Sunday, February 2, 2014

Today and Yesterday

Grandpa Everett Whittle and mules Jack and Pete
Today has become a lazy Sunday morning. Between the ice and small layer of snow, the world seems to be at a complete standstill. At least I am personally at a standstill since there’s no way I’m venturing out.

This hasn’t been the weekend I planned, for sure. I thought Saturday would be spent watching my oldest granddaughter play in a basketball tournament, but when the roads became hazardous with ice, they cancelled the tourney. Today should have been Writers’ Guild, but that, too, was cancelled.

After watching Joel Osteen, I picked up an old magazine—part of my retirement plan is to read and recycle all the magazines that have been “saved” for reading—and saw an article “Where Have the Quail Gone?” That question has plagued me for years along with where have all the whippoorwills gone? Or for that matter, what the heck has happened to the cottontails?

When I was growing up, the night was full of the quail’s “bob-bob white” call harmonized by “whippoorwill.” I’m not sure when the sounds disappeared from the night, I just know it has been a long time, and I miss the music of their calls drawing me back to simpler yesterdays.

Rabbits were never that plentiful in the Ozarks where I grew up, but when I moved north of Sedalia, rabbits were everywhere. It was not unusual to see dozens of them on a single trip to town. Now? I’ve seen one rabbit this winter.

I miss the night sounds of my youth and the cottontail’s footprints in the snow. It may just seem like small losses, but several small losses add up to big ones.

We know the major losses in life are the people and places we loved. Last week, I pulled up Facebook to see pictures of my Grandpa Capps and my Grandpa Whittle on the same day. Funny, how many of the photos I remember seeing, while others I had never seen before. My brother posted a picture of my Grandpa Whittle with his mules. What were the mules’ names? For some reason, this question plagued me along with where have all the bobwhites, whippoorwills, and rabbits gone.

I asked the question, and when I had no response, I dredged up the names “Jack and Jenny.” No one on Facebook knew the answer so I called my mom. She consulted with my Aunt Lebetta and they came up with Jack and Pete. That sounded right to me.

Old photos are keys that unlock forgotten memories. They are strong reminders of people long lost. Seeing a photo of my grandma makes me remember how her hair felt when she let me braid it for her. After I braided it, surely not as neatly as she could have, she would pin her hair in coils on her head and push in tortoise shell combs.

I was close to the three grandparents who lived close to me. I regret that I never knew my Grandma Capps who lived in Kansas. I’ve read her stories in the family genealogy book and admire her for her struggles and hardships in life. She told the stories of her youth and not so much about when she raised a large family as a divorced mom during a time when that wasn’t as usual, or acceptable, as it is today.

Loss is around us. When the house is silent as it is now, and the yard barren and empty, no cars passing by on the road, loss is evident. It seemed that no matter how bad the roads, Jim would have been out on them. Before we lived next door to his mom’s house, we would have ventured out. She would have a pot of coffee on, homemade biscuits in the oven, and a big skillet of gravy cooking.

My Bisquick biscuits and gravy tasted good this morning, although they fell short of the real-deal that lives in my memories of the yesterdays of my life. But the thing is, the way to deal with loss is to make new and better memories by living each day to the fullest. I may be stuck at home, but that’s not a bad thing.

Family is a phone call, an Internet click away. I have work to do, and I’m happy and healthy. Yesterday lives in my memory, today is what I make of it, and tomorrow is full of adventure.

Copyright © February 2014 by L. S. Fisher
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