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