Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Miss Birdie at 100

Come right in and git you a cheer, honey. Shamed to say I’m just a-loafering here in this recliner—my old legs is bout give out today. What’s that you got there? Oh my, look at them pretty flowers. And what’s that? A birthday present for me? Ay law, I reckon Dor’thy must have told you hit was the day. Last day of August is what I was always told, though it weren’t put down in the family bible and my mommy didn’t never make nothing of birthdays.  

 Dor’thy was all for having some kindly of a shindig at the community center, but I told her I never did like such carryings on no way. Everwhat, I believe she like to wore out the telephone spreading the word for folks has been dropping by all day long. Look at them shiny balloons floating there, bumping on the ceiling. And there’s a cake—get you a piece—it’s right good. Dor’thy ain’t much of a hand to bake but she had a friend make it and put all them flowers on it. And the writing . . .

Yes, one hundred years old today, what about it! Though to tell the truth, I can’t say I recommend it—I’m tired all the time and if my knees ain’t giving me what for, then my back gives out or my heart’s all a- flutter or the arthuritis plagues me. The thing that worries me the most is that I’ll fall, or something will happen that I’ll have to go to a nursing home. I been blessed so far with Dor’thy and friends like you who help me out—bring me groceries or carry me to the doctor. Dor’thy has stayed with me now and again and we get on right good, but she has her own house and me—well, not to sound ungrateful for blessings, I like being on my own for hit’s then I can talk to my Quiet People—Luther and Cletus and my angels and a world of folks I’ve known who’ve gone on.

You know, I’ve even made my peace with my mother—and she with me. . .

Oh, honey, hit’s a long sad story. Ain’t one I ever told, ‘cept to Luther. But the short of it is, she treated me real bad and I got even—almost without knowing what I was doing. And that’s all I’ll say.

‘Ceptin that the thing about time is that the passing of years has a way of rubbing off the sharp edges. And speaking to the dead—the Quiet Ones-has helped me understand more about my mommy and what caused her to be like she was. . .

I been blessed beyond crediting in my life—though I had my losses, now all them losses don’t seem real, not with all of them whispering in my ears all the day and visiting me in my dreams at night. Last night hit was my mommy and she hugged me tight, like she never done in life, and whispered loving words to me and we both of us cried. And when I woke, my pillow was wet.

Now, Lizzie Beth, I want you to listen to what I say. The old folks always said that dreaming of the dead means that Dark Feller is on his way. And I say, that’s fine with me. I ain’t afraid of what’s to come after this life. It’s what may come in this life that troubles me. So iffen you get word some fine morning that I’m gone, I don’t want you to grieve none—I want you to put on the loudest, happiest dance music you can find and picture me dancing with all my kin. You dance too, Lizzie Beth.

And should that day come before the end of October, I want you to be sure to take some spice cake up the hill to the graveyard on Halloween—for me and all the Quiet Ones I done told you of.

Now, honey, don’t take on. Just give me a hug and slip on out. Come back everwhen you can, I ain’t going nowhere just yet.


Monday, August 29, 2022

A Quirky Family Tradition

Our older son Ethan came home for a belated birthday celebration. It was cancelled twice, first due to covid at his end, then due to the same thing here with Justin's family. But finally, we could celebrate.

No family pictures, as a special favor to E who hates having his picture taken as much as I do. 

So here are pictures of two of our puzzle clues for two of his gifts. It's our family's annoying habit to ask the recipient of a gift to guess what it is with the dubious help of written or drawn clues. 

Since usually the recipient has either made a list of what they would like to receive or there are certain always popular choices. In Ethan's case, it's Port. The trick is to guess the brand. This time it was Warre's Warrior (see below.)

The other gift required help from everyone and hints from the clue maker (also traditional.) If I told you the gift was a hundred-dollar bill in a little container made by Ethan's father, could you follow the reasoning behind the picture at the top of the page?


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Waiting in Line

At Josie's school. It seems that the vast majority of parents choose to pick up their elementary students rather than have them ride the bus. Pick up is set for 2:45 and the line begins forming around 1:30 and stretches out to the highway. 

Five cars at a time can proceed to the pickup area when signaled. Placards on the windshields give the name of the student being called for and, five at a time, they are escorted by five teachers or aides to the waiting cars. 

It is an Excruciatingly slow process but, in these days of caution, I don't have any suggestion to speed up the process.

On Wednesday I got there around 1:45 and was maybe 15th or 20th in the line. On Thursday I decided to see just how early I'd need to get there to be first.

1:30 put me 5th in line. A victory of sorts.

The thing is, if one gets near the front there is a LOOONG waiting period BUT one can spend it reading rather than inching forward like the poor devils at the end of the line.

So I take a book and enjoy a quiet hour or more of reading.  Currently I'm reading a book my grandmother had before she was married. It's charming in its very old-fashioned way--all about an idealistic young man working for his wealthy uncle. When the young man discovers his uncle in part of a swindle, he renounces the easy life and goes to work for an engineer (who happens to be wealthy and who has a beautiful daughter . . . well, you can see where this is going. When the young man saves the father's life, it's all over but the Wedding March.

As I read, I remember all my grandmother did for me as I was growing up. 

"Someday you can drive me places," she once said. And I did.

And I like to think I'm, in some way repaying the debt I owe to her and my grandfather and my parents by picking Josie up after school. 

(Also, staying useful, so I don't get put out on an ice floe, as the Inuit were said to do with useless elders.)


Friday, August 26, 2022

Josie Talks Kindergarten

Me again. Now that I'm, in kindergarten, Meema is Driving Me Crazy with questions--What did you do today? What did you have for lunch? Do you sing songs? and on and on till I just have to tell her I DON'T REMEMBER.

What I DO remember is that nap time lasts about five seconds and we can play outside in the playground and we are practicing writing our names and there are lots of nice kids.

 Meema did a video and interviewed me HERE
She got a little too nosy, and I had to end the interview. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

We Were So Young . . .

My mother and her father. I wondered why they were standing out by the mailbox for this picture. (The house across the street belonged to the Hammers who had a daughter a bit older than I and who was entrusted, now and then, to walk with me the two or three blocks to the drug store where we would enjoy lime freezes. Mrs. Hammer had an amazing collection of little green ceramic elves on every surface in her Florida room. There were lily pads too. I admired them fiercely and suggested we start a collection, but my mother was having none of it.)

This picture suggested why my mother and grandfather were staring toward the house. I suspect that this brick walk was just installed as I think I remember concrete stepping-stones originally.

This was the early Fifties--a new development built on what had been pasture. (We found cow bones.) I still love the beautiful long leaf pines.

My brother and I had lots of friends in the growing neighborhood--a whole gang of kids to play kick-the-can or red rover or, when we got older, to ride bikes with. We owned the vacant lot between us and the McKays and in time my brother and his friends would play baseball there.

It was, for us, a happy time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

On a Misty Morning

Quick shots from 8am to 8:45-- as I followed John to the Walnut Service Center where he left his truck and back home again. 

 'They' say that for every fog in August, there'll be a snow in winter. Stand by for a snowy season.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Hooray the First Day!

I am at Big Kid school now! Yesterday was my first day of kindergarten. I had already met my teacher who is very nice and saw my room and where my cubby was but still ...

Still I was a little nervous. But I had Blue Elephant with me for company.

It was great! Only half of the kids were there on Monday and the other half will be there on Tuesday. That's so the teacher can get used to us and tell us stuff we need to know. One thing was how to be quiet when the teacher trickles her fingers like a waterfall.

I know I am going to like school!

Meema says: I blurred the face of Josie's desk companion for reasons of privacy. He/she is not a mutant. FB friends have already seen these pics but I couldn't leave them off the blog.


Monday, August 22, 2022

More Blasts from the Past

John with tobacco sticks. Maybe 1977 or 78. Probably our first crop. . . The tobacco has been jammed onto the sticks and will be left a day or so to wilt and be easier to take to the barn for drying.

Summer of '75 or '76. Our mentor, Clifford Freeman on Nell (34 years old) with Ethan and his cousin Andrew. (3 or 4)

The boys had their own horses. 
And sometimes they went hiking.
(Is that a book under Ethan's arm? 
He was reading at 2 and a half.)


Sunday, August 21, 2022

As the World Turns . . .

Sitting on the porch in the soft pre-dawn light, watching the sky slowly brighten, I seem to feel the roll of the earth.

We were appalled when the first small tower went up on Barnett Mountain. Now we have a much bigger one to look at. I'd prefer to see the mountain unadorned, but such is progress.

A cloud blocked the actual sunrise, so I had to wait a bit longer. Jenny abandoned me and went back to bed.


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Memory Overload

Continuing on with the upstairs bookshelves--now I come to the picture albums.  My maternal grandmother's wedding album, ditto my parents, ditto mine and John's. Scrapbooks and yearbooks and photo albums reaching back to my childhood through our life together--till the time all my photos became digital and never got printed.

At present, I'm just trying to dust and organize the albums by year--eventually I may try to edit them considerably, getting rid of repetitious stuff. But it's exhausting mentally, al the memories and the time jumps.  

The two above are my paternal grandparents--much younger than when I knew them.

My parents in 1941--in the dining room of my grandparents' house. Twenty-two years later, John and I would cut our wedding cake in that same room--a cake baked by the same lady in the same cake pan.

Guests at my parents' wedding.

John and my grandmother at our wedding reception. And guests--including Mayor Julian Lane (a cousin) chatting with my grandfather.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away...