Friday, August 26, 2011

Back Yard Paradise

Haiku My Heart
August 26, 2011

Each week, on Friday, people gather and write haiku. Some with photos, some with events in their lives to describe, some pouring out feelings, both comic and tragic. Some filled with whimsy and others calling out the cold hard facts of life. To read more, or to find out how to participate, please take a look at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon blog. 

My sister’s back yard
A place to pray, or share space
With Virgin Mary

Earlier this Summer, we went to a family reunion. This was the first time the family has ever done this. There had been gatherings in the past, and often, almost weekly visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Sunday afternoons. But we never had a family reunion. 
This was on my Father’s side of the family. His younger brother and his sister, the baby of their family, my Aunt and Uncle were in attendance. My aunt is in her 80’s, Uncle Joe is 90. All the cousins were there, and most all of their children and their Grandchildren as well. Four generations of the Spado clan.
This event was held in the Chicago area. That’s where I’m from. That’s where I grew up. Most all the family still lives in that area. My brother resides in Arizona and was on his way to Minnesota to visit his wife’s family, so he gets the prize for traveling the farthest distance. I made the trip there for the purpose of attending the reunion. I came in second.
As I often do, I stayed at my sister’s place in the Chicago suburb of Palatine, IL. Her and her husband Bob have owned this house since the late 1960’s I think, at least they owned it in 1970. I stayed with them when I got out of the Army after the Vietnam experience, and that was February of 1970.
Grotto display beneath a huge stand of lilacs

Their back yard is unique in the fact that it is totally unplanned and unlandscaped, and yet it is totally landscaped, and in a very artistic nature I might add. It’s done in a splendid Bohemian style all its own. Pieces of this and that are used to decorate this or that. An old piece of wood, or a line of used bricks, creates distinct areas within the area. Borderless, as there are no fences to speak of on two of the sides, yet the barrier is there and evident in a very unique way.

The artistic decorating style is no style at all, yet very artistic. Click any photo to enlarge the view

One of the focal points of the yard is this old, and therefore large, lilac bush that sits alone in a quadrant of the yard. As the years rolled by, a statue of the Virgin Mary was put there. Other items that came from either purposely buying them or accumulated from what seems like flotsam and jetsam have made the display parklike and certainly artistic in every definition of the word.
These photographs are of the Mary statue. The entire display holds the Crucifix of Jesus Christ, flowers in small planters, a cement patio slab, plaques honoring holy cards of other Saints, an arbor, some cedar lattice and the lilac bush as a backdrop. 

The Cross is made of wood and comes apart as the top slides away from the bottom to reveal a cavity that once held a bottle of holy water, a bottle of anointing oil, candles and a cotton swab. The corpus image of Jesus is pewter. This “special” cross is called a sick call, and used for the sick or dying.  A Catholic Priest using this sick call set would have lit candles any time a Sacrament, like Communion, would be present. The holy water is used to sprinkle the person and remind him or her of their baptism. The bottom of the cross, serves as a tray to hold the items. The image of Christ, in this case in pewter, is stood up in a slot that is revealed when it is slid away from the base.
Stock photo of a sick call in use

Mary dons a veil made from the discarded mesh wrapper of a grocery store box of clementines. Where this comes from and why she is wearing it is not my concern. What I like about it though, is the unassuming way it is used and how natural it seems. It could have been, and probably has been, discarded by most everyone that has purchased a box of the sweet tangerine-like seasonal fruits. Whose wisdom, whose artistic eye, whose ability was stretched into thinking that Mary should be wearing this veil? Surely the item wasn’t bought for the sole purpose of decorating the yard statuary.
Mary and her gauzy veil

Genius. Pure and simple. And as we sat near the sliding patio door next to the portable steel fire pit, complete with roaring blaze, we were in the presence of The Virgin Mother. My Mother lived in this home. My Mother took her faith, with Jesus and his Mother Mary as the focal points of her life for her entire life, and left this world. There is no one that can tell me she didn’t go to the heaven that she prayed for and imagined through her faith.

My sister will too. Her faith is in her yard, wearing a custom made veil, amongst deep purple flowers, with the image of Jesus overlooking the whole neighborhood, protecting his beautiful Mother. She'll have a new statue this year. I plan on bringing her a very colorful depiction from the Southwest of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


A Bit of the Blarney said...

Family reunions for the most part are wonderful gatherings. Those who are there share wonderful tales embellished or not about who they are!!! your sister has a lovely prayer garden! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Cathy

Nanka said...

A beautiful nostalgic trip for you and very sentimental too!! Precious memories to hold for ever and I can feel your love for your family and near and dear ones!! Such an interesting and heartfelt post for the day.
Good Wishes!!

Noelle Clearwater said...

I loved taking this tour of your sister's yard with you and hearing about how Our Lady had been veiled in a tangerine dream of gauzy light. I know all of those sacramental objects from childhood and even in the Episcopal church which I entered later on, they were still present. It is lovely how family homes are passed down and the spirituality that was present in the family remains carried by one sibling or another so that all are blessed by it. Your finding another statue for your sister is your way of carrying on the tradition. It is a beautiful thing. Your love for your family is palpable and your respect for your mother and sister is as well.
Peace and Light,

Kim Mailhot said...

How wonderful to have a family reunion rather than only come together for funerals or weddings. We haven't done that in my family for quite a few years now. We should.
I love your sister's shrine. It has that perfect mix of the spirit and the earthly that speaks to me, deep inside. It is the same mix that we all have within, I think.
Thank you for sharing this visit with us and for showing your love for family so beautifully.
Happy Friday, Man.

Marit said...

Thanks for lifting a tip of the veil and letting us have a look into your (family) life. I love the garden statues.

foxysue said...

How special is that being with your family, sharing and honouring their way of life.

Thank you for the glimpse

Ms Foxy x

rebecca said...

i am so fond of such touching and personal adorations of mary. i immediately was drawn to her purple veil and love reading of the simple origin of this wrapping of love and honor.
thank you for sharing this gathering of family and love.

i hope you will remember to include her when we share A Virgin A Day from december 1-december 12, the feast day of the virgin of quadalupe.

thank you for your place in my heart, every day of every year.

somepinkflowers said...

you must rest easy
knowing Mary
is at watch
over your sister...


i like Her looking
over my shoulder, too....

Kathleen Barnes said...

Family is so precious, a treasure we don't always honor. Late family reunions are better than just wondering about those connected to you in blood and spirit. I love your sister's shrine. I can smell the lilacs as you sit there contemplating the wonder.

Vinay Leo R. said...

We have such reunions along with weddings.. When it happens in our native town, there is that gathering of generations under one roof! And it is fun. I could understand the nostalgia :)

My haiku - Patiently Trying

Dawn Elliott said...

I love how you said that your sister's yard isn't landscaped, yet it is...I feel that same way about our yard! Yipee for family reunions and for all of the clan showing up! Fun post!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I would especially like to visit that grotto when the lilacs are in bloom. It would be heavenly!

Mel said...

Rawr-- I hate when posts get eaten by Moofie.

But I like the sister's backyard with all the STUFF to look at and the bushes and trees for birdies and bugs to have a grand time in.

Lawn chair and a tall glass of suntea--that'd top it off and make it darn near perfect!

She's gonna sooooo love that prezzie!! :-)