Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.
March winds continue to blow scattering anything not nailed down, in every direction. The bradford pears have all but lost their dainty blossoms, and in their place, are young leaves, the color of jade. The porch rockers remain kneeling, lest they are tossed hither and yonder, and broken up in the process. Winter coats are still necessary, as the wind is cold and the nights are colder. Still, the daffodils bloom. . .This is March, the typical, familiar March, that sweeps through the "rabbitpatch", as if it has an old score to even, every year.
The purple martin birds have sent their scouts, which are really the "elders" of the flock. They always appear in March, back to their summer home, from previous years, the same home of the generations before them. The martins "set up housekeeping " and sing tropical songs, with trills- perfected in South America, where they spend their youth. . . hence, their unique melodies. Many people house colonies of martins, including my sister, Connie, who spotted her scouts, this week. Special birdhouses with many compartments are erected in wide open spaces. If you hang your laundry out, on any given morning in June, you are likely to hear the song of the purple martin.
March comes along, bearing such gifts as wind, blossoms and purple martins . . .and fair children, too. Today is Christians' birthday. Christian is the "baby" of my five children. The fact, that he is now twenty-five years old, makes little difference to me-he is and always will be, the "baby". I was in my early thirties when Christian was born. Brant was almost ten, and there were three others behind him. Truthfully, I worried that I would not have the same zeal to raise him as I had before. Where would I find the gumption, to on top of everything else, make baby food and wash cloth diapers? How would I have time for leisure strolls and the time to read poetry to a baby? It shamed me to no end and so I now worried, that as we awaited his birth, he knew, my doubts.
The day before, Christian was born, Kyle and I took a long walk and had milkshakes later. I remember, like it was yesterday. Not too long after midnight, Christian was born. Every fear, I had vanished, the moment I held him. "Gumption" washed over me like a baptism. "Love covers a multitude of sins" , rang true again. . . as it always does.
Brant, all but took over housekeeping and Jenny abandoned her dolls, for now she had a real baby. We all strolled together and when I cooked supper, Christian had four baby sitters. I had never factored in, that Christian would inherit the wealth, of having four siblings that were on the same mission, as I was. . .to make sure he grew up loved and cared for. They read poetry and sang "Ave Maria" in latin to him. They played their violins for him. (Christian thought every child played the violin, for a long time.) They took great pains not to "spoil" him, too. Tres would bring little tractors within a few feet, to entice Christian to crawl to them. Christian did not point at something and whine, to get it. I had warned the older ones, that the "baby" surely needed to walk, as they did, and that "catering" to whims would be quite unkind. Tres took it to heart and did not allow anybody to hinder Christians' chances of climbing trees or rambling in woods.
Of course, I wrote about this and of course, Christian has grown into a fine young man. He has one of the purest and most compassionate hearts, I have ever know. He is an artist to the core. He writes, paints and is a musician. He has bought medicine for a neighbor and is apt to carry groceries out for seniors. Not long ago, I lost him in a garden center, and found him loading mulch for an older man. If it sounds like I am bragging . . .I am. I can not deny my blessings-all five of them . . .and it is Christians' birthday, after all. My children are -"the gift that keeps on giving".
Now, Christian plays his guitar for Lyla and at Christmas, he handed me a handful of money and asked me to buy art supplies for her. "We" have not yet raised a perfect child, but we have come mighty close
And now for the very grand finale . . . .Jenny is having a baby!
It is expected to happen sometime, in early September, and there is no shortage of zeal nor gumption, from any of us. This baby will be born "with a silver spoon, in its' mouth" . . .for truly love is a silver spoon and the only one that does not tarnish. . . .believe me . . . I know this as a fact. It is one of the few things, I am certain of.
Happy Birthday Christian!