Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I spent most of today going to my parents graves, putting out flowers for them and also for my sister's daughter, who died as an infant. My Mother died four years ago this month. As it turned out, she was buried on the same day (Dec. 17) as my Father--just 44 years later. He also died in December, the 15th...the year I'd turned 12 and my sister 5. My Mother was devastated at his death; she was 38 and he was 39 at the time. The holiday season since that time was not so happy in our family any more.
Mother missed my Father all her remaining years. While she had great fun at times--she had a wicked sense of humor and really loved slightly off-color jokes--there was always an underlying sadness about her. She got so much joy from her grandchildren, though--in fact, all children were especially dear to her. She treasured times spent with her nieces and nephews, then later their children. Babies were particularly her favorites. Talk about spoiling them "rotten!"
And, birthday cakes! She was famous for her decorated cakes. Icing so sweet it would make your teeth drop out!! Sometimes, too, her cakes would sort of "go south..." Maybe there'd be a crack that developed in one or more of the layers. Well, shoot, she'd fix that by nailing it together with toothpicks and filling in the cracks with icing. Heaven forbid you'd get too involved in a big bite of cake and run across one of those toothpicks! We told her we thought she was setting up booby traps...she'd just laugh.
She'd hide the cake (although EVERYBODY who had a birthday around the corner knew she had one lurking somewhere), then enlist someone (usually the youngest person there--if it wasn't their own birthday) to help her bring in the cake, all lighted with the appropriate number of candles. One year, as she came down the hall with the cake with candles ablaze--I think maybe Jacob was "helping" this time--the smoke detector went off!! She got a kick out of that!! My husband wasn't too happy, though--it was HIS cake that set the thing off!
My parents graves are in a small cemetery in the community where I grew up. So they're buried about two miles from where we lived then. The "old home place" is now falling in but my sister and I inherited my Mother's portion of the farm property--about 18 acres. At the top of the hill on the property sits an old truck--actually, the hull of the truck--parked there by my Father in 1959. He'd been doing some engine work on it and left it while he went out of town on a job (he was a heavy equipment operator--mostly drove bulldozers but could operate just about anything). During that week before Christmas, he died in a tragic circumstance involving carbon monoxide. The repair work, of course, was never completed and my Mother insisted that the truck must remain where my Father had last worked on it. Through the past 48 years nature (and vandals) have helped it along to the state it is now. I've photographed it a number of times through the years because the weathering effects are spectacular, I think. I'd even drawn a cartoon for tapestry from a photo a few years back, gotten yarn for the piece but just didn't follow through with it.
The colors of the truck body are becoming so amazing; possibly I should work with details rather than the whole image. That approach might enable me to handle a very emotionally charged subject in a way that will let me celebrate the beauty I see in the remains.
Posted by Tommye McClure Scanlin at 6:48 PM