“Over the river and through the woods…”
Whatever happened to those rushing rivers I recall from my childhood?
And what about the snow-covered woods?
Well, at least, there’s still grandmother’s house, right? Oh, but it’s not a farmhouse way out in the country anymore, is it? No, a patio home in the city is more like it, or a condo on the beach. And “Grandmother?” When is the last time you called her that? It’s a good thing we have a song to remind us of the way things were.
It appears to me that new names have taken over in most families in the years since that song was written as well. Granted, most are versions of the old, but I love the imaginations of the minds that bring forth such endearing terms as Graham Cracker, Meemaw, Oma, Grana, Bubbe, Mimi, Nonna, and more. And as varied as the names, so too are the persons and personalities.
Some grandmothers are as the Norman Rockwell images project in our minds: fulltime homemakers who find delight in cooking and needlework. Some are Cagney and Lacey type policewomen working to “protect and serve” in our communities. Then, there are those we know in the public eye. Mary Travers, of the singing group, Peter, Paul, and Mary, comes to mind. Mary was a grandmother, not much older than I am now when she passed away, but through the beauty of her voice, she left the world with many recorded reminders of having been here.
I wonder if the homemaker’s decision was always her first choice in life. Do the ones who protect and serve really want to be ridding the streets of riff-raff? Would they rather be home reading bedtime stories, rocking and cuddling grandkids? And, as she aged, did Mary Travers love her life in the spotlight on the road, or would she have given it all away in exchange for the home-style life projected in Norman Rockwell pictures?
Earlier today the thought raced though my mind that I would rather be at my computer writing this article than in my kitchen cooking those goodies that my family expects and loves to eat as part of the holiday tradition! Wait a minute! Sitting at the computer instead of preparing a holiday feast? What is wrong with that picture? It appears that more than the rivers of my childhood, the snow-covered woods, and the name of Grandmother have changed as part of the holiday tradition. I am a grandmother who is supposed to be happily humming as I buzz busily around my little kitchen creating confections that the most discerning of palettes will long remember.
Perhaps I’d better think long and hard about the legacy I’m leaving if I choose the computer over the cooking. After all, if I don’t cook, will I be the cause of some future composer’s not writing a new song about “Over the rive…”; well, you get the idea!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 11-22-2010