A Good Home, Family Moments, Family Stories

Mama Said…

Some of Mama’s sayings confused the daylights out of us children. These tended to be the old Jamaican/British proverbs or parables.

If we saw our mother looking worried about something, and asked her what was wrong, she might tell us this story:

“Little Pig said to Mama Pig: ‘Mama, why is your snout so long?'”

“Mama Pig replied: ‘Ah, m’child. You’re growing up, one day you will find out for yourself.'”

Photo Credit publicdomainpictures.net

Credit: publicdomainpictures.net

What kind of answer was that?  And I didn’t like the idea of being compared to pigs. But she never explained what she meant.

In later years, I figured it out:

1: It was ‘adult business’ that was worrying her – we were too young for her to share it with us.

2: The troubles of life can make a person weary and ragged. Sometimes it’s hard for a child to understand.  But, when we grew up, we would.

At least, that’s what I think she meant.


A Good Home, Childhood Memories, Family, Home, Inspiration

Mama Said….

Our mother raised us lovingly, on food, church and words.

Some of her words came from the Bible, of course. Many were old family sayings, old Jamaican/British proverbs, or came from sources unknown.


Photo by Hamlin Grange

If we judged another person harshly, my siblings and I would hear this one:

“There is so much good in the worst of us

And so much bad in the best of us

That it doesn’t behoove any of us

To speak evil of the rest of us.”

Just recently, I Googled the saying’s origin and found it attributed to two Americans: Edward Wallis Hoch, and Edgar Cayse both born in the 19th century. Hoch’s version ends slightly differently:

“…That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

I don’t know who said it first. But as far as her children are concerned, Mama said it best!


A Good Home, Mothers

A Mother Still

No-one dared wish this mother

A happy Mother’s Day

Her son had died the year before

They didn’t know what to say.


The silence cut her to her soul

The hurt too hard to tell

For though her son was not alive

She was a mother still.


“I bore a child”, she cried to me

“Raised him to twenty two

Death doesn’t change that fact, you know

I am a mother too.”


I choked back tears and hugged her tight

Willing her pain subside

And wondered what I would have done

If I’d been by her side.


Would I have braved discomfort then

And found the right way through

Or would I have, like all the rest

Just not known what to do?

Dedicated to my dear friend C., and all bereaved mothers.

A Good Home, Daughters, Family, Family Moments, Flowers, Following your dreams, Garden, Guitar Playing, Home, Joyful Moments, Learning to play the guitar, Life in canada, Mothers, Pets, play music, Verandahs

A Sweet Sound

Twang, pling. Pling twang.

Pling, twang. Pling, twang.


My daughter is learning to play the guitar.

Blog Photo - Playing guitar 1

I knew she was committed when she bought her own guitar less than a week ago.

Next she cut her beautiful fingernails. One by one.

Then she watched a YouTube tutorial and downloaded a guitar chords app.

Pling pling. Twang twang…

Blog Photo - Guitar Playing CU reverse shot

She sings softly, willing her fingers to follow her tune.

Pling, pling, twang twang, twung…. Shi….!

She senses my presence and doesn’t finish that word.

She utters a loud sigh instead, rolls her eyes, shakes her head.

Blog Photo - Guitar playing with sky reflected

I’ve joined her on our farmhouse verandah. The day is crisp, cool, but beautiful. (Can you see the blue sky and evergreen spruce trees reflected on the front of her guitar?)

Birds are singing, her father’s gardening and our daughter’s little dog Mr. J.  stops and listens for a moment to the guitar playing, before running off to bark at yet another squirrel.

Blog Photo - Guitarist plays, Mr J watches

But Daughter is entirely focused on the guitar strings.

Head down, dark hair falling forward and almost covering her face, she returns to a wordless, intense concentration.

Pling, pling… 

She keeps going, singing and strumming, no mistakes this time. Even the flowers in the garden bed nearby seem to be bopping along to the tune.

Blog Photo - Tulips in garden near verandah

I applaud when she finishes.

Blog Photo - Fernleaf Peonies

In her twenties, she’s learning to play a new instrument.

How to hold it.

How to position her left hand, her right hand.

What to do when her fingertips get tender, even sore.

Soak them in cider vinegar,she says.

“Oh!” I’m surprised to learn there’s yet another use for cider vinegar. “The thing’s got as many lives as duct tape.”

“It really works!” she says, smiling. “It helps me to keep going till my fingertips toughen up. Smells awful, but it’s soothing.”

It was the same routine the day before.

Her father, who has his own guitar but hasn’t played it in almost a year, stuck his head out the door, saw her strumming and disappeared inside.

He came back a minute later with his guitar. Soon they were strumming together.

Pling pling, twang twang. Twang twang, pling pling.

Another stray twung (or maybe it was a plung) sneaked in and they started all over again.

Finally, they were playing in tune.

“We’ve got a jam-session happening right here on our verandah,” I thought.

One of life’s sweet moments.

Today, Daughter is practicing again, and — hooray, she plays the song perfectly, again!

Blog Photo - Daughter plays guitar long shot

She’s conquered the tune to this good, simple, 3-chord song for beginners.

Amazing Grace.

And I listen and think, without saying:

How sweet the sound.