Thursday, July 16, 2009

Morning Glory Rituals

I love Morning Glories.
Bill planted some for me under two big trees in our yard, and now they are climbing those trees at breakneck speed. One morning not long ago, I was thrilled to look out our dining room window and find two blooming.
I thought of Maw Maw George.
Pitty Pat and I spent a lot of time with our maternal grandparents, Maw Maw and Paw Paw George, when we were children. Especially during the summer.
We slipped between crisp ironed sheets, giggling and whispering late into the night to the Katydids' chants. We woke to the sounds of sizzling bacon and gurgling coffee, the familiar creaks of the worn linoleum floor as Maw Maw moved from stove to sink to table.
We meandered down the gravel lane to the mailbox, after breakfast, the air heavy with the scent of the Honeysuckle vines shrouding the fences on either side. Later, we spent time in our playhouse behind the Hollyhocks and rosebushes, stirring up exotic concoctions of leaves and weeds in the old pots and pans. Sometimes we paraded around the house in old dresses and high heels Maw Maw kept for us in the closet.
Other times, we played paper dolls on the big screened-in back porch. When we decided they needed a place to live, Maw Maw dug out file folders and showed us how to cut out pages of furniture from Sears Roebuck and glue them on the folders. After that, our voluptuous, long-legged beauties had homes, complete with living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
When we tired of other activities, we climbed high in the huge Oak tree in the front yard. We sat gazing through the fluttering leaves at the scene below, like sentinels in search of secrets, reveling in our anonymity: Nobody knows we’re here…

On Decoration Day, Pitty and I helped Maw Maw prepare the flowers for transport to our ancestors' graves in various cemeteries in Carlisle County. Each year, she planted two rows of flowers of all kinds in their garden just for Decoration Day.
That morning, she carefully snipped the flowers and placed them in big cardboard boxes, damp newspapers between the layers. Then Paw Paw carefully loaded them in the trunk, fired up the little black coupe, and we were on our way.
Pitty and I loved following Maw Maw through the quiet, peaceful cemeteries, watching her place bouquets on the graves. Every now and then, she pointed out various relatives' graves: Here are my grandparents’ graves; over there are Paw Paw’s grandparents, his little sister, Katie.
She always stood quietly, a faraway look in her amber eyes, before two small graves: Catherine, who died at five, and J. T., who was eighteen months.
One evening at twilight we were strolling through the back yard. Maw Maw was pointing out various species of flowers and telling us their names when I spotted a cluster of the brightest flowers I had ever seen. They were a startling violet, and seemed to glow.
I was enchanted.
"Maw Maw," I said, "What are those?”
"They're Morning Glories," Maw Maw said, "They don't open until twilight, and they close when the sun hits them."
"Do they always do that?"
For some reason, I couldn't believe they always bloomed at twilight.
Thus began our Morning Glory Ritual. Regardless of what we were doing or how tired we were, Pitty and I raced to the back yard to check them out. I had a sneaking suspicion that we would come upon them one evening and find them hanging limply, heads bowed.
We never did, of course.
Now, I have my own Morning Glory Ritual. I gaze at them just outside my window as I have my morning coffee. And I think of Maw Maw, who will always bloom in my memories.


gmca said...

Loved this! And I so remember Decoration Day with Ma Ma George. Those were the days...

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Brenda, it was nice remembering your childhood with you. You really know how to tell a story!

Suzanne said...

Love this!

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley