Spring Ready

Even though it’s not officially here, I always think of March as the beginning of Spring. Easter flowers, lilies, and tulips begin pushing up through soil dampened by the showers that have been ever present this winter. Grass grows greener and lawn mowers get prepared for the cutting season. Short sleeves, shorts, and umbrellas are sighted, no matter what the temperature is. Sneezing, red eyes, and runny noses renew their appearance with the pollens, and vegetable seeds, hoes, and garden gloves replace snow shovels in the garden centers. It’s Spring, and she is welcomed.
This Winter has been mild, which I have loved. Many are worried that we haven’t had a long enough freeze to kill bugs and diseases. My thought is that even with long freezes, we still end up with bugs and diseases. But one thing is for certain, we cannot control the weather.

I love seeing the early blooming flowers and shrubs in yards as I drive to and from work. The first sighting of new plants outside Bob’s Market always brings a smile to my face. Memories of driving mom around to purchase her seed potatoes and vegetable plants back when she was active and able sneak through my mind. It was a serious deal for her. She couldn’t wait to start tilling the garden soil and get her hands dirty with planting.

I did not inherit the gardening gene that mom and her mother had, and probably a long line of women before them. I’ve made a few feeble attempts at pot gardening but seem to fertilize too little or too much. Same with watering. My preference these days is to enjoy the fruits of others labors later in the Summer when they harvest their crops. I guess that works out OK for everyone.

There was a meme floating around Facebook which said what was wrong with the world today is that no one snaps beans with grandma anymore. How true that is! Many of my Summer hours were spent on the front porch with grandma stringing and snapping green beans, shelling the shell beans, and listening to the stories she told of both her youth in Ohio and adult years spent in California. Sometimes it bored me and I would have rather been reading a book, but mostly I loved it because it was time spent with her. Well, except for when we were shelling Lima beans. I would have rather cleaned out a calf stall than shell those Lima beans! Oh, they surely made my thumbs sore!

I’ve been watching the extended two week forecast and it looks like days in the 50’s next couple weeks, with nights still not dipping into freezing. I’m OK with that. March can be unpredictable, though. She’s been known to dump more than a few snowfalls on us, so I will enjoy and savor the warmer days each day they come.  

The arrival of Spring makes me happy. Fresh colors will soon begin appearing every day in nature’s landscape. God is an amazing artist.

What do you look forward to most about Spring?

Take care of you.

Blessings 

Letter to Grandma Flossie

723608-Portland-Rose-GardenHi Grandma,

It sure has been a long time since we’ve talked.  I hope all is well in heaven.  Have you and God been having long conversations?  You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d write you a letter.  I remember how much you always loved receiving a letter in the mail, and that you would write letters to your family who lived miles away, too.

The last time I turned on the TV in the afternoon and saw a soap opera on, I thought of you, Grandma.  You used to love watching Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.  Not much has changed.  Well, maybe.  There’s still always drama, crying and yelling.  People can’t get along.  Except now, Grandma, they have men kissing men.  I know.  Even as progressive as you were in some of your thoughts and ideas, I don’t think you would have gone for that.  Seeing how Elvis would shake his hips when he was singing was enough to make you scowl, though I did notice you kept on watching.  But two men kissing on TV…nope, I think that one would make you turn the TV off and go water your flowers.

Speaking of flowers, I’ve never seen flowers like yours much since.  Somehow, it was always comforting to see you outside working in your flower beds.  Pruning, trimming, digging, planting.  You would have sweat dripping like crazy off your forehead, but you’d just take your apron hem, wipe it away, and then keep on working.  Every so often, I’d see you with the wheelbarrow loaded up with cow manure that you got from the pile back of the barn.  You knew exactly which kind you wanted, too.  The kind that had mellowed for quite a while and was a bit on the drier side.  You knew exactly what would make your flowers and vegetables grow.

You had the loveliest roses in your garden.  They were always beautiful.  You spent a lot of time reading up on how to keep bugs and insects away organically, but if that didn’t work, you’d blast them with something.  Nothing was going to mess with your flowers and get away with it.  I liked that about you.  You took care of who and what you loved.  You took care of me.

I miss the conversations we’d have on the front porch while we were shelling beans.  Didn’t matter what kind of beans they were, and you had several kinds.  I’d fuss and complain about having to do it, but secretly, I loved spending the time with you.  You told a lot of stories about growing up and I wish now I had listened more, or written them down so I could have remembered.  You didn’t have an easy life, but I don’t remember you ever complaining, just reminiscing.

The other times I really enjoyed was when everyone else was out at the barn milking thebarn-silos-park-city cows, you’d come over and we’d watch little Joey together, and you’d help me with my homework.  Oh, how you fussed about that “new math.”  I think it’s even worse now, Grandma.  But then, if we could get that homework out of the way, we’d play Chinese Checkers.  It was so much fun!  You’d almost always beat me, but it didn’t really matter.  You’d get on to me when I missed a really good move.  It made me mad, but I know you were trying to teach me to be more observant, and to think more.  You were great like that.  You knew that women could be great thinkers and do pretty much anything they wanted in life.  Back then, that was pretty progressive thinking.

I was always proud of you, Grandma.  You lived in California for a few years as a housekeeper/nanny and experienced things I will never experience.  You worked for a family named Finkle, who made hats.  Hats were a big thing back in the day.  You had so many stories to tell, places you’d been to, people you saw while riding the bus shopping in Los Angeles.  I think those were probably some of the happiest days of your life.  But when Joey was born, you felt there was a need for you to come back to Ohio, and you did.  I was probably one of the luckiest little girls in the world to have my Grandma living just a few yards away from our house.  You were a big help to everyone.  I know Dad yelled and grumbled a lot, but you were always there to help and I know you were greatly appreciated, even if it wasn’t said.  Thank you, Grandma.  Thank you for caring enough to help with Joey, and with me.

101471842_webThere are so many memories I have of you, joyful ones.  Picnics in the backyard, trips to Pomeroy to go grocery shopping and to the feed mill.  You loved riding into town.  It didn’t take long at all for you to put on a little rouge and lipstick, a “good” dress and pair of shoes.  The good shoes and work shoes looked the same, except the good shoes were newer.  And then you began wearing pant suits, polyester pant sets that looked so good on you.  Again, you showed the progressive side of yourself, even if you were a devout Republican.  You knew the value of a dollar and chose your spending wisely.  But you never failed to bring me back a gift when you were away visiting or traveling with someone.  You always thought of me, Grandma, and it was so very nice to be thought of.  You even gave me the first Bible of my very own.  I hope you know how much that changed my life.

Well, Grandma, I’d better close for now.  I still have a couple chores to do and I know how much you liked chores being done.  I miss you and love you.  We’ll talk again soon, I promise.

Blessings