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Showing posts with label remembering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label remembering. Show all posts

Saturday, July 22, 2017

One Question...



One morning a few days ago, a writing friend who posts thoughtfully on FaceBook, posted the simple question, "What is the coolest thing you have ever done?"

I do not often enter threads of conversation like this, but this one so intrigued me as I read some of the comments that I quickly typed in one of my own, without considering more than a few seconds.

So many...birthing 3 sons! Sitting in front of a peat fire in Ireland with a cat in my lap while the innkeeper told ghost stories, watching butterfly caterpillars munch on dill with my 3 yr granddaughter this morning.

The answers kept coming, but more than that, I started thinking. Not constantly, but an all day, in and out kind of musing - not unlike the repeating melody when an old song is mentioned and you can't get it off your mind. Others were returning to the question as well, adding another cool thing they remembered. I kept returning to scene after scene in my mind, but the next thought I posted referred to times I have been allowed to play  musical instruments I would never have dreamed I would see or touch.

Played the organ in Gereja Immanuel, the oldest church in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Played the piano in Shipman House B&B, Hilo, Hawaii which was once played by the last Queen of Hawaii.

There are a great many ways I could have responded.  Some of them are constants, so much with me that I do not single them out. Years of growing into the certainty of God's love and faithfulness.  Loving and staying married to Joe for almost 54 years. Moving 21 times in the first 28 years of our marriage, and making it home every time. Knowing by heart the stories of my ancestry, and the legacy of faith and love modeled for me since I was born. Surviving a massive postpartal hemorrhage that nearly claimed my life when my first son was one week old. Being witness to the courage and determination of our youngest son as he lost his vision. Added to the births of our own children, being part of the birth experiences of grandchildren. Being gifted with corneas from people I will never know for transplants that restored my vision. 

Flying as a passenger in a jet plane piloted by my son. Admiring the homework, the family buiding of our sons and our daughters -in-law. Living in Jakarta, Indonesia for 4 1/2 years, learning a language I had never heard before, hearing the sounds of mosques and gongs and cik -caks and street vendors.  Traveling. Riding a speedboat across Lake Toba to the island within an island on Sumatra. Having a Singapore Sling in Raffles Hotel in Singapore, watching my sons and husband para-sail on the beach in Bali, climbing the steps at Borobudur, staying in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, visiting the Golden Bhudda in Thailand, riding a funicular railway in the Alps, hearing an organ concert in Notres Dame Cathedral, eating at sidewalk cafes in Paris, eating scones at Shore Cottage Tearoom in the Scottish Highlands, Seeing Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables in London. 

Falling in love with poetry.   Learning to pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. Learning to write it myself. Finding the sacred ordinary. 

I wonder if "cool" means awesome, profound, or life-changing, or just interesting and unusual. I will probably keep remembering cool things.  And feeling grateful for all of them.




Wednesday, December 28, 2016

53 Years, Remembering!

Proud parents of the groom.  Ben and Kristen's wedding 2008

                             
              Historical John Wesley Love home in Jacksonville, our home 1981-1982

Another anniversary



Retirement for Joe after 52 years in the oil industry

Recipe box Joe made for me our first Christmas 1964, Corvallis, Oregon

Our 3 little boys and their Gingerbread House 1973

Faith, always.

Reminders of our life in Jakarta, Indonesia (at my talk to the children at Shady Oak Christian School)

Angel and Bella

Our antique rose in the garden on Greenhaven. Getting ready to plant some here.

Tickets from so many performances, games, concerts.

Our wedding group.  December 28, 1963

Happy!

Our mission statement for our Sugar Land house, working on one for our home with B&K in Richmond.

Homeward Bound.  A magnolia leaf.

Joe and me as Jacob and Rachel, innkeepers for so many years in Experiencing Christmas, FBC Richmond.

Snowflakes we cut for our first Christmas tree in Oregon.

So many happy times in the porch swing together and with our granddaughters.

Today is our 53rd wedding anniversary.  Last night and this morning we mused and remembered all those years ago and the beginning.  Things like what we did the evening before our wedding day (Joe and his best man went to a movie - Spencer's Mountain.  I only remember being at home, tweaking the decorations I made to top our wedding cake, trying on my wedding dress and working out last minute fitting details such as pinning a tea towel around my waist to hold up the heavy train and keep it from sagging!)  It was a happy and exciting time, but I do not remember feeling stressed.

Today, many lovely weddings are planned at least a year in advance, with many decisions and projects involved.  The stress, as well as the cost, can rise to uncomfortable levels.  Someone asked me just this week about the issues involved with having a Christmastime wedding, with so many other things on the calendar, and subsequent years when the anniversary might be eclipsed in all the Christmas celebration. It is true, our anniversary falls 3 days after Christmas and our celebrations have not been lavish (other than the beautiful 50th-anniversary dinner given to us by our family) - but I would not change anything.  I love Christmas - the meaning, the music, the colors, the family gathering. That translates so very well into the marriage celebration.  We decided to have our wedding in October, only a little over 2 months before it happened!  We chose to keep costs to a minimum and meaning to maximum. I made my wedding gown, sewing in between studying for nursing finals, and bringing the last pearls to sew on the lace train for Mother to help. I laugh when I tell you I crafted my pillbox (a la Jacquelyn Kennedy) hat that held my veil from the end of an Oatmeal box, covered in satin and pearls and made a puffy muff to hold my small bouquet.  Bridesmaids wore cranberry faille coat dresses with white organdy collars and carried a single candle with a tiny nosegay of white flowers. We used a bank of green magnolia leaves from a wedding held the day before instead of flower arrangements in the church, and our reception was in the fellowship hall where punch, cake, nuts, and buttermints were on the table. We had no honeymoon, choosing instead to drive back to Oklahoma City in a snow storm the day after a night in a motel in Dallas. We had school for me and a job hunt for Joe to get back to. And it was thrilling and wonderful and the most beautiful time and place and way to get married.

Yes, it makes me smile to think of the beginning, but oh, the memories all through these years.   This is what makes me weep and smile at the same time. The years have brought so much happiness and fullness. Faith, yes. fLove, yes. Friendship, yes. Hard work, yes.  Sad times, yes.  Laughter, oh yes. Three of the finest sons any parents could possibly have. And now the women they chose who are our daughters. Grandchildren, and more love. Pride, yes. Loss, yes.  Stretching, yes.  Tragedy and pain, yes, that too.  Perseverance, without doubt.  Glorious joy, yes.  Contentment, yes. Illness, yes.  Hope, then, and now.

I chose a few random photos that are markers for me of a life and work together, of love.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

My Kitchen Table

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During the preparation for our recent move, one of the pieces of furniture we chose not to bring with us was this table.  We were moving to share a home with our youngest son and his family. We would be using their furniture in our new dining room, and in the kitchen would be the table long used as our dining table, Grandma Terrell's oak table.  The butcher block parson's table that had graced our kitchens in 9 different homes over more than 40 years would need to go. It was sagging in the middle - showing its age and the number of times it had been moved, not to mention the markings acquired during cooking preparations, meals, snacks, art and sewing productions worked on by our growing family of little boys, and in most recent years, their daughters. There were even spots where glue and glitter and the paint from model airplanes seemed to be ingrained in the wood.  But my oldest son wanted the table. Sean remembered the table as a fixture of his growing up years, a leaning place later.  He was 6 years old when my parents gave us the money to buy a new table because our family had outgrown a table for 4.

So, the table would go to Sean.  But first, I wanted to give it a little help. Joe and I bought the table from Storehouse, a company at the time with a reputation for quality natural wood furniture. We had it made from pecan wood.  The butcher block wood and parson's style made it perfect for a succession of chairs to go around it.  I knew of a local craftsman who makes things from old wood. His artistry is beyond recycling or repurposing. So we loaded the table into my truck, took it to Mr. Hawkins in Rosenberg, and asked him what he could do with it. He loved the table and in spite of the cost he quoted for its restoration, I left it in his hands.  I liked that he loved the table too. Nearly 3 months later, our family table is in another kitchen, and it is still our family table.  we recently had breakfast with Sean and Teion and Skye, along with Ben, Nora, plus Tim and Debi, family friends. It felt right.  On the table, along with the breakfast casserole, they placed a framed poem I wrote many years ago. The following is the copy of the poem I posted once on my "kitchen" blog.                                www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com 


It would be a mistake to indicate that the only ingredients in my kitchen required for successfully and joyfully feeding my family were found in my pantry or simmering on the stove.  I will occasionally include table blessings, some “table talk”, and important for the keeper of this kitchen, prayers.  I wrote this one as a prayer poem in 1998.
                                              My Kitchen Table
                      As I open your Word and lean here one more time,
                  Make my table a holy place with your presence, Lord…
                     This table of pecan wood, not hand crafted acacia.
              This table scratched and stained with family years and family tears.
             This table that has been a family gathering place in so many places,
                 A place of offering and receiving nourishment of many kinds.
                     A place of joy and jelly, high chairs, and holding hands.
                   Birthday cakes and boy talks, spilled milk and spilled hearts.
            A place where I have put my head down and wet the wood with tears.
                         A place where your care and feeding of my soul
                            Joined the care and feeding of my family.
                              My heart is seated at this table, Lord.
                                You make this a holy place.
                                   I worship you.
                                                      Mary Ann Parker, March 1, 1998

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Things Remembered

We have, with a good deal of help from others, cleared out, cleaned out, and spit-shined our home so that it is ready to be listed for sale next week.  There are a few things we need to finish cleaning - the garage shelves, refrigerator, the brick on the front porch.  We still need to clear some of the plants in back that are in pots which we will take with us to help start a new garden. But the walls are bare of our many family pictures, drawers have been emptied and cleaned, counters polished - all to make our house welcoming and at the same time, a clean slate for others to envision ways in which they can make it their home. My 2 oldest granddaughters came today to help for awhile and were taken aback at the change.

When I was sorting out saved stuff in my closet, I came across several items loosely wrapped in a piece of tissue paper, itself saved from a long ago gift. I held the bits and pieces in my hand and realized they made a collage, a portrayal of my emotions and mixed feelings about leaving this home and this part of my life. There were pieces of a lovely painted glass globe a friend gave us many years ago that was a tiny painting of the lovely old East Texas Victorian house we bought and moved to for a far too short time. During the months we were there, I researched and wrote the history of the place, submitted it to the historical society, and received a State historical marker - not for me, for the house. In a later time, the pretty piece was knocked from its stand, leaving only shattered pieces which I kept.

There were some pieces of filigree silver jewelry from our time in Indonesia, all tarnished and worn. There was a tiny safety pin with beads strung on it, one of the many "friendship pins" that our youngest son and his friend exchanged in first grade, when we lived in yet another place.  And there was a piece of foil where that same son had written "To Mom, Love Ben."   I do not remember what it was attached to, but I kept the crumpled paper with his writing during his college days.  All these were folded in the wrinkled tissue printed with the name of shop where it was used to wrap a purchase:  Things Remembered.  I decided I would keep my little packet but I really do not need these reminders.  They are indeed, "Things Remembered."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Song and a Dance

In all the cleaning and clearing projects I have been working on, I sorted through a drawer that held piano music that belonged to my Mother.  My grandparents lived very modestly in a white frame farmhouse on a hill in East Texas.  There was an outhouse and a water well  because there was no indoor plumbing, even as late as the 60's when my grandfather died and Grandma Terrell moved to town.  But Opal was their only daughter and there is much evidence to prove that they doted on her. They bought her a piano and gave her lessons, many done by a mail order music course, but also piano lessons given in person by Mrs. Moss. The music I inherited has been a delight to me. I have enjoyed playing through it and thinking of other hands that played those songs.   I have not treated it with the care I probably should have, but I have done something I think Mother would like more - I used it.  In previous posts, I have talked about the story of this music.

www.tinyurl.com/pzmjxj2  

www.mappingsforthismorning.blogspot.com/2013/02/marriage-in-model-t-love-story.html

When I was sorting through the crumbly pages this time, I was doing so in order to pass the music on to Nora Opal Parker, since she carries Mother's name.  Knowing that I might not be turning the pages again myself, I may have looked more closely. But I don't recall ever seeing this title before.  It is a piece in a book of waltzes and fox trots. There must be a story in that title!

 Before the music goes into a box to pass on to Ben and Kristen to keep for Nora, there is one more way to use it.  A few pieces of  love songs will be used to help decorate for a wedding in about a week,  I also think I will sit down and play through some of the old songs again. I think Nora's great grandmother will be listening.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chips and Salsa and More


This post also appears in my blog Kitchen Keepers.  www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com
There I usually write about what is happening in my kitchen, and offer both old favorite and new family recipes. This story could so easily have gone into either blog, I decided to post in both!

In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. .
I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. When we first began having meals there, Ben was still 2. Once as we left the restaurant after stopping by the front register to pay, Ben began coughing and choking. He had picked up one of the little round peppermints so often found in restaurants and tried to swallow it. We picked him up and turned him upside down and out popped the mint! Tino always called Ben by his full name, Benjamin, but pronounced ben ha min in Tino's lilting Spanish accent.
One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas so I was delighted to get the recipe when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  The recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, a lady we knew whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.
Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!
Tino’s Chicken Flautas
3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon grated onion
dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
24 corn tortillas
guacamole and sour cream (optional)
In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.
I could have sworn that newspaper recipe was called Tino's Chicken Flautas. Now it is!

Friday, September 18, 2015

11827 South Little John Circle


1966


2015

Last week Joe and I drove by the first house we bought after we were married.  We would have had a hard time recognizing it if we had not known for certain its location and street number. But nearly 50 years later, It appears that another family lives there now who also loves plants!  I smile as I think of the difference in the big truck parked there and our little green VW in the driveway!

In 1966 we bought our first house in a suburb of Houston. The address was 11827 South Little John Circle, in a neighborhood named Fondren Park.  We had the house built for around $14,000, and not only picked the elevation style, the carpet (in the living room only - forest green) and tile (vinyl mosaic) and colors in the kitchen (yellow counters and appliances!)but we drove by to visit the progress almost everyday during the time it was under construction. Our combined salary was barely $700 with Joe working at a company called Independent Exploration and my working at the Hillcroft Medical clinic. We shared rides to work in our Volkswagen.


We moved in, started gardening, mowing, and meeting neighbors like Joan and Edgar Rust (Rusty) and Amon and Lucille White. We  had an inexpensive bed, chest of drawers, and dresser purchased when we moved into our apartment in Houston the year before, gladly accepted the hand me downs of a wicker love seat and rocker from Mother and Daddy, and bought an unfinished round table we lovingly sanded and stained. Chairs from Mexico completed our dining area. We reupholstered a couch and chair that had been my grandmother Terrell's.  We found red fabric at a discount store and painted the wood parts black. I made a wall hanging from burlap and a square of  printed linen.

Soon we felt our nest was feathered as we received the good news that we were expecting our first baby!  We decided to wait to "tell" so that we could do that as a Christmas gift for our parents when we traveled home on Christmas eve. However on Christmas Eve, I had to have emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and spent Christmas week in the hospital.

Our friend, Pat Tarver came to stay with us for a few months while her husband was in basic training. Pat was our church secretary, in the choir with me, and my close friend.  When her husband was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, we hugged her goodbye without realizing we would soon follow her. After only 10 months in our beautiful little house, Joe accepted a job in San Antonio so we quickly sold our first house, finding another home where we welcomed our beautiful baby son in 1968.  There have been many homes and many good neighbors since but I still use Lucille's recipe for ginger cookies and Rusty's recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream.


When we drove into the much changed neighborhood last Friday, memories began to swirl and surface. Neighborhood potlucks, gathering friends and family around our little table. The time when I proudly put a sprig of my own garden mint in my brother in law's tea glass and he found a worm on it!  Coming home without our much wanted first baby to finally open our Christmas gifts. Loving and supporting each other and learning how nice neighbors can be and how hard it is to say goodbye.

And today, looking at pictures of the house, thinking how very young we were and of all the years in between of faith and family, and our own action adventure!  A few tears and plenty of laughter later, we feel so blessed.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Remembering

I made a Dutch Baby to serve with blueberries, peaches, and melon on Saturday morning. This puffed pancake has been a family favorite for nearly 30 years, so I no longer look for the scrap of paper on which I first wrote the recipe. But later, I searched through my stack of handwritten recipes and found it. I held it and remembered who first gave me a taste and then gave me the recipe for Dutch Babies. In late 1987, we moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Joe worked for ARCO. Among our expatriate friends there were Bob and Dorothy Thomas.  Dorothy gave me the recipe and first served it to us in their home in Jakarta. She passed away about a year ago after a battle with cancer, and last week, her husband Bob followed her. I am sad to say goodbye. I will remember with gratitude their dear friendship, especially when I take a golden brown Dutch Baby from the oven.

Dutch Baby     recipe from Bob and Dorothy Thomas

1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  In a 9 inch iron skillet, place butter and put inside oven to melt. Place all the other ingredients in blender and mix thoroughly. When butter is melted and pan is hot, remove from oven and carefully pour batter into melted butter. Do not stir. Carefully return to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.  Serve with fresh fruit dusted with powder sugar or topped with whipped cream.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Seeing it All

view of Brazos river from car moving across the bridge
Last Year I read a memoir titled Sightlines. At the time when I was writing about the book, I said - I could see it all, describing the collection of poems and audio "collage" from Janet Riehl. In her frank, descriptive voice, I was able to really see all of the journey of this family , their fun and their work, their togethernesss and apartness, their good times and their shattered joy and bereavement as well as the sometimes indescribable complexities of aging oneself while attending to the aging of one's parents. At times what I saw was unsettling, even unlovely.  But there was also love and longing and tenderness. I saw remembering, and just as in my own life, at times the remembering hurts .  I could see it all.

I hope that I have at least a fraction of that ability to help others see the joy of our journey as a family in that way.  The past 2 weeks have been a roller coaster for many, and our family is no exception. Immediately following the togetherness of our Memorial Day, weather turmoil catapulted much of Texas into chaos. Beginning the evening of Memorial Day, a Monday - a violent thunder storm raged all night long, creating the start of historic flooding and destruction. Families literally separated by the power of raging rivers, life and property lost. As rivers continued to rise whole neighborhoods evacuated to shelter in other places. The river which divides the neighborhoods where our youngest son and family live from the area where Joe and I and our oldest son's family live - the Brazos, reached flood stage almost a week ago, crested 2 feet above that and waters are still at that level today, the 5th day since. 

Our church, First Baptist Church in Richmond, is a designated Red Cross shelter in crises like this, and a number of people found helping hands when they came to stay. I baked bags full of chocolate cookies and delivered to volunteers and those who had to sleep on a cot that night. When every newscast pictures another family who has lost everything, some even their family members, I prayed for them, but I also gathered my own dear ones closer to my heart and mind.

Then, 3 days ago, danger came closer than the river had. Joe weakened and collapsed with a high fever due to what is thought now to be infection begun by a spider bite. What began as a wife worrying because her husband did not feel well in the afternoon ended with a call to 911 and admission to hospital by nightfall. Indescribable complexities? Togetherness and apartness? Unsettling, even unlovely? Yes, all that but also love and longing and tenderness and joy. Our family is close, and in the frightening, uncertain, threatening emergency of 911 calls and specialists and IV antibiotics of the last 48 hours, I am able to rejoice in the faithfulness and loving provision of God, the sustaining, nurturing concern and expressions of love from our sons and other family and friends, and the absolute knowledge that whatever the next 48 hours brings, the acronym spread across my husband's T shirt as the medics loaded him into the ambulance is true.
IGBOK

It's Gonna Be OK!       

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Day

Maddie created our chalkboard sign for Memorial Day. Her enthusiasm and willingness to help make me happy. At the same time, I feel another tug at my heart as I see her sweet smile and feel her eagerness to welcome those arriving to join us as we grill hot dogs and savor our family. Her eyes speak joy for gathering with all of us and enjoying her cousins. Yet I know this day of remembering those who have lost their lives in service to our country is filled with sombre reflections, too.

 I am grateful.  For men and women who gave their lives for our country, for the freedoms that my family and I have which are denied to many. We say thank you in many ways - one of them is by spending the time and freedom provided us in ways that honor the privilege. Maddie got it right, it is a happy Memorial Day.








Friday, May 22, 2015

Wow!

Nora's favorite new word is Wow!  When I am with her, my favorite word is Joy! I begin smiling this big, too. I pray she keeps this joie de vivre forever, and that I will remember that my smiles and enthusiasm can help to change clouds to sunshine for other people.  Thank you for a good life lesson, Nora.

Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.
" `It "can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do…  may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung. Robert's Dictionnaire says joie issentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, involves one's whole being." ` Wikipedia

Monday, April 27, 2015

Remember When?

An email from a friend this week contained this photo.  The subject line was "Remember When?"
I am glad my friend ran across the photo and remembered good times.The photo was made in our home on Sekolah Duta II, Pondok Indah in Jakarta, Indonesia, in December 1991.  Joe and I were dressed for the American Women's Association Christmas Ball which was an annual event.   I went to the market and bought a lovely silk sari, took it to another market stall and explained that I wanted a dress and jacket cut from the sari. The seamstress thought it would be nice for Joe to have a matching bow tie and cummerbund! There was  music, dancing, wonderful food, champagne, and I remember entering the ballroom through large ice sculptures.

 In our cabinet along with other glassware is one champagne glass painted with a Christmas Wreath and AWA Christmas Ball 1991.  This dress still hangs in my closet although it wouldn't fit me now,  the earrings are in the granddaughters' dressup trunk, and the shoes long gone. But I do remember!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

             
Nora was only a few weeks old last Easter, but this year she proudly walked around for all to see her Easter outfit!  Her Dad held her proudly as he brought her into our church's Easter breakfast wearing all the special clothes her Mommy had assembled for her. We were amazed how long the hat stayed on her dark haired head.  Later, at home when her shoes and stockings were given up for sweet bare feet, her hat traded for bunny ears. I looked around at the gathering her parents had assembled - fond grandparents, aunts, uncles, and proud cousin, and remembered a sweet line from a Fernando Ortega song called "This Time Next Year."

"... hold her high, because we are lifted in her laughter!"  

posted with gratitude to Ben and Kristen and Nora, and also to Nora's other grandmother, Desiree, who outdid herself cooking our Easter brunch. 



Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October

I think alot about my mother in October.  October 20 is the day we always celebrated her birthday, and I still do, although in different ways, since her death just over 8 Octobers ago.  She went home (her phrase) on September 21, 2006, one day short of a month before her 93rd birthday. I miss her still, but softer, gentler memories than grief color my thoughts when I turn the calendar this month. For Mother's Day the first year after I left home, I mailed her a postcard with a poem every day for a week before. I was in college, short in funds but long on words, and prompted by a longing to let her know how much I loved her and appreciated all she did for me.  As years passed and the physical distance between us grew (as far as the almost 11 ,000 miles between East Texas and the island of Java in the late 80's), she maintained her loving encouragement with long chatty letters filled with clippings and recipes. At the end of her life, when Alzheimer's had blotted out so much of her ability to communicate, she still told me she loved me, and, fearful that she would not remember to say so, she dotted her counters and space with yellow sticky notes telling me so.

Long before that, one of her letters to me contained this folded article. Unless you have a touch screen display that allows you to enlarge,the above photo is not of the quality that allows reading of the piece by Marya Saunders that appeared in The Tyler Morning News Sunday edition May 14,1961, but you will be able to see Mother's lovely, even handwriting, telling me "I Love You Darling, and Thank God for you, Mother."  And of course her ever practical pointing out, "This was in Tyler Paper yesterday."

So I echo the author's subtitle.  Neither time nor death has stilled this message from a mother to her daughter. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Admiration

As Nora nears 5 months old, she is increasingly aware of color and patterns.  She is more sensitive to faces, smiling at those familiar to her and exhibiting wariness or alarm at those who are not. She fingers spots and dots on toys, reaches for the bright paisley of my shirt and the textured wood panel of her changing table. Here, she is fixed on the butterfly quilt that belonged to one of the grandmothers she is named for, Opal Terrell Teal.  As I smiled and watched her admiration, I thought of so many stories the quilt could tell.

Opal was my mother, making her Nora's great grandmother.  The butterfly quilt was made as a gift for Opal on her 17th birthday in 1931, a common pattern choice in those depression years that so needed the butterfly's symbolism of hope.  The women who chose these colors and patterns and stitched every tiny, even stitch were Opal's mother and grandmother, making them Nora Opal's great-great grandmother and great-great-great grandmother.  I stood as I watched Nora admire their handwork, thinking of their stories and hers.  They could not have known that almost a century later, a beautiful little girl would so love what they made. But I am confident they know now.  Opal herself did not know when she passed the quilt on to me how I would keep it and love it and give it again.  But I know she joins Clyde and Earnestine in blessing Nora and returning the admiration. Hope is a wonderful gift to pass on.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Some Things Don't Change

Mary Ann, 1940  


While I am happily spending this week caring for our baby granddaughter, Nora, I have thought about my own grandparents, who from all accounts were thrilled at my birth and delighted in my smiles and laughter in the same way I delight in Nora's.  I reflect with gratitude, remembering stories of my own parent's happiness in having a baby after almost 9 years of marriage when I see my son and daughter-in-law's radiant faces as they hold their daughter.  When I care for her, hold her close, rock her,  and sing to her, I am re-enacting those long ago love stories.

Many things are very different now- early pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, disposable diapers, washers and dryers that are marvels, air conditioned homes and automobiles, car seats, and  Mp3 lullabies!  I am thankful for every convenience that helps to keep babies safe and provides help for parents, but there is no replacement or upgrade for the calming reassurance of human voice and the comfort of loving arms.  

                    Ben and Nora

Friday, August 1, 2014

Two Girls, One Dress

        Nora 2014


                        Skye 2003

Among my favorite photos of my sons are three separate pictures when they were babies. They are lined up in a small frame that holds the images of each of the three dressed in the same navy blue suit, evidence of the way we passed down clothing from boy to boy. These two photos will join those as pictures that make me happier every single time I look at them.  Eleven years ago, our granddaughter Skye wore a sweet dress that I had given her, and smiled sunshine into my heart.  The dress has been passed down through 2 more granddaughters (I am still looking to see if we have any pictures where they wear the dress) - and now, Nora is wearing the same dress and gracing us with her own happy smiles.  She wore the dress recently on the day we celebrated Joe's 77th birthday.  Skye is now almost as tall as I am, and loves her baby cousin.  When I saw the two of them smiling at each other while the one who wore the dress first cradled the one it now fits while she fed her, there was a lump in my throat and a few happy tears.  Shared dresses don't tell the story, but they do help remind us of shared joy and love passed on and on. Family hand me downs!