The day began with creamy apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast, gourmet for Mom’s birthday. She turned 82 today. The extended family in Utah gathered for a celebratory dinner. Cards and gifts piled up on her lap. “I think about you every day as I go about my day.” Later came chocolate mousse birthday cake, and candles to blow out. “I love you with all of my heart.” So many thanked her for their happy memories: camping trips in the mountains; picking blackberries and wild asparagus; surgically pressing the “record” button on a cassette tape player to sensor the song’s profanity; playing badminton in the back yard; watching for bats at twilight; playing owl calls so the owls would come; teaching us to read; directing the church choir in which we all sang; teaching us the family songs. “I really like Grandma’s hugs.” She raised six children and suffered with us and cried and laughed with us. She served dinner promptly at 6:00 every evening, and drove us to our music lessons and sports practices. She called a soprano “Yoo-Hoo!!!” when it was time for us to come home. Her favorite flower is the yellow rose. “My love always.”
My Christmas gift to family and friends this year is this book of poems, A Time and A Season. The poems span the last five years of my life’s journey, but reach back over forty years of emotional memory. Each poem is introduced by the story of its birth. Poetry allows me to explore and express the intimate in a unique word art. I consider these poems gifts from a larger Source to me. Not dictated, however, they required pleasant effort, as do all meaningful gifts. Sharing these poems with you gives me hope and joy.
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Roger Evans Baker is a municipal attorney, homebody poet and essayist, and amateur naturalist. Roger is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road and A Time and A Season. Rabbit Lane tells the true life story of an obscure farm road and its power to transform the human spirit. A Time and A Season compiles Roger’s poems from 2015-2020, together with the stories of their births. The books are available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. See Rabbit Lane reviewed in Words and Pictures.
(Large rag rug crocheted by my mother for my kitchen–October 2015.)
When my mother, Dorothy Lucille Bawden Baker, was a child, perhaps age 6 or 7, she accompanied her mother, Dorothy Erma Evans Bawden (born 1915), and her grandmother, Dorothy Ellen Beagly Evans (born 1895), to visit her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Esther Pierce Beagly (born 1875). Grandmother Elizabeth was crocheting an oval rug from strips of cloth cut from old clothing. My mother noticed it and told them she liked it. Looking back, what caught her attention most was the notion of making something so beautiful from practically nothing: rags. My mother’s matriarchs encouraged her interest and offered to give her a crochet hook and strips of cloth. Grandfather James Edmund Evans (born 1889) carved for her an oak crochet hook. Her mother cut some cloth strips from old clothing for my mother, and taught her the crochet stitch. After my mother’s marriage in 1962, she began her serious crocheting of rag rugs, for she and her new husband, Owen Nelson Baker, Jr., had no carpet or rugs in their home. For her first project, she sat on the floor and crocheted an enormous round area rug. After retiring and moving to Utah in 1998, she began crocheting again in earnest. She found her sheets at the Deseret Industries thrift store, and bought a cutting board and cutting wheel. Her rugs can be found throughout her home and the homes of her children. She has given away many rugs as gifts to family and friends. I recently asked her to teach me to crochet. These small rugs, intended as prayer mats, are my first efforts to crochet something from nothing. I made them for my three daughters and my daughter-in-law for Christmas (2015). I hope that my girls find enjoyment in them, and in knowing that they hold a humble work of art six generations in the making.
The beginnings of Hannah’s rug, with a sun at the center.
Ringed with a light sky, ready for a darker ring of sky.
The sky is complete.
Ready to be circled with dark, rich earth.
Hannah’s rug completed.
Laura’s rug: blue evening sky trending toward sunset and night.
Erin’s rug: sun, sky, and atoll surrounded by ocean.