Sunday, May 14, 2006

I remember Mother and the four-gored skirt!

I remember many things about Mother. I remember the floral drapes and sofa slip cover she made for the living room in my first childhood home. I was about seven at the time.

I remember that she always insisted she was incapable of making decent pie crust, but she took great pride in her cakes. She loved angel food cakes. She made many of them much to my disappointment as I loved devil's food cakes.

I remember her contagious laugh and how Daddy would tickle her, sometimes chasing her around the house in order to tickle her, just so he could hear her laugh. He called her Butch back then. Why I don't know.

I remember that she did not like dogs in the house, but she put up with them, one after another, dog hair and all, to please Daddy, my sister and me. We three loved dogs.

I remember the time Mother made matching dresses for my sister, me and herself. I remember how proud she was of them. Then there was the four-gored skirt that she made. For some reason memories of that four-gored skirt have surfaced in my mind on this Mother's Day.

I was about eleven when I joined 4-H. My project for the County Fair that summer was to make a four-gored skirt. Either Mother lost patience with me as I fidgeted with the four-gored skirt and her treadle sewing machine, or I lost interest in the four-gored skirt and her treadle sewing machine. Anyway, she ended up doing most of the sewing of the four-gored skirt. She was ever so proud of her sewing accomplishment, too, and she was most confident that the four-gored skirt would receive the much sought after blue ribbon at the County Fair.

When the four-gored skirt did not receive the much sought after blue ribbon, Mother sulked about it for a good month. She could not understand how a four-gored skirt put together by an adult who knew how to sew would not qualify for the much sought after blue ribbon intended for children. I can imagine that, as a way of comforting herself, she might have entertained the thought that the 4-H competition at the County Fair was in fact rigged.

What would youngsters do if their mothers never pitched in at the last minute and covertly finish for their child that science project for school or that 4-H project for the County Fair? What would we do without our moms to take over?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guest Contributor - Sharon Robinson

Introduction: Sharon and I have been good friends ever since we met in a creative writing class back in the 1970's in Southern Illinois. Although I moved away a few years after we met, we have kept in touch with each other. Currently Sharon is working on her grandmother's biography. It was my privilege recently to read an excerpt from it about a famous tornado her grandmother witnessed as a youngster in 1925.

Sharon has been writing poetry and short stories for many years. She has a knack for taking ordinary things, such as dried Lima beans, and instilling them with meaning. She admits that her poem about dried Lima beans has "hidden" meaning which she hopes will manifest itself if the poem is read slowly and thoughtfully. So, read it slowly and thoughtfully then tell us what you think about it.

Sharon Robinson

Dried Lima an jar.
They were displayed...on the cabinet
.........just for decoration.

A long time.... they had my grandmother's jar.
I am not....particularly fond
.........of dried lima beans.

For almost 24 hours...they the refrigerator.
I knew these..."now old"...Lima beans
.........might be "dried out."

They started on high...and cooked...on five hours.
The thought of... "slightly soft" reality
......... "hard as a rock."

I should have given...those dried Lima my mother
...years go. I should have displayed...Great Northern my grandmother's jar.

I was...,once upon a time,...fond of Great Northern
....flavored with a ham bone. They would not have..."become old,"
..."dried out," ..........and "hard as a rock."

Now, those Great Northern the jar...are
NEW...ready to soak and cook.
I am fond of...Great Northern beans...
cooked with an onion...
and served with