This beautiful Kousa Dogwood tree is in our garden at our Cape Cod B&B.
We thought that we were going to lose this beautiful tree two years ago. Half of the tree was dead. We called in our arborist, who told us that our only chance of saving the tree was to give it a deep root feeding. Last year it seemed to be gaining strength so we gave it another feeding and this spring we were rewarded with these lovely blossoms. In a few weeks red seed pods will appear.
During warm summer mornings, we serve breakfast on the deck that is shaded by this lovely tree.
Bill and Pat O’Connell and the staff at the Palmer House Inn wish all mothers a happy and healthy Mother’s Day filled with the love and joy that only our children can bring.
This year one of our daughters sent this lovely bouquet. It is on the front porch for this photograph, but we have placed it in the parlor for everyone to enjoy.
A Mother’s Touch in the Inn’s Parlor
This room is one of our favorite spaces in the Inn because of the lovely morning light that streams through the windows, and because of the special antique items it contains.
The antique dutch extension table, carved sideboard and carved china cabinet were purchased by my mother. When I was small we lived in a pre-revolutionary colonial house on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. My mother had a keen eye for antiques and these pieces were a wonderful foundation for many family events in that old house, and now at the Inn on Cape Cod.
The rose-colored, cut-glass punch bowl is also a family antique that originally belonged to my mother’s mother. She and my grandfather lived in a Victorian house very much like the Palmer House Inn. It was located on Tower Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. This has been the centerpiece for many elegant gatherings and weddings for years.
The last piece I enjoy seeing every time I walk into the parlor is the chandelier. This was a brilliant find when, as an adult, we moved to Maryland. All it needed was a good cleaning and this beautiful piece has shined ever since. When we moved to the Inn, Bill found the perfect plaster molding circular surround and we completed the look with a Victorian chain cover. We enjoy adding flowers and decorations to it for weddings, elopements or red lamp shades for the holidays.
In the afternoons coffee, assorted teas, ice water, candies and homemade cookies are provided in the parlor. Iced tea, lemonade, hot mulled cider, or hot chocolate are also offered in season.
This is the first rainy day, in Falmouth, in a long time. The flowers on the Cape are soaking it up and blooming.
However, we at the Palmer House are not feeling the least bit overcast. This is an especially good day for us. It marks the nine year anniversary since I hung my first May basket on our fence in Eastport Maryland, then walked inside to prepare for the day. That was that day that I discovered that I had stage two breast cancer. I was told that I had a 60% chance of surviving the next five years.
After a period of disbelief, we set out to look the beast in the eye and beat it back. With the help of my wonderful devoted Bill, our daughters, and my very unselfish sister in addition to many fantastic friends, eleven months later I emerged with a 90% chance of survival. It took three surgeries, six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation. During that period Bill drove me to every appointment, therapy and treatment. He was there at the doctor’s offices taking notes and remembering what was said, when my mind was a blur. Our oldest daughter sent a big box of the cutest hats. Thinking about opening that box, still makes me smile. My sister and our other two daughters were in contact with each other and formed an agreement to coordinate their visits to Maryland. My sister is a teacher in Maine, so the school vacations dictated her visits. Our second daughter lived in England at the time but she flew home on several occasions. Our third daughter was living in San Diego and she also flew home to help out. She was with me when I had my last chemo treatment. The nurses gave me a mortarboard and played “Pomp and Circumstance”, then they took a photo of us for their bulletin board.
We had wonderful friends who would drop by with big bowls of home made custard and chicken soup. Eating became a problem and the soup and custard made eating easier. Some nights when Bill would come home, I would say, ” I am not interested in eating this evening, why don’t you just make something for yourself.” He would go into the kitchen and I would hear, click, click, chop, chop. Then he would call me onto our sunny little porch, where he would have set the little table with a pretty blue cloth and napkins and there would be the most delicious chopped salad that was nutritious and very easy to eat.
Another friend helped us to buy a scanner so that I could scan our slides onto the computer. One daughter asked me, “Doesn’t it make you sad to see all of those old photos.” I said, “No it makes me happy, because I am seeing you beautiful children smiling and enjoying happy times together.” That project took me back to many good memories and helped to take my mind off the fight at hand.
On May first of each year since that life changing day, I hang the basket and say, ” Thank you God.” No, a little rain isn’t going to wash away all of the joy that I feel today.