Monday, June 10, 2013


Sitting down to write this weeks blog I had to move a stack of papers that has been shuffled from one spot to another for quite a few weeks now. The most interesting thing in this stack was an envelope my mother had handed to me on my way out the door the last time I was visiting.  

I knew what was in the envelope. A collection of clippings from a variety of newspapers and magazines. The themes of the clippings would be wide ranging: food, fashion, France, gardening, history, economics, books, trees, the arts, artist. A seemingly random collection of topics. But not to a mother with her intimate knowledge of a daughter.

I knew I was going to open up a lifetime of connections in a morning’s reading. Connections that show the soulful understanding between mother and daughter. Shared interest, likes, experiences and sometimes a quirky obscure curve ball.  All this stuffed into one business envelope. 
It’s fun picturing her in the wing back chair tucked under the window reading the Wall Street Journal or Richmond Times and spotting an article. Realizing right off that this is one for the envelope. Funny how she always writes on them “save for Susan”.... no one else in the family would be interested in “How to Host a Private Garden Tour” or “Tales of Tiny Trees” - she includes Tom in this connecting activity too.

She must have been just about to pop when there was a beautiful article on the great bridge, the Pont Millau, in France and on the same page an article on the real life of flinty New Englanders. Two places that have drawn her daughter away from her.

This time there was a wonderful recipe for veal and roasted onions. I always laugh because Mom loves to eat, but really isn’t interested in the cooking part. What she does know how to do is read a good recipe. Like the Chocolate Pear Clafoutis she found in the local Richmond paper. I love how she highlighted the part about pear brandy (the one thing I bring her from France each visit)- “Bring into the mix a little poire William, the luscious pear brandy, and things may get suggestive, but never overpowering.”
Another clipping was on how to conduct a private garden tour. I can just hear her saying “Well Susan knows how to do that.” Because of course her daughter’s garden is worthy of a tour and of course she has the good sense to know when and how to put a garden tour together - because mothers know you are perfect....... and they taught you a thing or two!

I continue to learn from the many book reviews and travel articles found in the magic envelope. We don’t need to be in the same city to continue the dialogs about what we like about a book or whether the film reviewer was right-on or not. The spark of these conversations and impressions were started years ago and can now be rekindled by just the first glimpse of an article’s title: “Walk, Talk and Gawk  Hosting a private garden tour can be as satisfying as orchestrating a perfect dinner party...”.(WSJ Marian McEvoy)

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