Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wintery day with Ivy

Ivy was sweeping the snow from the back steps when the School Bus went past, she knew that soon Skye would be there, he always was.
Someone had sent her two holly bushes, just after Halloween, and she had planted them on either side of the steps, hoping that it was protected enough there for them to flourish.  Ivy asked everyone and no one admitted to sending them, however she felt sure it was Gus, because he knew that Ivy and Will had met  at the Christmas Concert and in High School and when he was a little overserved or in a particularly jovial mood, he always called her Ivy Holly, even burst into a chorus of "The Holly and the Ivy".  "Funny", Ivy " mused to the shrubbery,"those days were so sweet, but thinking about them doesn't make me sad anymore, and I like that!"  "And  here's my, Skye." Skye came bounding across the snowy lawn, and through the partially opened door, then directly to his corner of the kitchen. Skye burrowed into his blanket until all you could see was his shinny black nose and pink tongue.

Ivy pretended not to notice Skye, and Skye watched Ivy intently as she put the finishing touches in the soup, looking in cupboards and rummaging in the fridge, opening jars of the vegetables she canned last fall, everything went into the pot on the stove, and the aromas blended into a bouquet of autumn bounty.  Mug filled afresh, she sat sown at the table and sliced off some of the bread Della had made, it was Dallas first attempt at baking bread, after thanking her heartily "Bread Baking is a lifelong learning process." she told Della, "my mother buried the first batch of bread she made in the garden, and when it started to rise it popped right out of the ground, Dad wasn't sure what he was looking at, he thought it was a puffball mushroom. So he went up to the house and got Mom and brought her down to see this miracle mushroom. My first batch turned out OK, but the second didn't and I dug a really deep hole for it."  

"Here, my little Pupsicle, have some of Della's nice bread."  Skye raced over and hopped up on Ivy's lap, "you have cold feet!" she exclaimed.  Skye perched himself on her lap and held onto his piece of bread like it was a great treasure, Ivy knew he would hide it in his blanket and gnaw on it all day. "think I will leave you home while I take some of this bread and some soup over to Gus. too cold for those little feet and I can't carry you and the soup across that bridge."  As good as the last year had been for Ivy that is how bad it had been for Gus.

They both watched the fluffy snowflakes falling,  it was late February but because there had been so little snow this winter, it was still something to watch, especially with Skye to keep her company. Sleet began to mix with the flakes and Ivy said" Upside Daisy, buddy, I gotta get this over to Gus before the freezing rain starts," Skye was already in his blanket before ivy finished the sentence.  And out the door before freezing rain began to tap on the window.  Gus, stood at the window and watched Ivy cross the bridge over the creek. it was frozen in the shallow places.  Gus, stood at the window and watched Ivy cross the bridge over the creek,which was frozen, in the shallow places. After she crossed he made is way to the front door to let her in. Gus followed her into the kitchen, and took the coffee pot from the stove, pouring each of them, he said, "i can get around pretty good now, but I still can't make soup like you can. so I made the coffee, strong, Swedish coffee, AND!" he announced " and some home made cookies." Gus, walked haltingly into the pantry and emerged with a large blue tin, with pictures of dainty cookies, and bright green lettering. "I made these myself, don't break a tooth." 
The table had been set, with bowls and spoons. "Linea even set the table for us." Ivy offered
"Gus set the table! I am turning into a good house wife!!! And I am glad you brought soup!" he roared with laughter "When these old bones heal I will be right back to farming and milking, just no tractors, I'll leave those to younger men with better reflexes. Now lets eat."

"Good coffee," Ivy said over the rim of her cup, "and, you my friend, you are looking much better than last week." Gus looked up from his meal only briefly, to nod in agreement. Ivy remembered Grandma Nelson saying "stänga dig mun och äter maten." The clock ticking, and the tap of freezing rain on the window.

The greenhouse window in the kitchen,looked out on the kitchen garden and the fields of stubble beyond. there were no seedlings in the window yet,  nothing to obscure the view. "Are you going to plant garden this year, Ivy?" 
"Oh, I think so, I wish I could grow Brussels sprouts, but I can't. Gus, why are there egg shells on the garage roof?"
"Those are from the blue jays, I put them out where they can find them so I can watch them squabble over them. I sat here too many hours this winter looking out that window, just thinking, 'cause what else could I do?  Some days, little Cameron, well he is not so little anymore, would keep me company. We would tell each other stories." He shuffled over to the stove and returning with the coffee pot, replenished their cups. "Now I really did make these cookies, so don't go breaking your teeth on them. Take a couple home for that little white dog."
"Don't you like coconut cookies, Gus, they are Cams favorite?" Ivy smiled,"what kind are you making next?" Gus stifled a grin but didn't answer. " Skye, likes anything he shouldn't have, especially if it is sweet. You know I am really getting used to having him around, but I know he belongs to someone." Gus grinned but just continued dunking his cookie. "He comes to the door every school day right before the kids get on the bus, and leaves when it drops them off. don't you think that's strange?" Gus just shrugged his shoulders and dunked another cookie.

The sky was still dark but, there were a few breaks of sun, dashing rainbows off the prisms hanging in the. Ivy gathered up the dishes, and Gus brought out the Scrabble board.  

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