Who can resist? There’s more than the delicious taste of the taste of sugar, butter eggs, and vanilla on those beaters. Who was the one who let us lick the spoon as she made cakes? My memory of my mother making cakes is of her sitting close to the fire so the butter would be soft and beating for a long time wih a fork. She didn’t even have a whisk much less an electric beater. If she was making something that required a very light batter, my grandmother might take over and give her a spell. My grandmother was the one to pronounce on the subject of temptation. She would quote a Methodist hymn.”Yeild not to temptation, for yielding is sin. Each victory will help you some other to win.” The whole of life was a battle against temptation to do wrong. The greatest wrong was not to do your duty. That is not to say she never had fun. On the contrary, she loved to go out and it was she who took me to so many Hollywood musical movies. Westerns were also a great favorite. There was no question of not going on holiday or on an outing. She was a smart dresser and never skimped on good food. So, what forbidden indulgence would tempt her, I wonder? She hated the smell of cigarettes and had never touched any alcoholic drink since she ” took the pledge” as a teenager at a revival meeting. I think she struggled most with her temper. She had little patience with laziness or stupidity. She was a master of the one-liner and a scornful tut and a toss of her head was enough to stop any thoughtless talk. “How exasperating!”doesn’t sound like a very violent outburst, but the depth of feeling it expressed make us all realize that her iron will had somehow been thwarted,. Yes, I think for my beloved grandmother, not getting her own way presented the greatest temptation of falling into a fit of temper. Hmm…perhaps I inherited more than the nose, after all.
Trees on the hill
Sometimes I go to visit my mother in the cemetary on the hill in the middle of our city. Of course she is not really really there, but then, where is she? She is, I suppose, the person who has had the greatest influence on me. When I see her name and the dates of her birth and death on the stone somehow I feel that she is there waiting for me. In a very real physical way, she is. In terms of her spirit, her personality, she is even closer. She is inside me. I hear her words come out of my mouth. I laugh, as she did, at inappropriate moments because things seem ridiculous. I am old fashioned as she was in thinking men should be honorable and take care of women. I think cooking should be done quickly and that people should be made comfortable. I think reading is the way to knowledge and the best pastime. I look at things in nature very closely. I love the moon. In those things I carry her around in me. Not absolutely, of course. I don’t care much about clothes or my appearance, my nails or my hair. My impulsiveness, my restlessness, my embarking on schemes…all that part comes from my father. I regret that I can’t visit my father’s grave. His ashes were thrown into the deepest, coldest part of the Bay of Fundy. And that none too gently or reverently either. But that’s another story, as they say.
So there I was this sunny afternoon, an afternoon that might have been Spring, but wasn’t. Snow underfoot still, and a stiff breeze through the bare branches. I went, ah, a bad habit, to ask her to give me a hand with getting through something hard. You’d think I would stop perstering her to keep on looking after me!
And there was my reward…..the slender distinct shadow of a young tree. Oh, I thought it was like a spirit somehow, slight and devoid of earthly things, fading away when clouds covered the sun yet persistent and distinct in bright light. And after that lovely thing had encouraged me, there was the tall tree behind all decorated and gleaming in the spring sun that was doing its best. A wonderful thing really. Whoever had climbed up there? How had those frail baubles remained in the strong wind and the heavy rain we have experienced lately? Just the sight of that tree made me smile. Yes, and because of those two trees I went away better than I had come to the cemetary on the hill.