Friday, September 09, 2005

The Enchanteur's Cave

As I move towards the Cave I hear and smell my childhood. Holy Gods!! The Enchanteur looks like all the women in my family, strong-featured, with the beauty of her self shining from gentle, loving eyes. The cats and I break into a run and arrive at the door breathless, laughing and excited. The Enchanteur waves us in with hands strong, and still soft, nails carefully manicured, and hair perfectly coiffed. She's wearing simple slacks and complementary blouse under the hand-embroidered apron her mother made for her Hope Chest.
There we were, in that kitchen that held so many lovely memories. The house that always had paper to draw on, crayons and coloured pencils, colour books, games of all sorts, and books. Oh the books!!! Books on poetry, history, music, childrens' books. All in the spare cedar chest in the den to the left of the kitchen entry from the garage. One step up took you to the kitchen, and the 'little table' solid wood, with wrought iron legs and a thick slab of glass covering the top.
I could smell one of the family's Sunday dinners, made for after Sunday Early Mass. Baking to slow perfection in the oven were a beef roast, and homemade scalloped potatoes (no box-mix ever matches up). There are green beans simmering atop the stove. A tray of dinner rolls awaits the right time. A kettle of peeled potatoes cook gently on a back burner, and on the front was one of mine, and my brothers' favourite childhood memories; Grandma DeShaw's old pressure cooker, 'tchick-tchick-tchicking' away as it cooks a huge corned beef to fall-apart tenderness.
On the floor were three cat place settings, a bowl for kibble, another for tinned food, a third for people food and immaculte bowls for water. Sammy Neo, Grandma's cat slinks regally in the room, greeting Skye and Pye with her purebred Siames "MIAOW", my kitties trill back and all three touch noses to become better acquainted.
"I'm stunned, overjoyed and confused Madame L'Enchanteur. I came on this journey to revitalise my creative self."
"Wasn't this one of the two places you learned to love the arts and developed your own Artistic self?" L'Enchanteur spoke in a warm voice, brimming with love. "What better place to start than the place where you began?"
My smile spread wider and wider as tears of joy burned in my eyes. "You're so right Madame. What can I do to help?"
"Please, set the table Puss." No-one had called me 'Puss' since the days of that house, and a large, close-knit French Catholic family.
As I set the table, lessons I had learned then, some seeming to have nothing to do with creativity glowed as if newly minted to memory.
My Great-Grandma DuBay, who taught me to sew, and that creativity and artistry belong to more than painters, sculptors, and 'Artists', Great-Grandpa DuBay who taught me to find joy in anything, no matter how small.
Grandma DeShaw, from whom I learned consistency and caring. Grandpa DeShaw, who taught the value of doing well no matter what you are doing. Uncle 'Santa' and Aunt Dorothy who taught me what 'commitment' is supposed to mean. And how to laugh at myself, through Aunt Dorothy's collection of Polish joke when she was 100% Polish herself.
And my Mum, who taught me to love the written and spoken word, and first started me on my love affaire with colour, texture and line.
So, my journey here, begins where my talents and creativity were first noticed and nurtured. A place that remains in spirit always.
The table was set with 'Sunday' dishes, and the food was being brought to the table. People whose faces were unfamiliar, as were the voices; yet were of the same spirit race sat down and we feasted on memories and dreams.


At 4:33 PM, Blogger Fran said...

Gwen:What a yummy place your grandmother made for you! You make me envious for my two grandmas both lived thousands of miles from where we lived. cheers, Fran

At 4:06 AM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Special gifts and memories.

At 4:09 AM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

Like Fran I am totally envious. I never knew either of my grandmother's. Mrs Hair, who I wrote about in the Chocolate Box is the closest to a grandmother figure - other than Aunty Alice who I visited when I was little.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Believer said...

"Feasted on memories and dreams"--what a lovely ending to a beautiful piece.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Chameleon said...

What a beautiful picture you paint of the Cave...makes the journey worthwhile.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Shiloh said...

Love, what a wonderful beginning to a creative journey. I couldn't help but smile as I read.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Lois said...

Like others my Grandmothers were long gone when I was born....
But in Gwens's story I can relate to many of her memories of older Aunts ,Grandfathers,Family friends...
Developing your artistic talents starting at a young age and finding this out as you travel on this journey is truely wonderful
Gwen....We all can at some time on this journey be overjoyed at what takes place as we write of our adventures...

Lois (muse of the sea)


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