Pearls and Old Hat | Beaufort County Now

Saturday was the day of Mamas' birthday gathering. Her birthday is on Tuesday, but it is much easier to gather on a weekend. Rabbit Patch
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Pearls and Old Hat

    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.

    Saturday was the day of Mamas' birthday gathering. Her birthday is on Tuesday, but it is much easier to gather on a weekend. Usually when the family gathers, I spend a week, planning with my sisters and then a day and a half cooking. The morning of such an affair is busy and we are chatting back and forth about the details. This morning, the rabbitpatch kitchen was quiet. The pots and pan were tucked in the cupboards . . . and the stove was cold. It was an unnatural occurrence and how odd it felt!

    I had known for days that I could not carry this "plague of flu" to my loved ones, and though I was disappointed, I had not taken fully into account, all that meant. I knew that my sister Delores and my daughter Jenny were as capable as could be to to pull the thing off, and I took comfort in that, but in the late morning hours, like a small child, I thought "I can't go the party and I just want to break something!"

    It seems to me that the old saying about "a first time for everything" rang true again for me, on this day. I heard it loud and clear disturbing my peace.

    In youth, I was full of notions, and expected new and unfamiliar, like rain. I even look forward to it.

    Everything is so exciting, in that season -until it is "familiar" . . . then it becomes "like an old hat". We rush on, til at long last, we are all grown up, we think, and have so very much knowledge, we are quite prepared for whatever comes along. This is a very temporary state of being, we all find out. . . for things beyond our wildest imagination, happen and there is a wide range of events -some so very beautiful and others shocking and tragic. . . but now we know-and so we convince ourselves again that we really are grown up now and know more than ever how to proceed . . . false start! For, life seems to gain speed and zips by at a quickened pace. It has always amused me, that with all of the modern conveniences, we seem to have less time. . . We are busy rushing. We are gathering and discarding constantly. Our castles are lined with "fools' gold" and we no longer know where the "pearls" are.

    Now, most every life has some lull, here and there . . . and the next thing you know, you like that. The thrill of "first times" dims for us and "the old hat " becomes so very lovable . . . and at long last, we have learned the difference in "fools' gold and pearls.

    Now, by all accounts, the gathering was wonderful and I can say first hand, that the food was worthy of compliments, for Delores dropped us a box of ample portions, on the porch, just like Jenny did for Tres. Brant and Jenny sent pictures, too.

    If you think you will be exempt from "loving an old hat", you are probably wrong. The heart tucks away those beautiful pearls and old hats, for a good reason, as a kindness, to serve us when needed. This is really incredible, for we are often unaware .

    When light was fading, there wasn't a bit of tantrum, left in me. Like everyone else, I am still growing up and know less now than I ever have, for knowledge and wisdom are two very different things. No matter how old we get, there are still going to be more "first times", - and I do hope to muster more grace for that, in the future.

    Though, I suspect that I am a slow learner . . I do have a sizable collection of pearls , and I am known for wearing an old hat every chance, I get.


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