Fred Kennedy

When Memory Fails

In the quiet times of day, and often in the middle of the night, I remember my dad. He has been gone for more than 30 years, but I still have conversations with him. I tell him about his grandchildren and share how much I miss him. I imagine what he is doing in heaven (painting or tending a garden, no doubt) and I trust with all my heart that I will see him again one day.

The memories of my father are even more important to me now, especially since my brother and I are the only ones who can recall them. Our mom suffers from dementia and she lost all recollection of our dad, “Freddie” as she called him, a few years ago. I remember so vividly how it felt like a stab to the heart when I was showing her my wedding album one afternoon and she pointed to my dad and asked, “Who is this?” It seemed like all the air was sucked out of the room. When I recovered, I took the time to share all my memories of that special day, always searching her face for a glimmer of recognition. But there was none.

Trying to keep a memory alive when there is no capacity to store them is a painful thing. Sometimes I find myself reaching deep inside my mind to retrieve certain memories,  and the fear of losing those precious moments gives me an overwhelming urgency to share them.  A windy day at the beach. A camping trip in New Hampshire. A favorite board game. A family vacation. We talk about these memories whenever we are all together and we share the stories and pictures and random details that come to mind. For my brother and I, we understand that it may mean nothing to our mother, but for us, it is a crucial bridge in keeping Dad’s legacy alive.

And so, on this and every Father’s Day, Daddy.  you are forever in our memories and buried deep in our hearts.

Fred Kennedy

Bring on the Spring!

Now that the last of the snow has melted from our unexpected and unwelcome March storm, we are feeling optimistic that spring might finally make an appearance. The famed cherry blossoms of Washington, DC reached peak bloom yesterday (March 25), however, only about half the blossoms survived the recent deep freeze. You can read more about the blossoms and view some beautiful photos on the Cherry Blossom Watch website.

Neil starts his tomato seeds indoors in February. For the past two years he has also tried to graft several varieties, with some success. He does a lot of research during the winter months and continues to refine his technique. Last year several of the grafts survived and provided a nice harvest of fruit well into the summer. There haven’t been any survivors yet this year, but he is not giving up. Other fruits and vegetable plants are thriving! They are enjoying the sunny windowsill in our kitchen until they are either moved to the cold frame outdoors, or planted after the last frost. Our first Brandywine tomato is doing well, as are the butternut squash and cantaloupe plants. Neil planted some carrots and shallots outdoors since they will not be affected by any late season frost.

My life without Facebook continues to yield wonderful benefits. I finished Julie’s winter scarf just in time for the last few chilly days of March, much to her delight. I’ve also been spending more time just sitting at the kitchen table, watching some of God’s most fascinating creatures — the many colorful birds visiting our backyard feeders. If my nose had been buried in my timeline, I would have missed the flock of Cedar Waxwings visiting our birdbath during their migration, or the huge Pileated Woodpecker hammering on the dead tree in the wooded area behind our house. (If you’ve never seen the largest woodpecker in North America, check out this Audubon link!) Yesterday morning I visited our local Wild Birds Unlimited store and attended a presentation about using native Virginia plants to attract a wider variety of birds. The added bonus would be attracting more pollinators to our garden too. That would be a win for the birds and the bees!

Our temperatures soared into the low 80’s yesterday and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. After running errands, I took a quick a tour around the yard and caught the last of our daffodils blooming, and noticed our peonies are poking through the soil.  We are also getting ready to plant two blueberry bushes (pictured below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are all looking forward to spring! How about you?