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.
Back at the rabbitpatch, all was well. The boxer did his "homecoming dance" and Christopher Robin "sang for his supper" as he always does, the minute I arrive. It was almost chilly and a slight rain was falling. I had thoroughly enjoyed the fair days of the past week, but this was the March , that I grew up with.
Typically, the time of Match was chilly and rainy. Winter wheat became an emerald green and daffodils bloomed . . .and there was wind, dependably. Daddy made kites, in March, for us to fly right after supper. Up and up they sailed over the fields, not yet planted. When the string broke, on occasion, we found them a mile away! Oh, those kites could fly . . .but they were not much to look at. Daddy did not care about the looks of a kite. In those days, children did not have stickers, save the "gold stars" you got in school. One year, Delores and I saved the "funny pages" that came in the Sunday "paper and talked Daddy in to using that, though he did not find it sensible. Mama did her part, too, finding scraps of fabric for the tail. Delores and I sat on the fresh grass, watching our kite soar and feeling smug about us having the best kite in the neighborhood.
For the last couple of years, the daffodils have bloomed in February, here - and spirea that was always blooming on Easter Sunday, has been in bloom for weeks. Azaleas and dogwoods are starting to blossom, too, instead of waiting for Easter. I doubt children will hunt for eggs this year, with the stipulations in place. ( Schools were closed here yesterday, til May 15th! ) When I was young. Easter egg hunts were a hallmark of spring. People like, "Miss Jo", one of my first Sunday school teachers always had one. I remember her lessons to this day. She was as sweet a person as ever lived, with a most pleasant smile and a gentle nature. Later, "Miss Judy" always hosted them. Miss Judy hosted them when my own children were little.
The Easter Egg hunts were grand events, though I was awful at finding the eggs. I think I was too busy watching the other children but for whatever reason, I came up with three or four eggs at best.
I spent most of Monday at Mama and Daddys'. On Tuesday, I went out to gather necessities. I was there as soon as the store opened. I wore gloves and stood my distance, for though we have not had a case of the virus in our rural county, yet-an ounce of prevention is worth its' weight in gold, these days. I did get milk and bread. I had thought to make my own bread, but there wasn't any flour, nor was there tissue, nor was there much of anything. I stood in line for a bottle of alcohol. I hoped for peroxide too, but that was a far fetched notion.
I do not like to "go out" these days,and I try to make it count when I do, but with food and necessities so scarce, the best I can do, is very limited. I am realising how spoiled I am. . . for I have taken so much for granted. I have done a fair share of chiding the younger population for the very thing that I am guilty of! I really worried for the younger generation, when the thing started, for I thought how many of them lived in a state of "getting what they wanted, the minute they wanted it. " I thought how hard it would be on them to have to adapt to this new state of being. . .let me be the first to say, I see now that clearly, I was living that same way. I had what I wanted for supper most every night. I came and went, as I pleased and I had less worries a month ago, that I do now. It seems to me that when I cast a judgement, I am always eating humbled pie, shortly thereafter. I do not know if I am a slow learner or "hard headed" , but I want to do better. . .and to think, an empty grocery, was what it took, to convert my heart!
It is a practical time to do a deep "spring cleaning". I always do one, for Mama always did. Curtains are washed and scatter rugs shampooed. Everything not nailed down, is aired out . Furniture is moved and on and on it goes, til at last the house smells like sunshine and lavender. Usually, I am hard pressed for time to attempt this project, but now I have no excuses.
"Work" has always healed a lot of whatever ails me. I moved to the rabbitpatch in a bewildering season, of my life. My life had changed and I felt like I had been "turned every which way but loose." Every where I looked, something needed scrubbing and painting . .but there were wild irises blooming around the edge of the woods, for I moved in May. I worked all waking hours. Everything was done the hard way. I think I spent most of June on a ladder. Dull moments were seldom, and sometimes, I would think, when I finish this . . then, I will cry. . . but I never did. Instead, I chose the color of a bedroom or tended small fires of branches, fallen long ago. By the time school started, I was covered with scratches and bruises and bug bites. , ,but somehow, and I do not when, hope had replaced fear and fortitude had taken the place of despair. Along the way, I had met the killdeer and the floss flower and the magic lilies . . .and eaten from the apple and peach trees and the very old grapevine. . .and I had plans for a rose garden.
Back then the house was not so big, for all five of the bedrooms were occupied. The territory was just the right size, too. There were chickens, rabbits, goats and a miniature horse, in those days. . .and I was younger. We all were. Christian, was just a boy then and used to climb on the old barn and survey the landscape, for long whiles -and he and Kyle had a fort in the woods. We had a garden that fed us all year. At Christmas, we strung lights everywhere. Maybe forging the wooded path, was the hardest work of all , and the roof was a close second. Looking back, brings a lot of happiness to mind .
How odd that the very attributes of the rabbitpatch, so necessary , in that season, are now the same attributes that cause me to want to sell it, now.
Now, this is the first time in twenty years, that I have had the liberty to take full advantage of a spring. . .hence the idea to start the deep cleaning now. . . Kyle is especially sorry that he is quarantined here and has immediately starting cleaning the yard, in light of that.