Saturday, January 5, 2013

a haven

Old photos are full of clues and this one is no different.
It tells a story about my mother more than sixty years ago.
Snow has piled up above the fence but she has taken her armful of children outdoors for a photo op with visiting Auntie Fran.
Snow was the backdrop of so many family pictures in Blue River.
My big sisters are the little girls wearing matching dresses and sensible boots. Their tights are cable knit, thick and warm.
My brother is clad in woolen leggings and cozy long sleeves. 
Clearly, here was a mother whose children were more than well cared for, they were enjoyed; so  beautifully robed for winter.
The women hover for that brief photographic moment, the children happily perched upon their laps.
My sister is clasping a pump handle.
The pump was not a yard ornament. It meant that my mother had no indoor plumbing, no washer, no flush toilet or sink with hot and cold water, no large deep bathtub.
Caring for three young children without running water was a make work project.
More work projects beckon within.
In the window sill are silver cans, saved and filled with green plant slips. A window garden.
Just beyond, a box of canning jars stand waiting.
Family life, hard work in any era, is full of rewards.
It provides the opportunity to create a backdrop for memory;
the opportunity to create beauty and comfort.
A haven from the cold.

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