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.
The fourth of July passed here, without much fanfare. Christian had to work, and besides that, our family was gathering the next day, as that was when we could all do so. Tres had spent the night, so while most folks were preparing for cook outs and fireworks, I was cooking a hearty brunch, for the two of us. That suited me fine.
Tres and I drank coffee in late morning light. Our plates were heaped with fried potatoes, grits, eggs and bacon and as always a stimulating conversation flowed. There is no such thing as a dull conversation, when Tres is around.
We talked about the environment and specifically how the beef industry effects it. I had never thought about that, but it intrigued me greatly. It takes a lot of fields to just feed the animals - fields that could feed people. There is also the issue of the methane produced . . well it is an interesting topic to research.
We talked as always about religion, spawned by the recent practice of the church my parents attend (a Church of Christ)_. . of "shunning" . The thing has shocked the community, me especially. It happened, this way . . .Two services were held each Sunday-one traditional, and one contemporary. The traditional minister, moved, and was not replaced. The "elders" who are about half the ages of the "traditional" seniors -decided to do away with the traditional service and "unite" the church with the contemporary service. The seniors did not agree and took to having their traditional service with paid traditional,speakers, hence, the "shunning" , for they "disobeyed the elders". The seniors are just deemed too sinful, for communication. My parents, former Sunday school teachers, elders deacons and steadfast members (for many, half a century)-are to be treated, as if they do not exist. This has impacted the community, neighbors and families.
The whole thing has been nothing but "another thorn in the side" for me. . . for it has hurt my parents. Four of our generations have served that Church in some capacity, so what an especially heartbreaking, affair.
Tres said, "I don't suppose, the church has a prison ministry."
Not all of our conversations were spent on "doom and gloom" topics, for we talked about Lyla and Brynn-and the impending birth of Brant and Sydneys' son.
Tres left around mid afternoon and took the lively conversations with him. The rest of the holiday was was a quiet at the rabbitpatch, as Christian was still at work -and the the boxer slept.
Some of the country folks did some fireworks, in the evening and I watched the colorful lights explode over the tree tops in the distant fields.
Our family gathered on the fifth, as this was when the majority could attend. We had a noonday meal at my parents' home. Will, had to work, or else we would have had a perfect attendance! The table was laden with chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes, peas, cornbread and two desserts. We all adored little Brynn as she sat in the very old high chair, with the rest of us. Lyla sang and danced as her Uncle Christian played the piano. After the meal, I watched the uncles taking walks with their nieces and helping Lyla care for her doll. Jenny and I sat on the porch with Sydney fairly glowing "with child" and listened to her dreams for her little son. It was a lovely day, altogether.
Finally, my sleep has regulated to the point of being sensible. To prove the point, I was in bed before midnight and rose early on Saturday. At long last, mornings aren't as cool as they were a few weeks ago and the days are downright hot. I smelled corn growing last night in the sultry air, but the fragrance of the mimosa blossoms claimed the morning air, today.
The southern heat slows everything down. Even the birds do not hurry about as they did in May. The roses produce occasionally, only. Many of the flowers weep for water, now. The corn in the fields is tasseled out, but the stalks are much slighter in stature than usual, for we haven't had a rainy day, in a long while. Now, the air conditioner roars away, disturbing the peace, but it really is unbearable without it. Southerners have a strong constitution for heat, but I find yards are empty and porch rockers are still . . and vacant, by mid day.
In the evenings, the rabbits come out, just before the stars. Country rabbits are skittish , compared to their city cousins. The boxer has always been discouraged from hindering small creatures, but he watches the rabbits with alertness and glances at me, every few seconds, just in case, I change my mind . . .but I never do.