Three Days or Happy Birthday Jenny! | Beaufort County Now

It is January, but the windows are up at the rabbitpatch. Rabbit Patch
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Three Days or Happy Birthday Jenny!

    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 is January, but the windows are up at the rabbitpatch. Daffodils are sprouting and the wild hyacinths are too. Well, if I were a flower, I would too, for there have been spring like showers and a couple of days a wind blew as if it were March! There have always been a few mild days in months like January or February, for as long I can remember, but this has been a long spell.

    I was in Elizabeth City over the weekend. This was the weekend, that Tres would be moving there as he had his first classes on Tuesday. All week, he had worked on the old farmhouse. I had all but given up on anything getting fixed and so how happy I was ! Now, I am inspired to embark on that sun room, if and when I get a tax refund. Though there are a good many trees on the territory, money does not grow on a one of them.

    Besides all of that . . .well having Tres home, meant the world to me. I reveled in the fact, that I could cook supper for him, as I used to. . . that he slept under my roof . . and it was so very good while it lasted.

    In a twinkling, the days passed. Tres had finished his projects, and he headed for Elizabeth City. Jenny had the guest room ready for him, as he will be there for a few weeks, til he can move in to a little house, right behind her. Lyla waited for her Uncle Tres with more enthusiasm, than she had for Santa Claus! She clapped her little hands and danced around every time we talked about it.

    Even when Monday dawned, and the farmhouse population had dwindled once again, I could not help but be consoled that Tres was closer to me, than he had been in a decade.

    Of all my children, Tres has always been the most independent. He started out that way. . . and has remained so. Never the less, Jenny will "mother" him, with a light but steady hand. Jenny was born with a mothers' heart and she sure had ample opportunity to practice her skills, with four brothers. Jenny is this way with all of us. Somehow, she knows our needs and "tends" to us quietly with great efficiency- and we are all unaware, she fixed what ails us, til it is over. Tres will have balanced meals, clean clothes and school supplies, whether he likes it or not.

    Jenny has a birthday on Monday . . and since it is a three day weekend, I hope to help her celebrate on Monday. This will depend on Daddys' appointment, which is today. Somehow, it became Friday rather quickly this week. Daddy has not had his best week, so we were at a another appointment on Wednesday.

    While daddy was having his procedure done, I sat in the lobby. There wasn't a magazine in the place that had recipes or pictures of pretty curtains. All of the articles were about some sort of health crisis and all of the medicines needed to just stay alive . . .not one article was about how to grow petunias. I turned my attention to the video on the TV. It was titled "Children Need Dirt" and the intent was to inform us of the necessity of playing outside, for children. Of course, there was a scientific explanation with fancy terms used to convince us . . .but the long and short of it, was that children had increased immunity and were healthier in general. My elders must have relied solely on instinct, for when we were young, my cousins and I were always outside. It was a given. If it were cold we wore coats and sturdy shoes, and none of us had colds nor hardly ever were sick.

    The next segment, on the TV was about the effects of nature on the brain. I knew there was truth in this from personal experience, but it was interesting to hear science confirm it. It seems the chemistry of the brain is very affected by our environment. When we are constantly interrupted in our thoughts or distracted . . .and what an age of distractions, we live in . . .then the brain chemistry is altered and it is not for the best. In fact, so much so, that it actually takes years off of our life. On the other hand, Nature acts like a tonic and relieves all sorts of ailments caused by "bad chemistry". Now, my account of "the study" will never be published anywhere else, but here in this diary, for I am greatly lacking in adequate scientific language . . . but, I am no stranger to these facts.

    Suddenly, the doctor came to us with good news. The sense of dread that had plagued us for days vanished and I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry. Relief seemed to wash over Mama til she nearly glowed. I made a mad dash to call my sisters. How good it felt to share that "all was well."

    In light of the pleasant outcome, I left for Elizabeth City, after school. Three days to look forward to -and one of them was Jennys' birthday.

    Tres cooked supper for us on Friday evening. He loves to cook and that has already come in handy for Jenny. Right off, I saw that Brynn was head over heels for her uncle. That has come in handy too. How good I slept and "joy came again, in the morning" when I awakened, to such happy circumstances.

    Most of the days passed in an ordinary fashion, but one day, the blackbirds came. I heard their chatter before I saw them out of the kitchen window. I ran to find Brynn, to show her. She was very amused and we watched them for a while. I have always loved to watch blackbirds. They move like living fluid, in the air. Swooping and twirling from one spiraling shape to another. Their performances are hypnotic for me, for I can not think of a solitary thing, when I am watching blackbirds. I have watched them all of my life and have not yet lost the thrill of it.

    We awoke to a cold blustery morning on Sunday. I couldn't help but pity he iris that was blooming in Miss Thelmas' yard . . .along side the "paper whites".

    After breakfast, on Sunday, I started cooking all sorts of things. Jenny has a cold, so I made chicken noodle soup. I made pimento cheese for grilling in sandwiches - it pairs well with soup . . .and Tres loves pimento cheese. I made a big pot of great northern beans, too. I packed some of it up for Aunt J and Miss Thelma and still had enough to stock pile for Jenny.

    By the time, that I had packed my wares and cleaned the kitchen, it was almost time to start supper.

    Wills' sister, Mari stopped by. Mari lives hours away, and was on her way to Aunt Js' . She, Jenny and I sat in the kitchen while I concocted a casserole. I think company in the kitchen, is the best kind . It did not hurt one bit, that Mari said kind things about the rabbitpatch diary. I fairly glowed as I put the casserole in the oven.

    Now, Monday was Jennys' birthday and so we all agreed, that she should sleep til she woke naturally, which mothers' rarely do. Lyla was very quiet and she rarely is. Tres was reminded by Lyla, as I was, but Brynn had to be brought downstairs by her daddy, to "keep the peace". Jenny had a special strawberry french toast plate for breakfast, then commenced to opening her presents. Lyla announced them all, by saying things like "Now open the waffle maker!"

    Will and Jenny took a day trip, with Brynn in tow. Lyla stayed with me and her Uncle Tres. Tres planned a special supper, but I had to leave. Three days weren't enough, but it was a lovely time.

    When I got back to the rabbitpatch, the winter sky was spangled with stars. I love the winter night sky. It is the best time of the year to see the constellations. July may have millions of stars, but January, has the brightest. How generous the sky has been with its' blackbirds and stars, I thought.

    Christian came out to help me with all the bags while the boxer dashed madly around the yard. It was his way of saying "Welcome Home!" Christian said " I made coffee for you" . . that was his way.


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