Advent begins today, the fourth Sunday before Christmas as we prepare our homes and hearts for the arrival of the Christ child into our daily life. An Advent wreath was always a part of my childhood. Usually we poked evergreen branches into a Styrofoam ring and added four tapers to it, and placed it in the center of our dining room table. We try to continue the tradition today with our own family.
Earlier this week, I placed one of my Mom's oil paintings in our living room. It's a lovely little scene of my Grandfather McKee in a horse drawn cutter in our maple lined driveway. I imagine my Grandmother, Lillian, took his photo with her little box camera, around 1920. My Mom was an amateur painter. For many years she met in the basement of her friend, retired English teacher, Esther Brooks, who was an amazing friend, artist, gardener, cook...just an all- round interesting person. Esther was hostess and mentor to a diverse group of women, who met in her basement weekly to work on paintings or pastels, share conversation and potluck lunches. Wanda, Dot, Dot (Martina), Olive, Esther, Marion (my Mom) and a few others helped each other with their paintings and problems...Mom painted what she loved- her Mother's doll, Carrie, yellow tulips, our dog, Woody, our cat, Oleo, her first grandson Mike, a scene near Tin Cup, CO, her father's barn... the list goes on and on. I'm awed by the love she put into her paintings and amazed at the amount. They are a tangible reminder of her and that wonderful time in her life.