This June, my mom Bettey Tobey turned 83. In February, she fell on ice and broke her hip in four places. She was laid up but determined to get right back into action and not miss any living. She amazed us all and exceeded medical expectations. She wasn’t having any part of a wheelchair and left rehab with a walker. It was not long before that was replaced by a cane and SHE WAS DRIVING AGAIN !
Unbelievable! Anyway, I try to take a day off each year for each of my parents’ birthdays to do something special with them that they’d like. Usually it’s a day trip or destination of some sort. When I asked Mom what sounded interesting, she said, “Let’s go to Canterbury Shaker Village.”
I was dubious but I know once she makes her mind up, there’s no turning back. She traded in the cane for the trip and prudently chose the walker. I packed a picnic and off we went. Mom took it slow and easy and managed to negotiate uneven walkways, dooryards and raised thresholds without incident. Phew!
We sat through part of the introductory film in one of the buildings, then she got restless and was off! We went to a discussion in the Meeting House, checked out exhibits in the school room, herb house and dairy.
We took a lunch break in front of one of the barns and had our picnic. Then we returned and walked some more of the grounds, ending our tour for the day at the laundry and learning just how innovative and creative the Shakers were, with even the most mundane aspects of their lives.
The Shakers strove to improve every process they undertook. They made work, if not fun, at least more interesting and more efficient; leaving extra time for things they would rather do.
Work was a form of worship to them and they did not want it to be a negative experience. We have them to thank for things like the clothes pin, the washing machine, the circular saw and the flat broom. Those items have certainly improved the quality of my own life.
When we arrived back at the car, our good friend Lucilla had stopped by and left a surprise ‘Happy Birthday !’ balloon on the door handle. You can see how thrilled that made Mom.
Happy 83rd Birthday Mom! Here’s to many more! You constantly amaze me! When I count my blessings, I count you twice.