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.
I have been in Elizabeth City, a good while this summer. With Jenny, having the shingles, I have visited even more than usual. Little Brynn has no idea, that her mommy isn't well and carries on with "business as usual". She seeks things out, like electrical cords and things to climb on, that are likely topple over. Anything, that fits in her mouth is highly desired, from little doll shoes to bobby pins! Nothing is safe. Someone must be "on duty" at all times, under such conditions.
The last few days, that I was there were sweet. One day Lyla and I made tea with flowers. My sister, Delores, had given the teapot to me at Christmas. The teapot is crystal clear so you can watch the flowers "bloom", when hot water is added. If you think it seems like an uninteresting activity or something only a child could fancy . . . .you would be wrong, on both counts. It was beautiful to watch the blossoms unfold and expand. It was like watching flowers bloom, right before your eyes. Slowly and gracefully, the petals unfurled and released a delightful fragrance. Lyla. perched on a bar stool and said nothing, in those moments -neither did I. For a few moments, the teapot full of flowers, was the only thing in our world.
Christian came to get me on Wednesday. Daddy had an appointment on Thursday. I had been there a full of week - a week that had flown cruelly fast. Of course, when I am away, I miss Christian. I miss the boxer and the gray cat, Christopher Robin. I am further away from Mama and Daddy . . and I feel the miles. Oh, how I miss the days of my youth, when everyone lived close enough to walk in the back door, at any given moment.
Jenny fixed a supper, while Christian, Lyla and I walked over to Miss Thelmas' house. Miss Thelma has a grand piano, and since Christian is a musician, I asked him to play for her. Miss Thelma played for us too! She played a beautiful piece, that she had composed, many years ago -from memory! It was a cheerful melody and hearing her play . . .well, of course, I cried. We were all impressed. Then she went on to recite "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere". ( remember, friends, that Miss Thelma is ninety five years old) It was a happy time.
When, the visit concluded, and supper was eaten, Christian and I prepared to leave. Lyla cried as if her heart would break. No amount of preparation, is sufficient for the time when we must part.
Christian and I drove back to the rabbitpatch, while the sun slid down the horizon. There were streaks of gold and ginger light falling across the three rivers. I love when night begins. A long time ago, this was when families reunited .. It may be that this is why I hold the evening hours so dear. This was before factories and stores that stayed open all night. Even grocers were closed and no one I knew, ever had "a meeting" to attend. Tractors did not have lights on them in those long ago days- and besides, there were many small farms that boasted all of twelve acres. A family could manage their work in day light hours. . .and make a living. That "way" is long gone, now. . .and I can say with all honesty, that I never saw it coming.
The light had faded rendering a dimly lit, peaceful world, by the time we got back to the territory, I call the rabbitpatch. The moon was rising, where it always does at this season and the air was heavy with the scent of cut grass, faintly and sweetly scented by the mimosa. Christian and I lingered a moment . . It seemed a shame not to, for we were not indifferent to the quiet glory around us .