I was taking Miss Gracie for a walk and spied some milk pods growing on the hillside beside the road. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a milk pod is, it’s a seed pod that grows on milkweed plants which are native to this part of the US. The plants are tall and the blooms of native milkweed are unspectacular, but the blooms and plants attract butterflies. I do have an affinity for butterflies. Monarch butterflies are particularly fond of them.
Whenever I see a milk pod, my Grandmother Starr (my mother’s mother) comes to mind. When I was very young, perhaps three or four years old, I remember walking with my grandmother through a field that had many milk pods in it. We made this walk when I visited her because it was a shortcut to get to a nearby town. We walked because she didn’t have a driver’s license – through the field, down a dirt road and across some railroad tracks to a small town. She sometimes took me to church meetings with her in the evening. Church ladies met in the basement and there was no air conditioning, so the door was always standing open when we arrived. The ladies sang hymns and talked while I was usually given paper and pencil to entertain myself, which I was happy to do.
I don’t know why I visited her without my brothers, but that is how it was. Maybe she liked me best. 😊 After church, we sometimes stopped in the little town and got vanilla ice cream cones to eat as we walked back to her home.
I remember asking my grandmother if the milk pods have milk in them. She said they did, but I should never try to drink it. She picked one off a plant and pulled a long pin out of her purse (I think it was a hat pin or perhaps a large straight pin that might be used to attach a corsage to a lapel). She pierced the pod and sure enough, white sap came oozing out of it. I was in awe that she knew the pods had this magic in them.
I didn’t know Grandmother Starr very well. She and my grandfather moved to California before I was five years old. After they moved away, I rarely saw them. What I remember most about her is that she had red hair and she talked a lot. She was artistic – she painted pictures and wall murals. She also wrote stories and wanted to have them published. I never had opportunity to read her work; I presume nothing was ever published.
I hope to live close enough to my grandchildren that we know each other. Someone’s daughter, Katie, has Alice who is now four years old and is great fun to play with. Little ones are so unpredictable which makes for great adventure. Unfortunately, we only see Alice once every three months or so…just not often enough for her to get to know us. I don’t know if this will ever change – it’s complicated.
|Sweet Alice - 4th birthday party|