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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

A Shade-Speckled Afternoon

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Monday Book Club read
The Immortal Life of
Henrietta Lacks
for the month of April.

Ten of the twelve members met
under a pear tree for lunch and a lively discussion
of Henrietta's contributions to modern gene research.

We discussed Henrietta's immortal cancer cells
the day after Easter when the immortal life of Christ
is celebrated with various symbols, images, and traditions.

The book club garden party tables beckoned us outside
with glimpses through the breakfast room's windows.

April 1st had a cloudless sky of vibrant blue.
The grass and newly leaf-clothed trees sparkled in the sunlight
with leaves exuberant with new life.

Inspired by Cedar Hill Ranch's post last year about
Pasture Party in a field of bluebonnets, I gathered
old tables, various chairs, dishes, and tablecloths
to create a setting for moments of pure, perfect joy.

...a shade-speckled afternoon
of garden friends,
sweet breezes, and practically 
nothing to do...
(Marjolein Bastin)

To create a day we will remember repeatedly
as we reminisce in the days to come...

Bright green, verdant green,
pale green, medium green, celery green,... so many shades of green
will be a distant memory in the dead heat of summer
when all the leaves will be a dull green from lack of rain.

But today, with tables set in the dappled sunlight, we laughed, talked, ate, drank,
discussed, pondered, and enjoyed the new green life
under the pear tree.

We marveled at how Henrietta's cancerous cervical cells
have been used in research to create advances in medicine...
how zero gravity affects human cells in space,
the polio vaccine, chemotherapy,
cloning, gene mapping,
in vitro fertilization, herpes, leukemia,
influenza, hemophilia, Parkinson's disease... ... ...

Scientists continue to use Henrietta's cells
sixty-two years after first collecting them
in the weeks and days before her death.
Her cells were the first ones researchers found to continue
to replicate endlessly in cultures outside the body
as long as the cells have nutrients.

All without Henrietta's consent or
knowledge that her cells were being harvested!

This is what we pondered most of all
in the shade of the pear tree.

I'm joining these inspiring linking parties...
the Scoop
Savvy Southern Style
Jennifer Rizzo
French Country Cottage
The Charm of Home