These are my grandmother's chairs, on Dad's side. Her name was Florence; again, not Flo, or Flossie. I had an Aunt Flossie on Mom's side; she was petite, chatty, likeable. This was not Florence whose home and heart was basically impenetrable when we visited, save for the Lorna Dunes she shared with discontent. We were lucky to extend beyond the confines of her kitchen to the plastic wrapped living room where a nautilus shell rested precariously on a thin wire, to breathe in its presence risked damage. But, Florence deserves respect as a tough old broad having survived wars, the Great Depression, a husband who would die of cirrhosis; another family member who would loose their mind. She lived to the ripe old age of 95, all but three of these years in her home. May we all be so lucky.
I guess the chairs are at least seventy-five years old now: amazingly comfortable, strong, pliable to weather so many years in the Wisconsin elements, a perfect metaphor for who she was. She was a fantastic gardener. She liked roses; no surprise given they are full of thorns, reminding all to approach with caution. It remains one of the few plants I cannot master; I persevere.
The chairs have left an indelible mark in our lives. We rock in them daily, wind or snow or sun since they sit ready in Jarvis' playpen now for perpetuity. Below is a snapshot circa 2010, the winter before we embarked on the great adventure that was moving our 110 year old farm house. They are positioned where our house rests now: the rejoining of two original ten acre parcels of farmland we are fortunate to call home. It took guts, balls, courage, even a bit of crazy to take on that project in the teeth of the recession when Tom was living part time in Germany. Is there such a thing as living part time in another country?
Above are memories only of that great pack that was Bun-e, Sam-e, and Hayward, already nine years past. The kids were young then; hell, we too were young. Only H remains with us now; he too greyer.
Today, as the world around us seems surreal, countries and business closing doors from what has become a new reality living with the fear from coronavirus, I hope I can reach back into my very bones to find her strength and resolve. I need Florence now more then ever. I hope the footsteps around me are hers walking at my side.
Who has made an unexpected impact in your life? What would you say to them today?