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.
It rained last night. Evening showers came and "settled the dust", revived the countryside and cooled the air. What a relief it was, when at long last the distant thunder, did more than just tease. The ginger lilies took heart, and so did I.
The long awaited rain, was like a grand finale to yesterday. Sunday would be the conclusion of our holiday gatherings. Tres had left on Saturday, but Brant and Sydney were still here. When I remembered that I had bought a large package of pork chops -which is Brants' favorite - Mama and I planned a Sunday dinner. I am glad we did, for it was a sweet time. . .and there is no such thing as too many Sunday dinners.
When Brant and Sydney left, and the kitchen was cleaned . . .that is when the rain fell . . . and I remembered my grandmama saying "I love you, like rain."
On Monday, I had "business" to tend to, which I always dread. I do my best to avoid any "official" thing, as if it were a plague, but sometimes there is just no getting around it. I was in a courthouse before nine am. My stomach lurched the minute I walked in. A large group of people stood out side the court room, awaiting their fate. I was heartsick, for all of them.
I was there to convince a DA to drop my citation for expired registration on the car, which was pointed out at a routine traffic stop. I declare the place smelled of brief cases, clocks and threatening forms. The lack of natural light only added to the gloom of the atmosphere. As it turns out, the "system" was down, so I had to return after lunch.
I came home and called the bank. . . another dreaded task. There was "no getting around that" either. The repairs that I have whined about for a year or so, are still needed and apparently, whining does not work. The gentleman, I spoke with was kind , but I could not make "heads nor tails" of some things he said. He used terms I was unfamiliar with. He said he could explain every detail and the conference would take about forty five minutes. I told him that sounded horrible. For once in my life, I had a pair of aces . . .Will and Tres. The two of them are a brilliant pair and Will is a commercial banker. I trust them with all my heart. The gentleman agreed to send me the information, which I will hand off immediately. . .and gratefully . . to my dear sons. . .one by birth and one by grace.
I made it back to the courthouse and without much ado, had the citation dismissed, since I had tended to it promptly. I was out of the "gooseberry net"!
I rode back to Elizabeth City, with Jenny, on Tuesday. Jenny had developed a rash, thought to be poison ivy, . . . but it turned out to be shingles.
A few weeks ago, Jenny lost her beloved dog of fourteen years. It was heartbreaking, certainly and this event, may have been the cause of the condition. known now as shingles, which can be caused by stress. We all mourned but I suppose for Jenny, it was a hurt, felt most deeply. After all, she had "Jada" before she was married and before she became a mother.
We are all dog lovers, in our family, and losing Jada, was not taken lightly, by any one of us.
I can scarce believe we are nearing midsummer. Of course, the heat is convincing. . . .and so are the mosquitoes. The days are humid now, mornings are often muggy and at night a haze sets in, but Lyla managed to see her first shooting star, two nights ago.
With all there is to do, I am ashamed to admit, that I have not read a single book, thus far. You would think, having the summer off, I would have read several by now, but alas, there is always some chore to do. Some task presents itself, regularly. I am reading articles and I am reading the Sermon on the Mount daily. It is the best advice I know of. Times have changed . . .they always will continue to do so. It is one of the few things, you can count on, but ironically, the plight of man has remained the same . . . and so do the solutions.
Yesterday, Lyla and I pulled the spent canes from the lilies, that grow down the lane. Thankfully, the lane is shady. She has helped me do this every year, since she could walk. Now, she sprints away with the bundles, like a young rabbit.
A fair amount of time has been spent in the kitchen. . and hence, the grocery store. Lyla was thrilled to get her own miniature grocery cart, this week. The store only has two, and so the odds have always been against it. The first time, she almost cried, she was so happy. The list was short, so everything went in to her cart. She took the job very seriously and all went well. The next time, we went, Lyla could hardly believe a little cart was again, there for the taking. We found out early on, that the cart was the kind with wheels that stuck. It caused the thing to stop abruptly and "buck". Lyla had shoes on that wanted to slip and slide, on the slick floor. She took a fall twice - and once the cart almost toppled over! I laughed til I shed tears. Somehow, we made it out, though I forgot the ginger ale.
On Saturday, we went to the farmers' market. It was awfully hot. Jenny bought a cucumber for Miss Thelma and I bought a dish detergent bar. I have been using shampoo bars for a while, in my personal quest against plastic. I loved the idea of eliminating more plastic, by using the detergent bar, but had my doubts it would work. I decided the chance was worth it. I barely had time to buy squash, as Jenny can not take this heat, with the shingles.
The laughing river, that ran by the market square, was like a sheet of glass, for there wasn't a bit of wind, to stir it. The old trees that lined the streets were as still as statues. Gardeners were not in plain sight, for they are "early birds" in July. July is always extremely harsh -just plain merciless, when it comes to heat. It is hard to believe, that I grew up without air conditioning, at least the first ten years. Nobody else did either. Not even cars were air conditioned! We were all outside mostly during the day. I don't think it was as hot then, but I was young, then after all. I still remember the cool shade of the old oaks. It was enough. I do not remember ever sleeping hot, for a window fan blew the cool night air in and with it the scent of the night. and the song of the whippoorwill . Those days may have happened long ago, but the memories linger, so sweetly.