Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We got a bit of snow yesterday afternoon… it is all but gone this morning, just a tiny patch here or there. The temperature hovers near freezing. As I looked out the window while doing the breakfast dishes, I noticed the water had frozen in the ground level birdbath next to St Francis. I had to smile as I remembered a neighbor’s granddaughter and her first Christmas this far north. She had never seen snow before nor had she ever seen ice in a birdbath. Not just any ice, mind you, but that special kind of ice she called shivered ice, the kind of ice that still shows all the ridges and lines the water makes as it freezes, like thick frost on a window.
The child’s name was Sheila, but, like so many other names, she chose to change it after she heard of the Queen of Sheba in Sunday school. She decided that was what her parents had really meant to call her but somehow had gotten it wrong, so, from that day forward, she was Sheba. Sometimes Queen Sheba, even Her Majesty, when she heard that one! Aren’t little kids just too precious! Sheila-Sheba was not in school yet and still spoke with a baby voice and delightfully mispronounced words, especially Ws for Rs.
I am not sure the exact order of this next part, but she had an uncle, Frank, whose real name was Francis. She also had a grandmother Frances, and found it confusing that they should have the same name. She decided Frank’s parents thought he was a girl when he was born, so he was named after his mother, but when they discovered he was a boy, they changed his name to Fwank, er, I mean, Frank.
When she came here to visit, her local family would often take her for walks down our road to still another uncle’s house and Sheba fell in love with my yard with all its pathways thru the woods, the birdfeeders, and various critters lurking around the barns and bushes. Then, too, there is Punkin, the official greeter, who talks to everyone and rolls over in front of them so they will admire his beautiful belly, and (S)Pook who keeps watch from a safe distance. So she often took what she called the long cut (well, why not?) to her uncle’s house by detouring through my yard and checking out all the pathways. She loved my Buddha, but her favorite was St Fwank. She struggled with why his parents hadn’t changed his name when they found out he was a boy and why was he wearing a bathrobe out in my yard? But she loved the fact that the birds came to sit on his shoulders and in his hands.
When she was here at Christmas, she noticed the water was slightly frozen in St Fwank’s birdbath. She said it looked like St Fwankie had been so cold, he shivered so hard, the water froze while he was shivering, and she begged her mother to take her down to “Woses” (Roses) to get him a jacket. They brought him a towel and wrapped him nicely so he would make it thru the next cold night.
I am sorry Sheba was not here yesterday when it snowed, not that it was deep, but it was pretty for a while, especially on the camellias which still look pretty good today. St Fwankie looks a bit chilly, however. Think I should move him into the greenhouse at night?????

1 comment:

Ralph said...

Yeah he looks cold. Put him in the greenhouse. Great photos.