All the Difference

March did not come in “like a lion” this year!  February left softly and suddenly, just as softly . . it was March.  I have been with Will, Jenny and all of the grandchildren the last three days, at Brant and Sydneys’  home in the capitol city.  
The temperatures were mild and showers fell ever so often. One day, the kids and their parents crowded in to a car and attended a drive through dinosaur exhibit.  Lyla knew the correct names of each one and what features determined the species name.  We really don’t know how, she learned all of that.  Brynn said some of them were scary and Ryan came back growling. 
Another day, we all took a hike to a small secluded playground.  There were two hills to climb,but I was the only one that complained.  Ryan found a mud puddle while the girls tried every slide out dozens of times.  The weather was just perfect for such things. 
On Sunday, after breakfast, we all started packing and cleaning.  Lyla was crying as she was so dreading the departure.  Brynn and Ryan started crying as we loaded the car.  Ryan was blowing kisses, with a little turned down lip and it was beautiful and heartbreaking, all at once.  We were not out of sight, when Brynn started asking, “What happened to “Bubby” (Ryan)?  “What happened to Aunt Sydney”?  “What happened to Uncle Brant”?  as she whimpered.  Lyla sat silently, with tears on her cheeks.  I didn’t want, the visit to end either,  but it was the love that the little cousins had for one another, that prompted my tears.  It is no wonder that they say “Baby brother cousin” and “sister cousin” .  Lyla coined these terms . . . and how accurately, it seems. 
The unusual, gentle arrival of March remained for days, after my return to the rabbitpach.  Nights warranted a soft warm blanket, mornings demanded a jacket, but the afternoons were warm enough to coax some daffodils to bloom.  I always remember being young in the spring.  For a moment, I could smell the dirt, of Pops’ freshly plowed fields. I remembered Daddys’ beloved Purple Martins and the steady watch for their “scouts” that ensued, in early spring – and kites that Daddy used to build, every year, right about this time.  Mama would be making our”Easter dresses” and keeping a close eye on the azaleas, that would put every one elses’ yard in their place, for Mama has about fifty of them and dogwoods too.  What a beautiful spectacle, they still make! . . .and it all happened in March.   
How beautiful, the world I grew up in was, I  often think. I did not feel privileged, but I felt valued. I never felt more  important than another living thing, but I did feel as  important.  One of the most priceless lessons, that I was taught, was not to need so much.  At a very young age,  I knew thoroughly, the difference of want and need.  It was absolutely fine  to wish, to hope and to dream, as long as we understood the difference between wanting and needing. I have profited from that concept all of my life.  I found out out that wants can change, if they are shallow. . . and a lot of mine were.  In some way, this taught me to define my real priorities.  I still use this concept.  Right now, I want a new percolator, for my old one quit on me without forewarning. . . but I need tires for the car, hence I am drinking instant coffee, for now. 
Some things, I learned were not from “the sunny side of life”.  None of us were shielded from  the heart ache of death.  Dogs died and foals were stillborn.  For a child, the death of  a favorite pony was a sorrowful thing and monumental yet, my elders knew that they were not raising fragile china dolls.  We were made to feel ashamed  if our actions warranted it.  How glad I am for that!  It did not cripple us to be held accountable for wrong behavior.  Instead, we sought virtue, for guilt is an awful burden.   
The one thing we were shielded from was the business of adults -and of the world.   I knew from a very early age, that Grandmama waited to iron or fold laundry or snap beans, the same hour, that “The edge of Night” aired. It was also the time for the youngest to nap and the older ones were to complete chores.  It took a terrible calamity, for us to interrupt her . To this day, I am curious about what happened in “the stories” , as she called them.   If a neighbor came to visit, we were to greet them and then scurry .  It was impolite to eavesdrop, after all.   The few times, that I managed to hear anything, they talked of someone not counting the stitches right in a quilt,or a  recipe or why somebody did not go to church, last Sunday. . .  Hardly interesting enough to captivate  .  Being wasteful  or behaving poorly in public, were considered “sins against the family”.   It may sound harsh, sometimes truth is.  There are many times, that I want to act in a disagreeable fashion, but somehow I regain control and  often, just in the nick of time,   I remember that I am still a reflection of my own “tribe”. 
 If I have given the impression, that those days were anything less than  beautiful, then I have failed-and miserably.   We were guarded tenderly and lovingly and because of that, I felt precious   -and besides between the great lessons,  we roamed the countryside for hours,unhindered.  We discovered, explored and developed wild imaginations. 
 I do not know if my elders were born full of wisdom or if they merely mimicked   their own elders,  but the results  are the same and remain, to this day.  The memories of those simple and heartwarming seasons act like a tonic, in the midst of the current chaos and shocks of these modern days.  Who knew, that playing in dirt and playing in the rain, saying our prayers and meandering through fields and woods -would make all the difference?  
    
 

26 thoughts on “All the Difference

  1. I somehow think we have failed in not letting the new generation in on our past . I’m sure they will have their own stories of the “good old days” but how could they possibly be as grand as ours were? But …life goes on and God is still directing the stage set.

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    1. I am way behind on comments, as you can see. I tell the stories of my elders and I write them too.I wish my grandchildren could experience what i did. I am quite concerned about the future, as you well know. My faith, though feeble at times, sustains me. What would we do otherwise? love always, Michele

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  2. You were a most fortunate child. Alas, we don’t choose the cultures and families and societies we are born into. All accidents of birth. As a Franco-American, I was taught to value hard work, cleanliness, and fun. All good things. I was also taught, in so many ways, that I belonged to an inferior culture of underdogs who could never be anything more than stupid, no matter how much education we received. We would would always be dumb and French. It was bred in the bone. To this day, I struggle with the resentment I feel for the larger Maine culture, the “anglais” as they were called. Francos who swore called them the “maudit anglais.” What this has given me is a compassion for underdogs everywhere. I understand the struggles.

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      1. I try not to focus too much on all the negative aspects of being Franco-American, yet facing the past can be enormously illuminating. It explains a lot. Attended a Zoom lecture yesterday given by a Franco-American scholar who spoke about Franco-American women being sterilized in Vermont because they were considered an inferior race. Yes, those were the terms used. Sigh.

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  3. It makes all the difference! To teach children right and wrong is the most important things an adult can do and increasingly difficult without religion and tradition to fall back on. To treat one another with real respect, not to focus on ourselves too much and to live in as beauty as we can.

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  4. Always love to read about the happy, tender moments of your family. The past is ever present in your mind. I too remember the good things my mother taught us. My father was usually not a good example to follow. Childhood was fun, so interesting and we were much more sheltered in a calmer era. Love and prayers to you my friend. Loved this post so much.

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    1. My dear Sweet Anne-The way you live-happily and peacefully reflects the good folks you came from. I am sorry to be tardy again with a reply. I do read every blog I follow-but can hardy leave a comment. Your posts never fail to cheer me. love Michele

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  5. I am striving to bring the past forward with me into the future.
    I am focusing on every possession and every action.
    Leaving the television off. Baking from scratch. Opening windows to the breeze, not closing them to preserve air conditioning. Making do with what I have. No online shopping.
    Using Mason jars with lids, and Correlware bowls with covers, not disposable plastic containers. Meals are made from food, not microwaved from the freezer.
    Pop Pop popcorn is popped in hot oil in a cookpot on the stove.
    We play cards and board games with pieces and physical components, dice, written scorecards. No electronic games on tiny phones.
    The dishes are china, the candy dish is crystal, the glasses are glass.
    The big skillet is cast iron.
    We don’t call someone to shovel the snow off the roof. We get out the ladder and climb.
    We don’t call someone to plow the driveway or walk the dog or jump start the car or clean the chimney. We are self-sufficient.

    You’re probably making your own list already.

    All my best,

    Scott

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    1. I read this several times. You my friend, recognize quality and deliberately surround yourself with it-crystal and china, baking and isolation from the world, at least for a while-oh there is an art to it and yes to being as self sufficent as I can-and not wasteful. We seem to always be on the same page. Go well and keep to your beautiful course! Michelex

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  6. Those days of open fields and quiet wisdom are much needed today. These days I see many children have lost their right to a nourishing and secure childhood. I too do not subscribe to the notion that we must encourage fragility in our children. Life can be hard and cruel and we must prepare our children for it but not at the cost of taking away their innocence or their right to play and dream.

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  7. Reading your posts always pull my heart strings. You so beautifully weave the words that describe you to every inch of your soul. You are a masterpiece of the generations before you~passing it down to your own children and grandchildren. To feel valued and not privileged is one’s own springboard to a life oozing with humility and compassion. Wow, I just love you and your family. Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. I think of you often. When I’m craving the life of yesteryear (and the many other lives I felt I’ve led) it stirs my soul to stay grounded, thankful, and content. And I block out the loud noises of this world to hear God’s beautiful creations sing songs of simplicity. 💛❤️💚 and your posts sing to me. ❤️

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    1. What lovely words you share so generously-I relish each thought. Indeed I had such tender care as a child-and it really does make all the difference. To know you love my family makes me love you even more! I wish we were neighbors! x Michele

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