Aunt Margaret was Springtime, Uncle Pete was Fall. They lived their lives by the seasons, as all farm people do. Uncle Pete, my Grandfather’s younger brother was born in the Fall of 1907 and perhaps his birthday cheered him and that’s why it was his favorite season. I suspect it had more to do with the end of harvest, the release of Summer’s tension and the worry over rain and all manner of plague lifting off his shoulders as the leaves turned yellow and red than anything so mundane as another calendar year ticking by. I was young and never thought to ask. It was just something I knew about my Uncle and that was enough, then as well as now.
But, it’s March and the winds are blowing and the trees are budding, and the Mariners are posturing. Fall seems a far off shore.
Bluebells grew wild all over our farm in little clusters. They held secret messages for a boy: soon time to be done with school, soon time to lose the shoes. These little blue flowers also had other charms. My Aunt Margaret liked them and I soon learned that a small bunch plucked by a grubby hand early in the morning would reward the giver with a bounty of country breakfast. It always, to my eternal delight, seemed to be things like great slabs of roast beef and endless fat slices of ham. There were eggs and gravy and biscuits and I really don’t know if this was the way every morning’s table looked or if I just got lucky.
I don’t remember one conversation we had over those breakfasts feasts. I was little and they were as comfortable as blankets and who remembers what whispers are passed. It matters little, because all the other things, the unspoken things, mattered so much more.
I never really had Grandparents, but I did have my Uncle Pete and my Aunt Margaret and what’s in a name other than a quibble?
Stoney Edwards, Pickin’ Wildflowers