Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Yellow Brick Road; Memoirs of Autumn

My friend's sloping driveway was covered in several inches of glowing gold leaves today. It looked like The Yellow Brick Road. It is 80 year today, and very strange. It looks like Autumn, feels like late May. But, everything is glowing with beautiful death, reds, and oranges, blazing yellows. There are branches outlining the sky, looking like dead hands supplicating heavenward with long, skeletal fingers. There is an elegiac tone to everything.
We are gearing up for Halloween, and I am going to make Sugar Skulls for a book group on La Lacuna by B. Kingsolver. I find her and David Abrams to be among the most spiritual writers I have ever read. His "Ecology of Magic" is not to be ignored. I am studying more about another interest of mine, water sustainability and aquifers. I learned that as a result of the New Madrid quake, the Mississippi changed its course. We recently celebrated the anniversary of the loma prieta 1989 quake, which I was in. I still hear the radio playing "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." I have a doll that is a survivor of hte 1906 quke, too. Six months to the minute, on the anniversary of the 1906 quake, we had another major after shock. This was a truly humbling experience for me. I am planning to winterize some of my plants, my Harlequin petunias if possible, my Geraniums, a couple begonias. Many of my plants were eaten or destroyed by the capricious weather patterns. I was reading about Fractals, and how random much of what is really patterned and organized seems. Something I can relate to. The holidays approach; I am looking forward to them, and unpacking old family ornaments to use this year, remembering when all my shopping was done the day after Xmas for next year. I am slowly gathering gifts for our charity, The Sun Valley Indian School for Navajo children, and for my family. Much of Christmas died with my mother, as did all good things, but his year, I feel her spirit in all of this. I plan to bake again, and to store goods for candies to give as gifts. Start browsing craft magazines now, and look for coupons and sales. I love running around Black Friday to taste the sights, but I don't want to have to shop then. I was never last minute. Mom and I shopped ahead, then sorted and labelled who got what. I used to wrap on Halloween night and do Xmas cards over Thanksgiving. My classics were pecan pie, Dear Abbey's recipe, cranberry bread, and mom's Oyster Dressing, with the family joke that they forgot the oysters one year, but told everyone they melted. Mom made baklava and melomakarona, and we ate pheasant, duck, or smoked turkey. I decroated the table with all my little pilgrims and Gurley candles, and we had special table cloths and placemats. Mom made my Halloween costumes by hand, a Greek gypsy when I was five, a witch, a pioneer girl, a Vampire. A Raggedy Ann that should have won a prize. She only bought three costumes for me; Lamb Chop, when I was 3 or so, a Fairy when I was seven because I loved it, and a Spanish Gypsy from Madrid when I was 9, a terrific souvenir I still have. I wore the dress through College for different events and a homecoming float. She dressed the dolls, too, and they often tricked or treated. At 12, we made an Anne Boleyn gown and fantastic paper mask from bags and her old debutante gown. We made cutouts and bought new ones for our window, and got the biggest pumpkins we could out in the country. It was a simpler holiday than today, but we had a wonderful time. Happy Trick or Treating, and Happy Holidays to all.

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