Honoring You in Living Color by Rhoda Tripp
Honoring You in Living Color
Kitchen counters alive; the vivid colors of reds, greens, purples and yellow glass jars. Your garden flourished.
Pickled beets mingle boiled eggs; a pretty periwinkle pink.
Yellow and purple tinted fingers; dandelions and elderberries distilling; musty aroma permeated by sweet wine. A balloon implodes.
I bet you didn’t know that elderberries are known for their flu fighting properties. Come to think of it, Mom, I never had the flu as a teen. Wink. Wink.
Jelly wiggles its dance inside the jar. A shaken memory. Reddest choice cobs after our feathered friends dined a dirt plate.
Wild mint jelly, the leaves plucked by weathered hands was a favorite, served with an unfortunate lamb.
I don’t ever remember store-bought jellies or jams.
Plucking and cleaning. Packaged protein disallowed.
I’ll never forget the smell in the house when you tried to burn the feathers in the coal stove downstairs. Even the wise make mistakes. We all learned that day.
Dropping, one by one, blueberries for old Mrs. Howard amid famished daybreak mosquitoes. Buckets filled blue.
Our reward; an ice cream cone at The Dairy Ranch. Just so you know, Mom, they are still in business, but kids get ice cream without having to pick blueberries. Thank you for instilling in me a work ethic.
Warm rhubarb and strawberry crowd a flaky crust, ice cream slid away from heat.
I remember you trying to make homemade ice cream from snow. It didn’t turn out well.
Black walnuts sing sad songs as tires crush green into gravel, later stirred by your emotions into brown batter.
Your sapling walnut tree, forsaken and mistaken aside weeds becomes sharp blade fodder.
Honestly, Mom…I didn’t know. I’d plant you a new one if you were still here.
Mushroom hunting, black and white morels sizzling in agony alongside frog legs no longer hopping swampy puddles, rather, jumping in frying pan.
I never knew how much of a delicacy until I grew up and left home. I always just thought we were poor. You were the smart one, I was just an assuming kid.
Turning a blind eye, peeking as you peeled a groundhog’s winter fur. He had dotted Dad’s fields with his underground dwellings, thus his fate determined by hungry clan.
I was always so sad for them and couldn’t watch, but I didn’t mind the taste at all. Anything you touched tasted of the love you held for your husband and children.
White cream to golden yellow butter; all day churning daydreams into poetic verse.
Looking back, maybe it kept me out of trouble, rhymes that swirled with the cream. There are several times as an adult I could have used that butter churn. It probably would have saved me a lot of heartaches. You were smart that way.
“Red up the house” spoken in haste as curious friends navigated the gravel drive to your petting zoo of sorts.
That must have been a saying from the hills of Pennsylvania because I’ve never heard those words spoken since. Even though it meant work, I miss hearing those words.
Hand-made pink clothing, the zig zag of stitching from a treadle, bobbers wound tight.
An old ringer washer, Sunday’s pink pinafores pinned on lines betwixt the front-yard oak; the fresh aroma of unpredicted rain and sunshine.
You were a pioneer in solar energy. Today they would call you green.
Fifty-nine years, a blushing bride. Fifty-seven years, a Mom. Eleven borne of your flesh.
One question, Mom: Where did you get the patience to raise eleven children and love their Dad more than yourself? I wish I had asked.
Rest in Peace, Mom.