Prayers, Rain and Dogs | Beaufort County Now

This makes two weekends in a row that I am at the rabbitpatch! Rabbit Patch
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Prayers, Rain and Dogs

    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.

    This makes two weekends in a row that I am at the rabbitpatch! Nothing has been very ordinary, as of lately. How odd that we are apt to complain about "ordinary" . . until, it is gone. Then we miss it and from afar, observe its' beauty.

    The past week, has been unsettling for our family. It happened this way . . .My sisters' husband, Mike, was taken to the hospital and as of this minute, is still there. Connie took him because of symptoms that just would not go away, but instead increased in intensity. Mike was diagnosed in October, with sumac poisoning. Since Mike is constantly traipsing the woods, the only puzzling thing to me, was that he had never had it before! The man jumps ditches and walks through the countryside, inspecting his land and watching the habits of wild life, as if he were a boy! . He has been bitten by snakes, for goodness sake!

    Connie took him to a hospital in a neighboring town, last week. One test after another has been run, and we have awaited results with all sorts of trepidation. Thankfully, though we still do not know what the answer is, some of our worse fears have been laid to rest . Until further notice, this family is praying.

    Tres came home on Friday. How delightful it is to have him closer and able to visit. How could I have known, when he was pushing little trucks and tractors, and rambling in woods -that inside of him, beat such a pure heart and that his curiosity would never be satisfied? . . Those days were golden, and for years I was in a kind of mourning, after the children grew up . .and I still miss that time . . .but these days are golden, too.

    I cooked a nice supper on Friday night to celebrate, his visit. I even made cookies! I usually never cook on Friday nights.

    On Saturday, it became February. The first day of the month was a bright one -and full of wind. I was hanging clothes on the line before Christian and Tres got up. The wind nearly tore the clothes from my hands, it was so fierce. I noticed the wild hyacinths were up -and the "magic lilies" too. One spirea bush has a few blossoms already opened and one is in full bloom! I can not blame any of them, for the winter here has really been like an out of season and very long April. It makes me wonder what April will look like.

    I have kept tabs on the weather, all of my life. I have journals that are over thirty years old now, to prove it. It all started when my first son, Brant, was born. Really it is a collection of letters to my son, which includes his milestones and an account of our days those years. Each child has several volumes and they are my dearest treasures. Along with my proclamations of sheer adoration, for each child-I also recorded the weather. . .and never before, has spirea bloomed the first of February!

    I like February, whether it mocks months like April or not. A lot of folks do not share that sentiment and "wish the time away". They have no affection for the lull of February and claim that it is a dreary month . It is true, that most years, February has a good share of misty days and often, you can not tell one hour from the next. . . but I like silvery weather. When mist hangs over a field of winter wheat, it is a sight to behold. In February , when lights shine through the windows of homes, it makes me glad to think of everyone tucked in, safe and sound. February moments have a beauty all their own.

    Tres went back on Saturday, with plans to return on Wednesday. This week he will move into his house, which is about twenty five steps from Jennys'. He would take Christian with him to speed the process along . . . and so it was Wednesday in a flash. I visited with Mama and Daddy, that day. There was a huge bouquet of daffodils blooming at the back door. How bright they were! I could almost hear them blooming in the silence of the countryside. I left Daddy pumpkin soup. I fear he will declare it is carrots and not even try it. . . . Mama will try it out tonight. I wished her luck and just hoped for the best.

    True to the nature of February, it rained all day on Thursday. I woke early, before first light to a gentle sprinkle of a shower. The boxer did not rouse. Usually, he springs out of sleep, the moment I open my eyes. He wants to go out and will prance about as if he is in a dire circumstance. He convinces me every time and so I too make haste . If it is raining, however, he is apt to sleep peacefully while I read , make coffee and prepare for the day.

    I love dogs-especially mine, and so I do not hold it against him.

    "Cash" is a boxer, a working class dog, which I am quite partial to. I have loved a lot of dogs in my life, a beagle, several German shepherds, Norwegian Elk hounds, collies, a sheltie . . . well, I grew up with dogs and promptly got my own, when I grew up. I got a boxer and fell in love with the breed. I have had one ever since. It is very hard to resist their curious nature and loyalty. They are a handsome lot and are very protective. Known as "eternal puppies", boxers love to play and require a lot of exercise, which is their "downside" for some folks. A well trained boxer is worth his weight in gold . . .but woe to the one who buys a boxer on a whim, without a bit of fore thought.

    Now, while I sing the praises of boxers, it was a sheltie that made a difference, years ago when Christian was a toddler. His name was Perry. Perry was darling and a beauty. He "herded" the children tirelessly as they scattered here and yonder. The truth is, I considered Perry a companion for the children, mostly.

    One night, as we laid dreaming, Perry ran barking to our bedside and jumped on and off the bed several times before I came to my senses, He had never done such a thing. My husband scolded him, but Perry remained relentless in his tirade. I knew something was wrong and got up. Perry pranced ahead with a great deal of satisfaction. He led me straight to the back door, which was wide open. I almost froze in my tracks in fear, but Perry trotted out quite jauntily and so I followed. There in the moonlight, was Christian in the yard toddling all alone around the back yard! I ran to him and gathered him up, in complete shock. He said he was following a rabbit! After that, I declared Perry a hero . . . and when he talked, I listened.

    I really could write "dog stories" all day, for a dogs really are, all they are "cracked up to be."

    It never stopped raining on Thursday. It rained all night. So much, that here it is dawn on Friday and there is a two hour delay for schools! The town, where I work, floods and I suspect that is the reason for the delay. The faint glow of morning light, reveals a lot of standing water at the rabbitpatch. It is "high ground" here so I can only imagine , what the conditions are like, elsewhere.

    I am packed to head north, after school, to Elizabeth City. Christian comes home and Kyle leaves today. I intend to have a breakfast for Kyle and I, before going to work. In the meanwhile, I will sit in the company of the boxer, who is fast asleep . . . because he awoke to howling wind and mud . . . and does not need to go out, just yet.

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