Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving and Christmas

Elv's family is going to be here for Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday after the Day. If they all come there will about 29 people here. We plan to seat all of us around the table using china and goblets. For those of you worried about having to do dishes half the afternoon; we've got that covered and if you are opposed to washing dishes on holidays you don't have to help with them.

In the meantime while browsing a local used shop on a hunt for more cloth napkins for our dinner; I spotted a nativity set. I stood there for several sets of long minutes in my circling the store trying to decide if the half missing nose on one of the cows could be restored with molding clay or plaster, and if the camel with a few chips out of his ear and neck would be too noticeable once he had a fresh coat of paint. We left the store without the set. But I couldn't get it out of my mind. For six dollars it seemed that I could at least try to restore it. So yesterday I went back and bought it. We unpacked the three wise men and each their camels, a rajah from India, three cows, and kneeling camel, a couple angels, a few shepherds, and of course, the Baby, Mary, and Joseph. The whole set is rather used, chipped, and faded, but the detail is good...the rough coats of the animals, little individual buttons and collars, and folds of the garments are all there.

Is there anybody out there looking for something to restore and beautify?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Life Goes On

This picture is a tentative admission on my part that life is going on... That this family has adjusted to our new shape and size...we think. We like having fewer loads of laundry and more space for our earthly goods in our little old stone house. We like the smaller table.

We didn't like the loss of Jenny's soprano and Lisl's alto in our singing. The thing was that while the girls were being courted they brought to our singing a tenor and a bass. It was great! We learned a few new songs while they were all still here to help us. I suppose I'm prejudiced, but we got pretty good, too. But then they left. Our singing was sad.

Yes, our singing was sad! That says it all. Everything was sad to me for awhile. Every time I turned around there was some new space staring at me or someone missing. Mostly the girls were gone. Before, they'd always returned after being gone. It has taken me a long time to make my heart know as well as my head that they aren't going to come back to live here, ever.

During the glory days of nine and then settings at the table, we had the camera out all the time. We took family pictures at all three weddings. I kept pushing down the knowing that this was it! forever.

Now I am trying to scrapbook Lisl's wedding. I can't figure out which pictures to leave out. I keep ordering more of them. I should have waited another year to do this. But I'm trying to get it done and behind me. There's the pictures of the two girls sewing Lisl's dress...their hands managing the lace...both of them sitting up to their machines bent over the white fabric.

I have a picture of them in their winter coats and neck scarves, arms around each other's shoulders a few days before Lisl's wedding with the snow in the background, the pink and glow on their faces. Even a stranger would see what I am seeing on this picture.

Then those pictures of Jenny's rows of garden flowers...the picking and drying of them...the arranging into marvelous live-looking basket bouquets for her wedding. Memories so keen. Looking back I marvel that I could even enjoy it but again I was pushing back the finality of all these preparations. But it WAS wonderfully fun watching them prepare and plan.

But life goes on. Wonder of wonders we have found our singing voice again. We sang for Elv's mother last night. The three younger children only needed to be needed and here they are singing, reading notes, hearing the music we want to make. It's the best healing yet for me to know that we can sing again.

I am finding that it's the things that have stayed that are bringing us a feeling of wholeness again. Clark's bass and Charlotte's alto to swell the girls' first tentative alto voices and their grandmother's need to hear our music is holding us forth. Lance singing lead like always, helps me to count the many things that haven't changed.

And now a framed 8 by 10 of these school children. Yessir, I think we're gonna make it, folks.

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