Ma grandmère (haibun)

This week’s quote prompt for Ligo Haibun Challenge,  focuses on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as ‘Mahatma’ (meaning ‘Great Soul’) Gandhi. This is the quote that inspired my haibun.

“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

As I was writing this I also had another prompt in mind for Haiku Horizon and the prompt was “comfort”.  I realized when I completed it that I had two themes in mind and yet, I find this important person I talk about was a significant comfort to me and important role model…my mentor and strength in life.

~

her comfort

always gave me

strength 

© clr Grand-Maman 2014
© clr Grand-Maman 2014

 

 

I am reminiscing of times passed in Grand-Maman’s house when she was still living there. I would arrive and she’d always have that mocking chuckle.  It was a teasing laugh with affection.  In French there is an expression, “Qui s’aime, se taquine.” {One teases a person they love}  I am quite tall and she would often greet me with a laugh and then ask me before I had time to sit down, “Oh, by the way, “la grand jaune” *.  I was holding these items here just for you.”

Warm feelings

taunting with affection

comforting words

Folded with care on a chair next to the washroom were tablecloths carefully ironed.   She ironed everything, even sheets and dish towels.  She would wait for me to store these high UP in the cupboard over the bathtub.  I know that sounds odd.  My grandfather built this house “à la pièce” {bit by bit}.  At first it was a snack bar for summer tourists who came over to rent a row-boat or go for a swim in the river.  He added more and more until it became a 2 bedroom home. perhaps he was still chief of police then and living at City Hall ….I am not too sure of the entire story and not many people are living to confirm this, so I am going by the memory of my youth.

I would take the pile of linen, stand up on the side of the bathtub and place them in the cupboard.  The ceiling in the washroom was about 12 feet high compared to the kitchen it was very high!. I guess that was once part of that snack bar.

Then we could sit and chat with a nice cup of tea.  I liked my tea strong because I added sugar and milk the way I used to as a child. Grand-Maman,  on the other hand like her tea like most French Canadians, black.  So when I would pour the boiling water in my cup, she would always say, “Don’t throw out the tea bag…put it in my cup…I don’t need it strong.”

 

© clr 2014
© clr 2014

Sipping my tea

the mind rewinds to times

that comfort me.

It always felt good to sit at the kitchen table and munch on some of her pies  or sugar cookies she had baked. And if there weren’t any, she would pop in some bread in the toaster and we’d enjoy toast with des cretons or molasses.  The latter was one of her favourite.   She would talk about stories when she was younger.  Sometimes I would talk about a friend or colleague I worked with in town and she would remember the mother of that friend.  Most probably she had delivered them at birth since she was the village mid-wife, she had delivered thousands of babies in all the surrounding towns including most of her grandchildren…I was one that was born in her bed!

She would talk about madame so and so, the wife of a military man when she had pensioners boarding in her home during WWII that were referred to her from the Military Camp in Farnham, our home town. People called her for recipes,  gardening, how to patch their roof, how to sew a coat, advice on child rearing and for ailing the sick or a dying relative. Being a midwife was only one smart part of her role, as well as raising seven children, supporting her husband as Chief of Police, being a fervent Catholic.  She brought me to my first communion as everyone seemed busy that day.  As if raising her children was not enough, when I was 14 and my sister 16, she took us in with our mother when our father flew the coop.  Never once complaining about wanting to “live” for a change but continued to cook, clean and nurture us as we were her own…proudly too!

 

Many called her madame Daudelin, others called her Garde Daudelin (nurse) and most just called her Grand-Maman Daudelin.

When GrandMaman passed, I asked for those four cups that I favoured .  They look like ordinary “diner” style cups but still they meant a lot to me.    One particular cup had some paint smudged on the bottom and I NEVER wanted to scrub it off.  There is something about that particular cup that comforts me when I drink my tea.  It holds old memories of times passed and the bond and love I had for Grand-Maman who was my second mom and my model in life.

extraordinary

humble, selfless

ma grandmère.

~

extraordinaire

modeste, généreuse

ma grandmère

All our visits to her home had a purpose. She had linen or cans to store on shelves, work for my uncles to get done outside or fix some pipes in the basement, my mom would colour and style her hair regularly…everyone had a feeling they gave her something  when they visited and felt good about themselves when they left; and yet, she gave so much to all of us in wisdom, love, hope and mostly purpose in life.

 

breathing strength

living life with love, faith, hope

ma grandmère.

 ~ 

elle souffle une force

vivant ses  trois vertus,

Grand-maman.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/26

*la Grand Jaune {this was a character in a French Québecois show, “Séraphin- Un home et son pêché” and she was tall with blonde hair}

This was submitted for: Ligo Haibun Challenge

also  Haiku Horizon and the prompt was “comfort”

14 thoughts on “Ma grandmère (haibun)”

  1. You come from a line of awesome women. Reading this brought me right back to being in her home by the river and the feelings I had as a visitor there as a 12 year old. I remember the statue of St. Joseph facing the river in the spring. She made that home a special place to be. Thanks for the memories.

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  2. Wonderful memories and a great tribute to your grandmother! It’s always interesting to read about your mother and grandmother two formidable women! I suspect they have been a guiding force in creating the feeling of strength I often find in your writing.

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    1. I think I have the stubborness and compassion of my grandmother; my mom is filled with love and passion, caring , giving and a flirty, sexy side I only have a bit of…not as outrageous as she was…haha, but i guess that kept me out of trouble 🙂

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    1. Merci bien! Oui, effectivement, elle était une femme extraordinaire and selfless. I realized it more as an adult and a grandmother…I hope she hears how I feel now.

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