Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gracious Days

A fun day catching butterflies and putting stickers on to identify the moment brought many families out to help. Young and old all got a chance to release their prized catch. If you look on the left side of this first Monarch you can see the sticker used. They fly down to Mexico for the winter before returning in the spring.This was my fourth program to catch them and was a lot of fun to care and share in nature.

This is my  friend Ruth who lives next door. At 77 she keeps up and really enjoys walks to look at all the flowers a few times a year with me. We both try to fill our yards every fall with new spring bulbs, and share a lot of sweets both of us make. I tease her when she has friends over to sing hymns while she plays piano, telling her I almost had to call the sherrif to calm her party. A phone call usually lets me know a light bulb needs replaced or some small job to repair something.

 A butterfly gains it's freedom

A few mules livened up the day.

I picked these just for you

It was a quiet time in the entire house. Today was opera on the radio, and their father required everyone not to interrupt. It was his special time, only if he could find the signal, and they all respected how much he enjoyed this part of his week. None of the children could understand what was being sung, but the emotions ran high with their father. He had heard many as a boy, and they took him back to his childhood before he immigrated to the United States. Sometimes he sang a short line and at others felt sad and had a tear in his eye. His wife sat by his side and they held hands during most of the program. With a hard life farming, and working at the fort, this was a simple relief to unwind after such a busy week. They had explained some of what was going on to her, but it didn’t sound as lovely as watching her parents enjoying themselves so much. Their happiness ebbed throughout the house.

A familiar tune that returned to her home was new brothers and sisters. The word step was never put before someone’s name and all enjoyed calling each other brother, sister, father and mother. The first born was a new brother, and she soon became part of the raising of him right off the start. She had even helped the ladies when they delivered him in the same bedroom she was born. She had fun making the tiny baby clothes, it was almost like making them for a doll. There was a major part of her childhood set aside when her mother died, but she still enjoyed some of the games they enjoyed, even as she approached her teens. They remained very close throughout growing up, this first baby was special to her. There were a number nights she would get up and change him after her mother had fed him, and watch him fall asleep. The next child arrived when he was about out of diapers, and keeping two clean began to lose it’s fun. Soon she was fully back into her household tasks and major help for her mother. A third followed with a long break before she had more. Free time was a delight and she kept very busy in her home. She started her days gathering eggs, milking a cow and feeding all the animals they kept. This was a job shared by all the older children, so it became a game in sense. In essence it was a game, a game in life that would serve them all well in later life.

Often when she was still trying to get this all done she would go inside and make sure her family had all eaten, and didn’t need any help getting up. She gathered laundry and washed dishes, never questioning what she could do next. She would throw some eggs on for the boys in the barn and call them when it was ready. One brother had an assortment of pets he cared for. These were animals around their land he had befriended and changed rather frequently. A pet squirrel would follow him in if she didn’t watch and shoo it away. If her mother wasn’t around he sometimes tried to keep it hidden, but it would prance around the room until let out. She never really cared to take care of pets, it was another mess to clean and mouth to feed. What few she ever had were always kept outside. A crying sound called her upstairs to help tend a baby, her mother had went outside to send the other children to school. Her schooling was cut short a bit, but she had always done well. Books were sometimes passed down from neighbors and family, so she read whenever she had a chance. Tattered magazines and store catalogs were a joy to a family living remote at this turn of the twentieth century farm. She and her mother discussed preparing the big family meal, and she went to prepare this, both wearing aprons just as her mother did. Later she stood and watched a pair of siblings outside and stood on that very same spot tightening her apron’s strings. She smiled when she thought of this beautiful thought and went inside humming while she stirred a pot and checked the bread. Her thoughts of getting away from this routine didn’t last long, she was married when she turned fifteen.

to be continued..............

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Walk In Time

 Three Tenors

A goldfinch chews up some flower heads. I am seeing small flocks start to form.

 Let's take a walk in the woods, something little dogs never object to.

This tiny Comma looks like a fallen leaf almost.

A neighbor came over to use their sewing machine and she so missed her mother sewing. The winter had been tough on many with it’s bitter cold and her mother left this lovely home at a very early age. There were four children, and she being the second oldest was given many of the household duties to get done. Learning this wonderful machine would help her not to have to hand sew as much. The thump of the trundle reminded her of listening to this sometimes late at night while she was trying to sleep. Often her mother sang, all in Italian, not fully having mastered her new language in song. A gentle voice glided through a variety of songs. Her neighbor walked into the other room as she manipulated the pair of pants around the moving needle, putting a new hem in for a younger brother. “Ave Maria,” she sang out, a short verse she remembered hearing both of her parents sing. She hummed on through a few tunes she liked. She stopped for a moment and straightened out her stitch, humming until her seam was finished. She showed her friend and they both laughed at how good she had done. Soon the thump of the machine resonated through the house, a much needed task making clothes for all. Her father had been a shoe repairman before coming to this new country and still kept a few of his tools in the same room he had built on the back of their home. He resoled shoes and even had made a few first ones for the new babies in the family.

Both of her parents had came from Italy. Her mother came with her parents and in later years her father on his own. They were married after a very short courtship and immediately set up house in a home given to them from her parents. This house would stay with the family for four more generations. Her mother tended the house and a few farm chores while her father worked at a nearby military fort, fixing anything that needed fixed as he explained it. He would fix bridles, leaky roofs, paint, what ever he found needed done. He also farmed with a brother-in-law and never seemed to have much free time to himself. After he had lost his wife he cleaned a nearby church with his children. It seemed being busy helped him with his grief, and provided a comfortable life for his family. After three years of being without a wife he met a lady and soon was remarried. She took over the house with ease, and the children adjusted to her well. Her family had came to this area reaching out into the frontier for the Lutheran Church. This was how they met at the only church in the area, even though he had been raised Catholic. They went on to have five more children and this oldest daughter soon became a babysitter and even helped with the delivery of a few of her siblings. All the children were born in the same bedroom and in later years her first child also.

It was funny what made her think about people in her past. One person in particular came upon her mind almost everyday, her mother. He new mother was always nice to her, as long as she stayed within the rules of her house. They traded a lot of chores around the house when she came, but her real mother always stood out in her memories. It was the way she swept the floor, darning socks or many of the household duties she performed. Even humming often brought back her fondness for music. Today she walked past a small metal bucket and remembered her mother’s praise when her father brought it home to show what he had made at his work. She bent down and felt all the smooth seams and thought how smoothly her life had gone before she lost her mother. She hummed a hymn, and danced swinging the bucket around. A pair of brothers peeked in and started laughing. She turned around rather startled from her daydream, and they were met with a glare. This was a glare not to ever want to have made toward you, a look she would perfect throughout her lifetime. When they quietly entered they apologized for scaring her, but really enjoyed the moment. They were then told this wonderful story of their father making this bucket and how their mother told this same story to many of her friends. She breezed through a few thoughts and followed them out to play some tag in the front yard. Her mother loved to stand and watch them play in this yard she reminisced. She stood just outside of the door, with her apron tied trim, enjoying the artful games. When she smiled and laughed it was her mother’s laugh, a part of her she didn’t remember.

to be continued.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

The First Days of Autumn

Who would know
The lush greens
Are set to go
Followed by many colors
So bright they glow
Fall is here officially
Summer where did you go?