Hope . . . and Remembrance | Eastern North Carolina Now | Today is the first day, of spring break. Beyond me lies a whole week to meander through and do what I deem fit.

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    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.

    Today is the first day, of spring break. Beyond me lies a whole week to meander through and do what I deem fit. I pray there are no surprises, unless they are pleasant, to hinder my lofty notions. Today, I want to tidy the rabbit patch . I am already painting a chandelier and intend to wash curtains next. The territory will get some attention too and I suspect, I will find more wild violets when I do so. Tomorrow, I am cooking a turkey and all that goes with it. I will have a strawberry cake . . .and I will not put ice cream on Mamas'. After Easter dinner, I will leave for Elizabeth City .

    My notions remain lofty, for the week. If the weather is fair, as is predicted, then you will most likely find me and Lyla, picnicing on the shores of the "laughing river"-or strolling through the Riverside village. We could be at "The Flour Girls' Bakery" or at Miss Claudias'. We could be on the flat rock , we have claimed, by the little bridge, sitting in silence. The truth is we could be anywhere and doing just what we please . . . if all goes well.

    Lyla has a birthday on Thursday-her third. It is a "red letter day" on the rabbit patch calendar. Lyla, for now, is my only grandchild and thankfully, lives but an hour away. This will be our fifth celebration in less than a fortnight. To me, birthdays are holy days. . . though, I do not see a bit of harm in having cake, as well.

    The Eve of Easter, in the Afternoon

    Just after the noon hour, I went out and gathered more sticks for the burn pile. It is still too breezy, to have a fire now and besides Kyle would be so disappointed if we had a fire, without him. I noticed some areas of the yard could use a mowing . . but alas, the mower was "dead" and out of gas. Mowers and water hoses plague me in the warm seasons. Instead, I went around the yard and checked on the azaleas. One of them had little blossoms burned by the cold. The gardenias (cape Jasmines) are all in awful shape. I have heard, that I should wait til June for the verdict on whether or not to remove them. All of the roses are alive and well and the tulips are up. The running vinca is slowly recovering and may bloom after all. I made a pile of pine cones. They are hateful things to gather, but the best thing I know of to start a fire.

    I came in and saw that the little chandelier had dried to the perfect shade of a very pale, blue lilac. It looks quite dainty over the white kitchen table in the mostly white kitchen. The whole farm house is mostly white- with splashes of pastels in the lightest shades of pink, lavender and aqua in various rooms. The exception is Kyles' and Christians' bedrooms which are ivory and without pastels.

    Inspired by my success with the chandelier, I painted some candlesticks for the mantle . . and then a flower pot. Christian hung the curtains while I cut fresh strawberries. I recited "Lovliest of Trees" by Housman, as I do every year, at Easter. I am especially nostalgic in the spring. Out of the kitchen window, I saw the sky blue flowers of"thrift" blooming and remembered my Aunt Agnes. As the sun sank low, I remembered playing with my cousins, Christine and Ruby, late into spring evenings that looked very much like this one. I thought of the dog tooth violets that bloom in the town, where I work and remembered how they seem to glow in moonlight. . .in months like April. Thankfully, the air at the kitchen window became chilled and I was thrust back to the "here and now" and the "tasks at hand". I do not know why, spring makes me remember, but it never fails to do so.

    By the time, the moon had risen over the field, my thoughts had shifted. I stood in the cool night air, full of gladness for what is yet to come . . .the season when new life is celebrated . . . the time when "flowers appear on the earth" and robins nest-and the soil gives up its' secrets . Children will search for brightly colored eggs in tufts of tender grass. . .and kittens will be found in garden sheds. Every pasture will be full of new offspring who are likely to kick their heels, at the "drop of a hat". . .

    "For behold, the winter is past . . .and the voice of the turtledove, is heard in our land."
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