Dancing From One Season to the Next

Sorting through the holiday madness trying to represent.

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

In 1989 I saw Steel Magnolias at the movie theatre. It tore me up. Still does even though I know what’s coming. I remember thinking at only 24 years old that this was what life really boiled down to: marking time from holiday to holiday making memories as they came and went, but the one sure thing was that the next holiday was coming around, and as a Southern woman, the die was cast and you simply pulled yourself up by your big girl panties no matter what hand life dealt you and got spruced up for the next holiday.

It really bothered me that I boiled life down to this simplistic cyclical calendar. I thought to myself, “Is this it? Just getting from one season to the next with the best decorations and casserole at the church social despite the tragedies of life?” I’m certain my lack of culinary prowess had something to do with my blue take on the entire situation. I had no idea how to make a red velvet cake with gray icing shaped like an armadillo or how to beautifully dye and decorate 12 dozen Easter eggs, nor did I have any such aspirations of learning those particular skills. This epiphany was before Mr. Kaminski, before in-laws and outlaws, before babies – and I already knew the game plan, or so I thought I did. Sure, you throw in there a lot of resilience because these women were like the women I grew up with – Southern strong – with a dash of wit and whole lot of love – but who regularly showed up at the Easter picnic with the pink cupcakes sporting bunny whiskers, sparkly reindeer mix at Christmas and beautiful heart-shaped cookies at Valentines. It’s just what you’re supposed to do. Wit I could do; heart-shaped cookies, not so much.

Of course, the character I most associated with at age 24 was Weezer – still do. After all, she did what she wanted, said exactly what she thought, ate her groceries while wandering around the Piggly Wiggly before she actually purchased them when forced to go to the God-forsaken place, ran around in overalls and big hats, threw a mink coat over the aforementioned ensemble as needed and had a super sweet man eye her adoringly no matter what she did. Sound familiar?

Kassidi, Kolton and Granny Ernest at Christmas Brunch 2021.

Baby girl posted a picture on Facebook this week that made me think of Steel Magnolias. It was a photo of Kassidi, Kolton and Granny taken at Christmas last year. On a Sunday afternoon last December, Mr. Kaminski hosted a holiday brunch for all of our kids’ grandparents, his Granny, Aunt Joyce and our family so we could spend some time together for the holidays – a very special treat. With COVID still a concern and grandparents in their 70s and 90s, Mr. Kaminski arranged for a private area at Ol’ Railroad Cafe with Daniel Ornelas, a dear friend gone to glory just a few days ago. We spent many family holidays at Ol’ Railroad Café – Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – and we will always have our very special Christmas brunch, the last Christmas we spent with Granny.

Yesterday was Mr. Kaminski’s 58th birthday; today we lay his Granny – Eleanor Stavinoha Ernest – to rest. She was 97 years young, and Mr. Kaminski was her first grandchild. They spent nearly 60 years together, and they shared a very special bond. We never went to Austin without stopping on the way home to pick up Granny’s favorite kolaches, which Mr. Kaminski would promptly deliver to her delight. Today, I know Granny’s dance card is full in heaven – she loved to dance – dancing with her loved ones who have gone on before her. And I know that when Mr. Kaminski sees her again one day, he will be looking for a spot on that dance card, so Granny, save a very special spot for your firstborn grandson.

I suppose Robert Harling was onto something when he penned Steel Magnolias. Life is all about the moments, no matter how often they come back around, and how you handle them. See y’all next week – on the porch!


Patti Parish-Kaminski

Follow Patti Parish-Kaminski on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OnThePorchWithPatti/ and on Instagram at instagram.com/ontheporchwithpatti/.