My mother had a diary. She wrote in it quite often during my childhood. I don’t know if she wrote every day, but quite often. She was the inspiration for me to get my first diary, the inspiration for years of journaling. Her entries were simple, never more than three or four lines. She’d write something like “Picked two bushels of potatoes. Took Amy to dentist, three fillings. Cloudy, got up to 68 degrees.”
Reading her diaries after she passed didn’t take long, if one was just reading the words. Inevitably though reading those short little passages would lead to story time, asking a sibling or Dad “Do you remember?”. I don’t know where those diaries went. I hope that someone still has them. They were beautifully worn out. They’d become not just a place to put her thoughts, but reference books over the years. One was covered in duct tape to hold it together and had the great art of three or four year old me decorating the inside covers. She told our stories in the simplest ways. She spoke of planting and harvests, doctor appointments and birthdays. She also gave the weather report, an essential bit of information for any successful farmer.
She’s been gone almost 37 years now. It seems strange how someone that I knew for only 12 years could still be guiding my life almost four decades later, but she is. She does every day. Her words still guide me. Her arms still hold me in my memories, in my heart. Today I am thankful that she wrote those simple thoughts, that she kept that ragged, worn-out diary for my siblings and I to read and remember.