My Alphabetized Existence/The Letter G
We had geese at our country house. Hortense, who
became past-tense at Christmas, was one. Prudence was
another. Then we had Gozie and Harriet. When Gozie died we
got Herald. He and Harriet became inseparable and both died
of old age. One of the first humor pieces I had published
was about raising geese.
Girlfriends are as important when you're 50 as
when you're 5 or 15 and I'm fortunate to have two friends
I've known and loved for more than 20 years. One I speak to
on the phone almost every day.
There are white gloves, elbow length gloves,
gardening gloves and driving gloves. The only ones I wear
nowadays are gardening gloves.
Greed (rhubarb) see also: apricots, fresh
When I was four I lived with my grandmother who
always had a large garden. That spring I found her rhubarb
and even though she told me it wasn't ripe yet and not to
eat it, I did. I was sick for three days. I've told John
that it's a measure of the love I have for him that I'll
make him rhubarb pie because even now the sight or smell of
rhubarb makes me feel sick.
I lived with my maternal grandmother for several
years when I was small and I remember that time with
fondness. My grandmother was a child-like, gentle, kind and
loving woman and I feel very fortunate that I was able to
Green beans, picking
When we first moved to Oregon we discovered that
many elementary and high school aged children spent their
summer picking green beans. We were transported to the
fields from our homes on old school buses and picked beans
for three cents a pound. If we worked hard we could pick
100 pounds per day and was the way many paid for their
school clothes. This was in the 1960's. Since then they've
developed beans that can be harvested by machine so the only
green beans one picks by hand anymore are those grown in
people's personal gardens.
I once read a book about the language of flowers.
I think someone should write one about the language of
greeting cards. So many are sent only because we feel
obligated to do so and sometimes there are hidden but not
really very subtle unspoken messages along with them.
For years I was the one who picked out and mailed
cards to John's parents. All he had to do was sign them.
He was always the one thanked for them although if they'd
thought about it they'd have realized that they only began
getting cards after he married me. I finally decided that
he could be responsible for sending cards to his family and
he's rather inconsistent about it. John's mother sends me a
birthday card every year but it's always a generic one and
always several days late. John has only sent one card to
his sister in all the years we've been married. It was a
get-well card after she had one of her surgeries but the
only reason he sent it was so she couldn't go to their
mother and complain that he hadn't sent her a card. We've
never received one from her.
Greeting cards aren't anywhere near as innocent as
one might wish to believe.
I read a piece once about the etiquette of grief
in Victorian times. Everything was proscribed--colors one
could wear and what kind of jewelry and how long they were
worn depending upon how the deceased was related to you. It
also identified you as someone in mourning. Now there is no
way to tell if someone has just suffered a horrendous lost
by their clothing. It's only in their faces and you only
know what to look for if you yourself have gone through such
a loss yourself.
Going grocery shopping was my big escape when
the boys were small. There was no way I was going to bring
four small boys shopping with me so I'd do it in the evening
or on the week-end when John was home and could watch the
boys. What a sense of freedom it was to be in the car by
myself and then stroll through the store aisles without
having to keep an eye out for four active little boys! Now
that they're all grown I can get into the car and go
whenever I like.