Tuesday, June 06, 2006
At the first taste of Billie's gooseberry cobbler, I felt that I belonged there in that dining room. My little shy mother was by my side; an oak china hutch clucked silently against the wall, tending her floral patterns in a row. Across from me, Billie's down syndrome daughter happily smacked her helping of four different desserts. The nearby kitchen table held the earlier-arriving women who were chattering about alfalfa, husbands, remedies.
I shudder even now to think about the fullness of the moment. When I was younger, I mourned such moments because they were so full in depth, but such a sliver in time. Now a shudder happens, which in a way, I don't wish to even explore because it will confront the terminal aspect of these times. I always wish to be sitting by my mother; I always wish to recall my grandmother at the same meetings, gazing upon some floral pattern, eating sweets, chattering happily amongst friends at the Homemaker's Club in Douglas County.
Since the 40's, these rural women have been meeting in the same way. They conduct under the structure of Robert's Rules of Order. They call the meeting to order; they recite their creed about being a "tranquil and serene woman" (among other precious noble character traits); they ask for minutes of the last meeting; the treasure's report; old and new business. This is what these ladies did at Club in my presence, granddaughter of one of the initial members, when I excitedly accompanied my mother to my first meeting.
And, my last.
Fifteen minutes after new business, sixty years after inception, the good ladies of Douglas County voted to disband. Yes! Right there and then, they quickly dialogued and decided, some with heavy hearts, to say Aye to disbandment. There were good reasons (lack of interest from the young women; waning of original need for being of help to the community; not being prepared; losing members) they claimed for their decision.
My heart was beating quickly. I felt like crying for the loss of a concept that somewhere out there, in my home country, women were still proclaiming themselves as homemakers with a mission to one another. Well, it was over. Mom consoled me on the bumpy dirt ride back since I took it harder than anyone there (she said); we decided to stop by the cemetery and visit Grandma's grave, and I asked her if she was going to tell her. She laughed which helped me stop imagining my wailing upon the cold grave ground like a trench war orphan. Mom is excellent at perspective. I have so much to learn from her still.
It became fine after awhile. We walked and looked at Grandma's Memorial day flowers left there by her loving family Club who will never vote to disband. We visited her mother's grave, her father's father's grave. Cousins. The twelve year old son who died of influenza.
The earthly organizations never endure, the eternal ones hold their promise to the pledged.
Posted by Fieldfleur at 9:59 PM