I never knew very much about dragon flies. As a kid my mother told my two brothers and me that they were called Sewing Bees” and we should stay away from them because they would sew our lips together (Honest to God)! Their bodies did resemble a sewing needle and they were odd looking because of their four wings, big head and bulging eyes. This was enough proof to make us heed Mom’s advice. This warning was almost as bad as when she told us not to swallow watermelon seeds because watermelons would grow in our stomachs. Italian mothers had either a scare or a curse for just about everything we did as kids.
Not until I was an adult did I give much thought to dragon flies. By now I at least knew that they weren’t going to hurt me (Thanks Mom). Now I see them buzzing around my backyard minding their own business. I have been tempted at times to tell my grandchildren about my mother’s version of dragon flies but I don’t want them to think that she was crazy especially since some of them never got to meet her at all while others barely got to know her because of their young age. Hopefully one day they will read all about it here when they are much older.
When I became “sole occupant” (it’s a nice way of saying widower) of my castle, I took more notice of my surroundings. When my wife Mary was in charge, the inside of our home was her domain. We never argued about furnishings or décor. Whatever she chose was fine with me. I learned years ago to pick my “battles” and I flatly refused to fight over the color of curtains or bed sheets. I would save my ammunition for something worth drawing a line in the sand. Towels and face clothes? I don’t think so!
The first thing I noticed inside my home was that stuff got dusty real quick if I didn’t keep up with general housekeeping. I made a public statement to family and friends at a summer picnic years earlier, proclaiming, “I will never hire a house cleaner as long as I live in this house!” At the time It was a warning shot over the bow of the proverbial ship for my wife and daughters to take notice. I knew that if I did hire a house cleaner, my wife would spend the day before “straightening up the house” before she arrived and then complain about the lousy job cleaner did after she left. The only loser would be me because I would be the one who was expected to pay for such a convoluted service. (Guess what? It was not happening!)
For the last 8 years I have earned the title of “Sole Occupant & House Cleaner.” Yes… I dust, sweep, vacuum and polish. I even do the windows and bathrooms out of necessity! I must admit that housekeeping is not only a lot of work but I can’t hold a birthday candle as to how well my wife, Mary, kept our home so clean, comfortable and… cozy (The Triple C’s and all at one time no less)!
As I reluctantly assumed my self imposed household chores, I noticed that our home had dragon flies in almost every room. No… not real ones. These dragon flies were in the form of small glass figurines and images imprinted on coffee cups and etched onto water pitchers and glasses. I never paid much attention to stuff like that before.
They were not apparitions. They did not mysteriously appear. Rather, it was my lack of attentiveness that made me fail to see them previously. They sat on shelves, window sills, the fireplace mantel and inside my china cabinet. There was a small one even in my bathroom! How did I ever miss that one? They have such big eyes!
I’ve actually grown fond of dragon flies. I even had one tattooed on my upper left arm (the arm closest to one’s heart) in admiration of Mary. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t notice them. During the season I see them outside playfully flying and darting around in my backyard with some unknown mission. It does make me wonder if those dragon flies are there in some way as a reminder of Mary’s presence and kindred spirit.
I’ve come a long way and have traveled an unusual journey learning about dragon flies. In the end, they have become symbolic of the two dearest and most loving women I have ever known…my wife and my mother. GBWY.