She met him at the Beacon Theatre in New York City; at the Saturday matinee. He was tall, dark and handsome. She was 18 years old; an irish beauty with long, auburn hair and hazel eyes. He was as debonair as Cary Grant with a voice like Frank Sinatra; with his chivalrous ways, he stole her heart. That was the beginning of my parents’ love affair that lasted a lifetime.
My mama’s birthday was yesterday. She would have been 86 years old. She passed away this past June. For the past six years dementia robbed her of her life; the forgetfulness started slowly, but eventually took over.
The last time I visited my mama I lifted her soft hands, and gently wrapped my fingers into hers. “Remember Mama when you brushed my hair into a pony tail every day before school, and when you tucked me in at night, you always pulled the blankets up to my chin, and reminded me to say my prayers.” She smiled at me, but when I looked into her hollow eyes, I knew she didn’t know who I was and she did not remember.
For many people the holidays can arouse unhappy feelings in the heart, but I am not sad; I have all the cherished memories of grand conversations I had with my mama. I believe she is with my daddy in a better place; a place where she can remember the joy of Christmas.
Happy Birthday Mama!
My favorite Christmas decorations are from the garden. Every year I cut Winterberry branches and bring them indoors. But this year… my husband said, “The birds are eating the berries, you should spray them with lacquer.” Whoever heard of spraying Winterberries with lacquer? I didn’t listen. And then… the Winterberries were all gone; eaten by the birds. So, I bought Winterberry branches at a nursery.
I also cut evergreen branches and layer different sizes on the mantle and in vases. I hang wreaths using wide, satin ribbons, in the kitchen and living room windows. The baker’s rack in the kitchen holds pots of Amaryllis, Poinsettia, Christmas cactus, Cyclamen, and vases of Paperwhite bulbs. My decorations are simple, yet elegant.
Do you have blogs you love? The ones that make you smile every time you see a new post in your inbox? I love Lee May’s Gardening Life blog! I love Lee’s style of writing, his poetic voice; his love of mosses and stones, and the ever changing garden.
In the Fall Lee was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t want to believe it. Yesterday, I received another post saying he had passed on December 3, 2014. All around me the world stopped as I let the sad news sink in. I had been praying for him, hoping he would recover.
Lee May had an extensive career in writing. He was a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times for more than twenty-five years. He was a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and recipient of many awards. Lee wrote two books: In My Father’s Garden and Gardening Life.
Favorite quotes from: Gardening Life
“As far back as I can remember, I have loved and appreciated gardening and life.”
I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I found out Lee loved mosses. “There is something retro about mosses. They are simple plants, recalling simpler times. Their uncomplicated nature enhances the role of a garden, any garden, as a pathway to calm and peace.”
Lee loved stones and had a collection of them in his garden and in his home. “Like all gardens, mine is ever changing and becoming, but it is held steady by stone. Stone offers the most strength, the most constancy. Stone is the closest to permanence. Many monuments and places of reflection are built of stone. People are drawn to these places to touch the stone and feel its power. And its peace, which rises from its strength.”
My heart goes out to Lee’s wife, Lyn, and his children and grandchildren. May they find comfort in knowing Lee’s words touched many people’s lives in powerful ways. He was a gifted writer and he will be always be remembered.
Now, every time I touch velvety mounds of moss or hold a stone in my hand I will think of Lee.
I love the month of December… winter comes and brings lazy snowflakes, hot chocolate and warm fires. December also brings Christmas and one of the things I love about Christmas is decorating the inside of our home and the outside. I filled the urns by the front door with evergreen branches and holly cut from our property. We bought green roping from the grocery store and I attached lights to it using wire. Then we hung it over the door and added a wreath. I couldn’t forget the iron gate, the urn in the boxwood garden, the potting shed and the lamppost.
I’d love to hear about your holiday decorating!