Fresh Strawberries at Midnight 2024

May

I LOVE the month of May, anywhere I have ever been. May is the beginning of the blooming season in Ottawa, beginning with the Tulip Festival on Mother’s Day weekend.  Choir and Maypole Month in Austria, plus spectacular vineyards in full bloom.  And a continual onslaught of nature’s over-the-top palette in Vancouver and Victoria – to name a few.

And I must not forget Calgary and its surroundings. This is the place that reminds us that everything changes. During my wonderful time there, I experienced every kind of weather, from snow to blooms, from cold to hot, and the weather fazed no one. It is not the centrepiece of their day. What is consistent is that the spectacular mountains remain, and 100% of every person I know is wonderful! Why? I am either related to them, or they are associated with Wellspring. I am biased, but my bias is based on my personal and professional experience. It’s wonderful. :-))

Grateful

The truth is that I love my work, and I leave rejuvenated and refreshed because of all the wonderful Wellspring Members with whom I have the honour of being in their company. Also, the collective effervescence of what goes on in that community of dedicated people devoted to a common purpose. Plus, those twin great-granddaughters who recently turned nine months old and who are exceptionally adorable. :-))

Mothers Day

In the early morning hours of Mother’s Day, my plane touched down in Ottawa. I noticed how I bent the ear of my seatmate talking about all the qualities of my mother, none more critical than her gratitude and kindness. To my surprise, during the weekend retreat, a lovely participant (J) asked if I would tell the story of my mother and “Strawberries at Midnight.” As it turns out, this is a favourite story I wrote about my Mother, and she wanted the rest of our group to hear it. Coincidentally, the following Sunday was Mother’s Day, so I obliged.

It goes like this –

Aldous Huxley wrote the novel “Brave New World.” Toward the end of his life an interviewer asked: “Dr. Huxley, perhaps more than anyone else alive, you have studied the great spiritual traditions of the world. What have you learned?” Huxley replied, “I think we could just be a bit kinder.”

Fresh Strawberries at Midnight

It was June and it was strawberry season. It was also the season when I was finishing up Grade five and my new best friend, Peggy Jane was finishing grade six. We were having our first sleepover at my house and I was happy. Peggy and I were kindred spirits who explored the world through books, and imagination and here we were in my four poster bed surrounded by Vogue magazines that my New York aunt gave to my Mother each year at Christmas.

Mother considered my Aunt a little  frivolous to give this magazine as an annual gift to a housewife, in a small Nova Scotia town. I, on the other hand, loved it. My friend and I pored through the treasure trove of the back pages, reading every word about the boarding schools in Switzerland and France and other parts of Europe that sounded perfect for us. (side effects of being voracious readers)

As the clock inched close to midnight, the two of us laughed and talked about the schools we would choose, the books we loved, the diplomatic and literary careers we would one day have. We both felt the ease of kinship and simple joy that only two young enthusiastic girls can have.

Our contentment, however, was suddenly interrupted by the sound of my Mother’s footsteps on the stairs. Peggy Jane looked at me, concerned, assuming my Mother would be angry that we were still talking and laughing after midnight. To her surprise, my Mother knocked on the door, opened it, and presented us with a beautiful white tray laden with small sandwiches made from homemade bread and filled with lightly mashed strawberries that she had picked from the garden earlier in the evening.  There was a single rose in a crystal bowl on the tray, linen napkins and a glass of milk for each of us.

“I thought you girls might be getting hungry,” she announced and to my friend’s amazement, she placed the bed tray between us and went back downstairs.

I remember, still, how my heart was full of happiness and pride to have a Mother so kind. Years later  I met my friend who had a successful career and travelled far and wide throughout the world. She reminded me about that night and how it had become one of her most treasured memories and “the best example of kindness,” that she had experienced.

As for me, I felt happiness deep down in my bones as well as in my heart and fully knew in that moment that I had won the Mother lottery.

I am one of the lucky ones with a mother who lived to be 100 years, three months, and 13 days old.  This is amazing in and of itself, and I am deeply grateful.

Notes:

1:) The timing of the request stuck with me, and it gave me an excuse to post it here for you. Thank you, J.

2:) Many people are outstanding at mothering, although they may not have had children. We all know who they are. 

3:) A special thank you to the team at Wellspring Alberta for their generosity and kindness. And to our donors, You make all these programs possible for people impacted by cancer and their family and friends.

4:) Thanks to Rob for the flowers and the turtle.

5:) A big thank you to all for showing up here. I am beyond grateful that you stop by weekly to read my scribbles. Take care and all my best wishes, Trudy

 

8 replies
  1. Patti+Morris
    Patti+Morris says:

    Trudy … your words and spirit are a balm! Thank you for your wisdom, wit, grace, and kindness. You are such a gift!

    Reply
  2. Janice+Falls
    Janice+Falls says:

    Of course the woman who sees 100% of every person she knows as wonderful, does so because she is wonderful herself. Thanks for the infusion of joy Trudy! xoxoxoxox

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Oh Janice. You make me smile. The way you turn everything on its head to my benefit. Thanks for your unending flow of kind words. Xo

      Reply
  3. Jean
    Jean says:

    Warm fuzzy storey Trudy
    Once again thank you for cheering my heart and soul
    It was so great to get a Trudy hug when you were on Calgary.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      So lovely to hear from you Connie. I am happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this story. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply

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