life, memories, rose

rosy

This is about Rose. I knew Rose all my life, minus the first five or so years, which I don’t remember very well. Rose, like her husband, was a second generation American. Their parents came from Italy.

She was small, a little over five feet, and pretty. Even when she was old, almost ninety, she was still pretty. Her hair turned from red to white, but her face was pretty and smiling. I see it now. Rose was probably the sweetest, kindest, nicest, most energetic, hard working, generous, human being I’ve known. I’m thinking, I’m thinking. Yeah, she was all those. You can probably think of some other ‘nice’ adjectives, and those would fit too. Her husband called her Rosy.

In the summer Rose and her husband spent a lot of time in the back yard. They sat there in the evenings with a glass of wine. Sometimes they played cards. It wasn’t a big area, a little bit of grass backed up to a tall hill covered with trees. And nestled at the bottom of the hillside a statue of the Blessed Mother. Everything about the space back there felt old country. It made you feel like you have nothing to do in life but sit, laugh, tell a story, and take it all in. There was a square wooden porch/deck attached to the house, and a screen door that took you right into her kitchen. I know, because I’ve been through that door. The last time was after my mother died and Rose called me in to see her new living room furniture. There are parts of us that just don’t grow up, and I thought at the time if I couldn’t still have my mother, I wanted Rose to be my proxy mother.

Rose was in the middle of making anise flavored cookies. She asked me if I was hungry, if she could get me some pasta. I don’t remember what kind, some gnocchi or whatever. She made her own, of course. There was no Mueller’s in that house. And it seemed to me she whipped up home-made pasta as easily as I whip up a sandwich or bowl of cereal. I’m probably exaggerating, but not too much. Picture the wood block countertop covered with flour, some chopping implements, and bowls and cooking ingredients scattered here and there. Old appliances. That was her kitchen.

Oh, and there’s the flowers. Tall bright colored flowers all around the metal fence in her front yard. Hanging baskets on her tiny front porch. Flowers up and down the side of her house. Flowers on the deck, flowers in the backyard. She loved her flowers, and they loved her back. Rose was well into her eighties and she would weed and fuss with her flowers the same way she did when she was thirty.

I thought about Rose yesterday, and this flower’s for Rose.


photograph from may 19, 2020

bread, Easter, memories

breadstuff

A couple of years ago, I was impressed enough to take this picture. My Easter breads.

The Saturday before Easter is one of my favorite days. No stress, just anticipation. It’s almost resurrection, the pause before celebration. It’s relaxed, like Thanksgiving back when my mom did all the cooking and I just set the table.

One of my favorite memories is the blessing of the baskets. I was old enough to drive, and I wasn’t too full of myself, not yet. Sure … yeah mom, I’ll take the basket to church. I mostly remember the bread. Yeah, there were the meats and eggs and dairy. But ummmm …. the bread. What smells better than just baked homemade bread?

We put the basket right on the floor, just outside the pew. Pulled back the linen. The special Easter linen. So the bread and other Easter foods could receive the blessing. The priest walked up and down the isle, extended his arm, sprinkled holy water. He always remarked. About the aroma, of course. You can’t beat that aroma. Inevitably, there was a lady two rows up with her hair in curlers. Cause it was the Saturday before Easter.

I guess that’s why I tried to make homemade bread. To be honest, it tasted better than it looks.

My best to all.

life, memories, non-fiction

sound your harks

New Years Day we’d take down the tree. Always. Like it was required.

But, in a few days, I knew it would be Christmas again.

When I was little…four, five, six years old…I knew we’d celebrate another Christmas after the regular one was done. That’s just the way it worked in our family. My mother’s side of the family celebrated Christmas on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6. For a kid, that’s great. We didn’t get presents again, but we knew after we finished the first Christmas, we’d get to go to my grandparents’ on the 6th and have fun…cousins, aunts, uncles…eat, sing, play.

Our memories from childhood are pictures, aren’t they? That live on in our psyches.

I see me sitting on the stairs off their kitchen, laughing, making noise, playing with my cousins. I see my grandmother bustling around the stove. The kitchen table with lots of people scattered around. The soft butter my grandmother took from her white metal cabinet. Oh, the frivolous details that stay with us.

Then there’s the boxy living room. Two couches. One against the wall with the TV. A second couch on the opposite wall. And a single small picture hanging over that couch, Jesus knocking on a door.

My five uncles are gathered at the couch by the TV. Four of them sitting, looking up to the uncle who is standing, facing them. Directing them. Sort of like their choir director. They’re singing Christmas carols, harmonizing, and the rest of us are on the other side of the room, the audience. Now it’s time for Hark the Herald Angels Sing. They need to get in tune because the song starts strong, with a hark. The uncle who’s directing asks them to sound their harks, and they do. Hark…hark…hark…hark. Again. Hark…hark…hark…hark. That’s when they start giggling. Yes, grown men can giggle like little girls. So my uncle repeats, a bit sternly, sound your harks! And they go for it, this time with bad, goofy bad, silly harks. At that point, it all falls apart.

And we all laugh til our sides hurt.

January 6…sound your harks.

life, photography, prose, writing

glitter

It starts with a raised eyebrow, a sigh, a glow.
Moments that fizz and ferment and sparkle.

Lobes fire up a conversation of thoughts and blurred images
in the nooks and crannies of the mind.
And far below the surface,
deep in the richest layers of our human-ness,
a sensory explosion of emotion flares.

The subtle living tension of the soul.

___________________________
etikser