Balmy and hazy; a calming sort of day. I would like to throw out the to-do list and hunker down behind a good book or take a long nap. But things need doing and I've been marking them off at a little more leisurely pace, one at a time. This day is unlike the last two days, which have been hot, and it in no way resembles a week ago Sunday, the day my girls and I decided to go to a nursery.
On the hottest day of the season thus far, my girls and I decided to meet for lunch and browse through a nursery. We didn't know it was going to be so hot when we planned our outing. Due to scheduling issues, we celebrated Mother's Day on Father's Day and stood our ground with the crowd. We distracted ourselves with chatter about one thing or another while waiting to order our food in a restaurant without air conditioning. We served ourselves tepid water from glass coolers, devoid of ice, in order to stay hydrated. We sat at the children table, as all other seating was taken, and we visited through the long wait for a delicious lunch.
The nursery next door was the purpose for meeting at this particular restaurant. A hot sun poured heat down over us; though melting, we were not deterred from enjoying the plants, pots and farm animals. Warning signs about the turkey and the cow were photo worthy. Most of the plants were in the hot sun, but behind the farmer's house there was a gazebo and a few trees. We slowed down to enjoy the shade before viewing the succulents. All three of us appreciate plants, but we have developed a fondness for succulents; they are easier to grow here in the coastal desert. As far as I know no one before my generation, on either side of the family, has had an affinity for cacti. With a brother living in Arizona and the girls and I living in the coastal dessert, succulents have grown on us so to speak.
It was a day my grandma would have appreciated: the farm-like setting, drawers filled with seeds to be planted in the dark soil with hopeful anticipation and lots of plants. It's interesting to consider the various things that run in families. Families reproduce behaviors, beliefs, values, interests, mannerisms, genes determining health and longevity, favorite recipes, etc. The list is endless. Their are many things I see reflected in my girls passed down through generations of resourceful, caring women. But on this day it was the love of growing things that drew us back to grandma, the way she tied a straight row with string to stakes at end each of the garden. Grandma, and others like her, are the stakes to which we often find our passions tied. Grandma planted vegetables to feed the family, but flowers were scattered about for beauty; she was a practical woman housing a soft spot for a well put together bouquet.
In my mind there is a memory etched of grandma wearing a simple, cotton dress and canvas slip on shoes bent over freshly turned dirt dropping seeds in anticipation of a summer harvest. She planted, weeded, harvested, snapped, blanched and canned. The joy she took in having flowers is what was most pressed in my DNA. Like grandma, I love a beautiful bouquet. She and I had so many things in common, and a day at the nursery with my girls reminds me of how much I miss her.
After grandma died they found two little calendars like the insurance companies used to mail each year to clients. There were just a few lines for noting events on any given day of the calendar. Grandma had filled those two calendars full of the ordinary happenings of each day: weather, gardening, visitors, births, deaths, spring cleaning, baking, canning, the number in attendance at Bible study and when she hung clothes on the line. I was fascinated by how well documented her days were in such tiny spaces. I identify well with her need to keep track of the everyday things that give life meaning like the photos the girls and I took of our hot day at the nursery. It is interesting how such simple things, the memories we make and value deepen our connection to one another. Roots are deepened in the documentation of the memories.
There are many things I do, believe and enjoy that are linked to my grandparents. It is hard to find a good stopping place here. But I am left with so much fodder for future writings. That day I was blessed to share a similar interest with my girls, one that takes me back to hot summer days under the Elm tree snapping beans and listening to grown-ups talk about the weather. Do you find yourself surprised by shared interests with a relative you barely knew or one you've spent a lot of time with over the years? I would love to hear your stories.
P.S. Laura Ashley Smith, my daughter, gets the credit for the charming turkey photo.