One Happy Day | Beaufort County Now

For the first weekend in a while, I am at the rabbitpatch. We have big plans for Sunday -Daddys' -eighty fifth birthday party. Rabbit Patch
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

One Happy Day

    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.

    For the first weekend in a while, I am at the rabbitpatch. We have big plans for Sunday -Daddys' -eighty fifth birthday party. Today, I have a lot of cooking to do, for everyone is coming . . . even little Ryan, who I have not seen since Christmas!

    The windows are up in the old house, for the morning is mild. The song birds are back in full force and the air is filled with the sound of spring. The air smells green and sweet. The yard is greening in patches . . . and it looks scrappy, for besides the violets, all sorts of wild flowers are popping up hither and yonder. There are wild hyacinths and dandelions and many of the lilies are up, plotting their dazzling future. If this continues, young folks will surely fall in love, as they have through the centuries . . . and I can not blame them.

    Before noon, I had a large pot of brunswick stew ready and a huge pot of chicken and stock ready for pastry. Since the day was ideal for line drying, I was doing laundry, too. I am sure the boxer was in shock at my tending to housework, after weeks of neglect.

    Sometime, in the afternoon, an announcement was made, that the governor had closed all NC schools for the next two weeks. I am not sure what this means for teachers. I do know that the groceries have been nothing short of "mad" the last week and many items are scarce. Churches are even closed, tomorrow. All gatherings of " a hundred or more" are to be postponed. Many folks will be working from home. Well, Daddy can still have his party, but great precautions are even in place for that.

    I am old and have never seen the likes of this. I am a bit stunned at "the state of the union." Whether the panic is justified or not, the climate is full of fear and that fear is every bit as contagious as the virus. This is a time to pay special attention to all the conditions.

    Sunday was born with a chill . The sky was a steel blue and there wasn't a bit of shine anywhere. In the absence of song birds, the morning was a silent affair. With the weather as it was, Mama would have a full house today.

    The only thing that I had left to do was to make cole slaw. In light of that, I read while I drank coffee. The boxer slept like a contented child and for a little while, there was "peace in the valley".

    Kyle and Christian woke, and the phone started ringing, an hour or so later. I started chopping cabbage. I put the boys to work . . . housekeeping, mainly. They neither one like housekeeping and would have preferred mending the picket fence to dusting, but someone has to dust . . .and I was chopping cabbage.

    Just after noon, we drove up to my parents' house and I was right . . . there was a full house.

    By the time all the food was put out, there wasn't a square inch of counter space left. Folks were everywhere, for everyone showed up. When Brant and Sydney arrived with little Ryan, several of us made a beeline to their car. Jenny ended up with Ryan, right off. Somehow, she usually does. Jenny adores Ryan and I take great joy seeing my children, loving one another . Few things mean as much to me.

    Daddy was having a good day, and he smiled and laughed a lot to our delight.. My cousin, Faith showed up and how glad I was to see her. She hadn't seen Chuck and Chris and what a sweet thing it was to see my cousins reuniting after many years, for life has a way of separating us. For a moment the wildness of our childhood came back to me. We were always full of unbridled something, joy, chaos, adventure and on occasion, fierce opposition-when we were untamed children. Who knew, that left to our own devices, we would learn the things that mattered to get along in the world. The adults rarely stepped in to plan an agenda for us or settle our arguments, after all. Tattling was highly discouraged, unless there was danger involved. Truthfully, looking back, there often was, but somehow, we all lived to grow up anyway.

    After the gifts and a pineapple birthday cake, after my cousin Chris' homemade ice cream and after Aino and my sisters had the kitchen in order . . .we all packed up and most of us left with some sort of remnant from the menu. It had been one happy day.

    With stores empty of mostly everything and schools closed and everyone that can, working from home, this week will be out of the ordinary. I am going to Elizabeth City on Monday and hopefully, will make a trip to Wake Forest not long after that. I hope to see my parents . . .well there is little chance of boredom.


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