Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Thanksgiving Challenge Post 13: Tapestries

This morning I'm thinking about family. Not just close by wrap your arms around family, but family long gone, but never forgotten. Once I was the fifth generation in the photo shoot of Great-Great Grand, Great Grand, Grand, Parent and child...now suddenly I've jumped to second spot coming just after father, then me, then Michael and Wallace, now Arianna. Family has always been a strong contender in affections and I've learned so much from my forebears. Quilting I learned about from a Great-Grandmother and Grandmother, Great Aunts and Mother...I can see the big purple and narrow pink and white striped quilt that they were working on the morning my older sister pushed me off the porch, opening a gash in my head that required clamps to close. They wrapped me in that not quite completed quilt to rush me off to Dr. Newsome's, he of the "do you want the apple or the nickel" fame. (The correct answer being the apple, then he'd give you both!) They didn't bother to take the pins out, either. Just wrapped and rolled and off we went. I have to say that the stinging little pains in arms and legs took my mind off the blood pouring down my face. My Great Grandmother, Little Granny Merriman, stern faced and knotted hair on the nape of her neck was yelling down the steps, "you didn't take the pins out, you're gonna kill that child! Try not to put her eye out!"

I used to love to watch my Grandmother roll her own cigarettes. She would open a can of Prince Albert, hold the paper deftly between two fingers, fill the channel with tobacco, lick one side and quickly close it around the sweet smelling blend, making a cylinder to hold the match to. Okay, I know it is a nasty habit, but back then no one knew how dangerous it could be , but to watch Mammy accomplish such a feat of magic...well, I was suitably impressed. Such dexterity of the fingers and hands she passed onto us that cats cradles and yoyoing came naturally. It's no wonder that stringing green tobacco onto sticks came so easily to us.

My Mother was a chef, pure and simple. There was nothing simple about her cooking and yet she made it look so easy that you wanted to try preparing every dish she ever mastered. Paula Deen and Julia Child had nothing on Mama. She could take the toughest of meats and give it the consistency of Fillet Mignon...and she could create Pavlova to rival the original. We all wanted to cook like her...sometimes we succeed. But not all her secrets were passed onto us. Most of the magic was in her soul and she took that with her when she left us.

Our families are a work of tapestry that can never be recreated. Each tapestry is unique to you, the added thread work that moves down the pattern will continue the thread of life that we are ever thankful for. So, for today I am most thankful for the Tapestry that is my family, with all its knots and silks...all it's mistakes and corrections. I thank them for the never completed work, that stitching that goes on and on into forever.

33 comments:

Suldog said...

I adore family reminiscences of this sort.

I was once fourth in the type of photo you mention, being youngest to my great-grandmother. I am still, blessedly enough, third, with my Grandma swiftly approaching 104 next month.

And the tobacco thing - strong association with my Grandpa, who smoked lovely fragrant pipes.

Thanks for sharing, and jogging my memories.

jabblog said...

This is such a lovely way to remember family members, as threads in a tapestry that is itself part of the larger tapestry of life. It would be good indeed if we could all consider life in this light. Thank you for sharing.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

What a lovely post!!!

Lee said...

Those are lovely memories, Sandi. I've got many from my own generations and remember gatherings of 4 generations when my grandmother had the joy of holding her first great grandchild. The look of joy on her face was unforgettable.

Thanks for sharing this!

Love,
Lee

Nessa said...

My great grandmother used to snuff. She kept her tobacco and her cloth hankie in her apron. I found it fascinating too.

Thursday Thirteen - Me & Music

Hilary said...

Beautiful post, Sandi. I think of that type of snapshot too. I used to be 3rd but have been first in line of two, since my 30s. It's a strange place to be.

Terri and Bob said...

Sigh... such a lovely post. I used to get the same thrill watching my dad roll cigarettes. I thought he was beyond COOOL.

Carver said...

What a beautiful and heart felt post. This resonated so much with me. Families are indeed a tapestry than can nver be recreated.

gaelikaa said...

Memories, wonderful memories!

Akelamalu said...

Beautiful memories, to be relived whenever you feel the need. :)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Isn't there a song..."Tapestry", I think by Carole King? There is a line in the song..."my life has been a tapestry of rich and royal things". This post made me think of that. I love the analogy.

lailani said...

oh wow! how lovely - and what a great reminder to us all. Sometimes all the muck of it all is overwhelming, but in this wonderful post, you brought in a perspective, to step back and look and realize that all the muck might actually be beautifl shades of vibrant colors that we don't realize. Oh, I sure hope it turns out pretty. . . :)

Jeni said...

You weave a beautiful tapestry of your own too with your words. Beautiful!
You're so right about family being our own personal tapestry and with each family member departing, bit by bit, the design changes too. I started out as a third generation -on the bottom tier -and now, here I am at the top level, so to speak -with six below me in my little pyramid tapestry. But extended out -it changes the dimensions greatly, as well as the colors too.

Merisi said...

You are so right, and thank you for sharing these family stories with us! We had a family celebration the other day, it is so good to see most of your closest loved ones all at once for a day together.

Queenmothermamaw said...

How time flies. I am the matriarch now. Only yesterday I was the 4th of the generation.I guess we all get there sooner or later.
qMM

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

What a beautiful post!

Shadow said...

what a beautiful tale of family love and traditions.

Protege said...

Beautifully written about the legacy of a family. The way the different lives of members of a family are intertwined into each other to create a stunning image woven with love, through experiences.
Love the personal account as well.;)
xo
Zuzana

Magaly Guerrero said...

What a beautiful post. You have that wonderful way to make me think about my own family. I wonder if you do it on purpose... lol

I'm thinking about how fascinated I was with my grandmother's pipe. I hate smoking of any kind, the smell drives me insane, but I could sit by my grandmother and watch her smoke her pipe and feel at peace. I can remember her puffs as she braided my hair... or when we roasted coffee beans... or when we planted herbs all around the house...

There are times that I'm working with my herbs and I swear I smell her tobacco, and the smell doesn't even bother me.

Thanks for sharing.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Sandi: Family is very important to me also. I'm so glad you have good memories of that time with them.

Sally said...

Oh, I love this, Sandi. Your Mammy reminded me of my Big Mama and her Buttercup snuff!! :)

Thanks for the reminder of 'the tapestries of our lives'. ((hugs))

Putz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
i beati said...

truer words never spoken

Lynne said...

Lovely memories Sandi, and a lovely way of describing families.

SandyCarlson said...

That is a wonderful way to look at family--all those individual threads that somehow come together to make a single picture, a unique story.

Maggie May said...

Yes, I guess that families are like tapestries........ some richer than others and some threadbare!
My family is knitted into the tapestry very closely together. Some things bring you closer together. That is where we are now.

Nuts in May

Gill - That British Woman said...

that was lovely. The most we have ever had was four generations, still special!!

Gill in Canada

weirsdo said...

What a lovely post. Coincidentally I have been feeling the same way as my daughter has gotten old and good enough to play my father's compositions and enroll in music school.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Beautiful post, Sandi. I love the way you've written about the Tapestry, the thread of life and the stitching that'll go on. Thank you for sharing these memories with us!

Karen M said...

I love this post! the older I get the more important my heritage seems to be.

NitWit1 said...

I remember when some the "conveniences" became availabe, like dishwasher, automatic clothes washer and dryer, television, microwave.

SandyCarlson said...

Thinking about your family meals back then!

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