My Mom Used to Love Bluebirds


My mom used to love bluebirds, I always remember that, with love, about her.

I have a little glass bluebird she kept in her windowsill.

My grandparents were Kansas farmers and went every Sunday to a little Methodist church called Grandview about seven miles down the road, except for the rare Sabbath when the summer harvest took priority. I am sure God understood. I remember, so fondly, the distinctive smell of Jergen’s lotion which my Grandma would work into her hands before leaving for worship, where Grandpa would always bellow, it seemed to my young ears, the Old Rugged Cross, or about come, come, coming to the church in the wildwood.

I remember the masculine smell of my Grandpa’s cigar as he would drive his old truck to weigh a load of wheat. I can almost catch a whiff of the scholarly smoke wafting from my Dad’s pipe, the pipe he used to strategically fill while weighing questions from students and waved for emphasis or to make a point. These extensions – pipe and cigar, and everything associated with them– are part of the multi-dimensional pictures I carry in my mind for Dad and Grandpa.

Since I’m on the topic of smell, the fragrance of the farm still brings back fond memories.  The distinctive odor of a horse – Sandy was the name of the one I remember best – patiently being saddled up; the crackling air on a winter morning, hay or steaming ensilage filling the bed of our truck headed out to feed hungry cattle; encountering the dust you stirred up in the field going one way after you turn the tractor around to head the other way.  I remember the smell of holding a roman candle on the Fourth of July, something I would never do these days, but indelible in my memory nonetheless.

My mom used to love bluebirds, I always remember that, with love, about her.

I have a little glass bluebird she kept in her windowsill.

Funny what memories we almost viscerally hold onto while others, even from a day or week before, fade to nothing.  Funny what knickknacks remain treasures, as more substantial possessions come and go.

The little things often seem just so ordinary at the time.

But they weren’t, and they aren’t.


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