Flowers in February and Mama Hodges


I will not continue to scold the daffodils, nor the foxglove and lilies.  February is “putting on airs” and acting like April.  It is a well done masquerade and so how can I blame the flowers, not to just go along with it?  Some of the daffodils are blooming already.   Their blossoms will not hide little eggs in shades of pink and blue, this year.

I saw some bluebirds today.  One of them was in a patch of dandelions and what a colorful sight that was.  Bluebirds are charming little birds and are dependably cheerful.   I am glad  to live in a world  with bluebirds.

Camellias are bloming now.  They are like living valentines -especially the true red and pale pink varieties.  They are a handsome lot when planted in small groves, in the corners and edges of lawns.  They are hardy bushes and not threatened by cold weather.  

My great grandmother had a birthday this week .  “Mama Hodges” was old in my earliest memories.  I never saw her wear any color but black.   She only wore dresses and always had an apron-excepting on Sunday.  On Sunday, she wore a black dress with a white lace collar-and a cameo, that had a crack in it, because a mule stepped on it, decades earlier. Her husband died in his forties and Mama Hodges wore black, because of that for forty more years.  She grew daffodils, and as far as I know, hers bloomed in March. Mama Hodges kept her house  clean and tidy-and”hot enough to cure tobacco ”   in,  year round.  When we visited, we had to sit as  still as if you were in Church.  Her kitchen smelled like pound cake at all times.  There was usually one on top of the “kelvinator” in a metal cake plate.  Children were never allowed to ask for food at anybodys’ house, when  I was young.  It was considered ill-mannered, and mama Hodges’ house was no exception.  When Mama Hodges often offered my sister and I some of that cake, we both looked at mama for the “look of approval”.   I can remember Mama Hodges, cutting us a slice, then sending us to the back porch quickly, to eat it.  There would be no crumbs in her kitchen! 

I think of the changes that Mama Hodges -and all in that generation, endured in their lives.  Mama Hodges got around by means of a wagon or carriage til well after her children were born.  Kerosene lamps lit the house.  Clothes were mostly sewn and blankets quilted-and  feeding a family, was a different predicament altogether. I remember her home as a comfortable dwelling with electricity and a telephone.  There was a bathroom with a claw-footed tub.  She had a piano and a clock, shaped like a church, with a bell in its’ steeple, that chimed out the hours.  Mama Hodges lived long enough to see her children drive fancy cars, watch “the stories” on television and to see the birth of her great-great grandchild, my Brant.

I laugh, when I hear “old people” chided because they don’t like change.  They have changed all of their life and it took real substance to endure.  I sympathize because, technology has greatly increased the rate of change in my own, close to six, decades.  I remember getting a microwave and a refrigerator with an ice-maker.  No one had cable or a computer, nor a cell phone a short while ago.  When the cable company recently changed the remote, I almost cried.  I still do not know what was wrong with the old one.

Things change, and like the seasons, they change when they want to.  I try my best to adapt and carefully consider whether or not to discard a habit, just because it is now old-fashioned.  Many modern conveniences , have proven to be wonderful and I am so very grateful for them-sometimes though, I would as soon hang clothes on a line til they smell like sunshine-and hold a book in my hand, while I read it-and I like to gather my own flowers for the table on Sunday. . . but I declare, it just ought to be in March.