Mom and I walked briskly away from our farmyard buildings. Mom wore a brown plaid jacket and carried a large wicker hamper. The hamper fascinated me. I had a foggy memory of it coming into our household years before, filled with large bunches of dark purple grapes. Since then, it has been lined with fresh newspaper each year and used to carry mushrooms we picked.
Warm afternoon sunshine reassured me we’d have many more warm days before winter. Last night had been very chilly, reminding me of the beastly cold winter nights to come. Shaking off thoughts of both cold weather and my fifth-grade schoolroom confinement earlier in the day, I skipped and gamboled alongside Mom as we walked down the cow lane between fields. I was excited to go with her to our neighbor’s back forty to pick mushrooms.
Stumps of trees cut down years before dotted a small portion of our neighbor’s field. Thousands of small mushrooms grew around each trunk and along the deteriorating roots radiating from them. The small, newly emerged mushrooms are called buttons. They grew quickly from one day to the next. The mature mushrooms had light colored caps with dark brown gills underneath and looked like small umbrellas. Big or small, they all tasted wonderful when Mom sliced and fried them in bacon grease.
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The radio in Mom’s kitchen was tuned to a music station, just as it had always been from morning to night during my growing up years. Although in my early fifties, when I visited Mom, I still felt like I was a child, cradled in a time capsule. The many years which had passed since my childhood had taken their toll on her, though. Mom’s vision was gone and she needed my help to bathe, change her bedding and pay bills.
After I had washed and set Mom’s hair that afternoon, she settled down in her rocking chair. I sat nearby at the dining room table to pay her bills. With soft music playing in the background, Mom suddenly commented, “Tonight…we switch back to God’s time.”
I looked up from the check I was writing. The dour manner in which she’d pronounced, ‘God’s time’ made me want to laugh.
A number of questions swarmed through my mind. Was Mom biblically opposed to day light savings time? I’d never gotten that impression as a child. Maybe Mom was repeating something she’d heard her own mother once say. My stern grandmother Franzeska, had been born in 1867. Although I’d never met her, things I’d heard made me wonder if she was a rather humorless person.
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A cool breeze from the open church doors swirled down the center aisle. I quickly tucked a scarf closer to my neck and fastened each of my coat’s buttons. People ahead of me were stopping to exchange greetings with the parish pastor, so the line moved slowly. Through the open church doors, I could see colorful trees in the park across the street. Orange and red leaves fluttered in the air.
Finally, there was only one man ahead. He shook the priest’s hand and questioned with a jolly laugh, “You mentioned today that you enjoy reading “The Farmer’s Almanac” winter predictions. You don’t actually believe them, do you?”
When the man happened to glance back at me, I smiled and suggested, “Maybe Father keeps a log on what the prediction was, then compares it to what really happens.”
Father laughed, but didn’t confess to keeping records. Continue reading →
I stopped working and leaned on the shovel I had been using to dig carrots. My garden was well on its way to being put to ‘bed’ for the winter. Arnie, my husband looked up from where he was working and commented, “Today is a perfect fall day.”
Nodding, I looked around. Clouds blanketed the sky. It felt warm, yet not too warm. A hint of coolness hovered around the edges. Night time temperatures the past week had been chilly. Our lush, green, freshly mowed lawn around the house contrasted beautifully with the deep burgundy sumac along our yard’s second driveway. I exclaimed, “Arnie, just look at how beautiful the sumac is today.”
My husband straightened up and looked. After a moment of silence, he asked, “What am I supposed to be seeing?”
I prompted, “The red leaves. Aren’t they pretty?”
When Arnie shook his head and denied seeing red leaves, I suddenly remembered he’d made certain comments in the past that made me realize he was unable to perceive the full spectrum of colors as I do. My husband was apparently partially color blind.
An article I read about colorblindness stated that men are more likely to experience partial colorblindness than do women. Trouble seeing the color red and green is most common. Complete colorblindness is rare. It occurs in only 1 person out of 30,000 births. Continue reading →