Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Passing of our Matriarch

My grandmother, Ida Kerr Lofting, more commonly known as Nana, passed away peacefully on December 31st--the blue moon--a fitting earthly departure for such an amazing women. She was active and lucid right up until the end, no small feat for a woman of 94 years of age. To read about her memorial service, including pictures and words from her family click here.

Nana was extremely supportive of the farming operation-- besides allowing me to farm her property, she was my first (volunteer) worker--picking beans like no one else could. When bending down to harvest became a little too much for her (this happened around age 90), she continued her support with egg boxing, chicken delivery, and allowing poultry sales in her kitchen. She was a fan of the Kennett Farmers Market, sticky buns and sweet corn were some of her favorite Market items.

From her I inherit my love of acidic tomatoes, roma beans, and swiss chard. I learned how to french beans and score corn for freezing, how to prepare rhubarb so it tastes just right on warm buttered toast, and how there is nothing better than her strawberry freezer jam. Her simple but delicious cooking gave me an early and concrete taste for the virtues of farm fresh ingredients. I will miss her greatly, but know that her spirit lives on at Inverbrook. She will be with me forever, strolling around the garden with the dogs. I can here her voice in this poem from Wendell Berry's latest book of poetry Leavings.

VIII.

I tremble with gratitude
for my children and their children
who take pleasure in one another.

In our dinners together, the dead
enter and pass among us
in living love and in memory.

And so the young are taught.

~2005~


3 comments:

hillary_murray said...

Thanks for sharing the beautiful Wendell Berry poem and the great pictures, Claire. I particularly like the one where Nana is buying corn. It's clearly the summertime since corn and tomatoes are at the market and everyone has on short sleeves--but if you look at Nans, she is wearing a turtleneck and a sweater (and she has obviously just had her hair done). I miss her!

pwill8888 said...

A lovely piece of writing and pictures of Ida Claire. it's a joy to see the love and affection put up and out to the world. Ida would be quietly delighted and amazed at 'it all', I am sure. Much appreciated, your London cousin, Pam

Willowdale Country Store said...

The poem says it perfectly. I am in the middle and
you are part of that legacy. It makes me feel calm and
so grateful that wisdom prevails. Make me listen always.