‘Tis the day for chocolate, hearts and flowers, and, of course, that sweet cherub known as Cupid.
On the subject of love, I’m not loving the weather as my walking regimen remains halted, thanks to all this ice and snow, however, just like Cupid, I have another arrow in my quiver. My Plan “B” this time is resorting to the exercise bike in the basement. I’ve got to keep my legs strong, ready to hit the streets and the Park trails, just as soon as all this slickness takes a hike, so I can do the same. (I also need to work off those Fluffernutters too).
For the third day in a row, my heart was in my mouth as I took 40 baby steps to get to the garage to start my car, then made that slick, 40-step trek back to the side door. Thank goodness our daytime temps will reach 40 degrees and stay mild overnight, so tomorrow morning I can attack that sidewalk and driveway with a vengeance.
After writing my “Tuesday Musings” post, perhaps it was sugar overload, but my mind was, and still is, in tune with sweet things and Valentine’s Day. I had already intended to use this vintage baby photo of my late mother in today’s post, because it would have been her 92nd birthday today. The clarity of this nearly one-century-old print of my grandparents and Mom circa 1926 astounds me. There are other black-and-white photographs, not as old as this one, that are showing signs of age. They are wrinkled, torn, or marred in some way. But, this one is a keeper.
When I was a little girl, I remember sitting with my mom, the old photo albums spread out over our laps, and traveling back in time as she identified her relatives, most whom I would never meet as they had either passed away, or moved to a big city, long before my arrival. Then there were the stories that accompanied most of those old photographs. I listened with rapt attention, never knowing that I would be writing about those folks one day.
My great-grandparents owned a farm in rural Ariss, Ontario. They had a large family, and Mom would regale me with tales about Summers spent at her grandparents’ farm. In the past, I’ve written about Mom and her cousins taking their metal buckets to go berry picking so “Mowm” (as their grandmother was affectionately called), could make coffee cakes, pies and put up preserves. I also told you how Mowm was hooking up the horse and buggy to go to church one Sunday and the horse was suddenly spooked, reared up and came down on her foot, shattering all the bones. Mowm never walked properly, nor could she wear a tied shoe on that foot after this unfortunate incident.
When you’re a child, you rarely hear about the misdeeds of your parents when they were your age. But, I heard how Mom and her cousins would taunt the old sow by swinging on the squeaky pig pen gate, and soon those kids would be squealing in delight while Mama Pig, ever protective of her piglets, would rush the fence, all the while grunting her displeasure with their childish antics. But, when their grandfather got wind of this mischief, he took the strap to each of them. I was appalled to hear about Mom and her cousins befriending the farm’s chickens, only to be made to watch their grandfather kill some of them for Sunday roast chicken dinner before their very eyes. He was a curmudgeon, an old coot, as they say, and my own maternal grandfather was of the same ilk.
Suffice it to say, Mom and her cousins hated their grandfather, but loved their grandmother dearly. Here is Mom (left) with one of her cousins and Mowm.
When my mom graduated from business school in the late 1940s, her first job was in an building next door to a chocolatier. Knowing how her grandmother loved chocolate, but rarely got into town to buy any, every payday she would go to Laura Secord and send a box of chocolates to Mowm. The next time she saw her grandmother, she’d acknowledge her granddaughter’s gifts by saying “Pauline, those chocolates were so good; thank you for thinking of me. I ate them all myself.” “Good, keep them for yourself and enjoy each one” would be my mother’s reply.
The years passed and many boxes of chocolate made their way to Katherine Klein until she passed away. After the funeral service, the family gathered at the old farmhouse, each wanting to take away a memento from Mowm, so they opened her large trunk in the bedroom. It was always locked and the key was kept on a worn piece of ribbon, usually buried in her apron pocket. The family opened the trunk and discovered boxes and boxes of Laura Secord chocolates, still in the original wrapping paper, all untouched. They opened just one box and soon the smell of chocolate filled the room. But the “bloom” on those chocolates made them barely recognizable as such, and they were not edible either. (If you don’t refrigerate chocolate, after a certain time, it develops a whitish coating on the surface of the candy, whether it is a bonbon or a bar of chocolate. It is caused from changes in the fat and sugar content in the chocolate itself.)
My mom was perplexed why her beloved grandmother didn’t just enjoy those chocolates instead of hiding them in the trunk for safekeeping? It was a great mystery which Mowm took to her grave in 1954.
So, on this Valentine’s Day I wish you love and happiness, the likes that are found in the lines of the classical tune “Love in Bloom” and I’ll also leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss:
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
[Image of candy heart and flowers by Jill Wellington]