Ruthie, Plums and Dad
Graham’s alarm barks at our deep REM sleeping bodies at 4:55 AM Monday – Friday. Not one who is easily drawn to anger, most mornings, I want to smash that alarm to blitherings. 4:55 wake up after a fitful sleep trying to get comfortable with a 3.5 pound baby in my belly, drives me to that anger point.
But, not this morning. This morning, I listened to the noises of Graham getting dressed, brushing his teeth and sleep walking his way to the garage. Once the car zoomed away, I sat perfectly still and took in the calming noises of the birds chirping, thankful to be able to hear such noises in our newly suburban life.
I decided to snatch up this time of silence with some indulgent blog reading, instead of fitfully chasing after zzz’s while Josie’s sleep lighted to arousal and then full speed ahead.
On the Internet, I discovered a newly opened corner of the web. Only my all time favorite designer, Miss Ruthie Sommers herself, has started a blog. To be honest, I was expecting glossy photos, glamour shots and text written by an assistant. However, this isn’t her blog at all. It’s a cozy tell all journal that brings you right into her daily life, most definitely penned by the brilliant Ruthie herself, without a single brag insight. I tell you, it’s a must read and give yourself some time because you’ll get carried away. I would officially like to become her BFF or at least her good old fashioned pen pal.
Ruthie’s daughter Eloise in their backyard
Inspired by her candid daily tell all, I have hopes that this six month writer’s block will wash away and I can conjure some journal entries of my own and get back to my blogging journal style roots, started just about five years ago.
Here it goes…
At 6:30 AM, I was brought out of my Ruthie swoon spell by a little chitter chatter in a crib next door, followed by one very sweet word said in repeat, “mama, mama, mama,” that got me out of my warm covers and into the next room for some snuggles with my love and comforting milk in a bottle for the sweetie.
Eight oz. later and my toddler was off to toddle around my bedroom to get her hands on anything she could, including her new favorite accessory: a pop of fuchsia for her jammies.
Properly accessorized, it was time to head downstairs for morning nourishment and a rare cup of caffeine for me – English Breakfast Tea. Josie’s usual bowl of oatmeal was followed by a favorite word of hers, “more.” Looking deep into the recess of the fridge, I found some plums that I had picked up at the farmer’s market.
This was Josie’s first plum of her little life and Grandfather (my dad) would have been proud. She gobbled up that first plum with gusto and giggles. As soon as all that sat on her plate were plum juice drippings, she looked and me and fervently exclaimed, “more.” One more juicy plum later and I knew this child of mine could eat a dozen if I set her free. She is after all, my father’s granddaughter and she knows quality fruit when she tastes one.
I stopped the plums after two knowing full well that there are bound to be more plums in our very near future.
Matter of fact, more plums are likely coming our way this afternoon. We have an adventure scheduled and what adventure is complete without a juicy plum grown out of my childhood backyard, straight from the very orchard that my father loved and spent weekends tending to?
My brother, Donald, tending to my father’s orchard after he passed
Josie, Kaky (my mom) and myself will then take the succulent stone fruit on a walk right out of our family backyard, through a couple slow meandering streets to the back entrance of the San Antonio State Reserve. Here we will walk through the woods to Deer Hollow Farm – a wonderful farm with sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and an organic vegetable garden. Josie will have her chance to wander around, point and exclaim “that” about every thirty seconds, taking in the wonder of a working farm.
After our little stop, our trek will continue another mile to the main parking lot of the reserve which backs up onto a cemetery. The very cemetery where my father’s body rests. We will visit his grave as we do on important dad dates and catch him up on our lives and happenings. We will wish him a happy father’s day and pay our respects to my Daddio who left us all too soon five years ago.
His grave site is the perfect spot to take large and in charge bites out of juicy plums and to let the drippings fall onto the grass and nourish the soil where he rests. He would love nothing more then to be splattered with plum juice from his own garden. Dad ate fruit, especially that which he grew, with gusto. He’d wear these tiny running shorts and old torn t-shirts and embrace the mess that comes with a perfectly ripe plum.
He was so proud of his fruit of labor that he loved to share his food with all. On my wedding day, hosted at my parent’s house, my dad was extremely ill from the new chemo he was on. He was weak in bed as caterers rushed around the house, a wedding planner fretted, and myself and my bridesmaids primped for the big day. My poor mom needed to tend to everyone. Amiss the chaos came a very direct request from my dad, more like an order, that my mom go get our large ladder and put it up against the plum tree so that guests could climb up the ladder and pick plums. My mom could have pulled all her hair out going crazy with the chaos that ensues hours before you host your daughter’s wedding and 400 lovely guests all with a sick husband….A ladder? Really? But you don’t dismiss my father’s urgent requests, especially as he lay in bed, sick, dealing with a rather heavy stage four diagnosis.
Ever proud of my father on that day, he rose to the occasion. From the moment he walked me down to the aisle to about 8:00 that night, he held his head up high, he kept his nausea at bay and he stood as long as he could; he did everything in his power to not let his weak body get in the way of our big day. The day my dad and I had dreamt about since I was a little girl.
My dad said a beautiful toast that day. After he spoke for about twenty minutes, we thought he had finished, but not it was just one of his pregnant pauses, in anticipation to bring up the plums and cherries he had growing in his favorite spot, his orchard. He encouraged all 400 guests, dressed to the nines, to walk down to the orchard, pluck a plum and let your taste buds get carried away in a juicy adventure of freshly plucked fruit. At the time, I probably rolled my eyes, as we had a beautiful catered dinner with a menu we had fretted over. But now, looking back, who wouldn’t want to be at a wedding where the host encourages you to take off your stilettos, toss any fancies aside and chomp down on a good old fashioned plum?
My dad was right. He was a smart man who had his priorities straight. The ladder needed to be in the orchard for those guests to embrace happiness as my dad wanted all to do. And there is oodles of happiness in a plum. Many guests took him up on the offer and had a blast doing so.
Happy father’s day to my dad – what I would give to have juice running down my chin right now with you by my side. Lucky for me, Josie is grasping your gusto for life. She’ll be my plum partner in crime. Pretty sure you gave her one of your great talks about seizing life up in heaven before she came to me – lucky girl.
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