In Memory of My Father


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The death of a good father may be one of the hardest things, a human has to endure.  I do not know now, how the sorrow will ever be tolerable, but I suppose it will.  I suppose, one day, I will not cry .  I have never buried a parent.  All I know, for now is that this a different kind of grief.

The service was on Thursday.  Only a limited number of people could attend, due to the pandemic.  A handful of friends gathered, but were asked to stay in their car.  It was already a sorrowful time, but to have to work within the  current mandates, was taxing. Not even our immediate family could gather to comfort one another.   Good neighbors and beloved friends dropped dishes on the porch, and could not be invited in, but instead thanked “through the door.” 

I have never cared about flowers, as I would rather someone spend that money on food for the hungry . . .and with the florists, all closed, in our small town, we couldn’t have bought flowers our selves.   When we arrived, for the service, there was a single spray of flowers, from our cousin, Chuck, who had used an out of town florist.  A it turns out, flowers do matter to me.  Those flowers were like the nights, when there is a single star in the sky.   

Since Daddy was a veteran, he had asked for a military service not because he wanted the recognition . . he wanted Mama to have a flag.  When she was presented a flag, I couldn’t help but think, that this was his final gift to Mama. 

The day after the funeral, was as sad as any other one before it.  There was so much work to be done, however, that we were just too busy to dwell for any length of time, on our grief.  Connie took care of the business that comes with  death, an awful task, I think. Delores and I packaged food, which meant cleaning out cabinets and refrigerators and freezers.  I remain grateful and humbled by the way of good people. for the one thing that we did not have to fret over, was food.  We hung clothes on the line together, like we did as children.  That was a sweet moment.

We all took another visit to the grave together and carried flowers from the yard.  I thought to sprinkle some soil from home.  It was what we could do.

We all returned to our homes afterwards -at Mamas’ insistence.  Mama is exhausted, heartbroken and heartsick -all at once.  She had a crush on daddy at the tender age of fourteen . . .and so she married him, just a few short years later.  She still lives on the a parcel of the farm, that she grew up on.  They would have been married 62 years in June, yet in Daddys’ last days, she laid beside him, her head on his shoulder, and looked like a young girl in love. I knew I was looking at a love story-an incredible story that had weathered hardships, survived calamities and stood together in victory, at last.  They won their race.

Now, that the “dust has settled”, I am back at the rabbitpatch, where the roses are in full bloom -and every floor needs scrubbing.  I thought as I pulled grass along the garden path and more when I hung out the clothes on the line.  I just missed every day, before this one.  I missed the “Sunday dinners”  and the day I played the piano,for Daddy, while an entire entourage gathered in my kitchen for a surprise birthday party, I missed Christian and I playing Hank Williams songs because Daddy loved Hank Williams.  The soil swallowed my tears and the wind blew my sadness, til there was less of it.  I even half heartedly, thanked the roses before I came in.

Grief is as natural as joy and I reminded myself of that as I went along with my chores.  Grief may be as good a lesson as any  I know of, though it may also be the hardest to bear, for I thought of the beautiful legacy Daddy left, and that legacy was created by the substance of his life.  If there is ever a time  for me to reflect on  the contents of my time, on this earth  .  . it is now.  I must consider, my priorites and make sure they are practiced.  What will my children see as my legacy, I wondered.  Is my “truth” beautiful?  I started a mental list of things to improve upon-and so grief is a lesson, after all.

Now, my dad left this planet, but his story will remain, for I will  tell it to his great grand children.  They deserve to know their heritage was forged by a great -great grandmother who raised  children, that grew into noble adults.  Daddys’  brother, Uncle Randy was a gentle  soul.  He was so kind to me.   . .well, I have never met a Warren”  that I didn’t love right off.  . .and since Uncle Randy has also passed, Daddy is in especially good company. 

So far, not a one of the Warrens, “have taken a single thing” with them.  We always say that, but I fear, we do not always really act like we understand it.  My dear and kindred friend ,  Scott of Pazlo, really says it best, when he refers to our earthly  castles as  mere “sand castles”. 

We are going to work all of our life, at something.  We will accomplish what we work for and we ought to be aware of that.  . . another thing to remember.

   “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints” 

 

 

Beautiful, Holy and Sorrowful


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I came to my parents’ house on Wednesday -that was the day my self imposed “quarantine” ended.  Daddy had been having one bad day after another, and I knew Mama was in need of support.  I just wanted to be as safe as I could, so I wanted to observe my self imposed quarantine, before going to my parents’ home.  I do not think I came a minute too soon. 

Daddy has mostly been in bed since I arrived.  To say he is doing poorly, is an understatement.  I am so thankful, he is peaceful and rarely shows any sign of distress.  When he does wake, we are with him.  we can hardly understand anything he says recently . . .but the first day, he told me a story.  It was new to me, but Mama confirmed it.

I was telling daddy about Tres, who we all think is so much like my dad-in looks and actions.  Of course, regular readers know, that I was bragging about how well Tres was doing in school, how impressed the professors were, how he was helping one of them, with the new remote process of classes-oh, I went on and on.  Daddy listened and then said “I was the smartest.”  I smiled and said “you are so smart, and always have been.”  He said again “I was the smartest.”  Mama chimed in and said “He was the “valedictorian”.  The story was that Daddy had been sent a letter declaring him this honor.  He remembered sitting at the kitchen table with Grandmama reading it-and how happy they both were.  When he walked in the school for graduation, and to receive his award, he was approached by- in his words – “a mean old lady that worked at the school”, who promptly informed him, he had missed too many days to be valedictorian, and it would go to another student.

Daddy said he had missed a good thirty days of school, because he had to help with farming.  Grandaddy was quite unreliable, while my own dad was growing up and so my Uncle Randy and my dad as young boys had to work tirelessly to “save that farm”.  The odds were stacked against daddy ever being a graduate, and especially a valedictorian.  I was proud and heartbroken all at once.  I was quite angry, too,  I still am.  In fact . . if I knew that “mean old ladys’ name, I would tell you and the rest of the world, too.  I am just that shallow, at times.

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Some of the days have been very quiet.  Neighbors and friends call, all offering to help in any way they can.  Folks have dropped off all sorts of foods, on the porch.  Only the immediate family comes in and even then, we take precautions.  When daddy awakens, we all take turns visiting with him.  I told someone this was  one beautiful, holy and sorrowful time.

 I have spent a good deal of time, quietly.  I relive my childhood memories, trying to tuck every detail of Daddy, deeply, in my heart. 

I look across the fields of winter wheat at the woods, where we gathered leaves for the annual leaf collection  projects at school.  I wondered  if children still do that. I look at the big sky . . .and remember those kites.  There is a curve, just before my parents’ home, and I could still  see him rounding that bend, coming home from work and  all of us running wildly to Mama,  proclaiming his arrival.  It was a wonderful time, in those days when ” a daddy came home.”  Groups of  playing children would  become smaller and smaller, as children ran home at the sight of their daddy coming home.  

We used to look at constellations and in those days, you could see the “Milky Way”  on clear nights. As a child I imagined running  across the sky on that starry path.  I never see the milky way over the rabbitpatch, without remembering Daddy calling us out to see that streak of silver across the night sky.

And then there are the birds .  . .Country children were well versed in bird and birdsong identification, when I was a child.  It was considered as essential to learn as your “ABC’s”.  The lessons were not formal and so we cheerfully learned the songs of  the woodland birds quite naturally . . .in the evenings, after supper.

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The days run on like a soft, melancholy tune.  Both of my sisters and a brother in law came and  so sometimes “there are shining moments”.  How much dimmer the days would be without them.

On Saturday, Brant and Tres came.  When they left, the house and yard were clean, and both of them got in a visit with their grand daddy. When they left, daddy fell in to a deep sleep . 

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That was the last day, that daddy tended to earthly business.  The next two days were long and grim.  We tucked “miniature prayer shawls” in his hands and waited . . .for God.  God was not in a hurry and so the somber hours dragged by.  

Easter day was mild and full of shine.  Daddy slept, while the dogwoods bloomed.  That is about all I have to say about Easter this year.

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On Easter Monday, we knew the time was almost nigh. I asked God to show daddy something so beautiful, that daddy would want to leave.  I told Daddy, that  he didn’t have a thing to worry about, for he had  given us all that we needed for our own journeys. I mentioned how grand it was to be left such an inheritance of things that “moth and rust will not corrupt”, as birds, and trees and stars do not fade with time, nor diminish in value but instead remain pure and easily passed on to my own children . . and all those children, yet to come. . . Still, daddy lingered.   The evening was a melancholy time.  I sat on the porch and remembered that Tres had been listening to  Daddys favorite music.  Jenny had asked earlier if Daddy had music as he slept.  I thought to go sing to daddy.  I went to his bedside, to find Delores sitting and singing so quietly to daddy.  I asked her to sing with me. Connie came in a few minutes later, and she joined us.  Mama came next.  None of us planned it, but somehow , we  all ended up gathering at his bedside, singing the old hymns. Within about twenty minutes, Daddy true, to his nature, left peacefully.   We sang him “all the way home”. It was beautiful, holy and sorrowful.

 

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Abiding Faithfully . . .on the Rabbitpatch


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There are no “coming and goings” at the rabbitpatch, not any “Sunday dinners” nor any visits with the grandchildren, to write about in the diary.  We are all home, Kyle, Christian and I , working together, and carefully monitoring the pantry.  I did go out once, to the empty school to get my plants.  We stopped by my parents to give them a few supplies, but we stayed in the yard and blew kisses when we left.

Thankfully, the rural county where we live does not report many cases of the epidemic, sweeping the land, but we abide faithfully on the rabbitpatch, for really, the whole thing did start with just one case, after all.

The “news” at the rabbitpatch, is that the bluebells are blooming and the azaleas are planning to shortly.  The last few days have been so windy, that just walking around the territory makes you feel battered.  I do not know how the tender blossoms stay fastened . . but they do.

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On this morning, the dawn was bright.  The wind was light, gently stirring the young, jade leaves of the sycamores.  Maybe, the boys will mend the picket fence today and I will resume spring cleaning.  I did finish, the kitchen, but a toothache, rendered me quite unproductive yesterday.  A toothache is an awful thing.  I spent most of the day rinsing with salt water . . and sleeping.  I did not lay a finger on the vacuum or any dust rags.  Later, I decided it really could be a sinus infection. All I knew was that the side of my face was swollen and hurt everywhere . I prayed no one else, in the whole world, would get a toothache or a sinus infection, most especially now in the midst of the current situation.

One day, I made a “tandy cake”.  I had not made one in several years.  It is one of Kyles’ favorites, so he was glad that I sacrificed two sticks of butter and several eggs , on this behalf.  

I have always been a thrifty person.  I was taught in youth not to be wasteful and my elders proved this belief by their practices.  It has stuck with me all of my life.  Now, more than ever, I am glad this comes naturally, but never before, have I thought twice about making a cake.  The fact that I did, speaks volumes.

I suppose we are all thinking twice, these days . . .about a lot of things.  I wonder what things will linger.  An event of this significance surely warrants great consideration.  The experts do not predict this to be a quick race, after all.  

When I was young, I remember, being taught “not to drink after anybody, unless they were family.”  Of course, this included a gaggle of cousins. . .but apparently we did not have “germs”, in our family.  In those days, anyway, if we were thirsty, we went to the water hose and passed it to one another.  I shudder to think at how much dirt we ate.     In the afternoon, there was always a “break” on the farm, observed by everyone. I shared my cookie with my dog, without a bit of hesitation. If I dropped the cookie, I brushed the ants off and finished eating it, quite merrily.

Now, I am wondering when we will ever be unsuspecting of anywhere public.  . . or if we will ever touch a shopping cart, bare handed, comfortably.  Will we truly come out of this unscathed?  That seems unlikely. I thought about these things, while in the “Quiet Garden”  as I was trying to save a climbing rose from a greedy, and uninvited privet bush.

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I miss having geraniums to plant now . . .I miss  the casual trips to the grocery  . . but most of all, I miss visits with the grandchildren!  Lyla has her “golden birthday” on Sunday.  She will be five years old!  Ryan has cut his first tooth-and Brynn has learned to say “ice cream”.  I just miss everybody.

I am accustomed to solitude . . .and seek it daily.    . .but I am so very glad to have Kyle and Christian here.  Hardly even a car passes by the rabbitpatch, these days.  The rambling old house, affords us plenty of space and there is no lack of things to do. Christian plays his guitar and piano, composes music, writes and paints.  Kyle has been doing repairs and I am learning how to attend “zoom” meetings and give remote lessons, besides writing and reading . . .and traipsing the territory.  One day, I saw a farmer in a distant field and realised I had not  even seen a neighbor in any yard, in a long while.  It was very comforting to see the farmer going about  usual business and doing it in a familiar way.                                             a5388adabbb09dcf70a61173bf3d4c02

The day of Lylas’ fifth birthday dawned fair.  It reminded me of the Sunday she was born.  That was the first time, that the youngest dogwood bloomed at the rabbitpatch. Lyla would not have a big party, this year.  She did invite a doll, a stuffed kitten and a stuffed bunny.  Jenny went all out on decorations and a fancy cake,as a consolation.  As much as Lyla loves parties, Jenny said all went well, and that Lyla was content with her “golden birthday” celebration.

Just a few short weeks ago, I was there.  We had big plans for a long weekend gathering, in April.  I thought school would be closed a couple of weeks and thought how lovely it would be, to walk by that laughing river, as often as I pleased.  I planned a trip to Wake Forest to have some time with Ryan.  

Now, I knew, before this crisis, that “plans” are often futile.  We simply can not plan, for what we do not see coming.  I did not see this coming-not to this extent.  Of all the things, I imagined the future could hold, a pandemic was not one of them.  I do not care, how old we are, we “have not seen everything.”  

At least for now, my family is well and adhering to the policies in place, with great fortitude.  I have even learned how to order groceries on line and simply drive to the grocery and wait for someone to put them in the car -and just leave!  You can order, all you want, but do not bank on getting all of your list.  Still, what a wonderful service and much more safe than entering the store.

Daddy has not had many good days, these last few weeks.  Mama and I talk off and on all day, but she has had a lot to shoulder.  My  own two week quarantine, ends officially tomorrow, and  though I will continue to observe isolation, from people and public places, I  do hope to visit my parents.  

 

While I was away …all this happened!

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April Piece


I love this blog! Every post is written artfully and tenderly. The author is as wonderful, as his words. I can not keep this secret, for we ought to let others know, when we find something good.

Armchair Zen

Noni among the flowers

Such newfound joy I behold each year
When April’s song bends my ear.
The robins’ whistle by the fence,
The gobble of the turkey thence.
The warblers chatter, the swallows dart
In living, breathing, springing art.

From Earth rises all manner of things,
As if for the deaf April also sings.
First crocuses, Colt’s Foot and shad will bloom,
Then tulips and daffodils vie for room.
Trees, still leafless, seem eager and greener,
As if taking cues from the grass’s demeanor.

The sky looks bluer, the clouds fly higher,
The sun warms our face like the past winter’s fire.
The wind brings with it no freezing strife,
But the essence of growth, the breath of life.
As each day grows longer ‘tween end and start,
So, too, warms and grows hope in the heart.

Slainte,

Paz

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“Look at the Birds of the Air”


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The dawn on Sunday , proclaimed the new day in a whisper.  Gentle light fell over the countryside, casting faint shadows.  Even the birds , tried to keep the new day a secret, for they abandoned their usual chatter.  Sometimes, beautiful things slip in our lives quietly, without a bit of fanfare.  I love mornings, in any shape or form.

I did start the spring cleaning, though I haven’t broken a sweat about it.  I was sure that my bedroom would be as easy as  eating cake.  It took all day and then some.  Yesterday, I started in the kitchen.  I dreaded the thought of it and most especially, at a time when the cabinets are at full capacity.   . . which really is something to be grateful for.  

Kyle has made himself scarce, since I announced the “spring cleaning project”.  True to his word, he has been cleaning the territory.  He even got the lawn mower working.  Oh!  how much better things looked!   I bet , my neighbor, Susan was as happy as I was, to see the fresh cut lawn as she tended to the mowing, most of last summer.  I looked around at the clean sheets  on the line, billowing playfully in the slight breeze.   . .and there were the violets along the winding footpath to the garden and the cherry tree with sparse, but very fragrant blossoms.  . . and a single white tulip blooming by the back door..  My heart swelled with gladness at the goodness of it all.  This place may be old and shabby and can not even boast  of a dishwasher, but it is not short on charm. 

I spent  the day, in the kitchen.  Most days, I am quite satisfied to have such an extensive collection of spices . . . it was not this day.  (The spices did not get packed up, last year.) It was tedious work, and several needed new labels.  I am quite particular about my spices. 

The secret of the new day, got out , for the sun told it to anybody that would listen.  By noon, bright silvery light  flooded the territory.  It was so quiet, for not a single car rode by, and not a neighbor was in sight.  Tomorrow, the circumstances get much more strict.   We are not to leave our homes and there are few exceptions.  I have already been practicing this.  Of course,  I have quite an advantage, since I enjoy solitude and have all sorts of work and hobbies to entertain myself with.  The worse thing for me, is of course, not seeing my children and grand children.  If the projections are accurate, then it will be a long while.

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I do not know when I quit worrying, but it was much more than a decade ago, I think.  Worry never changed anything, except my well being. A lot of the things, I worried about, never even happened.  The elders used to say, “Don’t borrow trouble” and went about their business.  It seems they were always right about most things.  Of course, there is scripture, to support this saying.   Matthew chapter 6,  really does sum up “faith” and I have often relied on this passage.  , ,and in fact, I have painted a portion of it on one of the barns, along with birds.  ..Look at the birds of the air . . .”

Because I am not known to worry, I am considered to be carefree, by others.  It is mostly true, after all, but I declare  that this current epidemic warrants a degree of concern.   . .and caution.  To me, worry  and concern are like first cousins to one another.  Mighty close ,  and they may favor, but they go to different homes, at night.  Worry is anxious and it feels hopeless and so desperate.  Concern is awareness and alert observance, and proceeding with  great thoughtfulness.  Now, not a dictionary, I know of, says such a thing, but it is how I feel .

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Monday was fair a day as has ever been.   I  still have work to do in the kitchen.  There were just a couple of cabinets left-and they do not require the work, that the spice cabinet did, thankfully.  In that case, I had plenty of time to meander in the glory of  a day in spring.  There can never be too much of that . . .even should I live to a hundred and walk every springtime, I live to see. 

Now, the wisteria blooms. Their blossoms are lavender and form into clusters, that look like those of grapes.  Some of them bloom now, in the patch of young woods.  I find them beautiful and such a hallmark of spring . . .but i can not look at the darling flowers of the vine, without remember my friend “Sweet Anne”  of Mehrling Muse”,  for she does battle with one  wisteria every year. These vines  are beloved . . if they are in the woods.  They are hard to tame in the landscape, and will consume porches and gazebos and their neighbors, if you but blink.  Now, “Sweet Anne” feeds the birds, for she is that kind . . .but she is a warrior when it comes to wisteria.

Some of the wild irises are blooming too.  How they got along the edge of the woods, will remain a mystery, to me. Behind, the oldest barn, is a small orchard and how happy I was to see the pale pink apple blossoms.  The bright yellow Japanese roses are blooming in mass and so though the orchard looks shabby, and needs tending, there us an undeniable beauty.  The orchard is just bit wild now, and I almost prefer it, that way, I think.

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One of the things that I love about nature,  is that  it is so dependable.  Come fire, hail, sleet or high water, nature recovers and goes on to thrive.  I remember when my grandmama died.  She was ninety-three and up until the last few months of her life, she was still sweeping floors at the rabbit patch.  She was a tender soul with the heart of a lion, as  she had proved by living through hard times, that most of us have never seen the likes of . . .yet she remained gentle . . and full of light. 

The night of her death,  there was a bright flaxen moon over the field . . .There it was shining, as if nothing in the world had changed.  It was not one of my best moments, for  I am the one that quarreled with the moon. How heartless ,  that moon was to glow like  that.    It seemed to be making quite a grand production of its’ shine.  Without a bit of shame,  I stated my feeble case fiercely.  In the spring, I took no pleasure when the lilac thrift bloomed -nor the roses in the “Quiet Garden”.   Grandmama loved flowers. 

Now, years later, I am  sure, that the moon was grieving, as I was.  Maybe, the truth was that it was shining so brightly, because my world was so dim, that night.  With times being what they are, I  finally realise that  not only does nature feed us, clothe us, and shelter us . .  and supply us with perpetual beauty . .   It also comforts  us with things like  apple blossoms. . .and that unwavering moon. 

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Landing on the Rabbitpatch-Part II


The very next day, after Miss J, accepted my offer- her real estate agent called me.  She talked very fast, as if she was late for something, but I heard her say, that I was required to make a $10,000 dollar down payment to proceed.  I apologized, for I had not even counted on that.  “Oh dear!” I said.  “I have an amount saved, but it will take all of it, to just make it livable” and I apologized for wasting her time.  Then she asked, what I had planned on . . .and I said, without a bit of thought . .”Nothing.”  Now she was shocked.  We hung up and I did feel sorry to have been so ignorant of the business of buying a house.   

In my defense, I had never bought a house, by myself.  I must learn  the business of buying a house, I thought . . and then I ate my lunch.

“Lo and behold!”  The agent called that evening to say, the down payment was waived and that Miss J would finance the house for two years, while repairs were made, so I could then finance it through a bank,( like a “normal person” would, I thought, later).  This time, I would have a contract, protecting  me from calamity.

For weeks, I worked on the old farmhouse, after work.  Mama and Daddy lived just fifteen minutes away, and they helped me,  Daddy had to work on the water pump, right off.  The boys gathered tires, tin, bricks and car batteries for days, for the territory was littered with such things.

One day, a lady came and introduced herself as “Miss Sylvia”  She gifted me with a cookbook from the ladies in the community.  I liked Miss Sylvia right off.  She was my first friend in “Farm Life” and the cookbook is now, my favorite one.  Another time, a truck with four men came.  My boxer was raising cane about it.  The driver asked me if I were going to “call him off” and I said “I don’t know just yet.”  The driver, then introduced himself and the other men, as neighbors who were there to help, should a need arise.  I called the dog off and thanked them.  The driver  said, “you have a bad dog, but he is handsome.”  I said “Tell everybody, you know!”

For several weeks, folks came to welcome us.  Everyone of them asked me how in the world, I bought the place, for as it turns out, many of them had tried to buy the house or knew somebody that did, over the years,  but Miss J wouldn’t hear of it.

For the next two years, we worked every hour afforded .  We tackled the barns and the territory. One winter, we made the wooded path.  We had no machinery and so it took a long time.  One Saturday, I had worked til about dark.  I was dirty and so tired, I walked in the back door, threw a sheet on the couch, and laid right there-dirt and all.  I was asleep in minutes. The phone rang and I did not care.  I could hardly move.  The phone rang and rang, but I was too tired to even go answer it.  Suddenly my neighbor Molly, burst in screaming “Your barn is on fire!!!”  I sprang up like a rocket and ran like I was young . . .it wasn’t the barn, but a burn pile, had ignited right by an old barn.  -Never build a fire on peat soil, for it will spread underground and pop up anywhere.  We worked til almost midnight.

I planted flowers and bushes, that second year.  The whole place became  one big  garden.  We also made a vegetable garden.  I would not even allow fertilizer in it-we used our compost, instead.  I have never used any chemical where our food grew.  I made an herb garden, too.  I painted flowers on some of the barns and verses and hung wreaths, till at long last, the man from the bank came.

On that day, you could have eaten off every floor in the house.  He walked around and looked at every part of the house.  He was a likable man and we chatted easily.  When the tour was done, he began writing on his papers and assured me that all was well.  I said “but you need to see the land and the barns . . .”  He smiled and said, “no, I have what I need.” . ..and I said “You are going to see the barns.”  He chuckled and agreed, to appease me.  Goodness, we had spent every day of that winter working and somebody needed to know that!  So we walked and he looked at the barns.  The biggest barn had been converted to a a rustic dining room and I had tables with gingham cloths draped over them . .and curtains to match.  There was an old china cabinet and upstairs, there was old iron beds with clean sheets . . .and a balcony.  ( And yes, we did camp out in that barn, on occasion)  He walked the wooded path, too for he was that good natured.  

He left, applauding my efforts and assuring me, that I had met the criteria to get the loan.  The boys were so anxious  to know if we had  made it.  I said joyfully . .” .Yes! ”  They asked “well, what are we going to do now? ”  I said “go play”. . .and they did.

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That is how it happened.  I named the place the “rabbitpatch”  for several reasons .  . .one being my maiden name is “Warren”, which means basically, where rabbits live.  There is a large community of rabbits here, that love apples and strawberries, well gardens too.  Then, my Lyla was born on Easter Sunday and so the name just fit. 

More than a decade, has passed since all that happened.  The years were filled with picnics, family reunions, egg hunts, tea parties, Sunday dinners and Jenny and Wills’ engagement party.  Grandmama spent her last years here.  The boys became young men and I got older, and so did the house and the barns. 

Miss Sylvia was my friend, a dear one, to the day she died. The truck full of farmers, were as dependable as they had said.  They removed fallen trees here, when hurricanes hit, fixed the lawn mower, hung chandeliers and the year my garden drowned, they brought produce by the truck loads, here.  One neighbor , Susan, now mows my yard when my mower doesn’t work-which was most of last summer. “Uncle Donnie and his wife, “princess Leyta”,  and Jamie at the horse farm, well, there are a lot of good folks, in Farm Life.

I am not sorry for any of it, for there have been some golden years at the rabbitpatch.  One day, I will move to a little house, on a little rabbitpatch and I will plant flowers and an apple tree, at least.  I will certainly not leave empty handed though for I have tucked the memories deep in my heart.  Just maybe, you really can “live off love.” and if you can, then I am a “big shot”who hit the “jack pot”!

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How I Landed on the RabbitPatch – Part I


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Most of my regular readers know that I almost sold the rabbitpatch, not once, but twice in the last two years.  It is a grand place, in many ways and awful in other ways.  The farmhouse is a big one and mighty old.  The rooms are all a nice size and for an old house, there is nice lay out.  I loved it, the minute I saw it . . love at first sight.   . .but  it is old.

The territory around it has bragging rights.  There are peach, apple, pear, pecan and cherry . .and fig trees.  There is an old grape vine too.  All of them are so very generous, too.  Old oak trees surround the house like warriors, ready to defend its’ honor – and a grove of pine trees whisper , in the slightest breeze.  There are friendly neighbors on either side and across the road  and a huge plot of fields behind it.  The sky is so big at the rabbitpatch . . .and full of birds.  There is also a patch of young woods -and everywhere you look , there is a barn or shed of some sort.  

This is the story of how I “landed on the rabbitpatch” . . .It happened like this. . .

In the spring of 2005, I was looking for a house.  I found a small, quaint house in the oldest town in North Carolina, Bath-just twenty minutes from the school, where I still work.  The lot was nice and of course, the little house was old.  I knew the lady, that owned the house.  She had inherited it and said she didn’t need it.  In that case we made a deal and so I began cleaning it up, which was no small task, as it had been empty, for two years.  Every weekend, the boys and I worked, til at last, lights were on and the kitchen was stock piled.  A few days, before the weekend we would move . . the owner called and said casually, “I just sold the house.”

I was speechless.  She went on and said, “Now, don’t worry-something better will come along.”, as if  we were talking about a  rained out picnic.  I was so hurt, that I couldn’t feel angry.  . . but my Mama sure could!  I was  too shocked and dreaded telling the children. 

Weeks passed, and the disappointment  faded.  I am not sure why, but I never did get angry, instead I was sullen.  I no longer, had the same regard for the lady, but it wasn’t because of my righteousness . . . I was weary and also, I had been praying a long time about things, so if I had an argument, it was with God, after all.  

One rainy day, Mama and I went house hunting.  This time, in the neighboring county of the one my parents, still live in.  We met with an agent, at another old house.  He was a friendly man and since,  I wasn’t interested in the deal on the house we were looking at, he suggested another  house, near by.

This time, I felt a spark, but I also felt cautious.  I did not want to go through another broken heart, anytime soon . . but the place was lovely.  The old trees were like the icing on my cake, for I care more for the land, than most folks.  The house was open, and so I went in.  Mama was sure that we were breaking the law and just glanced nervously around.  

We saw someone next door working in flowers and decided to ask her about the property.  As it turned out, she was the owner.  She did not want to sell, but instead wanted to rent it.  I wanted to buy and so we exchnged phone numbers as she had another house for sale, and I knew of someone who might be interested. 

Several weeks passed, and then I got a call from the owner, “Miss J”.  She asked me had I considered renting anymore, but I assured her that I wanted to own my next home.  She made me an offer, but it was much more than I could afford.  The next day she called again and told me to make an offer and so I did and she accepted!  Well, we will see, I thought.  I was not about to jump on another “high horse”.   . .but I remembered the wild irises, fondly.

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