Monthly Archiv: November, 2013

Cheers

The numbers of people potentially offended or irritated by this post grow in my mind with every passing second. Nevertheless, it happened on County Road 21, and seemed to me both true and beautiful.

Dinner time was drawing to a close. My son thought he remembered that it was All Soul’s Day. I explained that All Saints Day was Nov. 1, All Souls Day on Nov. 2, and therefore past. Remembering the dead is not something I do easily. Sometimes I celebrate my mother’s birthday. Sometimes I do not. Although the dead I know now include my mother, my paternal grandparents, and my miscarried children, it is only on some days that I find myself comfortable loving across the chasm that divides us. The loving seems too often to come with aching.

This difficulty with the dead does not exist for my children. Maybe because they have tasted death mostly in farm animals, or maybe because they are children and see things differently. My son didn’t worry himself with fine lines of time and place.

“I’m going to say a prayer anyway,” he said cheerfully. Chewing. Thinking. We waited.

“Ok everybody, get your glass. I’m asking this prayer for all the people in palliative care right now.  Cheers.” He raised his glass and waited for us to clink glasses with him.

“Do you know what palliative care means?” I asked.

“Yeah. It’s people that are dying.” He smiled and raised his glass to clink against mine.

The idea was very enthusiastically received. Other children’s prayers and glass clinking quickly followed. Their father tried valiantly to maintain the dignity of the occasion while being asked to clink his beer bottle with everyone after each of the prayers. We made it through without laughing until we cried by avoiding each other’s eyes until it was all over.

My worries about how strange we are got the best of me. “Ok, so this was really nice,” I said. “It was a good thing you all did, saying those prayers, doing cheers. But just so you know, there isn’t anywhere else in the world where people do it like that. You won’t ever find a place where people are praying and raising glasses to say cheers afterwards. It’s fine. It’s good. I just wanted you to know that people might not get it if you tried it somewhere else.”

Quizzical looks. Shoulder shrugs. Mom is strange. Business as usual. Are there any more Doritos?

“There’s something right about it, you know?” my husband said when it was over. “I mean I know it’s different. I can’t really explain it. But there’s something good about it. Something that’s the way it should be.”

He’s right. They’re right. So may God bless you, my readers. May love hold each of you gently and tenderly today. Pour the milk. Pour the wine. Cheers. Raise a glass.

November

The leaves are almost gone. Some trees stand naked. Others dressed in fading clothes that wrinkle and crackle. Girl two and I took a walk hand in hand through the magic forest the other day. We found frost still on the ground in the shady patches and to her delight, ice in tiny little grooves in the mud like mouse prints. She scraped and held tight until her hands turned red trying to bring it home to show the others.

Mornings start now with getting the wood stove going. The chickens are laying fewer eggs and the dog can’t decide whether to grow her winter coat or shed it. Mornings are cool but not cold enough to silence the arguments about wearing jackets or splash pants.

Hopefully the wind will calm down enough for boy one and I to get in one more game of tennis. The others are starting to learn with varying degrees of interest, but it is he and I that crave it. I miss this thing we love doing together, once winter comes.

Last year, I almost always won. This year we split, except when I was still so sick from the spring – then it wasn’t worth it to go after anything more than two steps away and he beat me easily. But as long as I was healthy, and the wind blew the right way, we split this year.

What next year will hold seems inevitable. . . so here’s to hoping for one more game this year.