Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"....with my song I will praise Him..."!/photo.php?v=10100183822764983

This little video fills my heart with so much joy that it spills down my face. I thank God with everything in me for the gift of little Clay and all that He has taught us through our journey with him. 

I remember last June 13th like it was yesterday. 

Chelsea and I were set up at farmers’ market.  The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the dazzling blue sky and it was simply a picture perfect late spring day. 

Besides the gorgeous weather, Hannah was going to the doctor, and maybe, just maybe, they could tell her if she was having a girl or a boy.  Life was good. 

Sometime around noon, or before, Hannah called.  “I’m having a boy!”

“You are?” I grinned into the phone. 

“Yes, but they want me to go on to Lexington.”

My smile quickly faded as I asked, “Why?” 

The ultrasound tech at the gynecologist’s office said she couldn’t get a very good picture of the baby’s heart.  She’d made an appointment with a high risk doctor; they could work her in that afternoon.

Hannah didn’t sound too worried as she explained. 

“They said it’s probably nothing to be worried about.”  I felt a chill in my soul, but I tend to be a worry-wart, so I tried to squash my instant reaction of fear. 

Chelsea said she’d ride to Lexington with Hannah, so I could pack everything up and take it home when the market closed in a hour or two. 

I felt uneasy all afternoon.  I finally called Chelsea’s cell phone when I didn’t hear anything for hours.   

“Is everything OK?” 

“Yeeaahh,” she said, in a way that left me doubting.  “I’ll call you back in a few minutes.”

She called back after Hannah had dropped her off at her car. 

“They said the baby has some kind of hernia-thing. Sometimes it’s serious, but sometimes it’s not.  Sissy’s going to stop by and she’ll explain it to you.” 

A little while later, Hannah stopped by with two or three pages of printed information about a rare birth defect called CDH. 

The language was very cold, full of medical terms—but clear. 

Our first grandchild was going to face some life-threatening problems when he was born.  There was a good chance he’d not even make it.  If he did, he’d face surgery a few days after birth.  He might have long-term problems as a result of this condition we’d never in our lives heard of before that day. 

You know the rest of the story.  Most of you have been here with us through this journey.  You know what a ride it’s been. 

You’ve been right there, pulling for Clay, praying for baby Clay. 

Today, Clay is not only a survivor, he’s an overcomer!

This is the sweetest sound I think I ever heard.  All babies sound sweet, but this little guy has had to learn how to use his vocal cords around a tube inserted into his windpipe. 

Forgive me if I brag, but I think he’s pretty special!   J 

“Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications!  The Lord is my strength and my shield.  My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”  Psalm 28: 6,7

Friday, June 1, 2012

A cool and welcome change of pace

Cool cloudy days like this one are a relief to me after several days in the sun doing mostly outdoor work. 

I love being in the garden and mowing, weeding, etc., but it seems like there’s always one more weed to pull or something else to plant or pick.  

However, when I got out of bed this morning to cloudy skies, then rain, I felt freer to turn my attention to inside work: laundry and writing, for example. 

I also listened in while Chelsea interviewed her “Granny Grethel” for the research project she’s doing for Berea College.  She’s been busy collecting oral histories about Appalachian food ways.

My mother-in-law shared stories about making buttermilk candy and told how to roast a groundhog so the meat doesn’t taste so wild (with sprigs of spice wood). 

She said she used to pick and sell blackberries and save her money to order school clothes from the Sears and Roebuck catalog.  She recalled how their house caught on fire when her kids were small. She just happened to have a lot of water “drawed up” to douse on it and put it out.  (Yes, we did veer a little off topic.) 

She said the neighbors used to come running to see if you needed help if you blew a car horn. 

“We always had plenty to eat,” my mother-in-law said repeatedly. “We always had a lot of love and we always got along.”

Except for when her father called them all to the breakfast table, and they’d fight over who got the biggest boiled egg to crumble over their biscuit and gravy.

A stranger with a camera might have surmised that her family was impoverished.  But what the camera would have missed is how close they were, and how they went about their work with good humor and lots of pranks pulled on one another. 

My girls are fortunate to still have both sets of grandparents and a great-grandmother to pass along such priceless information about their heritage.   

I never knew my dad’s parents--he barely knew them either, because both died before he was six.  I lost my mom’s parents before I was 25.  

I always felt like I missed out, not ever getting to meet my paternal grandparents, and I still miss my maternal grandparents, though they’ve been gone a long time. 

My mother-in-law’s father died of prostate cancer when he was 48.  That’s mine and Robin’s age.  That’s young. 

Her mother died of tuberculosis in her mid-fifties. 

My husband still has his “Great-granny”--who now seems like mine too--but there aren’t really many of our oldest family members left to share their special memories of growing up in hard times… those difficult days when work was physical and tough, but their days were also filled with laughter and love.

As Chelsea captures audio of the voices of her interviewees and painstakingly transcribes their dialect, she’s also noting the rhythms of speech, the pronunciations and expressions that reveal our Scottish and Irish ancestry. 

I’m glad our speech hasn’t been blanched of its personality by mainstream America. I hope to goodness it never is. 

Many folks around here might not be aware that they are of Scotch-Irish descent, but their language, beliefs, and customs carry echoes of previous generations of settlers, who, while poor and not too book smart, were smart enough to survive and thrive.

Tonight, to celebrate a cool cloudy pensive spring evening and to honor our Appalachian ancestors who knew how to take the simplest ingredients and whip up a tasty meal, Chelsea made homemade biscuits, and I stirred up some chocolate gravy for supper.

I really needed a break from all those salad peas.  ;)