Mother?

We never stop wanting our mothers. That is probably our first and last longing. When I cared for patients in times of pain and need, they often called out for their mother’s comfort. We want out mothers when we are giving birth, traumatized by pain or events, and at the moment of death. Many times I have held the hand of elderly patients whose mothers had to have been long dead and had the patient call me “Mother.” I never corrected them. Who am I to say it wasn’t their mother they saw as they moved on.

Time Well-Spent

I have been inactive on WordPress of late due to time well-spent with my grandchildren. My daughter and I constructed this tent for my granddaughter. She spends a lot of time in it, either on the deck or in the house. More often than not, the massive rear of her constant dog companion extends through the curtains. It’s interesting to see a mastiff with a princess complex. He is a docile giant who makes her every step.

 

The tent construction was simple and completed in less than two hours.  Materials included a hula hoop, a round table cloth, eight curtain panels with grommets(from dollar store), fabric for ties( we cut up an old scarf) some cotton cord and a snap hook for suspension. You could easily use an old sheet instead of curtains, but the grommets made attachment so simple.

Simply disconnect hula hoop and slide grommeted panels on before reconnecting with hoop with Super Glue.  Make two small holes in center of table cloth and slide cotton cord through for loop. Give it a couple of wraps above and below connection site for support so fabric won’t tear and pull through.  My granddaughter and the dog show no mercy, so it had to be tough.  Use short fabric strips to attach tablecloth top to hula hoop and thread through each grommet to suspend panels evenly.  It worked well to thread through two buttonhole slots at each connection.  Last of all, attach hook through loop for suspension.  It suspends well from a hook in doorways.  Our little one has enjoyed hours of play in this structure.  It also provides excellent shade but allows in breezes.  Total cost was well below thirty dollars.

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

img_1960I love this story I got from a guy who is nice enough to comment on my writing from time to time.  He is always telling me what a wonderful woman his wife is and how lucky he is to have found her.  In fact, I think he described it as “lucky as a dog with two dicks. I couldn’t speak from experience for obvious reasons, but he certainly sounds happy.

Me: How did you meet her?

Him: I met my wife at my local bar and she was sitting with some mutual friends I knew. I was working on several big projects at the steel plant and was getting behind on my house work and gardening so she offered her services. The house was spotless. My clothes ironed and folded and she even put a little garden in the back yard along with flowers along the driveway. I worked 11 months without a day off then finally got 2 weeks off at Christmas. I thanked her for her services and gave her a nice going away bonus. She asked what I was doing for the holidays and I said just taking a long deserved break alone. Why don’t we spend Christmas together she said and the next day she brought some clothes over along with her bird Joey and her little dog Amie. The next two weeks were magic and her spell has never worn off. I had given up on ever being happy again and had buried myself in work. What a fool I was. I didn’t want love but love found me.

Me:  You were lucky to find each other.

Him:  Luckier than a dog with two dicks! Were going out dancing today and I wish you could be there to meet us and have some fun. I just wanted to share that my favorite song Higher and Higher is on YouTube and the video is of Fred Astaire and partner dancing to it. It’s great fun and wish you would watch it and think of me!

Me: That sounds really lucky.  Tell me about her

Him: My wife is Marie and she comes from a large family of German/Russian descent from Regina Saskatchewan western Canada.She married young and moved to Calgary Alberta and had four kids in a row. Her first husband drank himself to death at 34 years old. She then met a man I knew from Sault Ste. Marie and they moved back here. From what little I know he drank and abused her till she’d had enough and left him. She managed a large motel when I met her and lived just around the corner from me. She keeps in great shape exercising and loves reading novels. Summertime she’s out in the garden and we have lots of preserves come fall. I know you would love her for she’s kind and friendly and likes a few beer and good company. I have a funny story about meeting her mother if you want to hear it?

Me:  I’d love to hear that one.

Him:  We went out west to visit my wifes’ family after we got married and the first night in Regina we spent at her Mothers’ place. Her Mom was leery about me and a little cold but polite. My wife was tired so went to bed and left me and Mom to talk. I got us a couple of beers and she showed me her picture albums of the family. There were old pictures of a little girl with a dog or sitting on a pony. I’d ask is that little girl you Grandma and she yelled don’t call me granma and I laughed. Another picture of a little girl and I asked the same question and the madder she got. Finally I asked if she would like another beer Grandma and this time she smiled and politely said yes, thanks son and we were pals after that. I loved all her family and they accepted me and loved me as there own.

Me:  I like the way Grandma thinks.

This is one of the best love stories I’ve heard in a long time.  It has all the essentials, housework, bars, Fred Astaire, And a beer-swigging granny.  I’d love to know this guy and his sweetie.

A card and poem from Mother.

scan_20170213Finding True Love is hard to do.

Looking for one, forever true.

Resigned to a life, always alone.

Thinking my heart would never find home.

Not looking for love, love found me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew and Molly Part 16

James Andrew Wharton  made his appearance seven  months later, a hearty little fellow.  His parents and Will and Aggie Bartles purely doted on him.  Molly was amused that she’d ever thought James or Aggie stern, especially as they coddled and spoke nonsense to Jamie.  Molly and Aggie enjoyed their new status as free citizens and were active in church.

James Wharton lost some of his austere persona with the happiness of his marriage.  Molly’s relationship with him blossomed as she had leisure to spoil him, a luxury she and Andrew had never enjoyed.  She was surprised to find him a skilled and generous lover with none of the urgency she’d experienced with Andrew.  Before Jamie was a year old, she was pregnant again.  James was ecstatic to see his family increasing.  He engaged a young bondswoman woman to help Molly as soon as he could.  James had expanded his acreage and engaged another man soon after they married.

Molly gave birth to a girl she named for Addie then little Hannah the next year.  She teased James that he’d tricked saying he wouldn’t be a virile husband then landed her two babies in a year.  He added rooms as the family grew, including one for Josie, the bondswoman.  The children called Addie and Will grandparents.  The family truly thrived.

The four years Molly shared with James were precious, all the more because she knew she wouldn’t have him with her forever.  One evening after supper, he took her hand.  “Mollygirl, I am old.  When I work hard, it pains my chest.  I want you to know, you are the best part of my life.  I have my affairs in order.  I will engage another man to ease my labor, but I won’t be with you much longer.”

Molly wept softly in his arms.  “I will always love you, dearest.”

He began spending his days around the house with Molly as the bondsman worked the farm.  Two months later, Molly went to wake him for breakfast and found he’d left left.  She’d lost two husbands before she was twenty-five.

She grieved James as Will Bartles helped her learn to run the farm along with the two bondsman, though not a day passed that she didn’t think of his strength and kindness.  One morning as she hung clothes on the line, a man in buckskins came running from the woods.  She was gathering her little ones to run when she heard a familiar voice calling, “Molly!  Molly!”

 

Hard Time Marrying Part 27

About three weeks later Anya awoke to a back ache.  It got worse as the morning drew on till she suddenly wet herself.  She was mortified, though she’d gotten used the increased demands pregnancy put on her bladder.  As she corralled Sally and set about cleaning herself up, labor pains began in earnest.  Anya knew little about birth except what she’d seen from her step-mother and from life on the farm, but she knew she’d better get help.  Joe and Little Joe were working in a far-off field, so she started a fire and loaded it with pine straw so it would make an impressive smoke to signal him home.  Home in minutes, he found Anya with her pains regular and about twenty minutes apart.  Hitching up the wagon and loading the children, he kissed Anya and warned her.  “Stay in the cabin near the bed.  I’ll be back with Emma quick as I can.  Git up an’ walk if you have to, but don’t leave the cabin.”  The horse trotted across the prairie, bouncing the kids Joe had taken time to tie in the wagon bed.  Over the next two hours, Anya’s pain increased in frequency and intensity.  Just as she feared the baby would come into the world unattended, Joe showed up with Emma.  Within minutes, Emma handed a baby girl off to Joe, waiting behind her with a warmed blanket.  “This baby ain’t big as a minute, but she’s purty like her mama.”

Joe held the baby close as his eyes filled with tears.  Moments later, Emma took the child and helped Anya put her to the breast. He looked from the tiny girl to the woman he loved.  “Our first baby. I ain’t never felt so fine. Thank you, Anya.”

Anya wept, feeling her life had finally begun.

The More Things Change (part 2)

imageAs I hold my tiny granddaughter, I remember melting into Grandma’s pillowy softness, smelling her Cashmere Bouquet Talcum Powder, unaware she’d ever played any role but “Grandma.” Though I’d always heard Mother address her as “Mama” I stung with jealousy when I found out Grandma actually was her mother. Sure, I was her favorite grandchild, I later learned the other kids thought the same things, the mark of a good grandmother.

We only visited Grandma In summers, since she lived a few hours away.  I loved following her to tend the chickens where She made that praise Della, her Dominecker Hen for laying a double-yoked egg yesterday, remarking to the others they might consider doing the same. She told Sally not to start acting “Broody.” She didn’t have enough her eggs to “set” her yet. She counted her chickens and found Susie missing. Grandma got a long stick and poked under bushes till she flushed Susie out from her “stolen” nest. I felt so important crawling way under the bush bringing two warm eggs. Chiding Juanita, an ornery red hen, she threatened to invite her to Sunday Dinner, saying “You’ll make some mighty fine dumplings if you don’t lay a couple of eggs this week!” I wasn’t that invested in Juanita and don’t recall whether we had dumplings or not.  Once I had the thrill of seeing Grandma fearlessly make short work of a black chicken snake lounging in a nest with an egg in his mouth.  Unbelievably, she grabbed him barehanded and slung him to the ground, where she dispatched him to snake heaven with the shovel she always carried outdoors.

Daily, we walked her yard, shovel in hand,checking out the flowers, moving one or two that needed a better home, filling a hole here, rooting out a weed there.  She gathered tomatoes, okra, and squash from the garden, later serving them at lunch, tomatoes still warm from the sun.  Before one, we made the ritual walk to the mailbox with a letter or two.  Grandma often got two or three letters a day since she wrote to numerous friends and relatives.  She’d read these to us as a group, “Oh!  Winnie’s girl Opal’s little girl is a princess in the school play.  She’s your third cousin.  All of Winnie’s kids did good.  They were all smart as whips!” going on to tell us stories of her girlhood with the distant Wiinie.

I envied my unknown cousin, though I’d never wanted to be a princess before or since.  Sometimes, the letters included pictures, which we poured over.

As my granddaughter and I relaxed in a dear friend’s garden, I collected cleome seed to share with her sometime down the road, a reminder of this day.  I do hope my little one recalls sweet stories of our our times together.

Mother?

We never stop wanting our mothers. That is probably our first and last longing. When I cared for patients in times of pain and need, they often called out for their mother’s comfort. We want out mothers when we are giving birth, traumatized by pain or events, and at the moment of death. Many times I have held the hand of elderly patients whose mothers had to have been long dead and had the patient call me “Mother.” I never corrected them. Who am I to say it wasn’t their mother they saw as they moved on.

How to Live All Your Life

Pencil sketch of Roscoe Holdaway by Kathleen Holdaway Swain done in 1941 when she was twelve.Kathleen's Pencil Sketch of Roscoe 1941On her last visit with her father, she tried to spend a lot of time with him, knowing it was unlikely she’d see him again.  Overwhelmed with the demands of a large family, she often felt her life was not her own.  Most afternoons, she struggled to get both little ones to nap at the same time and used that precious time to catch up on her laundry and whatever she couldn’t get done with them underfoot.  She’d come to visit with the intention of staying two weeks, but extended her visit to a third week, trying to get a lifetime of visits in before she lost him.
Up since five-thirty with a teething baby, she finally got both little ones down for a nap after lunch.  Though she yearned for a nap herself, she joined her father on the porch.  Watching from the open door, she memorized him before going out, think how frail he looked in his wool coat and old felt hat humped over in his straight chair in the brutal, August of the afternoon.  He’d laid his paperback Western open-faced on the porch-floor.  Inferring he must be heartbroken, knowing he couldn’t live much longer, she took a seat beside him thinking he might have something to say.
“Kat,” he started.  “I’ve been watching those ants on the ground down there.  Look how they are so busy on their little trail.  Some are rushing forward to pick up a load, and some are headed back to the nest all loaded down.  Every once in a while, a few of them stop to talk then turn round and round in the trail before getting back in line. Isn’t that something?”
Surprised to hear of his pleasure in the ants, she realized he wasn’t sad at all, just absorbed in their activity. She sat with him till her little ones awoke and called her back to the ant trail of her life.
That was the last time she spent alone with him.