A summer visit– Part 3

June 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

By the time we had finished our tea and dessert, it was time to think about going home. Rachel asked if we’d like to see her midwife room first. She led the way up the stairs to her clinic room. She showed us the room with its modern hospital bed, with rails on the sides, the scale  and counter where they weigh and measure babies, a shelf where she keeps her  books. Rachel told us that midwives must be registered and that she acts as assistant. A doctor comes in twice a month for prebooked prenatal appointments, but his patients go to the hospital to have their babies delivered.

We went back downstairs to the front room and got ready to leave. That was the moment for the hostess gift. I pulled the  package, wrapped in blue tissue paper, out of my bag and gave it to Rachel.

Unwrapping the package of note paper and pen, Rachel said with delight, “I guess I’ll have to get busy.”

She set the package on top of a chest of drawers and then pulled out a lined notebook from a drawer. She laid it on a table in her kitchen with a pen and asked each of us to write in it. Thank yous came easily and how much I enjoyed the visit and meeting her grandchildren. I also wrote my address there, wondering if she might write back.

As we chatted and took turns writing our notes, she said, “Oh, I almost forgot.”

She hurried to a cupboard in her kitchen and opened one of the upper doors. She took out 4 bottles of maple syrup and gave one to each of us. It was maple syrup they had made on their farm, and the label bore her husband’s initial and last name as well as their address.

“My husband and I will enjoy this, ” I said,  holding up my bottle. “Thank you.”
We said our goodbyes on her front porch, then headed for Bev’s car. Rachel stood on her porch waving to us as we waved from the car and slowly pulled out of our parking spot.

We drove out the lane, turned left onto their country road, talking about the visit, about the grandchildren and how the middle child looked so much like his Dad did at a young age. About Rachel and her work as a midwife and the seeming contradiction of modern equipment in an Old Order home.

I mentioned the buttons on the back of the children’s clothing, quite a step from using straight pins as fasteners. The buttons were plain and practical and the children would be safe while they played.

We speculated if Rachel and her husband had ever thought of leaving their ways since they both seemed so progressive, Rachel in her learning and her husband in his business of raising pigs and his ability to discuss politics or nearly any subject that came up. It was obvious to us that they read widely  and are both intelligent. We wondered whether they might ever feel isolated and read to fill the gap or if being apart from the world made it easier to look at something like politics with more objectivity.

We were returning to our lives in the modern world while Rachel seemed content in her own— content, but willing to correspond and visit with her friends from school days who lived in a modern world.  As we neared Bev’s home, Gayleen mentioned the picture we were going to have someone take with our cameras. I thought my sister might do that, since she’d be home from work by that time. We drove to her place after checking on Bev’s mother.

After picture taking and a short visit, we returned to Bev’s home and our cars. The day had been a perfect one for a drive, a time together, and  a fait accompli that we had finally made the trip to visit Rachel, something we’d been trying to schedule for some time. That Diane was home on holidays from the west was something we could not have planned, so the day was made perfect with that surprise.

Here we are in Joan’s beautiful back yard. Thanks Joan for being photographer.

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