Mamacita says: Love stays, you know. If it’s real, it stays. It takes work, more work than hormones, if truth be told. Without the work, the love isn’t real and it doesn’t stay, but with work, love stays. In a few days, it will be Valentine’s Day, and even though it’s really a man-made holiday that exploits the guilt feelings of both men and women and forces them to go forth (or fifth) and spend a lot of money on flowers that will die and candy that will be eaten, it’s also just one more excuse for people to tell each other how very much they love and appreciate each other. These are things we should all be telling each other all year, of course, but we’re a reticent society, for all that we let it all hang out sometimes, and we sort of need a specific day to give us permission to bare our hearts.
During my annual re-reading of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand and its sequel A White Bird Flying (two of my very favorites and I highly recommend them to all of you) I was again struck and reduced to tears by the simple message etched on the stones in the garden path at the home of J. Sterling Morton (who gave Arbor Day to the nation) and his bride: Hours fly, Flowers die. New days, New ways, Pass by. Love stays.
And in the book, Laura Deal is more touched and moved by the sight of one simple little china dish, a little china hen spreading her china wings, that Mrs. Morton brought to Nebraska with her so she would always have something of her old home in her new home, than by the grandeur of the governor’s eventual home. I am that way, too, for it is the small things that make a home, not any grand exterior or grounds. I love these two books beyond any ability to tell you how much.
Mrs. Morton’s little china dish makes me remember Ma Ingalls and her little china shepherdess. Most pioneer women had at least one cherished, impractical, often fragile item they brought with
them from their old home in the East, to remind them of that home, and to help them remember that there is more to life than dirt, sweat, and hard work. Sometimes, we need a reminder, however small, that life also promises great beauty, music, hope, and a better life for our children than we can hope for, for ourselves.
In A Lantern in Her Hand, each wife in each home in the middle of Nebraska nowhere had brought a little bit of a better way of life with her, whether it was Abbie’s pearls, Christine’s blue vase, Martha’s pink quilted bedspread, Sarah’s painting. . . most pioneer women had something to help them remember that there were better times to look forward to, no matter how poor and desperate they might be today.
Molly Ivins was one of my idols, and this motto of hers is the motto I have adopted for my very own.
“… keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”
I have never been much of a fighter, but maybe it’s time to start swinging.
No, not THAT kind of swinging. Scheisse, I love the blogosophere.
I hope everyone’s weekend is full of love and Hershey’s Kisses. They’re called ‘kisses’ because of the sound the machine makes when it lays one down on the belt. How would you like to work there? “Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss. . . .” all day long. By the time those people get home, their hormones must be raw and ready to be salved. If you know what I mean.
“. . . all the oddities that freedom can produce. . . .” Why would we ever want anything else?
I miss you, Molly. But, love stays.
P.S. Here’s a link to the free ebook version of A Lantern in Her Hand.