April Showers Bring…Thoughts of the Eternal Verities

 

I wrote the following post on Ricochet four years ago, a year when Granny’s birthday and Easter Sunday fell on the same day.  And, even at the risk of repeating myself, I’m doing just that because April Showers Bring…these same thoughts and reflections along every year.

Like many families, mine has a couple of stretches in the calendar where it seems memories, both upliftingly joyous and heartbreakingly sad, are piled one-on-top-of-another, all at once.  Early March through mid-May is one such.  Another is late September through the end of October. As I write this today, I suddenly realize that July isn’t looking so great either, anymore.  I suppose some of that is just the price of old age, and it will probably get worse before (I trust) it finally–once and for all–gets better.

Regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, from April 16, 2017, here it is:

My grandmother Molly could be a rather stern old lady. She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898. She died in 1988, long-lived, like many in my family.

If I were to tell you just one thing about Granny, it would be this: She. Never. Gave. In. Every morning she was even remotely able, she got out of bed, put on her combinations (don’t ask), hauled and strapped herself into her corset and girdle, put on her old-fashioned womanly clothes, did her hair and her face, and went out to meet the day.

Most who knew her, I’m sure, thought of her as a redoubtable and unyielding old lady, one it was better not to cross, a pillar of rectitude, and a stalwart of her much-loved church.

But sometimes, I knew a very different Granny. A cuddly Granny. A snuggly Granny. One who always had a space in her bed, early in the morning, for her first, and much loved, grandchild. And one whose dressing-table top drawer, located just within reach of the bed, always held a cornucopia of delights.

You see, my granny always had lots of chocolates. Chocolate bars. Chocolate buttons. Plain chocolates. Filled chocolates. Chocolate-covered fruits and nuts. Chocolates of every shape and size.

And this little girl liked nothing better on a Sunday morning than to crawl into her granny’s bed and be allowed the joy of investigating them all, and to pick out one or two as a treat.

It ruined me for life.

But it probably explains why, as a child, Easter was my favorite Church holiday, up to, and including, even Christmas.

Yes, I loved the children’s service at Granny’s parish church. I loved the hymns, the music (sometimes Grandpa played the organ) and the rituals. I loved the flowers, and the scents. I loved coming back to Granny’s for Sunday lunch. But just as much, I confess, I loved the chocolates.

Of course, Cadbury’s, the first English company to mass-produce Easter eggs, was the home-grown favorite, as they were manufactured down the road from Granny, in Bournville, just outside Birmingham. Additionally, the cows in the field at the bottom of the garden of our own home in Worcestershire generously sent their milk off to the Cadbury factory. (Like Joseph Fry and Joseph Rowntree, two other great English chocolate makers, John Cadbury was a Quaker. Their enlightened and humane treatment of their workers, their interest in education and their workers’ living conditions, their attempts to improve the sometimes barbarous collection of the essential cocoa beans in far-flung lands, inspired their American counterpart, Milton Hershey to do likewise, a bit later on).

I don’t think the Easter egg I still dream about was a Cadbury product, though. I don’t know who made it. But it was the most beautiful and special chocolate thing I’d ever seen or eaten in my life.

It was a fairly large egg. It was a hollow egg, in two halves, perfectly fitted together. It was filled with really nice, and really delicious, chocolates. And it was decorated with candied violets and rosebuds (real ones), together with iced leaves and trailing vines. And it was wrapped in cellophane that rustled and crinkled when you touched it. And the whole thing was tied up in a huge bow with an enormous length of wide yellow ribbon. It almost makes me cry just thinking about it.

Oh, I’ve had lots of lovely chocolates in my life. And I’ve never really minded how I came by them. As Valentine gifts from my Sweetie. As presents from family members and friends who indulge my not-so-secret weakness. As surprises from admirers, probably with ulterior motives (well, maybe just one ulterior motive), who sent them, carefully packaged and boxed, through the mail. (Ha! Those were the days.) On occasion, I’m ashamed to admit, when I’ve run out, or when people have forgotten about me, I’ve even been reduced to buying them for myself. “Sad!” As I might Tweet, if were ever to do such a ridiculous thing.

But in over half a century, I’ve never seen, or tasted, a chocolate treat as magnificent, as beautiful, and as delicious as the egg that graced Granny’s table one Easter when I was about five years old.

Much time has passed since then, and, in the words of the creaky and ancient song that Granny loved so much, “Darling I am growing old.” And I doubt I’m unique in worrying about what sort of “footprint” I will leave to the world. Will I have made a difference? Will I matter? Has anyone noticed? Will anyone care?

Fortunately for me, a recent event has refreshed my optimism, and convinced me that the answer to all those questions, undeserving as I doubtless am of it, might actually be, “Yes.”

As some of you may know, I’m a granny myself, of a smart, kind, and beautiful nine-year-old. [2021 update: She’s a smart, kind, and beautiful 13-year-old now.  In seventh grade.  I can’t even.] She lives about 125 miles away, and I don’t see her nearly as often as I’d like. Opportunities for snuggling, therefore, are far too infrequent. No matter. Even with the limited time available to me, I’ve made my mark and done my job. I’ve ruined her for life.

A while ago, her mother told me of a conversation she’d overheard between my granddaughter and a little friend. It went something like this:

Friend: “I wish we had some chocolates.”

Granddaughter: “We should go to my granny’s house.”

Friend: “Your granny is nice.”

Granddaughter: “Yeah. She is. I love her. And [lowers her voice to a thrilled whisper], my granny always has lots of chocolates.”

Bingo.

Game over.

Earth turns, seasons change, and the cycle begins anew. Just as it should.

Happy Easter, everyone! And Happy one-hundred-nineteenth Birthday, my chocolate-loving granny!

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Your words paint such beautiful scenes! Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories.

    And well done on carrying on the chocolate traditions.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    You are important to that granddaughter.

    QED

    • #3
  4. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    Well, that was a good year for grandmothers, then.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. February 24th of the same year.  So there. She was my youngest grandparent.

    • #5
  6. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. February 24th of the same year. So there. She was my youngest grandparent.

    My paternal grandmother was born in 1878. So there!

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    She (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. February 24th of the same year. So there. She was my youngest grandparent.

    My paternal grandmother was born in 1878. So there!

    I give up, then. We have to go to my wife’s grandparents to beat that. 

    • #7
  8. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: She was born when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, on April 16, 1898.

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. (February 27th, same year.) 😜

    My grandmother was born before your grandmother. February 24th of the same year. So there. She was my youngest grandparent.

    My paternal grandmother was born in 1878. So there!

    I give up, then. We have to go to my wife’s grandparents to beat that.

    I wish I’d known her. She died when I was just a few months old. She barely cleared 5 feet, had six children who grew into enormous adults in every way, all of whom were boisterous and outgoing, and several of whom were larger than life. I’ve always thought that inch-for-inch, she must’ve been extraordinarily good value. 

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    She: If I were to tell you just one thing about Granny, it would be this: She. Never. Gave. In. Every morning she was even remotely able, she got out of bed, put on her combinations (don’t ask), hauled and strapped herself into her corset and girdle, put on her old-fashioned womanly clothes, did her hair and her face, and went out to meet the day.

    And here, from my jolt of daily good news from the Good News Network, is LaVerne Ford Wimberly, Granny’s sister in spirit, if not in style of dress.  Although, I have to say that sister LaVerne would be a huge hit at the Royal Garden Party, any day of the week.  Oh, those hats! 

    Even With Church on Zoom, 82-Year-Old Dresses Like it’s Easter Every Sunday.

    Bless.

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    She: April Showers Bring…Thoughts of the Eternal Verities

    The Temporal Verities are the problem.

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    She: April Showers Bring…Thoughts of the Eternal Verities

    The Temporal Verities are the problem.

    Transient verities will really mess with your head.

    • #11
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Dark or milk chocolate, no such thing as too much.

    There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, now managed by @she. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim a day of the month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with a bit of accountability and topical guidance to encourage writing for its own sake.

    Stop by and sign up now for “April Showers Bring . . . .”

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #12
  13. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Percival (View Comment):
    Transient verities will really mess with your head.

    Isn’t “transient verities” an oxymoron?

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    Transient verities will really mess with your head.

    Isn’t “transient verities” an oxymoron?

    That, and the title of my unauthorized memoir.

    • #14