Daffodils in the Wind

It was a beautiful and perfect day, but not in the way
that you probably imagine. The skies were grey,
the new daffodil blossoms bent over in the gusting
wind. It was a hot tea and zipped jacket day.
There was a sweet melancholy in my thoughts
as I drove by your old home, our old haunts,
and remembered the two of you, laughing and happy,
exploring your new hometown. There was no pain
in the sweet sadness.  No  tears.  A gentle  gladness
for the time I had with you here.  It was a day to rent
“The Secret Garden” and watch young Mary learn
about hope and magic while a fire danced and burned
in the woodstove and a cat curled up on my lap for a nap.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

daffodil reflection this one

Homesick for a Place That No Longer Exists

Today I felt an urge to drive to the old homestead
in Port Orchard and surprise the folks with a visit.
I imagined
the smile on Moz’s face when she saw me
walk in the door.
I imagined
Dad scaling the stairs to greet me.
I imagined
taking a walk through the woods to the creek,
looking for new spring buds on the alders,
and squirrels scrambling through the cedars.

Feeling homesick
for a place that no longer exists
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

.

The Window’s Open

The window’s open and a cool breeze and old memories
waft through the screen. The smells of dry grass and flowers
take me back to my youth. The window’s open there, too,
as I lay in bed in my childhood bedroom. That day I planted
a pansy my mother gave me – folded its roots into the rich
earth next to the birch tree. There’s the little building Dad put
together in the back yard so he could work on his maps and art
away from the hustle and noise of the rec room with its TV
shouting out Bewitched and Mighty Mouse and Get Smart.
The fence between our neighbors behind us and our backyard
blew down in the hurricane a while ago – Dad had been out
there, trying to hold the fence in place, when Mom called him
in because the hurricane lamp flared up. As soon as he left
the fence it tore apart into pieces that whipped away in the storm
and now we have neighbors behind us who weren’t neighbors
until the fence blew away and revealed us to each other.
For a while we play in the dirt with the neighbor children
who live behind us. But we soon lose interest in each other.
Maybe our loyalties to the neighbors to the right and left
have built another kind of fence between the backyard neighbors
and us.

We played TV tag in the front yard – yelling out the names of our
favorite TV shows before the tagger could tag us. And we rode our
bikes to the school so we could see the class list posted on the front
door and find out who our teacher would be next year. Then we
played hide and seek in the mounds and the scotch-broom
in the empty lot across the street.

The patio has a picnic table on it and I sit at it with a Pixie Stick
or my home-made juice Popsicle frozen in a Tupperware mold.
I step on a clover blossom and get my first bee sting which Mom
soothes with baking soda and water and love. I feel bad for the bee
after she tells me it died when it stung me. We pray for the bee
and for me and life goes on. We have these pipes that Dad put
up in the backyard for us to play on – two vertical pipes about six
feet tall and about five feet apart – with a horizontal pipe
connecting them at the top – and I get it in my noggin to wrap
a scarf around it and try to work my way along the top pipe
by holding onto either end of the scarf. But I let go of one end
of the scarf and land on my belly and experience getting the wind
knocked out of me for the first time. Dad’s got the bamboo high
jump set up for me and I jump and jump again until the sun
goes down – testing myself, wanting to go just a little bit higher
before it’s time to go inside and get ready for bed.

And I lay in bed at night, with a cool breeze wafting through
my bedroom window and wonder what tomorrow will bring.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

We Forgive

“…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
II Corinthians 5: 17

We forgive because
we no longer need the pain.
We forgive because
good is all that we gained.
We forgive because
love is all that remains.

Struggling to forgive old sleights and slingshotting
words sent to us, and sent by us, too, guilt
and hurt having a heyday in our hearts.
But how do we let go of the memories of mean
-ness and the bullying of those years when
we were the targets, the receivers (or givers?)
of hate? How do we let go, move on, forgive?

“…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”
Can we really start new? How…?
Accepting all the good that comes from being
the target of envy, bigotry, hate – the strength
and confidence and empathy that comes
from surviving the bitter times – accepting
the healing, means an acknowledgement
that the rest is done and over. It served its
purpose. Judas to Jesus: It brought our
ascension. Led us to better times. Hate’s job
is done now – a cheap plastic toy from our
childhood – we put it down and move on –
no longer interested.

“…old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new.”

We forgive because
we no longer need the pain.
We forgive because
good is all that we gained.
We forgive because
love is all that remains.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Love Hath Made

Sunset over flooded fields in Skagit County, Washington State. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

 

 

Garage Treasures

A bag of Camp Fire Girl beads from fifty years ago
and a little girl’s autograph book filled
with signatures from family and friends –
some now gone. Prusik slings and an ice axe
she used on Rainier, and a backpack that traveled
with her through Europe.  A tiger squirt gun
thrown to her in the midst of the best squirt
gun fight ever by a young man named Phil or Bill
who in a western twang drawled, “Here, little lady,
I think you’re going to need this.” And a book
that her father took with him as he climbed K2,
inscribed by the American consul in India.
A Mary Poppins bag with a Mary Poppins doll –
no longer prim or practically perfect in every way –
barefoot and hair tousled – she has lost her button-
up Edwardian footwear and her flower-bedecked hat –
but she still has the power to bring a smile
to her human’s face. And she looks on these artifacts
of a life before now, remembering who she was,
and seeing the things she’s always been.
She was an odd little girl.  She is an odd woman.
But, dang! What a wonderful life she has lived.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Memories of Moz this Mother’s Day

“Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man.” 
– Mary Baker Eddy

I’m missing Moz this Mother’s Day. I wish she was here with me so we could watch The Music Man together and laugh at the Shipoopi song. I wish I could hear her talk about her father one more time, and sing the Christopher Robin song with her. I imagine taking her out to my hobbit hole of a secret garden and listening to the birds singing with her. I imagine sitting out on the back deck in the sun with her and talking about family and friends and politics.

When I’d driven her home from the hospital a month before she’d passed she’d smacked her lips together and said, “I want some cream cheese dip and potato chips.” I wish I could give that to her one more time.

I can’t do any of those things with Moz right now – but here’s what I’ve got: I’ve got memories of laughing together, singing together, talking together; I’ve got the lessons she taught me – be kind to everyone; “love the hell” out of the crabby people; treat all of God’s creation with care and respect; be generous; play fair; speak up for the little guy; keep learning; be able to laugh at yourself; be brave; be honorable; have some awesome adventures. I carry Moz’s love with me.

Here’s wishing mothers everywhere a most magnificent Mother’s Day.

***

So last year in honor of Moz I sent a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers to a friend who had been very dear to Moz. This year it came to me that I needed to honor Moz by bringing a Starbucks gift card to one of my heroes: The bank manager at Moz and Dad’s bank who had been so kind and helpful and amazing to my parents and I as we’ve negotiated moves and death and inheritance and safety deposit boxes in the last couples years. I seriously do not know what we would have done without Laura in our corner.

When I got to the bank Laura recognized me right away and gave me a big hug and I handed her the card. She told me to come back into her office when I was done with the banking stuff I had to do. When I joined her at her desk she told me that on Wednesdays in Anacortes the schools always start late and so she and other moms have taken to meeting at Starbucks with their youngsters for breakfast. And last Wednesday, Laura told me, she brought chalk to Starbucks for the kids to color the sidewalks. Then she got out her phone and showed me how the youngsters had “bedazzled ” the sidewalks in front of Starbucks. People heard about it and came to look at their sidewalk gallery. If the weather is nice next Wednesday, she’s going to bring sidewalk chalk to Starbucks again. And she’ll have my Starbucks card to get herself something to drink. 🙂

I think Moz would be happy about the Starbucks card – I can imagine her smiling.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Moz

 

Family, Friends, and Food

I just realized how often food reminds me of dear ones in my life –

– Buttered toast with avocado always reminds me of Dad. He’d grown up in Los Angeles back when it was still orange groves (he was born there in 1918) and, as a youngster, picked avocados right off the tree in his backyard.  He knew avocados before avocados were “in.” I remember the first time he prepared avocado toast for me – I must have been about six or seven – and I remember my surprise that such a slimy-looking food could taste so sumptuous.

– Cheese souffle and tuna casseroles remind me of Mom. Mom wasn’t the world’s best cook (growing up, she’d had seven older sisters who always shooed her out of the kitchen), but she knew how to make a mean tuna-Chinese noodle-cashew casserole, and she knew how to make an awesome cheese souffle.

– Cream cheese dip reminds me of my beloved Aunt Junie. I must have been eight or nine when she visited us and whipped up some cream cheese dip with diced green onions. My life has never been the same.

– Banana bread reminds me of my childhood friend, Rita. I remember going to her home and helping her as she made banana bread from scratch. Now whenever I make it (from the recipe Rita gave me all those years ago) I think of Rita and it makes me smile.

– Bacon tomato sandwiches and lemonade with ice cubes reminds me of a lady from church, Betty Lay. Betty was cultured and educated and well-spoken. I can’t remember what she did for a living – but I know she was a career woman long before most women had careers outside the home. I think she may have been a librarian. Or a professor. She was smart. I don’t think she’d ever married, and I don’t think she’d had any children of her own – but I remember she knew how to talk to children without condescending to them. I remember Mom bringing us over to visit Betty in her home near the Sound. I remember sitting out on a deck in the sunshine, feeling peace all around me. And I remember Betty bringing out a fresh, cold glass of home-made lemonade and a bacon and tomato sandwich – the first bacon and tomato sandwich I’d ever eaten, and pretty sophisticated fare for a youngster. Isn’t it funny that after all these years I still remember that afternoon with Betty?

– When I was living in a house near the University of Puget Sound one summer (I was working on my fifth year for my teaching certificate) my next-door neighbor was a single young mother who was studying to become a dee-jay. I don’t remember her name anymore. But I remember her friendly smile, her great raspy dee-jay voice, her little daughter, and her recipe for pie crust. Her pie crust recipe is the same recipe I use today – and my youngest son says that the food he associates with ME are my pies. Isn’t that cool?

– I associate two foods with my husband – no one makes a better poached salmon than Scotty. And – even though I’m not much of a pasta person – even I like Scotty’s spaghetti.

-My friend, Laurie, introduced me to hot roasted garlic squeezed onto freshly-buttered sourdough bread. Enough said.

-I associate the smell of baking bread with my sister-in-law, Lori, who used her bread-making machine to fill her house up with the smell of yeasty wonder. I’m salivating right now thinking about that smell.

-My sister-in-law, Bev, can work wonders with kale. She dribbles olive oil and spices on the kale and bakes it in in the oven for a few minutes – et voila! Crunchy goodness.

– Any food wrapped in grape leaves reminds me of my beautiful neighbor, Rachel, who used to come to our grape arbor to collect leaves for her Greek cooking.

– My friend, Kathi, an amazing chef, served us a dish with peppers, fresh Bocconcini mozzarella, olives, olive oil, butter, pine nuts, and garlic when we visited her and her husband in Nova Scotia nine years ago. I still have not forgotten that dish. And I still try to replicate it in my own kitchen. (When the youngest son and I were talking about foods and people yesterday, he brought up Kathi and her roasted pepper dish – and I told him I’d been thinking of her and her pepper dish, too! – yes, it was that good.)

– I associate tofu with my vegetarian friend, Heidi. She is the only one I know who can make tofu taste edible.

– My cousin, Debby, introduced me to home-made yogurt years ago – before yogurt was a common thing – and showed me how to use it on baked potatoes and in salads. (I still remember walking through Debby’s little backyard vegetable garden in San Francisco and being impressed by all the colors I saw there, and the way she just plucked things out of the ground and turned them into a meal.)

-I associate dark chocolate with my friend, Teresa, who took me to a chocolate shop for my birthday and gifted me with a box of chocolates of my own choosing. “Try this!” she’d say, pointing enthusiastically to a dish of dark chocolate samples. “And this!”

-Whenever I use my bottle of chili powder I think of the time my friend, Christine, whose family had originally come from Mexico, invited us over for home-made enchiladas from an old family recipe. I don’t think I have ever tasted better enchiladas than the ones I ate that night.

-Apple slices and caramel dip reminds me of my friend, Marissa, who surprised me by having a gift basket sent to my home when I really needed a nice surprise in my life.

I’m sure I’ll think of more food associations right after I hit the “publish” button. But I guess that’s it for now.

All this talk about food has made me hungry. Time to go down and make some avocado toast…