Duty Calls …

I let go of my own garden and leave to tend to Mother and Daddy’s estate. It is a treat to get my fingers into the soil there. Their home is three hours away in the lower part of the state. The gnats already humming, and after all this rain, I am sure the mosquitos are zeeeing past and fast. I take my bug repellant, and my After Bite. I am like a banana split supreme for mosquitos. We spray at our house; it’s the only way I can actually go outside during the warmer months. I also take a few long-sleeve t-shirts to help fend off those blood-thirsty flying attackers. Several pair of gloves, a few hand tools, a leaf blower, my green knee protector, and two pair of work pants should complete my nature armor.

After work awaits the jacuzzi tub; filled with soothing herbal-ness, I bubble away the aches and pains. No television, just the quietness of memories accompany me during my time there. I connect with the neighbors across the street, and my friend, Mother’s companion during the last years of her illness. For some this may not be anything to look forward to, but for me it is part of my heart, no it is my heart-beat. From before birth, my body, my breath, all of me, was intrinsically connected to the rhythms directing the growth of collards, peas, cotton, and pine trees. Sand and gravel roads ground into my scraped knees. Pine sap and scuppanong juice clung to my fingers escaping into my skin’s pores, forever holding me together.

I know the streets, their names, their destinations. Following a whim, I drive down the road where my Mama lived; she passed two years ago at the age of one hundred one; this was her world. I drive slowly, remembering the circle at the end that used to be dirt, vast, and took such a long time to circumvent; it seems so small now, miniscule even. I drive by her home again, nicely kept by the new owner. Mama’s neighbor and my friend, is walking in her yard. I roll down the window, I am called to come visit, we walk through morning dew, she at home in her bare feet; me wanting to shed my shoes; I actually do upon entering her screened porch, as my shoes are now wet. She tells me of her adventures on the high seas. I can see it all; waves roll the 42 foot not too small craft; told to go below, she bounces back and forth, up and down, collecting bruises that have taken weeks to calm down. Her story ignites my yearning for travel. What am I waiting on? Why am I not off exploring?

I have a mission. Hugging, we say our goodbyes for now; the car takes me to the cemetery; it knows the way; it knows. I spot clean; I’ve never seen a bird perched there; what a sweet sight that would be! Did he sing a morning call to life; or an evening lullaby? I’ll never know. Old arrangements removed and new ones settled; conversations one-sided but meaningful just the same. I remember; I honor; I care the only way I can now. It’s too hot to linger long today. This is not my final visit; I will return … another day, another season, another reason to remember why.

I am called back to tend to those who tended me. Lovingly, my hands honor my family’s memories. Quietly, my thoughts reach back, pulling all that was into all that is, home.

Dear Lord, I am so very grateful for the opportunity and privilege to preserve what was. I thank You for assigning me these precious tasks, and providing time needed to accomplish them. I bless You for helping me to remember the good, the fun, the love.


Living is death; dying is life. We are not what we appear to be. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that citizens; on this side orphans, on that children.
Henry Ward Beecher


Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death’s perfect punctuation mark is a smile.
Julie Burchill


He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Morning Has Broken
Author: Eleanor Farjeon  1931
Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.


Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.


Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s re-creation of the new day.


I found these three verses. I do not know who penned these, but I like them. 


Cool the gray clouds roll, peaking the mountains,
Gull in her free flight, swooping the skies.
Praise for the mystery, misting the morning,
Behind the shadow, waiting to shine.

I am the sunrise, warming the heavens,
Spilling my warm glow over the earth.
Praise for the brightness of this new morning,
Filling my spirit with Your great love.

Mine is a turning, mine is a new life,
Mine is a journey closer to You.
Praise for the sweet glimpse, caught in a moment,
Joy breathing deeply, dancing in flight. (repeat)








One thought on “Duty Calls …”

  1. What a beautiful story Jan, this was written by one whose heart was overflowing with love and gratitude. The additional stanza were a pleasant reminder of the joy of living and no need to fear dying.
    Wonderful post.

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