Our first winter in an RV park in the States was a unique experience. There is a lot of “togetherness” in an RV. Living in about 200 square feet of space was cozy, and with neighbours almost on your doorstep many previous personal experiences were now shared with strangers.
“I’m sorry but we’re going south … it’s your turn to look after Mom now.” With those words our lives changed considerably.
I gently lift my old Bible out of a musty storage box. Its top cover is loose so I’m careful. It holds a lot of memories. Inside it says: “Given to Patsy from Mother”, December 25, 1944. On the inside first page in fading pencil is written: “BA 1951 .”
A tiny speck appeared down the road to the right of the highway. I squinted, then, as the metres slipped by I realized what I was seeing. A small boy was riding a battered blue tricycle down the side of the road and behind him, pointed tail high in the air, was a small shaggy kitten.
“Stop” I screamed. “There is a child on the highway!”
Do mothers know everything?
I’d like to say yes, but I messed up so often that I have to confess it has been mostly a learning experience.
“No, I don’t want to move,” I argued. It was an ongoing dispute. How I loved my little house with its pale blue siding, bright blue doors and wide white deck.
It’s astonishing what you become in the eyes of a younger person. I guess she doesn’t understand that as friends we can no longer toss balls back and forth to each other. Now we toss words.
Now I know how Jesus felt when he knew his days were numbered. How his heart must have ached to leave behind those he loved.
I lift the apples out from the bottom of the box. They’ve been there all winter. They are no longer the firm, round gourmet delights they were when first placed there.
“My grandchildren are being raised Catholic.”
As a Protestant, (and an elder in the Presbyterian Church), that statement is one I never thought I’d have to make.
I wasn’t very full of hope. We’d hit some hard times and the place we were headed seemed like the end of the earth.
“Come on Patsy, I have something to show you.” The voice filtered through the depths of my sleep. A hand shook my shoulder gently and strong arms lifted me and carried me outdoors. I shivered in my night gown, and the voice entreated me. “Listen.”
“A different kind of Bible study.”
So read the invitation in the church bulletin. Would it entice anyone? Would it entice staunch Presbyterians?
My husband stood outside the open RV door in stunned silence. What had been a spotless RV was now strewn with sheets of paper towels and soup.
Although I have travelled many places, this particular journey is the strangest I have ever made. I have discovered that in losing a husband, I have lost who I am. Who was I before I took on all the roles of wife, mother, grandmother?