Transporting Stories


In the beginning, I knew my grandsons would get many toys for Christmas. I decided when they were babies to give them art. I continued that tradition every year. A few years ago, feeling momentarily guilty, I thought I should choose something else. Would the boys like something from LL Bean? I asked my daughter. That's not their style, she said. And, they have come to expect art from you. Yes! Going through possessions due to my upcoming move and downsizing, this year's theme is containers. This is what I have written to accompany their gift.

An object to contain or transport something.

The memories and the stories our ancestors told, hold and shape the person we are, and are to to become. They carry us forward. Do not hold them too tight. Stories are always suspect. They are meant to embellished, researched and rewritten.

This bowl is from my grandmother, Stella Butterfield Tilson. She was raised in Oklahoma and West Texas. Andrew, her compassionate father, and Gabriella, her strong, outspoken mother, were missionaries. Gabriella was referenced once in a book that written about Andrew and the missionary work he did with the Indians. He converted over 500 to Christianity. She said she didn’t like what the soldiers were doing to the Indians. She didn’t like that they brought the children to the shcool in a chicken-wire covered wagon.

When I asked my aunt Eugenia about this comment, she said, “Oh, now you’re getting political.” And said no more.

This bowl is also strong. It has lasted a long time and is now ready to contain your poems and stories, carry them forward. I have added Frank Walker's book of poetry. He gives you history way before FB. Read it and ponder. Then write yours.


All I Want to Do

Is make beautiful things for you to wear to express your beauty.  

When I'm not doing that I write stories that reveal the beauty that surrounds me.

Food and Traditions

Deviled eggs are about the only traditional food left at my family dinners. We don't even call them holiday dinners, anymore. I do still set a pretty table, however, with lace tablecloth and china from my first marriage even though this is my third marriage.  

My mother, the granddaughter of a Methodist missionary from Texas who converted over 500 Indians to Christianity, married my dad, a Catholic and the son of Polish immigrants living in Chicago. Everything was fine until she converted to Catholicism and we started going to Mass instead of a Sunday church service. Mom's mother didn't speak to her for three months.

After I divorced my first husband I became a vegetarian and followed a more Eastern path. Turkey was gone from the dinner table and festivities became more diverse. The china remained and I added candles. 

My second husband was an assimilated Mexican. The only time we celebrated culturally was when we went to his hometown and his mother cooked for all ten of her children. Otherwise, he and I had what I called a "restaurant relationship."  We mostly ate out. In fact, we spent one Christmas Eve at The Jefferson Davis Inn, a local tavern. I cringed at the thought, "if my mother could see me now."

My current husband grew up a Mennonite in South Dakota. In the fifties he migrated to San Francisco, was an original beat hipster and followed Gurdjieff. I'm certain his mother had traditions but he didn't bring many to our marriage and blended family of eleven children. I brought everything back.  Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, fruit salad with whip cream. We raised the kids to think for themselves. 

Currently, three go to Sunday Church services, occasionally; one is an atheist; one married a Jewish woman, they seldom go to the synagogue; one is a Buddhist and practices at Temple weekly; one is Catholic, sorta; two are "spiritual" and two are Jehovah Witnesses and go to meetings. 

Today, when asked to bring a dish, I fix deviled eggs. If I'm hosting, the tablecloth still graces the table, I get down the china and serve . . . ?  Well, that depends