African Violets


Just now the cardinal came back to the front porch. He does that a lot. The little pidgies are all around. They are not called that because they are small pigeons, of course; but actually white-throated sparrows. We just call them ‘little pidgies’, always have — no reason based in any sort of fact.

The bluebirds are definitely back and nesting. The mother dive-bombed the very small pidgies over and over, which made me pretty scared for them. Then, I remembered how much I had longed for the bluebirds to come back all those days ago — when I was hoping she would come and reclaim the space. The complexities of nature evoke emotional states in me that are sometimes ineffable — thoughts of gratitude, calmness, survival, impermanence, love, anger — all of these thoughts seem to come at once. In the quiet moments with nature, I feel overjoyed and immensely sad at the same time with the wonder of it all.

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I will be forty years old in less than two months. My grandfather, Frank Oliver Patton, passed away less than two months ago. I’ve been working in a ‘hostile working environment’ [his words, not mine] for two years. I have been another state away from the people I love most in this world for five years. That last number does not fit the others, as it is an odd number and the rest are even. I do not count that as a sign of any significance, though I do still notice it.

Jimmy is in the kitchen making ‘homemade chips’, as he calls them. I don’t remember what I call them. I think my grandmother called them ‘fried potatoes’. Hmm. I’m not sure it matters. I just hope he cooks them slowly and with enough oil to make them tasty, like my grandmother used to make.

There are some African Violets at the Piedmont Feed and Garden Center by now. At least that’s what the man said when we bought our tomatoes, squash, peppers, and petunias — that the African Violets will be arriving in two weeks. Just about. My grandmother’s middle name was ‘Violet’. I always loved that name. And I thought ‘Lillian’ (especially when my uncle made his voice like my Pa’s) sounded like something from a sitcom — like Edith Bunker or Lucille Ball. She had that sort of personality, too. She always made me laugh. At any rate, I keep meaning to get back up to the store to get some African Violets.

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