A version of this post originally appeared at abelhouse.church.
Louise Buff Christie, my sons’ great-grandmother, was a renowned cook. In fact, from the time of her husband’s death in 1948 until her own in 1972, she baked and sold goodies from her home kitchen for hostesses of almost every event in Denmark, South Carolina, to supplement her income. Her delicious cakes, pies, and party desserts were sought after by brides for weddings and receptions, by organizers of bazaars, and by many a sweet-toothed church potluck crowd. Continue reading
Remember that I mull. Mulling results in looking at both good and bad in the world, maybe more bad. Would that I could solve all the world’s problems. I suspect that even if I could, though, the world would not listen, would not react well. I cannot. But sometimes, with heavy soul, I mull what has happened, what is happening. I pray for answers not for myself but for those who might be able to do more than mull. Continue reading
On 19 May 2015, I celebrated my 70th birthday. The first sixty-nine birthdays were, to use an old cliché, a piece of cake, but this one gave me pause. Believe me, it should come as no surprise that beginning the eighth decade of life is reason for pause, reflection, and celebration.
With the celebration of a milestone birthday came cards, presents, calls, texts, visits, gifts of time—all delightful and greatly appreciated. Among them, however, was only one from someone who has known me from birth, who was there back then and is still here now.
I knew it when, in early April, I spotted a rug hanging on a line. Now, that is an eye-catching sight nowadays! I do not know how many years it had been since I had seen a patterned, room-sized rug stretched along a line for beating. Such a sight in Winter Springs, Florida, is even more arresting than it would be in a rural area. Clotheslines and clothes hanging on them to dry are not allowed in my upscale neighborhood. For that reason, the rug was stretched atop a zip-line cable strung between two trees with the pulley hanging down on one end. The pines would have supported a thrilling death slide ride, but the rug hung level in the April breeze. Perfect! That breeze carried the smell of first-mowing grass, of early spring petunias and vines, and sunshine, along with the memory of an ancient rite—spring cleaning—and a mulling time. Continue reading
Kate Chopin’s husband died in 1883, leaving her with six children. To support them, she started writing. Twenty-one years later, she left an inheritance of insightful tales to us all. In “The Story of an Hour,” the protagonist, Louise Mallard, fine-cuts the usual years-long mourning period following the death of Brently Mallard, her spouse, to sixty minutes. She goes through shock, deep grief, numbness, disorientation, acceptance, self-awareness, discovery, and recovery. When she is finally praying “that life might be long,” rejoining her sister “like a goddess of Victory,” she makes a second discovery about her late husband that kills her. Though without proof, I suspect Chopin was writing from experience, drawing on her own discovery of a private bequest from her husband, exaggerating a moment recognized all too readily by surviving spouses. Continue reading
OK. Confession time: I read obituaries. Yes, I’ve heard the old joke about checking each morning to see if my name is listed as having kicked the bucket, gone to the Happy Hunting Ground, bought the farm, or at least planted daisies. (I wonder, Why daisies? Why not roses? Or corpse flowers?) But checking the kicked-the-bucket list really is not my reason for reading obituaries. Besides the fact that I will read almost anything in print, I just happen to like them! Continue reading
While my sons were growing up, we were privileged to be adopted by a motley collection of animals. We first had a white male cat named Cashmere. Now, my father insisted that there is no such thing as a male cat, that cats are asexual and reproduce by autogamy like some flowers since all cats eventually have kittens if left able, but Cashmere proved Dad wrong. And then Cashmere was followed by a long line of male pets, including a black cat named Satan, a black cat with white paws named Boots, and gray Persian kittens named Joy and Joy II. Continue reading
While making one last pit stop before boarding a plane leaving LAX a year ago, I found myself in the usual line of women awaiting a stall. The woman ahead of me had a small handbag in one hand and a small hand in the other. Her daughter, about three years old, pulled along a child’s tiny pink-flowered roller bag, her neon-bright tennis shoes lighting every step. Continue reading
The clock picture that graces my blog banner is of a family heirloom. We are not an heirloom-owning family, for the most part, cherishing memories and stories in the absence of riches, but this particular heirloom has been part of my life all my life. Perhaps its occupying that place is one reason for my love of clocks. I would have one on every wall and every flat surface if the sounds would not irritate everyone else. Continue reading
For a long time, friends, husbands, and family insisted that I should write. Lately, that suggestion has more often included the word “blog,” as times have changed. Now, those very changing times have prompted me to mull the suggestion more seriously. But when I sit down to do so, I realize that they did not suggest what I should write about! Left on my own, I am here just “mulling time.” Continue reading