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.
Now, it is winter. It matters little to me what the calendar declares, for I know winter when I see it. December was born of a cold wind, which stripped every leaf and a cold rain followed. The landscape is full of bare trees and sunlight falls where it pleases, claiming territory it was denied just a week ago. The sky at night hosts stars the size of silver dollars and the constellations nearly announce themselves. I love winter.
The after Thanksgiving gathering , my children and I created, did not quite go as we had planned. Brynn and Lyla were both recovering from some sort of "bug" that gave them about a week of fevers and a cough. With Ryan , being just two months old, it was just too much of a risk to have him exposed to such a thing. Christian had taken Thanksgiving day off, and because of that, he was denied approval for the days after. . . so we did not have the "full house" we had hoped for. We made the best of it and made plans for another gathering. When we all left on Sunday, we had shared some good meals, Brynn had fallen in love with Tres and Jennys' house was decorated for Christmas.
This is an extremely busy time, at school. The holiday concert is this Friday night. It is a huge event. Older students have a light show and prepare food. The youngest children play the glockenspiel and sing. Each class performs a song and then the violinists-around two hundred of them- give a concert for the finale. Every day is filled with rehearsals and all sorts of details. There is always a broken string on a violin, it seems . . or a missing hand bell . . or an amendment to the "programs". . . and yet . . .I took Wednesday off.
For many years, my sisters, and my mom and I had an annual Christmas shopping day. It was always on the first Tuesday in December. As my nieces grew up, they came too. With Daddy, now needing company at all times, and Mamas' bad knees. we broke the tradition and instead now decorate their house for Christmas. This year, when we all arrived, Mamas' freezer had stopped working. This caused quite a commotion, right off. By noon, Dana and I had decorated the tree and Connie had come back with a new freezer. After lunch, Hayley and Mama had transferred the food and Delores and I had the garland and bows on the front porch. Connie did the windows and Hayley concluded the effort by hanging a wreath on the garage. We left as the sun was sinking behind the distant woodlands.
Thursday was a whirlwind of a day. By the time, school was over, I realised I was exhausted. I didn't feel right. My eyes hurt and I felt weak. I dreaded the drive home, for I was sure I would fall asleep! I was in bed before eight and I am not sure what Christian had for supper.
I slept straight through the night-and wished I could have slept more! I willed myself to shower and dosed myself with oregano oil, which tastes so awful, but works wonders. The rehearsal went well, thankfully. I drank as much water as I could stand throughout the day and doubled up on my elderberry. Still, I was tired and was cold all day. I steered clear of people, as best I could. A good many were out with sickness already. I hardly ever fall victim to "bugs", but I was sure by now, that I could not deny the facts-I was getting sick-and at an awful time!
As it turns out, the concert went beautifully, with little assistance from me. Practice does pay off, I thought -and not just in music.
Practice in general produces habits and I will do well to remember that. Whatever we practice, we tend to become good at and with time, it becomes a natural act. to us. While this idea applies to such things as diet, housekeeping and most every thing else -it also applies to matters of the heart and how we think, which is a most fearsome endeavor, for it is not a bit swift nor easy. It is a worthwhile effort . . .for all that really matters is the contents of our heart.
After the concert, I came home and went straight to bed. Again, I slept through til morning and awoke feeling mostly restored. I wondered how just sleeping could make such a difference. So when I "got my bearings straight". I set about studying about sleep. Now, I am convinced that sleep is a very important time for us. I have always tried to see how little of it I can abide with. I like to stay up late -yet I also like to rise early. I do not like to nap, for it seems like a waste of my time. I hope you "can teach an old dog new tricks" for I intend to mend my ways.
Tres had orientation in Elizabeth City on Saturday, and so he spent Saturday night at the rabbitpatch. It still seems "too good to be true" that he will be closer to home and Jennys' neighbor, literally - and right after Christmas! Lyla is very excited, for she has decided that Uncle Tres will teach her about the constellations! Jenny intends to cook for him, and Will is responsible for finding him a house and a part time job . I will be "on call" for housekeeping, errands and any "loose ends". . . Tres has a fan club, and will not lack support in his endeavor.
All in all, the past week was full of blessings-even, whatever ailed me for a while, was an experience to learn from. The concert was a success and seeing Tres . . .well, that was the "icing on my cake".