The old woman sat in front of the fire Her fingers tenderly touching the roses in the quilt Remembering the day decades ago When she taught her younger cousins The art of making paper roses. The excitement on their faces Was worth the tedium of the task Now years later Another old woman had returned the roses Slightly grayed as were they, entwined on the blue fabric A memory to share.
WHAT DO I WANT TO BE THIS YEAR? How do I see myself An artist? A writer? A quilter? A friend? A lazy old slug on a shelf? As the new year’s begining My canvas is empty. My fabric is washed and prepared. My pencils are sharpened. The papers are stacked. The ideas are buzzing about Creativity’s zinging The bells are all ringing Let’s get going is all I can shout! But—where shall I start?
My daughter is enjoying her school in England. It was hectic getting there and many problems came up to discourage her including being sent back before she even made it out of the airport. But she arrived minus her quilt for a year of studying medieval music. One of her adventures involved going out to Marks and Spencer’s to find a new quilt since she had to leave hers back in the States. She was walking back to her dorm carrying two pillows and a duvet when it started to rain and she got totally disoriented. Which way was she supposed to go to get home? Standing there in frustration, she heard the church bells playing Finlandia. This is a favorite of both of ours. We sing it as the hymn “Be Still My Soul”. Knowing that the bells were from the Minster and that the Minster was near the dorm, she could follow the bells home. The words of the hymn made her feel the love and comfort of Mom and Dad as well because it is one we like to listen to in times of stress. I like the second verse, which says
“Be still, my soul; Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as he has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still my soul; the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.” Katharina von Schlefgel, b. 1697
Isn’t it a comfort to know that we all have things to guide us home. For my Eternal home, the temple is one of mine. I love to go. Others are the memories of things my parents taught me. For my physical home it is at the moment the Cheesecake Factory, but that’s another story. What is a guide home for you?
It excites me that my daughter is in the place where my great grand parents grew up. If she has time I would like her to go see some of the places my great grandmother saw while she was growing up. There is a strong feeling when one stands at the same place your family did. Over Thanksgiving we found the lot where my husband’s father lived 100 years ago. The house was gone but I could see how touched he was just to be there in the empty lot. The same thing happened to him when we visited Erie, PA and walked the streets of his mother’s childhood.
" As we participate in temple and family history work, we are certain to have the Spirit to comfort us in our challenges and to guide us in important decisions. Temple and family history work is part of our work of providing relief, or service, to our own ancestors."
I love to go dancing in December Slipping and sliding along the sidewalks Dipping unceremoniously into the drifts Making snow angels purposely or not. I love the flakes dusting the patio Ice layering the furniture The dead stems of summer past taking on a Glistening glow Come dance with me, or skate or slide or slip. Celebrate December on the move.
We took a drive over Thanksgiving through West Virginia. I loved the names of the small communities, Droop, Nicely, Hico, Narrows, Clover Lick, Cornstalk; but my favorite was when we found the road down to Opossum Hollow. I wondered what stories I could find in places like these. My name is Anna and I write stories.
When we reached the creek side, I noticed a mother and daughter wandering along the edge. The little girl was about four. She was wearing purple cargo pants and a fluffy pink jacket. Her skin was the color of latte and her doe eyes a beautiful brown. She kind of danced as she walked along holding her mother’s hand.
“Ouch Mommy!” “I have another pebble in my shoe.”
“Here, sit down on the log and I’ll take it out so you can put it in your pocket.”
“Why do I want it in my Pocket?”
“Would you rather have it in your shoe?”
“No Mommy!” Where do the pebbles come from?”
“They come from the trees.”
“You’re silly Mommy, Pebbles don’t come from trees!”
“Yes, A long time ago the giant Opossum for which Opossum Hollow was named, got angry at all the elves that were hiding in the trees, jumping out to scare the residents and visitors; and stealing from the opossum children. He put an opossum Hex on the elves, the elves parents and the elf’s children. “From this day forward for a thousand years, any elf who dares to jump out of the trees will turn to stone.”
“Well, that was mean! Do they ever turn back?”
“Yes, if they land in a child’s shoe, and if that child takes it out, puts it in his pocket, and takes it home, the stone will turn back into an elf.”
OK Mommy let’s do it!”
“Ouch! Oh goody there’s another pebble elf. Hurry and take it out and let’s go home."
Quietly I followed them to see what happened next, and soon saw them standing outside a little two room shack in the shade of a sycamore tree.
“Ok Mommy, What do we do now?”
“Let’s give the pebble a drink. They get awfully thirsty as pebbles. Now we’ll toss them out the window and into the trees.”
"Why do we want to put them into the trees?”
“When we put them into the trees they will slowly turn back into elves and can jump into someone else’s shoe.”
“But if they just got back to being elves, why would they want to be pebbles again?”
“Well that’s how they travel to see the world; hopping from shoe to shoe, wherever life and children take them. Where do you think this one came from? He’s all red and named Jasper….."
I enjoyed the exchange between mother and daughter. It brought back memories of my own talks with my daughter. She loved to ask me questions and sometimes I made up stories to satisfy her curiosity when I didn’t know the answer. This is what made me want to be a writer I think. I just have to remember to tell people this is fiction not history.
We continued down the road to the next town, Crow, West Virginia. I wonder what story I could find there.
“Do you want to go?” asked my husband.
“No way! Didn’t you see that sign?”
NO RETURN TO HIGHWAY IN EASTERN DIRECTION.
We’d get in there and never be able to return!”
“I wonder what happens to the people who go there? Do they eat them? Do extra terrestrials haul them off to another planet?" Laughingly reminiscing our favorite ' Twilight Zone' stories we continued our journey. But that’s another story for another day.
I am a retired old woman trying to learn new things. I've decided that since my children are grown I would start some new adventures in life. So I moved across the country to a big city.
I'm blogging in hopes that someone will read and enjoy my writings. Next I'll get out the old paintbrush!
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