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Friday, February 1, 2008

January's over

Our newly refurbished Monarch woodstove

My mother always said, “If you get through January then you’ll live for the rest of the year.” The Januarys she probably referred to were the bitter cold and snow filled Nova Scotia Januarys where she grew up and where we spent summers. Even in the summers the woodstove in her homestead would be lit first thing in the morning to boil the water from the spring at the foot of the hill, and warm up the chill of the night. In January it would burn day and most of the night. We got through January here in the Northwest easily with just a little snow this week. Not so my favorite aunt, Mom’s sister, Aunt Dolly, from Nova Scotia. This last day of January she died of a stroke surrounded by family. She was an inspiration to me, still writing books at 93 and active in her community making a difference. I will miss her.

So the day after she died, today, Friday, I lit the fire in our newly refurbished Monarch wood stove in memory of Mom and Aunt Dolly who cooked on them. I was glad our regular first Friday of the month jam session was at our house tonight. It was fun to gather with friends who also love music while in the back of my head remembering aunts, uncles and cousins in Nova Scotia gathering every summer to welcome us back. They didn’t call it a jam session then or even a ceilidh (music and storytelling gathering) which it was. For the family gathering everyone brought food and drink, and musical instruments, voices and dancing feet. They gathered at the old homestead, with its pump organ, woodstove and warmth of music and life and stories we didn’t want to end.
Today, I believe there is an even a greater homecoming party in heaven for Aunt Dolly with music and singing and stories as she gathers with her nine brothers and sisters including my Mom in who passed before her and my grandfather and grandmother, who read her Bible stories that she now sees for real. The party, unlike January will never end.

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