SPRING BRINGS MEMORIES

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Cars whizzed by on both sides as I drove a familiar multilane through Gainesville, Florida. Stopping for a red light, I noticed the sunlight had a fresh slant. Looks like spring!

Heading home, at another light I saw red buds swelling maple branch ends. Small chartreuse leaves softened harsh gray limbs of trees I could not name.

Turning up the hill toward home, I saw JK standing on the driveway. Wearing sound-protecting earmuffs, he aimed a power blower at our driveway dotted with spring-shed Southern oak leaves. He waved me on and I parked up the street.

After carrying in two grocery bags, I wiped yellow dust from the glass top of an outdoor table and chairs. Pollen says it’s spring for sure.

Once JK finished using the blower, I sat at the table. A slight breeze lifted my hair and birds chirped high in nearby trees. Lovely to be outdoors now… before the mosquitoes hatch!

Spring’s ambiance carried my mind back more than 50 years.

Gramma Elizabeth did not have a cement driveway, but in spring, she cleaned her Goshen, Indiana sidewalk. In memory, I see her. She’s wearing a small print housedress and a loose sweater with her old black lace-up Red Cross shoes that have little holes in the tops where her little toes are.

Carrying one end of the garden hose to the sidewalk, she tells me, “Zip your jacket now, and stay out of the water!”

She turns the nozzle and water sprays onto the cement squares. Twigs and yellowish swirl-y things swish into the street.

One spring Saturday while my folks worked, Daddy took me to Gramma’s. She had set a clear, dry vase filled with pussy willows on her end table by the front room couch.

Grinning, I touched one.

“Gramma! Where’d you get these?”

“The pussy willows? Mrs. Weldy brought them to me. They don’t grow nearby.”

Those soft silver-ish bumps on the woody stalks felt like little cats. I bent touched my lips to their softness.

“Wait, Fritzie!” Gramma stepped over. She put one hand on her vase and pulled a silver softie off the willow stem. She handed it to me. “Here you are!”

Gramma had other soft things. One was Coalie, her cocker spaniel. I kissed and petted Coalie’s silky head and furry nose.

Daddy holds Coalie

Daddy holds Coalie

Another was Gramma’s black sealskin coat. When my folks took me to visit Gramma and Grampa, the big people sat by the radio and talked.

On the floor, I pulled wood beads off one of Gramma’s old purses and strung them on a long thread: red, yellow, green, blue; red, yellow….

Tired of stringing, I stepped into the coat closet under the stairs. I left the door open and did not pull the string for the light. Sitting on the floor, I was close to Gramma’s black seal-skin coat. She always covered it with plastic. I reached up under it to pet the fur.

So soft!

Considering my childhood love of softness, it’s no surprise a velvet dress and two pair of velveteen jeans hang in one closet. In another, Gramma’s sealskin coat is in a zippered bag.

When I inherited it, I

discovered it wasn’t really “sealskin,” but dyed rabbit. Not that I care.

On me, Gramma’s sealskin is a ¾ coat.

On me, Gramma’s sealskin is a ¾ coat.

When I still lived in Michigan, during winter I wore that coat to church. Just like Gramma did.

I am ever the child I was.

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