|Gabe and Bird headed to Pumpkin Creek|
Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery. I want the angel. But Montgomery seems like a specific place. A specific story that I know little about.
|Bell, youngest of the crew, a bit on the wild side|
And which Montgomery? Surely there is more than one. So I just make it my own Montgomery, the place my angel harkens from, the place I want to be.
|Punch (Opuntia), sweetie pie, works well to the left|
My mother is a very old woman. These days her stories create startling connections between eras and locales. Ownership is fluid. My brother's house may as well be the house her father built. She knows he built one and it is hers, where she lives.
|Coffeetime, thankful for Andrew's help this winter|
As old as she is, my mother knows she isn't home anymore. She knows she's not with family. No matter how well it worked before --- agreeing that she was where she belonged, asserting ownership of my brother's assets at times, and going so far as to suggest some of us 'visitors' could be asked to leave --- all that has changed.
Now, the distance home is inconceivable. She doesn't want to recognize where she is; she doesn't want to live there. But she tries. "It's not easy, such a change, when you're as old as I am."
|Glad someone besides me draws in the ranch journal!|
Her lap is still available in a big chair with padded arms, wide enough to support a small child. And children come to see her. Babies and toddlers, boys with legos. Even college boys.
|Warm up, have a cup|
We tell her our names, and most of us get a pass into her world. The others have learned to create a chain from their lives to hers, describing the links a few times until she recognizes her own lineage.
And our names are longer now. PrairieRoseYourGranddaughter. The little ones call her Great, and she is. If they are lucky, they are old enough to remember playing together, with the sound of her voice encouraging them to go on and on in their imagining.
And we bring her things. Small things to hold on to, pictures held together in small books, our faces labeled, the places we come from labeled.
|Greening in the bottoms!|
We might be the angels now, arriving at the door of her room, painting and repainting the picture of her life.
Make me an angel
that flies from Montgomery.
Paint me a picture
of an old rodeo.
Just give me one thing
that I can hold on to.
To believe in this livin'
is just a hard way to go.
|Mom, Harlan, Prairie|
From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef