Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thoughts at year's end

The word pansy comes from the French pensee, meaning thought, and on this overcast, slightly melancholy day, my thoughts are turning to losses of the past year. My neighbor Mearl, a strong mountain woman who was the inspiration for many of my characters, left us in April. Her house is empty and lonely-looking, though her children keep the yard and pastures as tidy as if Mearl were looking over their shoulders -- as she probably is.

The author Madeleine L'Engle is gone -- and I bitterly regret that I never got around to writing her a fan letter to say how much joy her work has brought me over the years. Death can be so final for those of us left behind with things undone.

Rennie, another neighbor, but unlike Mearl, far too young for this final passage, fell ill while a group of us were working on a long-postponed friendship quilt for her and her husband. She had treatment and seemed to be holding her own so, though the quilt was completed, we waited to surprise her with it at a time when her daughters could be with her. Her sudden death caught us all by surprise; the quilt was presented to her family at a memorial service.

Years ago when my father died, my brother and I were cleaning out his home. In the back of his refrigerator was a bottle of very good champagne which my husband and I had given my parents for an anniversary some ten years before. "Oh, it's so expensive," they said. "We'll save it for another time." A few years after that anniversary, my mother died and my father moved, taking the champagne with him, still waiting for the right moment.

My brother and I decided not to let this go any farther. That evening we opened the expensive champagne, poured it out into my mother's crystal and prepared for a treat.

Of course it had turned to vinegar.
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Glenda Council Beall said...

Vicki, I met you in Waynesville at the book fair in 2005 and we talked a bit. I'm so pleased to see how well you are doing with your mysteries. Our local book club is reading Signs in the Blood next month. I plan to attend and it will be fun to tell them I've met you and talked with you.
The post about saving special things until it is too late hit home with me when my mother died and we found many nice gifts she had received over the years packed away in her closet. I am using my best while I have the chance.

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Glenda, for being the first to comment on this my new blog! And good for you for living your life now, rather than later!

Re book club - my website has discussion questions for book clubs if you all would find that useful.