Thursday, October 27, 2011

It Takes a Village (of Old Ladies)

I am the fire upon the hearth,
I am the light of the good sun,
I am the heat that warms the earth,
Which else were colder than a stone
Taken from the poem, "Any Woman" by Katherine Tynan

It was a rose of the Grandiflora variety......Love is the name of it. That was all it took to spark a memory of a special lady named Marie Day. And she day I mean. She gave our family one of these beautiful rose bushes....she had a passion for roses. It bloomed for years.....a creamy pinkie white in the inside with flaming red on the outside.

She did other things too. Special things for me and my Mom. She knew I loved lace, and that I loved to put clothes on my furniture. She made me the most wonderful embroidered dresser scarves. And pillowcases with colorful flowers. For me, the girl across the block. And she made the greatest zucchini bread. She was a sweetheart. She and her husband were fixtures in our neighborhood.

We have all grown up with them. These venerable and wise elderly ladies of our neighborhoods, our villages. Church ladies and non-church know the ones. They save pennies in a sock to give to the needy in the community. They hold down the fort, the neighborhood, the pew. They are pillars. Pillars of strength to their families whom they have given their lives, and not in joy. Their strength is knowing they have made others bloom.

They are tireless and work circles around everyone else. They fall into bed exhausted and sometimes they cry at night from carrying the weight of the world.......but only late at night when everyone else has been fed, comforted, fixed.

Then there was our neighbor Alma Nystrom. She also grew roses and the most wonderful pink Azaleas and Gladiolas, towers of color. She loved when I went over and picked some. She baked the best scratch cakes I have ever tasted. And every year.........Fluffy white pillows on a plate, the best Divinity I have ever tasted. I think of her every year I make it.

I will never forget the horror when our dog decided to lift his leg on her once when she was standing in the yard. I don't even remember her getting upset about it. Maybe she never noticed?

She had her grief.....lost her only son to diabetes too young, and that was after his wife left him. She was a part of our lives for a long time. Her sisters would come up the drive like a mini parade before they all went to church together, all looking like they just walked out of a style magazine. Then they would all come back and settle in Alma's kitchen for a small glass of beer and lunch.

My Aunt had Mrs.Swall next door. She always had a cat settled on her lap and what impressed me the most? Candy hidden in her dresser.

All of them dear.....all of them gone. I miss them. so much.

One day I hope to grow into one of those gracious and kind ladies. I have much to live up to.


  1. what a tribute...

    sweet post...


    I've been off the grid -- out of town, off the web ....

    I missed your blog.

  2. So glad you're back Harriet. I have kinda been off the grid too, busy at home and work. Time to go visiting again! Lori

  3. God made Grandmothers.
    Yes, he did.
    Elderly ladies bless and bless and bless.
    Mine were saints and fabulous memories.
    They're one of the best things in Heaven.
    They're waiting there to greet us.
    Only there, their youth and beauty is restored.
    Thank you God, for beautiful Grandmas.


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