Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Joy Lesson: Tea and Flowers

Each summer my mother sent me away to live with my Southern grandmother. Mimi loved Jesus, lemon pound cake, old fashioned roses, and afternoon tea. As she hummed "In the Garden," she brewed a pot of tea, then made vignettes for us with china and fresh flowers. She also created a world, a little pocket of calmness, a place for a young girl to gather strength. 
While we drank tea, she cut me a huge slice of lemon-apricot cake and told me about her sisters, her mama, and grandmama. Mimi brought history to life. I saw a white farmhouse, red dirt, spotted dogs, chippy rocking chairs, strong women in floral aprons. I saw Ma Brabham making soap in the big kettle, the Mississippi sun beating through the pines. I saw Mimi walking with my mother down the long dirt road to the mailbox (a queen bee was due to arrive in a box for the hive). I saw weathered hands pulling weeds and heard the snap of a hydrangea stem. 
Mimi had a way of seeing into my soul. I was an indecisive child, unwilling to make choices. Me, I was the holdup in the line at Morrison's Cafeteria, dithering over chocolate cake or coconut cream pie. All these decades later, I am still a waffler. I over-think. I will yank up a fragile idea before it has time to take root. Even now, I know that my old style of blogging (all over the place) is rubbing up against a new style, one that I cannot name. No wonder I can't commit. It's easier to ruminate.
Mimi knew this about me. 
"It's scary to change," she'd say. 
I didn't want to be afraid, and she knew that, too. 
"You can be fearful and still be brave," she said. "One doesn't exclude the other. You need both in this life."
She also reminded me that not making a decision is a decision. 
"Just figure out what you want," Mimi said. "Figure out what you don't want. Then decide. And that's when the magic happens."
Mimi's lessons are still with me, and that means she is with me, too. 
She was right there, cheering me on when I decided to tackle Wordpress. And she was right there when I signed up for a photography class. She was right there to help when Lightroom kicked me to the curb.

She is there when I sip Earl Grey or walk through a garden. When I'm scared I remind myself to be brave. And no matter what, I am never alone.

Shared at:

23 comments:

  1. What a beautiful connection to your grandmother. They were very wise, weren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this message. The memory of a grandmother ( no matter what we called her)is magical. Hopefully we all have these wonderful memories of these women who came from so many different backgrounds and helped each of us become who we are today.

      Delete
  2. The vignettes are beautiful. And I always got the chocolate cake at Morrison's. You made a wonderful decision when you decided to blog. And to learn Wordpress and photography and Lightroom. So your grandmother's lesson have been well taught. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish I remembered more about my Grandmother. We lived with her in her house til she died. I was 10 years old and do remember being so very sad. She was the sweetest lady. This brought back some sweet memories, so thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Friends like you make writing worthwhile, Pinky. xx

      Delete
  4. Oh, ML - I love this post. I have a softness in my heart for your sweet Mimi.

    I never knew my grandparents - what a special blessing to have those memories.

    Love love love your pics. Big hugs! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, how kind you are, Michele! Mimi would have taken you under her wing and served you cake and tea.

      Delete
  5. How wonderful for you to have had the pleasure of your grandmother's company. I love hearing about her and how wise she was. I loved her advice about making a decision.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your memories of your grandmother took me back to my own memories with my grandmothers. I was fortunate to have one grandmother live with my dad's sister nearby and my other grandmother lived with us. I was named after each and have always felt a special connection to both. Your grandmother was a wise woman. I like her advice about decisions. I'm one who waffles. Sometimes if there are too many choices, I choose not to select any. '-)
    As always, thank you for sharing, ML.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know you were named after your grandmothers! Love hearing that bit of history. And love visiting with you on IG. xx

      Delete
  7. I have been so blessed to have a precious little Grandmother just like your Mimi, such wonderful memories. Thank you for such a beautiful post!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this post and it brought back so many memories of my Aunt's. Both grandmothers were long gone before I was born. So my mothers sisters were like my grandmothers, especially my Aunt Nell. She raised my mother as their mother died when my mom was 9 years old. I can remember so many wonderful smells coming from her kitchen - loved her pies, especially the chocolate meringue and lemon meringue ones. My Aunt Hilda made the best brown sugar and buttermilk pies ever. So many wonderful summer days at the farm - how I loved my Aunt Nell.

    So glad that you have wonderful memories of your Mimi, tea and cake.

    Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  9. Aren't we the lucky ones to have had a loving grandmother in our lives! And I, too, am far better at ruminating than taking action. So, let's clink our cups of tea to "getting on with it" sooner rather than later. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a beautiful post. Thank You for sharing.
    Marion

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a beautiful post...Our Mothers and Grandmothers are/were so wise...Your memories of your Grandmother are a treasure. I am so happy you decided to blog, and I LOVE your style - hope it doesn't change !

    ReplyDelete
  12. What an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing.
    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
  13. The sweetest post this is. I remember visiting my granny in South Carolina every summer. I can still smell her biscuits and I actually own the bonnet that hung by the back door that she ALWAYS wore when going out to gather something from the garden. She was a woman of few words, but I always felt her strength and love. Please don't change your blogging style. It's perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is such a beautifully sweet post. Our Grandmothers are so precious. I still remember my Grannie wearing her apron, left hand on her hip, right hand holding a wooden spoon. She'd shake it at my Dad and say, Stop bothering those girls!!!" Grandmothers always take up for us and help us learn about life. Your photographs are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my goodness, I have tears in my eyes whiles reading this lovely post, Michael Lee. Your Mimi had a profound effect on your life and is still there with you. I hope that I have that same effect on my grands the way that your Mimi did.
    P.S. I'm a waffler, too...so hard to decide! I admire those that can choose, and are black and white in their decisions, but that's not me!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your blog is one of my very favorites. I don't know Wordpress from
    Lightroom but I can tell you that it is your words in their simple beauty and your stories in photographs that inspire me. No need to keep up; you are leading the pack with your soulful simplicity.

    ReplyDelete