What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million 1857?
00 Nothing on this subject. She tends to stick to household hints, rules for young wives, and home surgery. So I venture out on my own.
A Place Apart
My mom and brother live in Thoreau country. I look forward to my visits every time I go. The rolling wooded hills, apple orchards and farms. Along with family, it is a place to contemplate and enjoy. There’s a lot of history too.
There is also a place I looked forward to as well. Behind the church on the town square is a two centuries old cemetery. Many of the early families are buried here, some going back to the 1750s. When I first came to the village 15 years ago, my sister-in-law took me on walk around some fabulous gardens in century old homes on the square and then took me back behind the church to a singular grave. It sits outside the main line of headstones, a simple monument to someone long ago: Othello the African.
I don’t know why this marker moves me so. Perhaps, because it sits away on its own on the side of the church near the stone wall. Yet, there are words of friendship, devotion and faithfulness inscribed on it. Someone the family cared for, though it is a half hidden truth that some New Englanders kept slaves up to the latter half of the 18th century.
But I don’t want him to be alone. So every time I go, I always slip away to this humble place and leave something for him. Sometimes it’s flowers. Sometimes, a meager offering. But I do remember.
All Hallows Day
Halloween is coming again. And this time I look on it with trepidation as it will be 10 years since my husband died suddenly on a sunny October day promising trick-or-treaters and spooky fun. We said goodbye. I went to work. The rest is memory.
So like Othello, I will remember him, trying to hold onto the very good things we had together, putting aside the hard things since he passed. I’ll put a lei on his picture. Eat an apple from his tree. Read from one of his favorite books.
Mrs. Hale most likely knew sorrow. I could probably look it up. But on this day I want to remember.
When I think of Rolf I think of rivers:
Long rivers, skinny rivers,
Rivers with boulders and pebbly beaches,
Rivers flowing swift at high water,
Rivers slow but clear as glass showing where the Dolly Varden hide.
Rivers of salmon and steelhead going to the sea.
Before I met Rolf the only rivers I knew were the Allegheny and
Monongahela, the Ohio and Shenandoah,
Sluggish rivers, brown and old.
Rolf showed me wild rivers
With eagles and ancient spruce bottoms, king fishers and heron
And elk dipping their heads into the water.
Stillaguamish, Nooksack, Lyre and Hoh,
Skagit, Samish, Queets and Sauk
Rivers of legend, rivers of dreams.
May he always be there along them casting, casting until I come to him.