Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Memory

"We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapours, these are the daily weather of this world. Whatever else we have grown accustomed to, we have grown accustomed to the unaccountable. Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand." ~Chesterton

My earliest memory is of being rocked in a cradle, I could see a silhouette above me, softly humming a lullaby. The image was my Great Grand Mother Adele who helped raise me till early teens. I can’t remember the age I was but the soft voice and gentle hands who helped me dress, fed me and comforted me were ageless. She filled my early childhood with stories of her large Plymouth family.
There were actually three families in one as her Micmac Mother, Sarah Pother’s husband, Apollinaire Pothier, had died at sea while she still carried Adele unborn. A sad beginning for my Great Grand Mother. She then married a Leblanc who already had 5 kids and began another Leblanc family!
When Sarah passed she was almost 90+ years old, no one for sure how old she was as the Micmac were never registered until they received their Christian name at baptism. Sometimes that happened just before they were married. Also no one knew how many children she had borne as she had raised over 50 plus children in her life time. I would have loved to have met her. In person.
One of my favourite from Adele’s family was of her Grand Father, who was a sailor and travelled far across the continent. He told her many stories of sailing the high seas in tall ships, visiting tropical paradises and treats of specially sugared types her brought on his many returns.
She often took me on her daily route to visit local people in the family. One I remember was a woman who read tea leaves, although her name I can’t remember,Martha maybe? I would always get a mug of well sweetened tea to sip while I listened to the two women talk in French. They chats were always filled with wonderful gossip, just the type a young child needs to hear!
A few times I was brought to the “Back Lands” for a visit with Uncle Pius, who lived in a wonderful old house with a hand pump for water complete with dry sink in the porch. The man used wood stove year round for cooking wonderful meals I was fed with wild meat ingredients I had never had before.
Pius never once spoke to me, he couldn’t talk English anyway only French but I could tell he liked me as he always gave me a cup to go pick blueberries. The blueberry bushes were more like trees there. My Uncle Joe (who usually was chafer to get us there in his car) had to stand on a step ladder to pick the top.
Adele often vanished for weeks at a time to visit her extended family, leaving me asking daily where she was.
My Great Grand Mother taught me the lore of the local trees, flowers and herbs. She made my Spirits of Nyder at bed time weak then tucked me into bed with a kiss.
With her gentle nature she planted the ideas of peace into my young mind.
I still wake at times and hear her softly humming lullabies wishing me a good morning.