my mother's garden….

my dad, my mother and I
Today I remember the sweet goodness
I gathered from my mother’s garden
and celebrate the beauty
of the legacy that is hers….
~the crunch of scissors on construction paper as she cut out figures
to decorate holiday doors and windows
and delight little girls.
~wandering together through forests of fabric,
a whole universe of color, texture and pattern
wrapped in rows of possibility
with ribbons and candy-like buttons.
~the sound of crinkly Butterick patterns and pinking shears
that became magic in her small swift hands,
wrapping us in jumpsuits, sundresses
and love.
~the pungent bite of green tomato and onion,
peaches and peppers,
as our kitchen became summertime spicy
with her brilliant chow chow and pickled peaches,
the pressure cooker steaming as she canned green beans,
and missed her mother
and put away treasure for the winter.
~her comforting presence as she shelled butter beans, shucked corn
and read her books on homemade beach towels
in the grass by the public pool
while we swam away summer afternoons.
~her angelic voice in choir on Sundays,
her pretty lips singing in pink.
~evenings reading Pippi Longstocking out loud,
my stomach sore from belly laughing
~the food…oh, the glorious FOOD she created.
Our meals were art.
I know that now.
~how she would find her way to the piano
when her heart was heavy or anxious,
and the way it gentled her
to leave her burdens there.
In her own way,
she taught me to find my own garden
where my own prayers and praise could rise.
Mothers……we’re not very good judges of our own fruit.
She probably doesn’t realize how rich a harvest she has borne,
how beautiful the legacy she is leaving.
I suppose we never do.
She has loved her girls
and grandchildren well.
Does she know it,  I wonder?
 I have a feeling her crop is immense;
much maybe not ripe for years.
But her vine is heavy
with thickset fruit
And I stand up
and call her
Pete's Homecoming



  1. ELK on May 7, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    i am overwhelmed with a sense of what a special lady she is ..what a beauty inside and out .. you are so right how we judge our fruit . Your writing is like a gentle brook flowing today .. hug her well as you know you can ..happy mothers day to you friend~

  2. rachel awes on May 8, 2011 at 12:52 am

    your meals were art
    (what a gift!!)
    & it sounds like
    her mothering was art..
    no wonder you are
    moved to paint & write,..
    you swam in art
    growing up.
    happy mothers day,
    dear friend. xox

  3. Julia on May 8, 2011 at 1:29 am

    What a nice way to honor your mother, I love how your choice of words describe your mom's legacy. My mom lives in my heart and memories now as she left this world for a better place last July.

    Happy Mother's Day Jennifer. JB

  4. Mary on May 8, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Jen this is such a lovely, loving tribute to your Mom. You are blessed to have her…she is blessed to have you!!!

    Happy Mother's Day my friend!


  5. Scrappy Grams on May 8, 2011 at 1:51 am

    You touched my heart with your remembrances of all that your mom did for your family. It brought tears to my eyes, oops! My eyes are leaking! It revved up days of my childhood and my beloved mom.
    Happy mother's day to you and your mom.

  6. Hindsfeet on May 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    "the crunch of scizzors on construction paper"…just delicious…..oh Jen…..I hope you know (in case no one's told you lately) how much beauty you bring into the world… much connection you gift to others…you've gifted to me, in moments when I felt alone in my angst and wrestlings…the anchor, the tether that your words so often have been….

    ….yes, you are a sweet gift in my life…

    …and with many others here, i'm sure, I *also* rise up and call *You* Blessed.

  7. S. Etole on May 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    the piano, the canning of peaches
    so golden are reminders of my mother, too
    you lead us through beauty
    with your words

  8. Eydie on May 9, 2011 at 4:13 am


    Your childhood was filled so much beautify, creativity, and love. You are so fortunate to have such an incredible mother.
    Oh, and your gifts of words … you always paint such beauty with your words. beyond amazing!

  9. Bren on May 9, 2011 at 7:58 am

    What a beautiful family, love the photo of you and your mom and sister I presume. Once again your pen has managed to express a heart full of emotion and love, so many wonderful memories spread out in words.

  10. Sherry Thrasher on May 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    This made me cry. Beautiful and straight from the heart.

  11. Just Be Real on May 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Jen very nice. What a gift you have in her. Blessings.

  12. Kamana on May 10, 2011 at 3:40 am

    what a special lady … what a blessing.

    • Celina on May 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

      That’s an apt answer to an inintestreg question

  13. Jeanie on May 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    What a wonderful celebration of love and affection you have shared with us, and what great joy. I know she must recognize her legacy. It is her gift to the world.

  14. windrock studio on May 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Hey Jennifer, I just wanted to let you know how happy I am to come across this post, it's beautiful and made me really hungry for chow chow! It all sounds so wonderful and I especially love the top photo with you and your dad gazing so lovingly at your mom. What a special childhood.

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