Saturday, January 16, 2016

On A Cloudy Winter's Eve

As Bella Rose sits here in my lap rummaging through the little drawer in my desk that never ends, I think over the last month. John Barrett flew me home early, meaning by the time we left back for Texas I'd been at the Grey Submarine almost a month. It was a heavenly month, in many ways. My roots still give me a warm and sunny happiness that reminds me who I am - where I came from. I didn't know what that meant as much until I moved away. Now I understand better, and the unexplainable things about how I operate fall into place when I remember home and they make sense. Like the reason I feel more at home in mismatched socks, can eat eggs, bacon and coffee with cream for days and days in a row, have the strong impulse to dance around when there's a good beat laid down, won't watch any movies for months, then will suddenly get on a kick and watch 3 in a night and will celebrate at the drop of a hat (you were recognized by your boss at good work? you lost a tooth? you finished the first Louis L'amour, are happy about fall coming, or the fact that you have on a pair of warm fuzzy socks or have a birthday in the next two months sometime??? Great. Let's CELEBRATE! <— All caps, because when you celebrate in the spanish way, it's All In Caps.)
But being at the homestead reminds me too, that my roots are growing where my husband is, and home is where He is. When I'm back at the homestead,  the space of garden I occupied was taken up when I married, and in its place is new growth, new foliage and little roots are coming up. My sisters are growing up, traditions are budding, personalities blooming and lives are shaping in ways I never could foresee.

:: please note the Classic Davis Sisters pose - in honor of our dear Grandmama who is a Davis :: 

It was one of our bedside pow-wows in the dim light from the one lamp we kept in our room. Since it was a cool evening and we'd been walking outside, there could be seen around the small room bright eyes and pinked cheeks. It was a conversation for earnest looks and solemn oaths. 
"Let's not ever be like that," one of them was saying about a family whose sisters could only bicker and backbite and mistrust the others. 
"No. We know we'll change and life will be different, but let's stay close."
"And if we have any grievances let's say'm out loud."

We were little girls it seems like then, though I suppose we were half grown. We haven't communicated perfectly, but that spirit of striving for close, open relationships still burns within us. We had a few heart to hearts. A few glimpses into the struggles and hopes and happinesses and causes of tears. And it smarted in the refreshing way the heart has to to heal up right.
Grandmama says to us, "Love each other. And take the time to see where the other one is coming from…" And Mama says, "Life's too short for misunderstandings and grudges. Get right, make up and be sweet. Stay close." I guess she's mostly responsible for instilling these long held pow-wows. Something inside prompted - and still does - to hold dear the dear things. And choose to make them priority.
With the losses of loved ones we've witnessed in other families this winter and the hearts that may be wishing for another chance to tell others they love them or that they're sorry, I myself want - more than ever - to cherish my family and friends.
They are precious beyond measure and I want to think of ways to show them that. You do too, I'm sure, so let's.

On a more blithe note, here are photos from our Christmas. Our big, yummy, close-companied, loud, late-nighted, tradition-holding Christmas.

one of my only goals when I was little - besides hoping to fool the horses into thinking I really WAS one of them, was to be as gooshily charming as Abby. Her eyes still blow me away - and that BABY.

This had to be done quickly to retain order ^^ It was worth it. 

^ That would be washing dishes outside. Because of course, the Septic Tank had Issues, and the Committee had to - once again - assemble to conserve water. This was official Committee Status, complete with Going Without The Camp to use the bathroom at some points during the week. 

Asher is my favorite. He lives life with joyous abandon, and there's something simply irresistible in that. 

Mama and Tía like to keep it a secret they lock away in the Trunk of the Seven Seals, but every once in a while it breaks out and reveals that they are spirited dancers. What can we say? Can't keep that Spanish out. 

Grandmama never knows how much she adds to a home, to a conversation or to the many lives she's come in contact with. But her wisdom, her kindness, her consistency in writing letters and cards, her chipper voice and merry heart do good like a medicine wherever she goes. I always feel "well" when I spend time with her. I love her to death and am so grateful she is in my life and was a part of our Christmas again this year.  

This is one of my favorite times. Eating with family… makes the food taste twice as good. Maybe that's why Mama has always insisted meal time be eaten all together. In any case, I'm glad she has insisted on that, because besides enriching the taste, it enriches my soul. And I think that's a real thing. 

Before this game was over there was "weeping and gnashing of teeth" as Abe says. There was hollering, and teaming up and shouts of "What would Mamaw Voisy Say?!" 

There aren't words to describe the thankfulness of having these ladies in my life. They spread joy, good food, traditions, celebration, passion, patience, love, hugs and kisses, inspiration and wisdom like it was warm butter on fresh baked banana bread. 

This picture - but more this woman makes a lump swell up in my throat. Mama will tell you, "I'm glad they got enough of their daddy in'em to be pretty". But Mama is one of the most beautiful people I know. Inside and Out. (And if you'll look at our pictures, you'll actually see that we look a LOT like Mama). Well, because I know you'll read this Mama, you should know I love your gorgeous eyes, your fun loving heart and the way you make each of us kids feel like we are your Specialist Baby. You let us know we are Worth It to you, and are our most supportive Fan and Cheerleader.  
Thank you. Thank you for being the person I want to be like and for being the Wise Woman who Builds Her House. I hope my home will be like the one you made for us. 

Tia's Birthday falls on Christmas Eve. Each year we perform a program of acting and singing, usually playing off events during the year.  And every time we wait until 2 hours before the fancy meal to start working up something. There are always laughs and wild ideas and impersonations of our familial characters and somehow its pulled off every time.

Judy Carol Productions' Cast! And also the servers for Judy Carol's Birthday Restaurant. Jeremy FINALLY got to come home for Christmas and he was the Chef in Chief who served us deLICIOUS food, and kept the kitchen a tight ship. They were just about to serve The Grown Ups in the next room. The atmospheres between the two rooms is night and day. In the kitchen is confusion, loud toasting and people hushing the loud ones, reminding them that the Grown Ups Are in the Next Room, trying to eat a peaceful supper. As soon as the servers pass the threshold of the school room, they assume a dignified, refined obliging manner, taking trays to and orders from The Grown Ups and walking softly about the table and through the room. 

Asher Waits at the kitchen table in perturbed patience for The Judy Carol Program, while wearing the hat that was thrown to him during rehearsals. He wears his bonnet backwards with complete ease. 

The Grown Ups in the Restaurant with servers Luke, (Lukinasia), Gabe (Gabonovich) and Carson (Carsinnoman)

The Toast which rang through the halls, shook the halls and lifted many a glass of juice+ginger ale was, "To Ancient Times and Distant Music!" And though we adopted the toast from a board game, it seemed one that would have been borne from our own bosom.  

Granddaddy was from Spain, and almost all the rest of his family still lives there. After Chris took a wild journey and met them several years back, we've kept in contact with The Cousins In Spain. Baka  made our cards for the Cousins In Spain this year because she's the Card-Makin-Queen. Really - Craft-Doing-Whatever-Queen. 

The Hair Cut that Grandmama gets from Rachel every so often. This time Rachel gave lessons on how to cut hair to the group she found gathered around her and now we've all got the Hair Cutting Itch. 

We were all playing frisbee during one of the *only* mornings the sun broke through the cement clouds that poured rain the rest of the week. Our games was full of the sounds of shouts and names, thudding steps and mushy toes in wet grass, when - blended into these sounds - came the distinct holler of boyish fun. Looking from the field we saw Asher running headlong into the neighbors puddle, jumping and grinning in the hearty way a boy was meant to enjoy himself after a long rain. 

^ One of my very best pals repp'n the Red Raiders of Lubbock. In fact, Lubbock has been a little more endeared to me as a cozy place since knowing Rachel lived here and roller bladed through its streets.

Gathered to wave everyone off. It's tradition, and Asher's fitting choice for the whole week - during any moment that seemed momentous (devotion, present-opening time, waving goodbye) was "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". 

Happy New Year, Everyone!