I started an overdue post yesterday as follows;
The tax man is licking his lips and wringing his wrinkly old hands. Whatsmore, this October storm is tapping a ‘remember me’ tune on the windows and though it was slow to reach us, there’s no denying that Winter is here. Yes, Winter offers us a respite from much of the hard work that comes with the farm. In the farmhouse, however, there is much to keep the farmer’s wife busy.
If you’re still with me, read on…
On thinking on survival, I remember my early country mentor, my Grandmother, Cait. She was the quintessential country woman. In the reverse of my situation, this fine country woman found herself living in the city. And throughout her life, she offered me glimpses of what being a countrywoman meant. She cared for herself just enough so that she could look after her children and her home. Loved those same children enough to make sure they grew up strong and fed them healthily to chase illness from their threshold.
Today’s much needed amendment;
I caught my Nana once drinking a scalding hot Lemsip down to the gulps of us, her awestruck city grandchildren. She made sure there was a homemade creamy sponge cake in the fridge every Saturday night when she babysat us. And she loved Dallas. She knew more about hurling than any man I know. But she was deaf and rarely spoke. So how do I know? Despite a very difficult life, the sparkle in her beautiful eyes, said listen girl, ‘just face the music and dance’.
I’m lucky to look just like her, her height, cheek bones and stature (sometimes not so lucky) and so increasingly, I catch her looking at me in the mirror and she’s smiling. Let’s face it, farming in Ireland as a one income family with three small boys requires basic survival strategies. Most days, I’m chanelling my inner country woman just to get through the day. And then comes the point when you stop just surviving and you’re smiling and dancing with little boys (God help them) to Frank Sinatra in a kitchen and you’re living again. Winter is here and only the fittest will survive (!), so put on your dancing shoes, grab your inner Grandmother and dance.