Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses, Grey Day, 1949
© Grandma Moses Properties Co.
“We worked hard on the farm as kids, even on Christmas,”
his hand opened to ease away a curtain of 80 years.
“Why, your Uncle Paul and I were only 9 and 7 when we had to
hitch up the horses by ourselves on Christmas Eve
and take a wagon load of corn cobs over to Grandma Eva.
Just the two of us boys alone on that slushy county road.
Grandma would burn dried cobs in her cook stove.
Of course she’d have Christmas dinner waiting for us!
Afterwards, my parents, siblings, grandparents – on both sides –
plus all the aunts and uncles
sat around her table playing cards,
everyone speaking Canuck and laughing.
Sometimes we nine kids would each get an orange
or one toy we all would share.
No, I can’t recall much French now,
but that’s all I spoke until I started grade school.
What was that little prayer I used to sing before bedtime?”
Dad’s gaze lifted,
his voice became delicately soft and croaky
as he touched his finger to his eyelid,
Dieu bénisse mes yeux,
then to his nose,
bénisse mon nez
then his lips,
bénisse mes lèvres…
And I felt blessed.