Posts Tagged ‘Blessings’

A Bittersweet Thanksgiving

November 27, 2009

This is a special Thanksgiving for my husband and myself….and our son, Christopher Duncan.  He is leaving for the Navy Dec. 8th, and we have to stuff in Christmas before he leaves.

These changes will be enormous.  For his parents, and especially for our son.  He was homeschooled and basically held to the Quaker mold from very early on.  His enlistment into the Navy was quite a shock for us, but he seems to have a plan.  Bill Penrose has shared some of his own son’s history in both Navy and Army and thinks that this is a good course for our son.  I trust Bill in many things, and because he has raised his own two sons well and they are fine men.  I am leaning on Bill here.

So this last Thanksgiving is heavy with our concern, not the least because there is a war going on.  And our son at just 22 seems hardly military material.  He is a thoughtful and gentle young man, who brings home stray kittens and dogs.  He is a computer geek and between classes, is making a pile of money fixing computers.  I wish he would continue his classes but he feels he needs more than what his college is offering.  I can remember the same restlessness at his age.  I solved it with marriage.  For a while.

He took some pictures of our Thanksgiving and I thought they were beautiful.  He is very handy with a camera where I am not.

The day was beautiful; a perfect late fall day where  the temperatures reflected the winter to come, the wind kicked up and clouds scuttled by, white clouds early then tinted a rosy hue as the dusk fell.  After eating I laid on a sofa and watched the wind whip around our huge pecans and live oaks.  There still are leaves on these trees, and in the distance I could see the colorful hues of maples and sycamores.  The trees outside my windows facing north were really dancing up a storm; apparently a cold front was coming in.

The blessings of our small family here, this last Thanksgiving before our only child goes into the Navy, well, we are counting them.  We are fortunate to have our child with us.  Many families this Thanksgiving don’t have their young soldiers  with them to enjoy the blessings of this wonderful national holiday.

The new kittens, Ali and Baba.

The Table

Candle fireplace

The Feast


November 24, 2009


Well, the economic times stress the vast majority of Americans, but I would think that it also would stress Canadians, Mexicans, and the rest of the world.

Though these times are rather ‘trying’….and in many cases a sense of desperation sets in….there is still much in daily life to be thankful for.  Try breathing.

I have a husband who has asthma.  I think a good breath in and a good breath released is a point to consider.

But the issue of thankfulness is broad and not just tied to the economic ‘place’ we might individually  find ourselves.

(Oh! I don’t drink much at all and a neighbor sent over his famous holiday eggnog and I had a glass!  It certainly has done it’s work.)

I am profoundly grateful.  This year I published my first book, and though it was done in a whirl of angst and trepidation, it got done. I am grateful to Bill Penrose for birthing this difficult and unexpected book.  Unexpected because it was a product of only three years writing.  There was so much in that book that I can see it now as ‘scattershot’.  No central theme, just the kitchen sink of writing, and a jolly gallop it was.

I am grateful for friends who stuck close to me…..last year was what the Chinese call “fanshen”.  A turning over a new leaf.  A realization of growth and discernment.  I am grateful for a man in Montreal who was a royal pain in the ass….but because of his  existence,  I broke free of a lot of issues.  I found a freedom in depending upon myself and not tying my sweet wagon to others.  Things clarified in my life and I realized false gods need to be trampled.

I am grateful for  writer friends, Bill Penrose, Nick Nicholson, Dr. RK Singh, Rose Thorny (and yes you are…) Margie, Berowne, and many others.  They demanded more of me than I thought I had…but the human spirit is caged only by our own doubts.  Poke a hole in that and the spirit can soar.

I am grateful for my husband and especially my son,  Christopher who is leaving for the Navy, Dec. 8th.  It is not something I would wish on him, but he, at a fresh 22, is determined to strike out in life on his own.  His momma here, left with his chores, can only react like a momma, and I can’t give him enough hugs and kisses.  I am smothering him now as I wish I had before.

I am grateful to have this beautiful (restored by Husband) house over my head, and even though the kittens and cats destroy stuff, their little lives are a joy to behold.

If there is a God, he has sent us kittens.

I am grateful  my husband is still working and I know it is a toss of the dice here.

Yesterday I received a well-intentioned email from the Mennonite Church.  We aren’t Mennonites but we have attended their services over the years.  Mennonites in the South are rather in strange places.  I haven’t really figured them out yet, but I think their intentions are good.  Well meant.

However, the email asking me to fast on Thanksgiving to correct a lot of wrongs of the European settlers towards the “Indians” was rather silly to my mind.

I realize as I get older that politically correct issues are rather shortsighted.  I take question at the purpose of this:  Thanksgiving is one of the few Holidays in America  I think has little to do with religion.  At least, for me.

I think of the wonderful communion we and our neighbors have during the fall. Perhaps we see each other sparingly during the summer; it’s just too damn hot to venture outside, except to the garden to weed.

But come Autumn, and we emerge from our houses.  We stand in awe of the riotous colors of Nature, the winds that blow from the north and east and the not so gentle rains that fall.  We marvel at the fast moving clouds, storm fronts that change the landscape below. Dusk’s golden glow upon distant trees, the falling of the sun and the hooting of owls somewhere in the trees, or perhaps it’s the mourning doves, well, we are witness to the turning of the Earth and there is again, an awe at nature’s diversity.

And an awe that we are alive to witness all this wonder.

Each fall there is an exchange of produce or labor from many neighbors on our street.  We get venison from one neighbor, who has hunted each fall for as long as I have known him.  Another family makes up a mess of cornbread and a rasher of bacon and sends it over. In the spring, this same grandmother makes poke salad and I have never tasted anything as good as her poke salad.  It’s a labor of love because you can poison folk by making it improperly.  I would eat Miss Ophelia’s poke  salad any day of the week.

Another neighbor knows I had severe stomach issues last fall and knew I subsided on beets alone for a week or so.  Yesterday he went to the farmer’s market to get beets.  He brought them up and gave me the beets….to be incorporated in our Thanksgiving meal.

There are so many blessings at this Harvest time.  Perhaps we need just to  realize how life brings them.

Perhaps we need more fingers and toes to count.  Perhaps if we look skyward, at the honking geese, the Sandhill cranes that fly almost invisible through white clouds with their black legs like dark streamers behind, their calls falling like chiding rain to us below….

Perhaps if we realize the blessings we have before and above us, we can understand how fragile life is, but how continuous our blessings flow.

Lady Nyo

Sunday Summer in the South

August 9, 2009

Some times this blog gets so serious….and that isn’t the point of life I think.  This morning, after washing 5 dogs, I decided that it was so beautiful and hot and there was so much water on me anyway, I would strip down and shower in the garden.  A garden hose wound around the clothes line worked just fine.

This garden is a miracle because just about 6 weeks ago, there was nothing but a sea of red Georgia clay and a 20 year old mature garden gone because of a 84 foot moat due to a clogged (by roots of plum trees) sewer line.   The only thing left were some very tall rose bushes along the house wall and a 5 year old grape vine.  So, after an intensive two weeks of hauling composted soil from the back -back garden….and replanting 10 tomato plants and some other veggies…a very few, the garden looks productive, luxurious, fertile.  Hell, we will have more tomatoes this October….or September….or late August than we can eat.  I love to can, but not tomatoes….so I do as the Mennonites:  I quarter, put in freezer bags and use them over the winter for stews and soups.  Can’t use them for salads, but they are fine for the purposes you find.  It’s just there will be so many of them because the new soil and the plentiful rains have made a tomato-rush out there.  I’m thinking of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil for holiday gifts and that’s one way to use up tomatoes.

So I called out my husband, with the enticement of a cold Killian Red, and we showered and soaped up and the water was just fine.  I feel good about this because all the water was not down a drain, but into either the garden or the garden path where we are trying to grow grass between the pavement stones.  The sun shone brightly on our bodies, drying us off, but fresh towels plucked from the umbrella line finished the job.

There is something about being naked under the sun, in the middle of Atlanta, well protected by a high wooden fence and a huge grape vine that is finally after 5 years, covered with grapes.  They are supposed to be “Thompson Green Seedless” but they are already turning purple.  They are still tiny and bitter and DO have seeds.   Another mislabel by Home Depot, but the joy and excitement of having such a fruitful vine in our garden trumps any other issue.

The economy woes and the usual issues of a nation and city in crisis would seem at times to overwhelm the blessings of life, but this morning they can’t shake a stick to the pleasures of two naked bodies and a few Killian Reds on the patio.  The luscious greenery surrounding us, the cooling water, the clean dogs outside the fence, the rabbit that is munching the crooked necked vine, the cats that are indolent in the sun under the table, well, these are the blessed times to be remembered.

Life is good.  A bit simplified, but that is good, too.

My 89 year old mother called me two times yesterday just to remember the times of our youth, and told me the Harvest Home of August, over a 100 years in existence, will happen like clock work again in Griggstown, New Jersey.  We both cried over the memories and so many of our friends and neighbors now dead or so old they are not amongst the living in daily living.

Fresh washed husband in the garden.

Fresh washed husband in the garden.

But we are making new traditions here in this alien South, and they are good ones, too.  The shared shower in the garden will be memorable.

Lady Nyo


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