Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cardinals in the TH

Out of all her children, I'm the only one who did not share her great passion for birds; in fact, I'm quite terrified of them when we are anywhere near each other.

And yet this Christmas I was missing her immensely. I needed to honour her in some way at the TH, needed people to be reminded of the huge impact she has had on this place.

I went to the basement to get the tip teapot we use in winter - it is a cardinal one, given to me by my lovely Sarah and Taylor the Christmas my Mum died because, as Sarah said in her husky little voice, "Your Mom liked cardinals."

And after that, almost without conscious effort, cardinals started to pop up everywhere I went. Here's a peek at the TH, festooned for Christmas:
The front door wreath, created by Doreen

The mirror in the entry
Deb attached this jaunty bird to
Asher's felt hat

The sign that greets you as you enter the dining room
Door mat, presented by Brenda
Each of the three chandeliers had
its own cardinal perched on it

Our little Christmas tree - Deb started the tradition of
giving each of us a cardinal ornament the Christmas
after Mum passed away. They are all on this tree ...
Nilgiris' traditional Winter Scene on the fireplace ...
... with a close-up of the
ornament my friend Jackie
gave me last year

Ornament over the little desk

How do we go back to regular white plates after using these all season?!

Cowboy cardinal from Brenda,
making sure the boys
wash their hands!
Men's room

Ladies' room

Cardinal kids playing in the corner
Meant to be: my friend Lynda - who had
no clue about the cardinal theme -
made this apron for me!
Tip pot from Sarah and Taylor

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Chorus
Snow globes
Mini tea sets, given to me
by Sharon and Vernon
since 2007

Our family's Christmas pudding - Dad's Mom's own recipe - stuffed with coins like Mum's Mum taught us and served with rich white sugar condensed milk sauce and 
caramelized brown sugar sauce from these beautiful pitchers 

The handmade chandelier over the counter was
the perfect perch for the cardinal
Bronwyn brought us on Christmas day

... and underneath it, a picture of Mum
on her beloved verandah in Bangalore
The last cardinal was to be found outside, to the east of the TH, in the Josh Tree. Enduring the elements, this little bird managed to cling to the brittle twig-like branches throughout the season, a brave solitary figure that reminded us of grief in this season of gladness, it is true; but also of the marvellous grace of the Baby, born in a stable, who would grow up to say to those people who love and trust Him, "Lo, I am with you always," and "Where I am, there you will be also."


  1. What beautiful reminders of your mother!
    Sometimes the missing of loved ones is so hard at Christmas, I know I treasure the visual reminders of their dearness.

  2. My favourite is the photo - because Mum radiates all the life, charm, wit, grace, verve and energy of all the cardinals put together! Thank you for honouring our most precious gift and life-bearer in this way. It was a WONDERFUL Christmas season, Karyn. x


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