Sunday, January 31, 2016

Just a Few Words

Dear mom, she never cared too much about gardening. It was dad who had the green thumb.. just more work for her, having both hands full with us kids. Bless her. What to do with "all those tomatoes" for instance. Surely that thought came to her one blistering hot day in late August thinking of the job ahead; canning the back garden harvest. That summer day is my earliest and most vivid tomato memory.

A lady from church came by to visit and Mom, generous as she always was, but going a tad overboard, gave her the whole lot from the garden. I mean every single one of dad's cherished red tomatoes. I don't think she really meant to give it all to our visitor but, caressed with encouragement she just, got carried away. Well you could have lit a match and no more fireworks could ever erupt from that house then when dad arrived home from work! I smile now at the unfortunate memory but some days, when I am here working in the kitchen trying to 'put by' as they say, I feel perhaps mom had a good idea there. (Sometimes fireworks are worth enduring, if you don't have to can tomatoes ;-) By the way, I did speak up to mom and the church lady that dad 'won't be happy' in my quiet be a good little girl voice...and the lady with her three bags full did have a glimpse, just a tiny glimpse of guilt on her face, but only for a moment...then she walked out the front door like a queen...the 'tomato queen'.
Life is turning to a new normal here. Most of dad's old seed catalogues, given to me decades ago are read year after year. As for the new catalogues of today, they've been poured over, penciled and stuck with fluttery sticky notes. Needless to say, that first list is the "I want all of it" list. After that, is the "smarten up Brenda" list. But soon, the orders will go in and soon, we will start our own tomatoes and the new growing year.  Never to be like any other year before; a new beginning built on the past, including its loss.
You see... mom passed away days before Christmas eve, so you can imagine what it was like saying goodbye to the matriarch of our family who LIVED for Christmas. Her generosity was overwhelming, all of her life. "Do good and be kind". Those words would sum up my mother's life. Someone recently said to comfort: as long as that person lives in you, they are not gone, nor are they forgotten. I do feel her there, inside, in my heart and mind, and although she doesn't respond to my questions, my pleas or my jokes, she is there. Thankfully.

Magnolia blooms are asleep, warm in their furry pods. Witch Hazel 'Diane' has been feasted on, but the rabbits own the garden too, and the birds and the squirrels. We must provide for the littlest among us. Hope, and promise, the words and value of spring shared recently here. We must have hope and there is promise. For now, that is what sustains.

Linked to dear friend Pondside.