Posts Tagged With: snow

That was then and this is now…

I am still intrigued with the notion of forwards and backwards.

I know this theme is repetitive from yesterday’s post – but I would like to take a moment to reflect on the concept once again. ( You knew it was coming!)

What if I were to construct my posts according to then and now?  How would that look?  Here’s a sample of what “could be”.

Looking Back:  It seems that a lot of my childhood time was spend outdoors.  My parents were very strong environmentalists – before their time.   Dad was a farmer at heart and during the summer would pride himself in stirring the compost pile that sat beside his 1/2 acre garden.  At the time I thought it was disgusting and avoided at all costs the trip to the compost pile to empty the organic kitchen scraps.  Oh, the stench!  But Dad knew that a good pitch fork to add oxygen to the pile would keep the smell in check.  I often now think about Robert Service’s poem:  Ode to a wee mouse and wonder how many plans of the mice Dad had interrupted by stirring their inevitable home?

Now:  My husband and I keep five composters in our back yard.  They are the ones that can be turned to aerate.  We faithfully collect kitchen scraps and still reluctantly take the trip to dump the scraps into the composter.  No matter how many turns they get, however, they still smell.  But each spring, they get emptied into my garden.  And with pride, I mix the soil and wonder how the heck Dad was able to keep 1/2 acre free from weeds as my little backyard garden is plagued by weeds!  I love to garden and burst with pride when I carry in tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini to the kitchen.

Looking Back:  The winter was a time of magic and wonder when I was a child.  Mom would always talk about the beauty of a snow-filled forest.  And it really was spectacular when the snow stuck to the branches and created a delicate veil.  Day in and day out, Mom and I would click into our cross-country skis and “do the loop” out the back door, through the woods, through the field and back to the house.  Our cheeks would be rosy and our spirits lifted by the beauty of nature.

Today:  My family and I just created our own little loop – out the back door, around the pond, over the bridge, and home.  We returned with rosy cheeks and lifted spirits.  The woods were so beautiful and the snow so crisp!  What a joy it was to take “my” family and friends out to enjoy something I remembered so fondly from my own childhood.

Maybe the joy we experienced in the woods today and in the garden in the summer were shared by those who live on in our hearts and memories?  Maybe they come alive when we remember the joys of childhood?  Whatever it is – there is definitely something to be said about living for today with the spirits and joys of “then”.

Mom and Marion out to do the loop

Mom and Marion out to do the loop

 

Categories: Family and Friends, Life's Lessons, Mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Really – reel to reel

Bill and Paula Duff with Bill and June Malloff in Nassau.

The box was larger than a bread basket, but smaller than a television (the old ones!),  and it was very well bound with packing tape.

The label screamed at me. “Bill and Paula Duff”.  Egad.  This was a real treasure trove!  Here, in this box, were Mom and Dad’s memories.

When Jamie and I were investigating the things Mom stored in the pantry of their condo, we discovered two boxes of reel-to-reel film.  Of course, Mom had also preserved the projector, splicer, and old camera and these sat well organized right beside the movies.  We took the old movies out to examine what was there.  “New Lowell, Duffs, and Malloff Clan”, read the labels from one box of movies.  This was the series that was to be developed first.

Costco prints old reel-to-reel to DVD at a very good price and so… off they went.. and yesterday …. here they were.

Finally, the box was freed from tape and I carefully open the flap.  There it was – ONE DVD.  On the outside were images (59 in total) of every “scene” that was contained on the DVD.  There was also a label warning that some of the film had been over-exposed, some under-exposed, and some with dust, hair… and whatnot.  How would the movies look afterall?  I didn’t really care – I just knew I was holding fast to history.  And it was to be a history that revealed a world through the eyes of Mom and Dad.  What had they seen?   What had they deemed to be important enough to film?  Who were their friends?  How had they lived?  All these questions would be answered – presently.

I slid the DVD into the player, with the help of my 9 year old I might add, and suddenly there they were – Mom and Dad in 59 scenes.  “Which scene would you like to choose?”,  opted the play menu.  I chose “Play from the beginning”.

Fantastic. Costco had added music – their music – the music of the 40s and 50s.

Fantastic.  Mom and Dad were dancing.  It was a party.  Mom and Dad were serving turkey dinner to guests.  Mom was showing off her beautiful new gown to the camera.  Dad was shoveling snow.  Don Duff was mowing his lawn.  Lou Duff was pushing her daughter Nancy on the swing.  The animals in the zoo were racing around.  The flamingos in Nassau were nibbling at their lunch.  The lighthouses in PEI appeared far below from the plane where Dad had obviously flown over.  The Hepplestons and Duffs were together – eating – laughing.  There was a lot of laughter.  It seemed everyone was laughing.  I think I saw Grandma and Grandpa Malloff – but I couldn’t be sure as I had never met them.  And there was the house that Dad built for Mom and Dad in New Lowell.

History.

It was rich.

I was watching history that no one else at that moment had access to.

I must figure out how to copy this history to embed it into this blog.

I must figure out how to copy the DVD to offer these special images to my cousins.

It is funny how video can transcend time.  I am so blessed to have known my parents as adults.  I am so curious now to know about my parents as a young couple.  I am so blessed to have just a little insight into the young Bill and Paula through reel-to-reel.

Categories: Duff History, Family and Friends, Life After Dad, New Lowell | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Wind – It’s All About the WInd

And then Andrea said, “As Bill may say…

I give you this one thought to keep –
I am with you still – I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning’s hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as only gone –
I am with you still – in each new dawn.”

God, it was perfect.  What a perfect poem to recite on this day.  What a perfect selection for a perfect day.  What a fitting end – or beginning.  God, it was perfect.

And the wind blew on the 15 of us gathered at Union Cemetery to place Dad’s ashes with Mom’s.  The wind we had felt before.  It had been with us all our lives.  The wind gave us comfort as the temperature soared above 35 degrees.  The wind was cooling and healing.

We all remembered the glint of a diamond snow.  And God knows we remember Dad’s favorite song, “Snowbird” by Anne Murray.  The snow had been with us – well other than the Dancing Nannies – all our lives.  The snow gave us joy and comfort when we played in it as kids.  The snow was something from which we could escape into our snug homes when it became too much.

Sunlit ripened grain.  What an image.  What powerful words.  And then the wind tossed our hair again. Grain.  This was an image that both Mom and Dad would have shared from their separate childhoods – Mom from the prairies and Dad from New Lowell.  Grain would be ground into flour and used to nourish the body and soul.

When you awake in the morning’s hush I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.  Dad was there with us.  We all saw the birds.

On this day, when we gave Dad to be with Mom, the birds were chirping and gliding, and playing in the air above us.

On this day, when we gave Dad to be with Mom, the sun shone on our faces and warmed our souls.

None of us thought of Mom and Dad as gone, on this day.  We knew they were there.  We all shed tears – together.  We all closed our eyes in prayer, together.  We all gathered to pay our respects to Mom and Dad – together.  And we all felt the wind blow gently on us – together.

Who has seen the wind, several of our new family members queried.  And the answer was a resounding, “Neither you nor I.  But when the trees bow down their heads, we know its passing by.”  The wind was there.  Mom and Dad were there – and finally – together.

(Typically the attribution states ‘Author unknown’ but it is the native American version of the poem, Do not stand at my grave and weep, by Mary Elizabeth Frye)

Categories: Family and Friends, Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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