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Hats Off to The Ladies of The Club

On Halloween, during the day, I went to say fare the well to my mum’s friend Jean.  At 101 years, she left this earthly plain and went ahead of those who remain.  It was a wonderful memorial service celebrating the life of a daughter, wife, mother, and teacher who was all about living out her purpose of being a loving person.   She came before us and taught us the actions of love.

bread love

The bread machine is loaded with Gluten Free dough, sesame seeds, walnuts and dried cranberries; it will make the house smell wonderful in about 3 hours.  The acorn squash from the garden is waiting its destiny on the kitchen counter, and a small bowl of blueberries were picked after the wind harvested the red leaves off the bush and they were revealed.

I ate my breakfast watching a mother and twins rest in the orchard in a wee bit of sunshine between the rains.  A pesky, very young buck interrupted the girls and jumped around them showing off the budding rack of the future, until all deer disappeared into the woods and out of sight with the arrival of the Sunday New York Times on the porch next door.

All of these things have happened before and I believe they will happen again and again and again.

I begin a season of Thanksgiving and I will offer up my thoughts and actions to be as grateful for every day actions and blessing as I can witness and encounter.

Today I am remembering the woman in my life that have gone before and I am saying thank you out loud and voicing their names.   It is my mum’s basic squash recipe that I will add my own touches to and it is Jean who helped me make my first loaf of bread.

So as my hands peel and pare and mix and knead, I am thinking about my mother’s hands and Jean’s cozy kitchen and all the bits of information they shared with me about living and getting along.

These were women who had lived and learned the lessons of the Great Depression.  Every place they ever lived there was a garden and a way to secure food and water.  The smoke alarms always had fresh batteries as did the flashlights.  These were women who shared what they had.

Most of the women in the club were teachers and they  valued education so much, and education for women so much, they raised money in their spare time to fund scholarships and eventually to own and endow a top of the line women’s college.

This group of women knew how to save money and how to raise children.  The best knitters and sewers helped those who did not do as well in those areas and they did each other’s hair and nails.  They were the queens of glamour and style.  Canning was done as a group event and they traded off watching the children and feeding the hungry.

Whenever they got together as a group, the whole house was polished and scoured to a gleam for their guests.

There was a fairly good, fun competition as to who was the best cook!

So today I will think about these women of the club who have now all passed on.  I will think about their hands in the dough, and fingers moving the yarn over the needles and I will work on recalling an encyclopedic amount of knowledge about living; the lessons they shared about their mothers and grandmothers – all the lives lived – gone before.

Oh the laughter was often contagious and filled the house with joyous energy!

I will think and thank Jean today, and remember all the times she pulled me into the shadow of her side and whispered to me, “you know your mother just loves you so much – you will know when you have children, and I love you and always will – you are part of my heart.”

Thank you.

Who has gone before you, taught you and you would like to tip your hat too and say thank you?

6 Responses to “Hats Off to The Ladies of The Club”

  1. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. This is a beautiful ritual you are sharing with us. I would have to mention my grandmother Margaret. She and I had a very special bond and I think of her often. She passed away in 1991 but it feels just like yesterday.

    Davinas last blog post..A Ghostly Life Experience

  2. Patricia Says:

    Oh I am so glad you shared your Grand mother with me. I think remembering and saying thank you to the woman who have gone before is so important. I believe just saying the name connects to our energy of Thanksgiving and offers up a prayer.

    I have discovered a Blog called MargaretandHelen, they are 2 84 year olds who have been friends for 61 years and one lives in Maine and one in Texas. They have just written a lovely piece about Obama’s Grandmother in which they say there is truly a reason that Grand is the first name!

  3. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia – I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    I love this story and how you’ve “taken your hat off” to the “ladies in the club”. Like you, I knew many who have gone on before me, leaving me with beautiful memories and lessons in life. Among them are grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts and a handful of friends. They’ll always hold a special place in my heart, just as Jean does for you.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..NBOTW – The Happy Thinker

  4. Jannie Says:

    Patricia, your blog is a true inspiration and place of love and comfort. I am so glad I found your writing. Thank you.

    My dad’s mom died when I was 6 and my mom’s mom when I was 20. I tip my hat to the hands of both of them for their donuts and quilts and pots of shelled peas. And a whole lot more!

    Jannies last blog post..Caught red-pawed!

  5. Dot Says:

    That’s beautiful writing! Although my family background is very difficult, I have found family members who inspired me here and there. Your image of the women working together is something that I wish had continued to today, but so many of us work outside the home that it isn’t practical very often.

    Dots last blog post..Are You Able to Relax?

  6. Patricia Says:

    * Barbara, I am just finding it wonderful to think about all the different ways I am feeling grateful these days and it feels great to remember special people and things they did – memories – I liked your detailed sharing on your Interview on Stephen’s site – Adversity University.

    * Jannie, I am glad to welcome you to this spot and my words and I do enjoy reading your thoughts and laughing too. Thank you for adding your Grand mothers to the people of hat tipping list.

    * Dot, You are right, that it is hard to find time for those connections these days – I think we just have to work at making them happen. I am enjoying gathering with a group of women once a month that I exercise with in the early morning hours. We pick something that we do well (like me it’s reading – another cooking) and we have a simple soup supper and one of the group shares their talent or idea for 2 hours. We then catch up on children and husbands and work and just really try to connect. I loved the session about how to have a compassionate argument by our lawyer member. So lets keep you and I connecting here? regularly over our love of writing blogs! I would so enjoy that!