My father was elected to drive my great grandmother’s car and it was kept at our house. It was a black ford. I remember standing behind the front seat and looking over my grandmother’s mink stole as we rode along. It tickled my nose and the feel of it was soft to the hand. The stole had two little mink heads joined in the middle and they could be a bit frightening at first until we got used to them, with their glassy eyes. The sole reason my father was given this car is that great-grandmother could no longer climb up into the horse and trap to go to Mass. She wanted him to show up on Sunday, at her house, three miles from my father’s house, and carry her to mass so she could go to Heaven when she died.
She had two sons in the priesthood, Father Bernie and Father Tommy, a fact that pretty much guaranteed her getting into Heaven. They both came to see her on her deathbed and she told them the Virgin Mary was at the end of the bed, taking her over, as she left this world, heaven bound. She said rosaries almost continuously when she was sitting beside the fire from aged sixty to aged ninety. She got arthritis and decided to retire to the fireside at age sixty. She deserved this rest as she had singly handedly raised seven children and also ran the farm.
She wore black clothes and was a petit old lady. After mail started to be delivered to her house, she would have it put in one of the sheds, where a great horde of paper accumulated, according to one of my older sisters, who visited when great grandmother was alive. Moddy told my mother that she would have a boy with the next pregnancy and after four girls my mother and father were happy that she proved accurate.
I remember being at Moddy’s house, at age four or five, in the years immediately before her passing over. She would get myself and my younger sister to come and be with her, at her knee. She would have us say the prayers with her, kissing the cross at the beginning. My sister and I had sat in the soup of my mother’s prayers since being in the womb. We probably babbled the “Hail Mary” from the age we were learning to talk.
I have a springtime memory of being in Moddy’s house sitting at the kitchen table, a tree outside that window, in full blossom bloom, probably an apple tree. My sister and I had had a bath and out little faces were pink and white like the blossoms outside. On the table was two plates loaded up with apply pie, the kind that has secret ingredients straight from heaven, lemon tones, apples from the garden of paradise, honey sugar dripping thickly around the pie. It was surely overseen by God and his wife. Phyllis Maxwell did the hard work, a beautiful young woman whom we watched with the long glass green bottle used to roll out the pastry. She wore a print white dress with apple blossoms on it and her sleeves rolled up. She worked fast scattering flour around to prevent any sticking.
Our little blue eyes imparted our own magic into the dough. We were given a little piece of dough each to play with and our creations were put on top of the pie, as the apple blossom adornment. Phyllis put a large scoop of whipped cream on top of the hot cooked pie and we tucked in to this something, making us round and pink and white, under our two bent over the pie, curly be-ribboned heads, my sister blonde and I dark brown.
As an older woman, walking or riding a bike on the roads, around by the railway gates, I would go onto this avenue and into the house. The house was used for a shed for cattle by then but it had a lovely yard with some cobblestones and a bridge over a stream. The stairs in the house was still in tact if not the loft to which it led. It was hard to imagine the big family of seven children plus parents living there. There was a statue of “The Child of Prague” in one of the small windows, letting light in.
After many years, it was decided to “get rid of this” beautiful old car from Moddy, with the running board along the side. My father choose a newer looking second hand model. He cast aspersions on this car from the first moment he brought it home to the farm, having bought it with his own good money. Later it let him down by grinding to a halt far from home. I still see that jalopy with my father standing looking into its engine, smelling of burning rubber and some blue smoke coming out of it. I fumed alongside him as he stood with a bewildered look on his face.
I learned to fume at inanimate objects, give them value and to curse them, enraged that that second hand piece of car was not what it was supposed to be. It had the nerve to carry us far from home and to stop and never to go from there again and I learned the treachery of the car that smoked. Later when I had a secondhand yellow car, I treated it with great suspicion at times if the engine light came on or if it made a “noise.” Now if you look carefully, you will see blue smoke swirling around behind my eyes when I get mad.
I heard some marvelous dreams this week; one was of a man morphing into a pig that was able to knock down a “tower of babble” in his dream. Sometimes it takes fast instinctual energy to take care of business that is not so good. An others came to me with no dreams at all but two mandalas were drawn in session and I was able to use my Mari training to work with the shapes and colors together and to have the client speak of her experiences.
You too can come to work with dreams and mandalas. They make more sense than anything else to me. I am always excited to work with this deep connections between many things including the stream of life that underpins the psychic, the psychoanalytic, the dreams, the unconscious, religious experience and the right side of the brain. Love from Rose.
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