I received your letter today, thank you it was so lovely to hear from you.
Nana, now my three kids are getting a bit bigger it really makes me wonder how you raised nine children largely by yourself. You must have spent a lot of time ‘counting to ten’ (that’s to stay calm, not a headcount).
Did you ever sleep?
I remember eating your lemon tart. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious, where did I put that recipe? I also remember the ‘touchy feely plant’ at your back doorstep and when I see something similar I touch it to see if the leaves close, they never do. What was that plant?
There were so many questions I’d have liked to ask you. How did you know how to manage your land keeping it healthy and the rivers flowing? Where did you learn to crochet, play the piano and make those swans out of tyres and can you teach me? How did you raise all of those boys of yours – truly in nine births what are the odds of having only one girl? How did you build community around you when you needed it? How did you make that lemon tart and why have I never, ever tasted anything as good again? (did I mention the tart already?)
I’d like to ask you what you think about being able to buy plastic packets of soup from the supermarket and that we watch tv shows about people watching tv shows and what you think of our political climate from guns to bombs to scandal and beyond. Would you tell me it doesn’t really matter? Or would you worry, like I do about the world we are sending our kids out into?
I wonder if you would tell me to get off my butt and make my land more productive. Truth is my meagre five acres defeat me on many days, I’m very good at growing grass it seems. Some days I consider moving to a little town block but then I realise I do love looking at the giant trees in the backyard as they sway in the breeze, well, when I’m still enough to stop and watch. I also love knowing that my kids are growing up somewhere quiet and safe, our neighbours are lovely people who look out for us. (PS please don’t will a big branch from one of those trees to fall on my head and knock sense into me).
I wonder what those big, boystrous tables of people eating fresh farm food that you hosted numerous times every single day would have been like. I imagine tasting the butter you made and the bread you baked, all from ‘scratch’ – was ‘scratch’ a thing when you cooked your meals? My version of this life is watching My Kitchen Rules. It’s a great show about people cooking food, eating it and talking about it you might like it. Or, you may consider it idiotic as I do as I describe it.
If you visited I’m sure you’d have us all out of our seats doing one of your jigs. Truth is we all have our faces constantly stuck in our devices (they are like little pocket sized notebooks only connected to the whole wild world and are more addictive than a cow to a salt block). The jig might also jiggle off the spare tyre I grew around my hips over summer which I’m currently trying to remove via visits to the gym and portion controlled meals, all of which are haphazardly scheduled into my diary. Probably something that swinging a mattock out in the paddock would have solved in your day.
By the way, even you can be found on the internet, I checked.
Nana, although I know many things I do as I live in this modern world may make your hair curl (including that I chose to be a Debutante with a Catholic group (sorry, dad told me you would have rolled in your grave and that really couldn’t have been comfortable) if it’s any consolation I more interested in the after party), I still carry the things our family valued; working hard, sharing with others and being a decent human and I hold these values very close as they are challenged often.
I’d better go and catch some sleep now before I drop my son to one of his community activities early in the AM. Bye for now, love you, your granddaughter, Kerry
PS the image I chose is from a website called Fat Free Vegan. It did look like my memory of your lemon tart, however I wondered what you would think about fat free vegans and what you would say to my daughter who has recently decided to become one. I’d like to pass on your wisdom in this regard…