Monday, October 06, 2014


In 1978 my elderly mother spent the winter months with us in North Carolina. At age 84 she was still very active and her mind was exceptionally alert. No matter where she was she would find things of interest and she had a knack for turning the mundane into an adventure.

One of my mother’s disciplines was to take a short walk every day and she would usually be gone for about 30 minutes. A week into her visit she took her regular exercise but it was almost two hours before she returned home. She had heard that we had a bedridden neighbor living just 4 houses down from ours and she took it upon herself to visit her. When there was no answer to her knock she tried the door and, finding it open, she stuck her head in, giving a friendly “Woo, woo, anyone here?” A woman answered and Mother ventured in and introduced herself ! (Can you imagine that in this day and age?) The two women became great friends and those visits were the highlight of her days while staying with us.

She would also bring home leaves and berries and anything else that caught her fancy and she would pour over our encyclopedias to identify them. One day she was doing just that in “her” little back bedroom when I heard a loud cry of astonishment. I went running to see if she was OK and the two of us watched in wonder as more than 20 Cedar Waxwings settled to feed on the berries of a small tree in our backyard
The tree was just outside her window and we were not more than 10 feet from the birds. We watched in awe as these lovely creatures fed to their heart’s content. I mentioned that I could run and get my camera but Mother put her hand on my arm and said, “Don’t move. They’ll be gone before you get back. Just savor the moment.” … and she was right. All of a sudden they perked up, as if they’d heard a silent alarm, and within a minute they were gone.

That was 36 years ago and my tree, my mother and my Cedar Waxwings are all gone. But, not my memory...that I will savor forever.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a heart-warming post.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"pour over our encyclopedias" !
Wasn't that interesting and fun. Now all we do is 'Google' it.

7:04 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful story. I'll bet your mother would have loved the Internet.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

What a beautiful memory and what a special lady your Mother was.
People did take more interest in their neighbors years ago.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Ginnie, this was such a lovely post. You reminded me of my grandfather who came to visit us in NC every October. He was in his eighties then and we kids loved to follow him around when he took his little walks, looking at the various trees and learning their names. Thanks to him, the smell of walnut trees always reminds me of those days. How precious these memories are.

I am off to see my grandsons in CA in three weeks, and I hope someday they remember me with fondness.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I can sense the sadness of loss here. Or maybe it is just me. I miss the simplicity of those times when one could visit each other and just walk inside--without fear of being shot.

This was a heartwarming post because your mother reminds me of how interested mine was in identifying plants and animals. I still have her pressed plants from her college days. Priceless!

5:37 AM  

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