Sunday, January 06, 2019

Twelfth Day, Then Epiphany

Today marks the end of Christmas.  It's the Epiphany - the day that marks the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

Today we took down the outdoor Christmas lights.  We removed the fenceline wreaths - ten of them - and hosed them down before their return to our basement.  I began removing ornaments from our Christmas Tree after brunch. 

This year's tree was tall and wide, one I'd found at the tree farm down the road.  I had decorated it with years and years of special memories, and today was a sweet review of those decades.  A tiny pair of skies - a leftover from Mrs Green's tree back in my childhood.  Mrs. Green was the perfect neighbor who had impeccable manners, saw humor, put up with us five kids next door, and was an elegant hostess.  She was the one who suggested an outing to Willard Stone's house, who was a sculptor who lived a few towns away.  His sculpture has made it all the way to the White House Rose Garden.  See how just one ornament has me tripping, merrily, down memory lane?

There's the handmade cardinal from son Graham's 6th grade teacher; Graham is now 27.  Two ornaments made by two sisters, both of which hold their grade school photos.  They're in their 30s now.  I have origami and high school geometry lessons hanging on the tree.  Oh - two of my favorites: Christmas Cow, from someone's nursery school, and Christmas Tree, also nursery school art.  They are both pretty ugly to anyone but me.  Uglier still are the two pop cans, made into a reindeer and Santa.  Santa lost his beard years ago.  The reindeer could do with some new antlers.  I may have to cull this herd next year.  Or send them to the artists' homes for their own Christmas trees.

I see the three leather camels, purchased in our newlywed year in Egypt.  And the teeny, tiny needlepoint ornament I made of our second wedding anniversary: MSU:1985, when that Spouse o' Mine began his PhD program.  I intended to make an ornament for each year, but, as so often it does, life swiftly got in the way.           

There are the three delicate baby ornaments, to celebrate three delicate lives: our babies.  I have my felt stocking ornament from Mrs.Slinkard, my 2nd grade teacher.  It still has my name glittered on it.  There is the beautiful crocheted stocking from our son's girlfriend Austen.  How sweet to have an age-old stocking ornament from someone I loved fifty years ago, and to have a beautiful (and perfect) stocking from someone we love who just entered our lives this decade.

And so it goes, my love for my wildly decorated Christmas trees.  I had an acquaintance years ago who decorated her tree with gorgeous Lenox "collection" ornaments.  It was beautiful and elegant, year after year.  I loved looking at her tree.

But, when it comes to my home and Christmas, I am so happy to re-visit all the years that my three ornament boxes hold.

Oh - and the ornament boxes?  They, too, are a sweet, sweet memory.  Years ago when my siblings and I all had young children, it was decided and decreed upon that we would draw names for gifts for "Big Family Christmas".  My sweet sister Barb had drawn our name, and she had sent us three graduating "hat boxes" full of Christmas joy.  And those three boxes, from there on, became our ornament boxes.  Every year when I pull these out of the attic, they put a smile on my face.  I think of her.  I reflect on our family.  I silently laugh at all the merriment.


Monday, July 23, 2018

July, 2018

I went to my yoga class today.  It was fun, and uplifting, an all-things-good.

Up until the savasana segment, where one lies for ~ 3-5 minutes, reflecting.  I don't know how or why, but the backyard of my childhood home came into my mind.  My Dad's rose bushes.  The wisteria on the back fence.  The three Slash Pines, a Father's Day gift from me to him, some thirty years ago.  They are sky-high and fabulous.  In my yoga mind's eye, I still see an outdoor sculpture that my Dad made many years ago.  It was not a popular work of art, and I don't know where it is, now, a year after Dad passed. 

I see Gene Beck's cats - our neighbor who harbors cats, much to my Dad's consternation.  (And this is another post for another day.)

Lying on my back, I felt tears rolling off the sides of my forehead. I took my t-shirt and wiped the corners of my eyes.   

This note is just to acknowledge that one's loss is not over in a month, or in a year.   

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I Hear Voices

Somewhere on the WWW today, a writer was describing his loss of his recently-deceased mother.  He could not hear her voice anymore.  I started thinking about this, and the first voice that came into my head was my grandmother Gram's voice.  I can still hear it!  I was in college in her elder years.  She was widowed.  I loved her.  I called her frequently, just to talk. 

"Gram?  It's Trish."

A purring voice replied, "Well, Trish, how ARE you?"

And we went nonstop from there.  I can hear her chuckle, her laugh.  I still see her smile, too.  Her era was all about china painting, and she had the patience of Job when it came to teach me how to paint.  It never took, but we had such great conversations during the process.  I wonder if she felt the same?  I did and do appreciate the time she spent, talking to me.

There was once, when Gram took me, a young pre-teen, to the grocery store in her tiny town on an errand.  There, we ran into an acquaintance of Gram's - an elderly woman who had monocular vision.  (Think: Marty Feldman).  Now, I was not a stranger to monocular vision - my own sweet mother had monocular vision, and it never occurred to me that something was amiss with her eyesight until I was a teenager and a neighborhood friend asked me, "What's wrong with your Mom's eyes?"  And I had no clue, no clue at all, to which she was referring.  But maybe that's another blog post altogether...

Gram introduced this lady to me, we exchanged niceties, and that was that.  So I thought.  But the lady turned to us (Gram and me) as she left the checkout, and she said something.  I thought she was talking to Gram.  It LOOKED like she was talking to Gram.

As soon as the lady was out of earshot, Gram gave me the only chastisement I think I ever received from her.

"When someone speaks to you, you need to reply."

I had no idea what Gram was saying to me.  But I remember her voice. 

Gram had an old lady singing voice, which I loved.  I only heard it when we went to church together.  But I remember it.  Memory plays a sweet part of our lives.  Some of the replies to this writer's post told of recording voices, and saving voicemail messages from loved ones.  I understand that - it was difficult for me to erase voicemails from my parents, the years prior to their passings.  I DID erase them.  I DO hear their voices, thank God. 

So.  I hear voices.  They are a comfort.   


Twilight Swims

In the summers here in rural Kansas, I enjoy going to two different pools for swimming on any given day.  At noon, I can go to a lap swim at the local, really-rural pool, which is offered for only 45 minutes.  That means I can go and swim like a salmon upstream, to get my laps in.  Or, I can loll in the cool and look neither at watch nor fingers (how I track my laps!) and get that noon-time sun/Vitamin D intake that our physicians abhor.

Or I can go to the larger town's Twilight Swim, from 6:00 - beyond.  I love this time of day at the pool!  There are families, kids, teens, lap swimmers - you name it.  All good fun.  This place, like other cities nowdays, has a whole complex of waterworks to entice the community: lap swimming, a deep diving well, a splash pad (for toddlers), a Lazy river (I am not sure), another place for wannabe surfers or some sort?  Suffice to say, it's a fun place to enjoy active humanity in July.  Even the name is enticing.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Living Room

An evening in mid-May sees me sitting in our old living room (as opposed to our new one), on the gay floral linen love seat.  It's a comfy and firm seat, with glorious peonies or hydrangeas (or both) on a pale yellow background.  Just what one wants in a small sun room.  (And in a sunny disposish: a delicate buttercream of demeanor, sprinkled with vibrant petals of repartee and textures of intelligent discourse.)

The seasons are so evident in this room.  There is a west window, not too large, which magnifies the sun's stretch across the horizon, if one is observant.  The winter window is hardly discernible, given all the potted plants over-wintering.  If we see the winter setting sun, it's too far south from this window, and this room is dark most winter days.  The potted plants stretch to gain any sun that they can.  The piano and the cello are in use now, in this little old living room.

In Spring, the very low horizon sunlight of the new-found sunrise only goes to magnify the glorious hardwood floors - and its dust in the old living room.  This hardwood is original to this ca. 1887 farmhouse.  Some Spring mornings see me grabbing a dry dust mop to attend to such while our morning coffee is brewing. 

Summertime!  It's already hot outdoors.  In the late afternoon, I eagerly come in here to enjoy the cool of the room, and the dark, which gradually and good-for-the-soul, turns into a sunny room with then, a "day is done" sunset out that west window.

And that's where I am now: sitting on the love seat, reading, watching the sunset, planning tomorrow's gardening agenda.  And, late that it is, I can still see that summer horizon out of the west window of this little old living room, with our old, old trees lining our road, with that dark summer silhouette.

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