Summer Treasures Remembered
Silence is for remembrance, thoughts of her childhood.
Summers… The dappled pony on Aunt Beth’s farm, riding at a canter back to the house. Shucking corn, peeling skin from squash, separating rind from dead-ripe melons. The tang of lemonade, made from scratch. Braised ribs from Moody, the steer who kicked and broke her wrist. Dinners on a platter; breakfast straight from Grandma’s cast-iron skillet.
There was no tomorrow, at least not until Ma came to collect her and the boys, back to the fast-paced, grimy city, home.
She switches gears to five years ago when, after careful moral inventory, she chose. Rejecting city life for the solace of the country cloister. Truth is transitory; choosing the habit over skinny jeans, long sleeves over skimpy T’s. Her chestnut hair fluttered to the floor, shorn like a sheep at Beth’s farm. Her simple cell: table with wash basin, lamp, bed, cross overhead.
A final goodbye to family as she enters the authenticity of spiritual life, simplicity over audacity. Ma lingers at the cloister gate, remembers how little Sandy (now Sister Joan) took catechism class so seriously. Sister Joan smiles from two floors above, then joins her order in preparing a home-cooked dinner to be driven into town for the homeless.
Shuck, peel, braise, remember.
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
This was for Kerry O’Connor’s Get Listed at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads; words can be found HERE. Yes, I took liberties with the word “malinger,” but hey, my Iroquois name would be “Plays With Words.” Kerry said to use two or three, but I went to town and used ’em all!
My BFF, John, was at one time a brother in the Franciscan Order; later, he became a priest. Now he’s thoroughly enjoying life as an ex-priest/healthcare worker, moonlighting as a piano bar player in Philadelphia. Man, John can SING. He even performed “New York, New York” at his ordination party (including key change, per his instructions to the band). Peace, Amy
May 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Excellent, Amy. You used all of the words, and very well. Very well done.
May 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm
Reblogged this on Spontaneous Creativity.
May 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Shuck. Peel. Braise. Remember. Sums up your lovely piece perfectly. Thanks for sharing.
May 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm
This is such a beautiful story. I love the remembrance of simplicity and the return to it. Just lovely. The last line is a real winner!
May 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm
What a lovely story. I love to see the different places word lists take people. Excellent that you used the all!
Victoria C. Slotto
May 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Wonderful account and remembrances. It seems us “ex’s” are all over the place. :0) It’s always good to see you, Amy.
May 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm
I like the shift in the journey, choosing a spiritual and contemplative life ~ There is calmness in those simple routines, and perhaps in the serving of others, she may find the peace that she is looking for ~ Enjoyed this one Amy ~
May 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Amazed that you were able to use all the words! To make such a change would take “careful moral inventory” for sure!
I HAVE A VOICE
May 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm
very spiritual in it’s truth and esssence~ love your prose!
Kay, Alberta, Canada
May 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm
“Ma lingers” is wonderful, Amy, as is this story.
Sherry Blue Sky
May 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm
Amy, I always love your stories and poems – and the people you introduce me too. I love Sister Joan. A time or two was tempted to cloister myself!! I LOVE Brother John! You are the coolest!
May 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm
Moody … brazed ribs! Such is farm life! (and Ma lingers) ha ha This is lovely prose – poignant ending – the mother tugged at my heart strings. I too knew of a NY priest named John who was amazing, I’m sure. He worked with boys and was a great role model, I’m sure. I always felt if priests were allowed to marry, he would never have left.
The last two sentences are just so strong… wonderful ending.
May 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm
I’ve always been impressed that you can do these exercises that would exhaust me!
May 23, 2013 at 1:38 am
You used all the words, that’s fantastic. Great story line and beautifully expressed. There had to be lots of wit before you before the story structure can unfold. Wonderfully done Amelita!
May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am
This story really drew me in. The introductory paragraph has such sensory appeal, and the story develops in the same gentle way as time old traditions are performed.
May 23, 2013 at 10:07 am
Great narrative prose-poetry, Amy–with excellent use of detail to give a sense of reality everywhere, and of the human condition. You took a lot of the ‘food’ message of the list words that I chose to ignore and made it work beautifully and spiritually. Enjoyed it much.
May 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Ha. Wonderful story and I think the use of ma lingers was incredibly creative. Well spun! A very human and homey feel. Thanks so much. K.
May 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm
A prosaic poetry does justice to all the words here! Wonderful! The slow process of building this piece works so well. Silence is for remembrance, indeed!
I too dabbled in all the words!:)
June 3, 2013 at 11:33 am
Amy, I was just thinking that “summer” would be a great prompt–all the barefoot days running into each other. I love what you did with those words–you play so well! 🙂