mom had a home just a few miles away, in the same vicinity.  It is a smaller home and so, they “downsized” before me!  The new location will not hinder my walks by the”laughing river”.   It is also closer to “Aunt J”, which thrills all of us.  I cried with happiness when Jenny spent the first night.  How good it felt to know that she was safely tucked in -as if she were six all over again.  The heart of a mother does snot recognize the difference time oughtto make.  This was a “milestone” to celebrate.  I hope to visit in the next few weeks .  By then there will be a wreath on the door! 

Ryan is cutting a tooth and every little consequence of that has worried Brant, terribly.  He even fed him chicken broth, one night!  Sydney, is concerned,  of course, but oh, how calm she remains for Ryan AND Brant!   
Now, it is Monday, and with my lessons posted , my sisters and I are meeting at Mamas’ to decorate   for Christmas. There is a chilly rain falling in silver drops that beckon to you to make a fire-and to serve a hearty supper. 
 Delores had arrived the night before.  She was hanging a bow on the mailbox, as I drove up.  What a sweet sight!   Connie and  my niece, Hayley, were right behind me.  With everyone gathered and Bing Crosby singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”,  a sense of celebration filled the house. 
Hayley had a surprise for us, right off.  She had pillows for each of us, made from Daddys’ shirts.  Of course we all cried, for we are missing Daddy and most especially during the holidays-but at least some of our tears were for the beauty of this gift.  I was deeply moved by Hayleys’ thoughtfulness.  Moments later, Connie and Delores were unpacking the Christmas china, while  Dana and I gathered up the many cardinal ornaments , we would use .  Mama had decided on that theme, for this particular year.   We had a light lunch, and celebrated Delores’  and Hayleys’ approaching birthdays.
Everyone worked again after  lunch.  It got about cold and so we hurried along on the outside garland and lights.  Both of my sisters are quite handy at the things that I am not, so there is never a quarrel about who does what.  By the time that the world dimmed, the house was aglow with Christmas lights and Delores had put bows on most any thing that did not move.   I glanced back, as I drove away and thought, what a good day.

On Friday. Mama and I will leave for Raleigh.  We are doing Christmas a different way this year, due to the virus that is raging through our “neck of the woods”.  We will have several small visits, with family, instead of the usual large gathering. 
Being so very sentimental, I really love tradition . . .and so I am already missing the way things were.  Hayley and I did not linger in a bookstore  this year, while the others shopped.  . .nor eat fine chocolate, because “they were taking too long”.  The grandchildren will not gather to visit with Santa and Mama will not need to supplement seating in her house, on Christmas night.  With the violin program, closed at school this year, I have not heard “Jingle Bells played a thousand times . . .well, on and on I could go proclaiming the woes of this creature of habit, for life has changed in general.   
It makes me feel quite shallow to whine about it, when I consider that my grandparents had a Christmas meal, on ration cards.    I think of the many folks, who lost their livelihoods this year and the many “empty chairs” across the entire world, this particular year. 
 I have come to realize a few things.  Fortitude is quite under estimated and we ought to cultivate it in ourselves-and in our children, with great zeal.  You can bet your life, it will be needed as surely as water.  Likewise, gratitude.  We must learn to recognize our blessings.  We get so very used to them, that we treat them like an old  beside lamp.  But oh! how we like that light on a long winter night.  Really, gratitude sparks joy, which is another element, we will need . . again like water.  Current conditions implore us to look deeply and to see clearly, what does really matter.  We all have the chance, to define our truth with precision. 
I can not afford to miss this opportunity, for it is like a “baptism” . . and I so hope “this one takes”  .  . . “for wild and sweet, the words repeat . . . Peace on Earth, Good will to men.”











16 thoughts on ““Wild and Sweet”

  1. Rabbit…I really think our Lord and Heavenly Father is giving us one ,maybe last ,chance to know who is in charge. We do and fret over so much that just does not have any thing to do ‘with the price of eggs in China’ . I love you and wish happiness for you and your family…please stay healthy….( no I haven’t heard any more from Cob??)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Experiencing happiness and grief at the same time is somewhat hard to bear. The first holiday without loved ones seems so hard to bear. Covid has changed our lives and there is nothing normal anymore. I am happy you got to see your family in small groups. We find we have many more blessing than we think if we just sit quietly and count them. An early Merry Christmas to you Michele. Praying for you and your family. God bless each of your days.


  3. This is a year unlike all others and the trials are not over yet. Stay safe close to your family.
    My friend from junior school works in a home for old people and she got her first anticovid vacation this week – there is hope that life will return to normal when we can all get vaccinated too🌈🌈🌈🌈


  4. I think the only way to get through the 1st Christmas after loss is to live Christmas for others. All the decorating and cooking you did with your sisters is what sweetens the sorrow of loss. And it gently takes us from one hour to the next.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad your family is with you to help you deal with your grief, as that helps. And it’s okay to mourn your usual Christmas celebrations as well, as that’s another loss and a very real one. There’s something about Christmas that makes us miss our loved ones and our old traditions even more. But I also agree with you about the need for fortitude. We will get through this, and we are stronger than we think. Still praying for your, Michele!


  6. Michele, Thank you for the beautiful stories of life you share. Your rabbitpatch is always a sanctuary for family. If I could transport our family to your house for Christmas, I know they would all come to the table and mind their best manners of Love. 🙂 It’s important to know such beautiful possibilities are still True. My heart shares the loss of your Father and Friend. Your Love is shining in the darkness as the Feelings ripple through the whole. The rabbitpatch is the place in my dreams I can go to remember the Norman Rockwell holiday, only better, when the Feelings are alive on the page. Thank you for sharing your beauty. love, in lak’ech, Debra MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND ALL OF YOURS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the beauty of your words touched me deeply. When something is “real”, we ought not to abandon it. I think. . .and aren’t the real things, what really matter You never fail to inspire me, however I encounter a connection with you. You, my friend are so very real and genuine. in lak’ech. Michele

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  7. I guess this year is really all about not about everything that we all wished for and wanted, it´s the year that we all must appreciate what we have. Life is short and time quickly pass…I am sure we would be writing different things again next year, and the merry days will come soon…with glad and anticipation.
    Thank you Michelle, for sharing your heart and life stories to all of us.
    Wishing you the warmth from our hearts.
    Happy Holidays to you and your love-ones!
    You are cherished, look at all these warm hearted comments!

    Regards from Germany!


  8. Michele, this is a year unlike many others, yet the year+ after my Papa and a year later my mama passed, my younger brother and I could not bear to be in Williamsburg. So we went to Florida for Thanksgiving week and kept ourselves busy (we saw a rainbow on the beach where we were staying on Thanksgiving Day, so special as we missed Mama and Papa beyond measure!) Since then we’ve made new memories at my sister’s farm including this year’s outside celebration. (We also wore masks inside, like you.) My heart and prayers are with you (and your mom especially) missing your precious father. As hard as it seems, it’s good to make new traditions, and precious new memories will follow. Blessings and BIG HUGS – Virginia

    Liked by 1 person

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