The Basket Lady
The calendar says it’s August but I’m not convinced as I’m still waiting for summer to happen. This year’s gardening went over well for a small one, the tiny red tomatoes, (the ones I call tiny and red), have never tasted better in a tossed salad piled high on a plate with lettuce, sweet pickles, radishes, and veggie cheese.
Just for fun, here are a few unusual uses and money saving tips for an everyday household item: lemon juice.
Lemon juice: Mix with water and sit in sun to lighten hair. Soak nails for 10 minutes to strengthen and brighten. Soothes bee or fire ant stings. Loosens mineral deposits on faucets and promotes healing of cold sores or fever blisters.
The Basket Lady column is written in honor of dear Dot Sanchas and before her passing in 2008, she’d asked me on several occasions to write about kindness because she believed with all of her heart that people were healed by acts of kindness shown to others by deed, in word, or by touch. An e-mail arrived recently from Jonathan, one of Dot’s sons, who fondly recalled nights spent by the fireplace with his mother; he’s given me permission to re-print a cherished memory.
Starting the day with mother
by Jonathan Berkleigh
When my family moved into the Queen Ann Victorian home, countless stories added to the joy of being there. In the early days at 11 Prospect, the fireplace was ablaze almost every evening, or so it seemed. Mom and I seemed to enjoy it most, a quiet place to speak about whatever we chose.
One night, I arrived unexpectedly from my home in Rhode Island. It was late and all was in darkness, except for a cozy fire. I sat near it for awhile, alone with my thoughts about the loveliness of the home and smiling that a promise I made to mom in a first grade Mother’s Day card (in crayon, of course) had at last been fulfilled.
We older siblings that grew up on Waldo Street routinely played in dirt and broken glass. An unsightly yard on one side of the house, and a littered alley on the other, but a steep hill outback that was the best fun in wintertime. I had promised someday to have mom and the younger sibs have a better place to live in, with a lawn to play on, and perhaps, with an attic.
Anyway, as I sat there, I heard a mysterious sound from the main hall and front stairs. The crinkly sound of taffeta or similar fabric.
Mom entered the room through the French doors to add another log to the fire, enjoying the quiet.
She was wearing a very full floor-length gown of emerald green, though barefoot, she looked regal as a Queen on one hand, but more like a character out of a Charles Dickens novel-a Miss Habersham of sorts; both eccentric and elegant in her brocade.
I wondered how she felt descending those grand stairs in the darkness of wee hours in a great house that was her home and welcoming me as though an expected guest. In an antebellum gown right out of Gone With the Wind but in reality, just an interesting piece of apparel she enjoyed that was…
Yup, you guessed it! A donation made to her Free Shop. What a lady!
It was a one-shot cameo appearance. Never saw that gown again. But, I like to think she still had it tucked away someplace, and she probably did!