The Sun and the rain and the appleseed
Written 8 minutes ago
For some reason, after pouring my heart and soul out to the world for the last 12 months, I am having a really difficult time getting out my last blog. It’s odd because I’ve never really had a problem with closure. Last night, Nathan and I were watching Mad Men, and Don Draper said, “I’ve started over a thousand times, and trust me – this is the worst part.” He was referring to the “end” of something being the worst part…because you have to let go, and move on. This is a valuable lesson about growing up.
I learned a lot of things about growing up at my Granny and Pop’s house. We spent a lot of time there during Summer months and holidays and Sundays, and we loved being there. There were a lot of restrictions at Granny and Pop’s house – we were really only allowed in the sewing room, the hallway, and the breakfast room…but we mostly spent our time in the sewing room. We played with paper dolls, learned how to sew pillows, played with Granny’s old make-up, Barbies, wrapped presents…what didn’t we do?
One time at Granny’s, Little sis Jayme and cousins Ann and Mary Katherine and I were playing with Granny’s make-up…undoubtedly taking a break from playing “Drs. Blackmon and Blackmon.” Mkat and I were always doctors, and Jayme and Ann worked for us. And Ann was always singing something. I’m not sure what she was singing in the bathroom that day while we were rummaging through Granny’s old make-up, but whatever it was struck a chord with MKat. MKat cupped her hand over Ann’s mouth and yelled for her to STOP SINGING! Ann ran off to Granny, and the next thing I knew MKat was told to remove her make-up and come to the breakfast room table. It was the closest thing that 1988 knew to a time out. I was outraged that Ann told Granny that MKat “slapped” her, and I was mortified that Granny was punishing MKat for this outright lie. So I marched my sassy little butt back to the bathroom, removed my make-up, and marched right back to the breakfast room table. Granny was cooking in the kitchen – I will never forget the smell of that fried chicken. And she glared at me, “What do you think you’re doing?” I told her that Ann lied, and that if MKat had to sit there, I was going to sit there with her. And sit there we did, in complete silence. I was so proud. Until Granny said, “You can get up now and apologize.” MKat stood up on queue and apologized, and she quickly fled the tension of the breakfast room. I started to stand up, and Granny quickly said, “Not you. You wanted to sit, you can sit.” And it was in that moment that I realized two things. 1) Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in, even if that means going against the grain; 2) You have to be prepared to reap what you sow. And sow I did.
Our job as grandchildren was to set the table prior to dinner. It was a duty and a privilege to set the table, rather than a chore. There was always a fabulous display of the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted, butter beans, sliced tomatoes with mayonnaise, iced tea, squash, and sliced bread. And when the table was set, it was time to get Pop. All of us would run to Pop’s chair in the dining room to coerce him from his chair. “Pop! Dinner’s ready, Pop,” we would say in unison. And every time he would ask, “Is it really ready? How many really’s ready is it?” We would count the really’s as we answered, “It’s really, really, really, really, really ready!” It took five minutes for Pop to get out of that chair because he was not going to sit down at the table until dinner was properly displayed on the table. And the lesson that I learned from this display is that you never called men to a table until it’s set and ready, because if you do, they will eat without you.
We sang Johnny Appleseed at the dinner table at Granny and Pop’s house. And it was no ordinary Johnny Appleseed. We stood in a circle around the table and held hands, beginning with the loudest, most obnoxious, “Ohhhhhhhhh,” that we could muster up.
The Lord’s been good to me (clap, clap)
And so I thank the Lord (clap, clap)
For giving (clap) me (clap)
The things (clap) I need (clap)
The sun and/(clap) the rain and/(clap) the ap-ple/(clap) seed (clap)
The Lord’s (clap) been good (clap) to me (clap)
A-men (clap, clap)
And as obnoxious as we were, Granny always said, “That was so nice.” And she was just as sincere as she could be. She loved our pure joy and love of song. And it was in that blessing that I realized that Granny felt blessed to have us there (probably because she could give us back)! And that was probably the first song I ever learned to sing other than my ABCs.
I sing Johnny Appleseed almost every night, although not in an obnoxious tone like when I was a young girl with my sisters and cousins. I sing it to Logan and Parker as a lullaby. And it makes such a beautiful lullaby with a slow tempo. Singing it this way made me pay attention to the words which have developed a new meaning to me over the last year.
Ohhhh, the Lord’s been good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me, the things I need
The sun and the rain and the appleseed
The Lord’s been good to me
Oh, so good. Thank God. What are the things we need, anyway? The sun – the good, the light, the new day. The rain – the low, the dreary, without which we cannot grow. And the appleseed – a beginning at the cellular level, a lesson, growth. Acknowledgement that the Lord has a plan, and that His plan is good. Amen.
I have had the opportunity over the last year to learn many lessons. I have had the opportunity to know my true self in the face of great adversity. I have looked inside myself and accepted what I cannot change and with grace I have changed the things I can. I have lived a lifetime in a year. In my short 33 years, I have experienced much growth. I am an old soul. And I have many more lessons to learn. This appleseed is just a sprout. I will see much more sun and much more rain before I grow roots and grow tall. I have much life to live, and many miles to go. I only hope that I can take what I have learned from this experience and grow stronger, stand up for what I believe in, reap what I sow, bait my own hook, find joy in the simple lessons of my youth, be a good wife and mother, and leave this experience behind with grace. I’ve started over a thousand times, and trust me – this is the worst part…closure.