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Remembering Ma

It's a clear, crisp fall day at the farmette. After a bit of snow early in the week, most of it has melted and we can actually get at finishing yard clean-up. Okay, that's a bit ambitious, especially given we have about six tons of black walnuts on the ground (arrrrgggghhh).

Anyhow. Enough belly-aching. Today's my mother's birthday. Audrey would have been 94. Can't believe it's been more than 12 years since she passed in January, 2009.

She was a feisty one. She worked. Hard. Her whole life. With five children, she stayed very busy as what used to be called a homemaker. I kind of like that old-fashioned name. In Audrey's case, it fits.

She was always there when we needed her.

We didn't have a lot of money growing up. Dad was a refrigerator repair man. Those were the days when a single income was actually sufficient - if you had a huge vegetable garden from which you preserved everything, and knew people who could sell you 12 dozen eggs or an entire flat of bread loaves or a half a beef at a time.

Despite being very busy at our rural home, Audrey loved her projects - especially after Sandy and I - the afterthought daughters - got big enough. By turns, she learned oil painting, hair dressing and even a bit of house renovation, although she didn't actually take any lessons for that.

Which brings me to her relentless drive to get things done. If Dad was a bit slow on the uptake, she'd just start.

A perfect example was when, after we added a huge front living room to the house, the middle bedroom was left without direct sunlight. So Ma just started cutting a hole in the wall between it and the end bedroom - with no real plan other than 'getting it done'. We girls came home from school to one big room, instead of two small ones.

Ma was also extremely generous in the community. The Frome United Church on the hill up Highway 3 was a real hub - with Turkey dinners, Irish stew dinners, and all manner of other events and activities. As a member of the UCW - United Church Women - she was always contributing her time, culinary and serving skills.

Latterly, she and Dad took up music in a big way. She had always played piano by ear - no lessons needed there - and Dad learned the fiddle. They, plus friends who played guitar and another fiddle - would go around to the seniors' homes and entertain people who were only marginally older than they were. The old tunes like Little Brown Jug, the Orange Blossom Special and Waltzing Matilda.

So that's my little contribution today. It's comforting to take a bit of time to reminisce and savour the good times, right?.

Until next week.


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