Thursday, February 21, 2008

...And a Book for Moms

I am almost finished reading A Lantern In Her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich. This is a fictional account of a woman's life, spanning from her birth to her death. The book chronicles Abbie Deal's young womanhood, full of dreams and plans, and follows her as she and her husband and young child move to Nebraska to homestead. Although the writing is sometimes a bit poor, this story has made me cry a couple of times. The book shows the protagonist's life through all the stages: from the weary days of caring for little ones with the hard demands of pioneer life, to the death of her beloved husband, on to the birth of grandchildren and grappling with changing times. I love this book because it has given me a glimpse of perspective about the brevity of life and the power of all our choices. The most intriguing part of the book has been reading about Abbie's later years, and then thinking of how that season will feel for me.

"What memories do you have, Grandma?"

"I have many...But I'll tell you the one I like to think of best of all. It's just a homely everyday thing, but to me it is the happiest of them all. It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family. It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one. First there are seven and then six and then five...and on down to a single plate. So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time. The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor. Will, your grandfather, is coming in to supper...and the children are all playing out in the yard. I can hear their voices and happy laughter. There isn't much to that memory is there? Out of a lifetime of experiences you would hardly expect that to be the one I would choose as the happiest, would you? But it is. The supper cooking...the table set for the whole family...the afternoon sun across the floor...the robins singing in the cottonwoods...the children's merry voices...Will coming in...eventide."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, that excerpt made me want to cry, too! I just dropped Elise off for the weekend, and was thinking how sad it will be when she leaves!! A good reminder to appreciate today when the day seems hard....