“where were you and what were you doing when you heard about world war 2?” i ask my mother. i’d never thought to ask her that before, and i can’t tell you why not, but at least i ask her now.
she tells me that she was at school, so she didn’t hear about it till the day after. says she was 13 years old, so most of her reaction came from watching her parents. she can still remember the look on her daddy’s face, she says, then she goes on to tell me about how her mother preserved food – a lot of food, even canning biscuits and water. “if she’d thought about it and we had a place, i’m sure she would’ve built a bomb shelter,” mother says, and though she was remembering down one road, i remembered how i set about building a bomb shelter in 4th grade, complete with food and pillows and books and board games and safety/preparedness drills.
i knew my grandmother canned food – her pantry was always filled from her larger than large summer garden – but i never knew till that day last week that grandmother and i had preservation and planning for the future – our future and our loved ones’ futures – in common.
[insert face-size smile]
don’t you love stories that connect you with your ancestors? that help explain quirky characteristics about yourself? what questions would you ask one of your ancestors? you can do it without sitting next to them in the car, you know. just get our your pen and paper, write the question, then be quiet and see what appears.
one of the best questions i asked my now-deceased daddy is “what would the 40-year old you like like the 40 year old me to know about being 50?” (hint: you don’t have to ask living people face-to-face, and you don’t have to ask only deceased people these questions that your inquiring mind wants to know.)
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p.s. my mother also told me that because of world war 2, there weren’t many school teachers to be found, so they had to take the fella who got lost walking the 3 blocks from boardinghouse to school. she also told me about one c harkness, a young woman who daddy asked out once. but, mother hastened to add, they never actually went out. i’m thinking there’s more to this story. stay tuned . . .
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i spent this afternoon cooking and filling the freezer of my son who lives in denver (note: far too far away, if you ask me) with vegetable soup, lasagne, and spaghetti sauce. (that’s when i remembered the story my mother told me about grandmother preserving food in anticipation of possible ripple effects of world war 2.) today’s altar is about nourishment . . . from stories and food and love.