Weekend before last the arctic cold blew in, causing our feathered friends to feed on seeds in and under the bird feeder hanging from the dogwood tree to stay warm. Our three feline friends, posted themselves on the back of the couch fixated on the birds just outside the living room window on several occasions throughout the day. Birds, and birds only. Dean captured Celine’s, Pennylane’s, and Jonas’ gaze out the window.
Do you remember the movie “City Slickers”? Do you remember what Jack Palance said to Billy Crystal about the secret of life while riding under the western sky?
“Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what YOU have to find out.”
At different seasons of my life, I find myself in Billy Crystal’s city slicker cowboy boots. And I am in one of those seasons now. I need to find out that “one thing”.
“The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets we bring to it that are small”~ quoting Mary Webb. How rich is the life that shares love, how huge is the house that shares love. This is what I experience when I visit my daughters and their families. Nothing buys this life. Only love fills it. Sharing hearts, moments, gifts, talents with each other and those neighbors they are surrounded with. Once again our small home houses a daughter and her family while they recuperate and gain financial independence again.
Dean and I were able to get away for a couple of days, visited the utopian town of New Harmony, Indiana. 200 years ago German immigrants from Pennsylvania founded this town. Today, this golf cart community has an appeal and simplicity that I can understand why it is a R & R destination for some. The roofless chapel, wooded landscape, flower gardens, quiet streets, and history to admire. Midnight, our dog loved the little lake we discovered. Swimming and lapping the cool water. This swan shared her home with us for a couple of hours. So glad she did. Co-existence … “The well of Providence is deep …”
The midwest blizzard and subzero temperatures have Dean and I snuckered in the past two days. Recovering from an upper respiratory infection, the cold air has kept me inside with hot herbal tea, fresh baked scones, fragrant glowing candles, and the love of my husband to keep my body and soul warm. Home is the place to be. Business comes to a halt as most offices are closed. We can choose to be stifled or set free. Cannot deny the snow is so beautiful, perfectly white. Snowflakes patterned a glittery shooting star on the kitchen window. Neighborhood Eurasian tree sparrows discover our cedar wreath blown under our wagon as a shelter. The berries fed our feathered friends. Photos were captured with Dean’s new digital camera. And then our red adirondack chairs contrasting with the white. The sunshine and wind cast everchanging shadows with snow drifts. Cannot wait to see the photos. “Photography… it’s the way to educate your eyes, stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop …” St. Louis born photographer Walker Evans has been quoted. We did not have to go for a hike in the country today as our home’s window panes framed the wintery scenes.
Saturday my family spent over 12 hours going through my father’s belongings. Piles of fishing & hunting gear, carpentry and gardening equipment, dog accessories, his own artwork, books, rocks; all things hobby needed new homes. Furniture would have been donated to the Goodwill, though Dad’s grandchildren desired a piece or two. Some pieces are handcrafted by my father from the Bates Family farm’s barn wood. I inherited German heirlooms passed from my father’s mother Anna Kurz, my namesake. Fine china and a walnut wardrobe built in Germany were brought to the United States in the early 1900’s when the Kurz family settled in St. Louis, Missouri. I wonder how many afternoon teas were served with the china set, and who was served? A crafty secret compartment in this wardrobe was discovered. Did Dad make this, or was this his father or grandfather’s work? Something to ask Grandpa about. It was like a life in fast motion, childhood through the many stages of adulthood wrapped up in a day.
Change … difficult at times, and welcomed at other times. Always here to stay. A life shortened, some days it’s hard to believe my father is not here any longer with us. Reality hit Saturday night into Sunday morning, as it was past midnight while driving home from Pike County, emotions raw. None of these treasures replace my father. Nothing can. Some are sweet reminders of the joys he found while alive on this earth. In June more change to come with my mother moving closer to our home into her downsized, yet elegant villa.
“Texas does not, like any other region, simply have indigenous dishes. It proclaims them. It congratulates you, on your arrival to having escaped from the slop pails of the other 49 states.” ~ Alistair Cooke ~ Quite a bold statement about the culinary creations in Texas considering the wonderful Italian pasta dishes on The Hill in St. Louis to the creamy seafood bisque found along the Oregon coast to the smoked northern pike in Minnesota. Texas is where Dean & I are headed for a mini vacation to inhale some sunshine and reunite with the Gall cousins. The family is celebrating his aunt’s 80th birthday on Saturday. We fly into Dallas/Ft. Worth tomorrow afternoon. So when you think of Texas food, do you think of huge sirloin steaks smothered with spicy BBQ sauce or keg of beer or Tex-Mex chili? Well, I think “Texas tea”. No, not the kind of “Texas tea” from Beverly Hillbillies. I am envisioning seated in a tea room sipping on a cup of rose tea and savoring a freshly baked herb scone surrounded with potted geraniums, English ivy,and lace tablecloths. Why? I am not sure, other than I am a romantic at heart. Don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoor life, earth, farming, critters, blue jeans, and cowgirl boots. But the more refined me, likes to wear a simple floral dress or blouse/skirt duo with a lace sweater and slight heels while visiting a local tea room establishment. So Dean & I will find such a vignette in Arlington/Ft. Worth area this weekend. I will write about our discoveries in “Texas Tea (Part 2)”. Maybe a recipe or two will be revealed as well.
So these are my grandchildren, Libby, Ella, Brendan (in the back) with Eli and Hannah (in the front). Yes, they are mine alright. They are loud and rowdy when they get together, like they had not seen each other in ages and catching up with each other’s news. They see each other fairly often as their mothers are best friends and sisters. I love my grandchildren despite their loud presence. I have actually learned to relax with children as I get older. It is guaranteed, they will bring a smile to my face and make me belly laugh when I am with them. Angels they are not, unless they are sound asleep on their pillows. This photo was taken on Easter at my parents’, their great-grandparents’ home in Pike County, Missouri. Libby is a precocious 8-year old, smart as a whip, and will say things as she sees them. She is a sponge with science subjects such as plants, likes to garden and camp. Libby thinks she is the ultimate authority on some matters; therefore, it is her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers who instruct her differently with her reluctance. School of hard knocks, you know. She reminds me of her mother, my daughter Elisabeth. I adore them both. Then there is 6-year old Ella. She is one investigator, discovers and researches things. Inquiring minds want to know! She is a peaceful child, though can let stubbornness ruin “the moment” unless Mom or Dad steps in. Ella resembles me in so many ways. My Dean calls her “Mini Anna”. Then there is the 1st born grandson, my 5-year old Brendan. Reading in full sentences since age 4, on the go as a new adventure character, wrestling with Dad, yet makes time to cuddle with Mom. Now there is one long word to describe 2-year old Eli … whirlwind! Maybe another word … tornado! Eli is into everything! And definitely has those “terrible two” moments. But he will bring a smile to my face when he says “I like ‘hot cream'” rather than ‘ice cream’ or when he sits next to me and wants to read a book. Well, I just love to read to children, especially my grandchildren. And finally, there is my 1st grandchild, Hannah who will be 11-years old in November. Her nickname “bug” dubbed before she even walked fits her well. Hannah loves nature and animals, bugs included. I have a ladybug stepping stone her mother and her designed for me when she was a preschooler. Hannah is a “social bug” now, loves to be in the know of the raising teenage movie and singing stars, and has limited access to online chats. I imagine a cellular phone would be her 1st choice for a birthday or Christmas gift. See if Mom & Dad are ready for that yet!? Meantime, journaling and creating art are great outlets for her. Mine, five wonderful grandchildren!
Together means 2 folks working for a common purpose, friends gathering to break bread, or a family just being … I have a few photos to share about what I said “family just being.” No plans, you know, just simply being in the same room or tent, drinking from the same cup, cooking a meal in the kitchen or campfire, discovering baby chicks … featuring my 5 grandchildren, Hannah, Libby, Ella, Brendan, & Eli.