Monday, January 25, 2010

Clear Unbroken Panes

Last fall, Mamma took down her old greenhouse. It had seen hundreds of plants and blooms across the years, but the old wooden frames had finally given way. The windows had originally been in our church and Daddy recycled or "re-purposed" them when they were replaced just before I married.

When Mamma wondered if the trash people would take the glass away, I knew I needed to find a way to use it again. So I brought home the clear, unbroken panes and measured, washed and packed them away.

Last week, we sat under the "new" windows -- the stained glass now a half century old -- for the funeral of the oldest member of the Red Hat Society. At almost 102, Ethel was perhaps the youngest at heart . Her bright blue robe was hanging on her chair as the choir took their places; she had worn it just before Christmas. Always impeccably and fashionably dressed, (no little old lady was she!) she won a couple of senior beauty pageants after she was 95. At 92, she drove across the state for the birth of a grandchild. She danced at her granddaughter's wedding at 100. Everyone of every age loved to be with her; she simply spread joy.

As I looked around the sanctuary, the new glass threw spots of color on the women of my childhood, I knew that Ethel represented all of them. Women in their 80s and 90s who had met each other in the 1940s. Women who have been bonded by their common experiences in this church. Women who have simply slipped into new roles as old ones have fallen away. Women of strength who have re-purposed themselves again and again.

I now have some ideas and drawings for my pieces of glass. I have plans for reusing these wavy old things and, when I do, I'll think of Hazel, Laura, Mary, Dean, Anne, Betty, and Edna. I'll wonder how they'll repurpose their lives next and I'll wonder if, I too, will be able to reframe myself like clear, unbroken panes.

BushStrokes (c) AAB


Gary DeMore said...

When I entered the ministry over 4 decades ago, my mother told me, "Don't ever try to figure out the ladies of the church. They will always be way ahead of you." You have reminded me today of the truth of that. Thanks.

Annette Bush said...

There amazing statistics for the women (and men) of this church. I think it must have been in the water in the surrounding community!

Thanks for reading. Hope it gave you a chuckle.

Anonymous said...

Annette. Why do you make me cry? Tears don't look good on Men. Thanks for sharing those wonderful thoughts.