Friday, June 29, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Grandson Laurie and granddaughter Lace
Summer Memories
by Jaime Kaufhold
(June 1991)

Summer is upon us once more. The flowers and vegetables are planted in the garden and now all they have to do is grow. It may be a hot one this year.

The blossoms on the plum tree were beautiful as always, their fragrance "whiffing" in through the window. This year I'll have a bountiful crop, but what will I do with all the fruit? Plum jam and I suppose the birds will feast on the rest.

It's time to relax under my tree until the grandchildren arrive for Grandma to "sit" on.
In all the years I've been here, this is the first time I've truly noticed the yard. Gone are the holes, brown spots and weeds. The lawn is lush (with no bike tracks) and the flower bed is carefully manicured. The glorious blaze of roses are in full bloom, much earlier this year than usual. The rain sure has helped.

I remember how my girls waited patiently, hoping so much that the roses would be in bloom before the last day of school. How lucky their teachers were when the weather cooperated. Some years the girls were disappointed, but they wouldn't have been this year. I think I will ask the little girl next door if she'd like a bunch for her teacher.

Although the bicycles, swing set and toys are gone the memories are still here. The laughter is still vivid and if I close my eyes I can see my children and their friends splashing in the pool. I can smell the mountains of peanut butter and jam sandwiches and gallons of Kool-aid waiting in the hot sun.
Summer was always a lot of work but I certainly enjoyed it. I admit there were times I wanted to run away from it all, but instead I'd grab a glass of Kool-aid and find myself under my tree.

Family yards are messy yards. Just across the road, Mrs. Kraftchek's yard was beautiful and my oldest daughter would ask why ours wasn't like that. She didn't have children, I'd say. And each year I've done a little bit more to repair the damage  by planting grass where the pool once stood, cover the sandbox hole, fill in the deep crevices that were imaginary roads and tunnels. Dare I plant grass at the far end of the garden where our cat of 13 years lies buried?

As they years went by, time healed much of it. The only constant is the swing which now hangs lazily from the sturdiest branch of my tree.

My little granddaughter Lace loves the yard. She smells the flowers and gently touches them but will not pick without permission. I know she wants to badly so the occasional bouquet for mom or grandpa comes into the house in those fat little hands. She has finally learned how to swing herself and I wish I could read her thoughts as she plays alone in the grass.  I hope she is thinking that Grandma's yard is a place to come when she begins to feel the pressure of growing up. I hope she will know she can always find comfort here and always be safe.

Well, it's time to go. A car has just pulled in and its time to be Grandma again. The dog is excited even though she is getting old herself. She loves them because they play ball.

I have a meal planned that they all love and that's because I told them there is ketchup in it. I'll serve a salad but I already know they won't eat it. It's taken me many years to figure out why and that's because it has green stuff in it.

Friday, June 01, 2012


Dad's Favourite Poem

When Dad was alive, not a year went by that he didn't attempt to recite this poem. It became his favourite after a grade school teacher forced the class to memorize it.

Before his death, he wrote a little note to each of us children, telling us how much he loved us, using the rhyme of this poem.

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

  - by James Russell Lowe