My Mother in Law, Mim's childhood home and summer home
Spencer's Island, NS
To get on a different writing track, I've decided to post stories for the month of March of people or a composite of humans I've had the opportunity to spend time with. The collection will unfold as their "faces" and stories rise up from my memory bank. So, I don't know who you'll meet....... because I don't know yet whom I will revisit yet! I'm excited to try to share snippets of when our lives crossed......
Her voice had dry gravel in it to go along with her dusty sense of humour -- remnants of sucking back more than her quota of unfiltered Buckinghams. "Just like Gswoski," she'd announce proudly. Then she'd laugh. A hearty cackle cough as she lit up another to compliment her fourth cup of coffee. Strong Joe. No fancy pants frothy drinks for her! Oh no!
Mim loved her extra scoop percolated Maxwell House, straight up. She liked her conversations that way too.... especially early morning ones while resparking the embers in the old woodstove. For the rest of the day, she hid her feelings under a bulky sweater while diverting the talk with sarcasm and bravado. But in the morning, with a hot cup of coffee close by and a Buckingham lingering between her fingers, she spoke the truth. To me.
It was when we connected "in the real." It was when she was the most comfortable in her own skin...... those early September mornings when the haze had lifted, allowing for the sharp blue to envelope the skies and offering slipper wearing crispness in the air. After a long summer of beachcombing, head clearing, raspberry picking, lobster feasting, jelly producing, and blueberry pie making, mystery reading, crosswording, flower arranging and just plain putting at a pace completely different than the daily strife of a politician's wife, Mim's whole demeanor was revived.
Our conversations ran the gamut, but her favourite topics revolved around politics and the news. She was a brilliant woman and maddening too! So well read. So bloody opinionated. Sharp witted. So much so, that you had to be on your own game to confidently create a rebuttal. Nothing frustrated her more than having to spend time with someone who spewed out opinions but could never intelligently support them because they were "too God damned lazy" to read the paper. Patience wasn't her strength. Maybe that's why we got along most of the time. Like our shared sense of humour, we had that in common.
Salt air. Tidal breezes. Being at home. "At home" didn't represent life in Ontario even though she had lived there for her entire adulthood. No, home meant being surrounded by the secure familiarity of the place where she grew up. Spencer's Island. Feeding the fire, listening to the CBC, putting on another pot of coffee, and sitting down to tackle the weekly New York Times crossword, as the smoke drifted off her freshly lit cigarette nesting in the ashtray.
Mim? Are you at home now? I believe you are.