The kids, The kids feel it too. They are starting to pick up their dad’s habits, repeat his harsh tone with each other. Rachel doesn’t like hearing it in her house. Grandma Mary really doesn’t like hearing it. “If I had half a mind, I’d, I’d get out of this bed and on the phone with John and I’d give him what for. Why, in my day we didn’t speak to each other like that and we certainly didn’t speak to our cousins like that without haven’ to run right out side and pick out our switch for a spankin’.” Tucker, the oldest son at 10, was the worst offender. You’re always the hardest on your first child, that’s where you’ve laid all your eggs, put all your hopes and dreams and where you’ve hedged all your bets. John was rough on Tucker, and Tucker is rough on his siblings. He’s real bossy with his sister Harper, she’s next in line at the age of 8. She’s real motherly and tries to fill in where her mother so blatantly leaves off, but Tucker doesn’t want any of it. He wants to be all the man his daddy is, and then all the man he sees in his Uncle Ron, and all the man he hears about of Grandpa David, from Grandma. He wants to be ALL the man. That’s a lot of man for a kid who hasn’t even hit puberty yet, but he is determined, and the result is a bullish, red faced kid who comes across as annoying, bossy and sometimes whiney when he can’t get his way. Harper puts up with it all. She’s been around Rachel and Mary long enough to see what a servant heart looks like, and like I said, she fills in the gap where her mother Nikki leaves off, and she does it with style like no other 8 year old has ever done. I honestly don’t know how long she’ll hold up though. I half expect that one day we’ll hear her having a conversation much like her Aunt Rachel had a few days ago, hollering to Tucker “When do I get to be selfish? huh?” But only time will tell, time and the Holy Spirit. See last year little Harper gave her life to Jesus, she really understood what it meant that God came down in flesh, died on the cross in her place, and rose from the dead because death couldn’t hold Him, and she trusted Jesus with her life. Every day since then, except for two days she was real sick with the flu, she had prayed “Thank you for saving me. I love you. Please help me do good things for you. Amen.” She had, in it’s sweetest form, faith like a child. Rachel knew this and she and Ron and Mary would take time each night, alone as they fell asleep, to pray for Harper, as well as the rest of the kids, Booker, an adorable little boy, named for Nikki’s love of books, and a precious little girl named Catcher, because as much as that girl wriggled in her momma’s tummy, she thought “I’ll never catch her!!”
“When do I get to be selfish Ron? When do I get to run off and get my nails done and go shopping by myself and sit for hours writing my thoughts out and daydreaming all in the name of “writers block”? When do I get to be free? I work and I enjoy it, I really do, but I do it day after day, and I get very little thanks from anyone that doesn’t lay their head down in this house. You and Lily and momma, you all say thanks, you all give me kisses and pats and I see it, I notice it and I’m thankful that you’re thankful *laughs at self* but I just want them to say thanks, I want them to see what it is I go through, what it is I am doing to take care of their business, and how it is not my job, but I do it anyway. Why? Because I’m the good girl Ron, I’m the good girl and I do it because it’s the right thing to do and I do it because it honors God. That’s what I tell myself day after day. That and the simple fact that my reward is in heaven. My thanks is in heaven. But really, when do I get to be selfish?”
Ron pats Rachel’s feet, she’s sitting up in bed, folding laundry slowly as she says all this, he is at the other end, patting her feet after he’s just taken off his boots. You can see he is tired too. He is dirty from just another long day of farming and needs not just a shower, but a full body scrub down. He has stopped and has listened to her and let her vent. His eyes show true empathy, he wishes more than anything that Rachel didn’t have all this on her shoulders, that she could only have their Lily to raise, but as it is, she is raising, virtually, five kids, all because her brother John and his wife and their all too busy, selfish and otherwise disengaged lives. He tells her “Rachel, I don’t know when you’ll ever get to be selfish, I guess maybe never. I know that’s not what you want to hear. What I pray is that John and Nikki see how selfish they’ve truly been. To keep having these kids, these precious kids, but never having any intention of doing anything with them. It breaks my heart. And the kids put on a strong front, but how is that going to affect them in the long run? only time will tell.”
It was sunny when I left home, so I didn’t take my umbrella. An hour later, I was caught in a torrential downpour. I run into the first store I can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet me. She offers her hand to shake in greeting and I take it in mine. I see her old gold ring with the band worn thin, and feel her skin that is a sheen of crepe after years of life and work. I look into her dim eyes and see the reflection telling me she has cataracts, and I smile. “Ma’am, I’ve been caught in the rain and I’m soaked through. I don’t have money to shop much today but could I bother you for the bathroom? I could dry off with some paper towels and wait out the storm if you don’t mind.”
She answers “Sure honey, it’s right over there.” With a crooked arthritic hand she points me towards the back right corner, then turns and shuffles off to rearrange the dust on the old books in the front display case.
I head back to the bathroom, slowing to see the vintage jewelry in the glass case by the register. I’ve always been a sucker for old jewelry. I never actually buy it because I am also a sucker for simplicity and my wedding rings, simple necklace and hoop earrings are the extent of my jewelry repertoire. I continue back to the bathroom and do as I said I would do, take handfuls of paper towels, those brown scratchy ones, and use them to suck the moisture out of my shirt, the top of my bra and my hair. I wish for an industrial strength hand dryer, the ones that move your skin because they blow so hard. No such luck. It’s a simple bathroom, one toilet, one sink, a small dingy mirror and a little side table that holds the paper towels and a small container of lotion. I finish drying up, at least enough that I won’t get the shivers while I wait, and I walk back out into the shop.
I see the lady up front and I walk up to join her, looking outside to see if the storm has slowed down. I introduce myself and get her name, Anna. What a lovely name I say. I ask her how long she’s been working here and she begins to tell me her story.
Her mother was a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, and she was born two years later in 1915. Her father was a dapper irish businessman, and he was clever enough to start a business of shipping Victorian era furnishings, fabrics and jewelry to the states and selling it at high price to the wealthy Americans in New York. After the second world war he had downsized dramatically and stopped importing goods. They moved south to Beaufort, South Carolina (where we are now) and he had greatly contributed, financially and with his business sense, in helping revitalize the downtown area. She goes on to tell me that that was where she stopped being a shopgirl spinster and finally fell in love, with a Marine of course. If someone is going to catch your heart forever, it might as well be a rugged Marine. Her husband had never married, and was working as a drill instructor when she’d met him as he walked into their little shop, which was this little shop. She talks of children, homes and hurricanes. She talks of birth and war and death and healing. As she winds down, at the end of telling me her literal life story, the rain slows. I want the rain to go on so we can sit here forever. Her stories wind in and out of time and draw me in. I feel the joy over her joyous times, and I cry when she tells me the stories of death and destruction. I want to capture all her words forever, and hide them away because they are so precious. SHE is so precious.
As the rain stops, she finishes her stories as if by magic the rain had lasted exactly as long as it took her story to be told.
As if by magic.
I say my thanks and promise to return soon and with all best intentions I mean it.
I go about my life, head out the door and to home. A few days later as I sit at my kitchen table having my morning coffee and reading the paper, a name catches my eye. ‘Oh no’ I think as I realize the name is in the obituaries. Her name. Anna Galvin Salvo.
Anna Galvin Salvo passed away on Friday July 25, 2014
She was born in 1915 to Seamus and Abigail Galvin, in New York City, NY.
She was married to Mark Salvo of the U.S.M.C in 1947
She was preceded in death by her husband and three sons.
She has no surviving family members.
A memorial service will be held at her shop “Galvins Fine Things” on Thursday the 31 of July
All who frequented her shop are invited to this service.
I set the paper down and cry. Crying thanks for having met her, and crying grief that these precious women of old are passing away. Fine and kind and mannerly, honoring their husbands and working diligently with their children. This is the end of an era, and it is sad. I am sad.
This post inspired by Daily Post, writing prompts. A fun exercise you should try!
I apologize sincerely if any of these pictures are redundant. As I see it we can all use a little visual peace, and my fire and sunset pictures are nothing if not peaceful.
So as I mentioned Saturday, last week Noah had a friend come up from North Carolina. He drove a long four hours to stay for only thirty six hours, sad face. It was a good time however and we did a LOT more than I photographed. And the above picture is horribly blown out. That’s what I get for waiting until last minute at 7:45 in the morning before he’s got to head back home.
Both nights that he was here we had the fire pit going. The first night for s’mores but the second was just for kicks and giggles. We aren’t in a city and have to street lights so we have the best view (of my life so far) of the night sky, and thankfully the first night he was here was also had clear skies.
What an amazing sunset we had too. We’re always so glad when our friends can come and share in this glory that God has given us.
Scott was home both nights (oh have I mentioned I LOVE his new schedule!?!) and was able to get out the fishing pole and play around a bit. We have yet to catch a fish off our bulkhead, but one day we will, I’m certain of it.