Thursday, February 29, 2024

An Extra Day

Once every four years we get an extra day. Seems like it ought to be something special--a national holiday for running around and howling at the moon. Or whatever fun and foolish endeavor one might be drawn to.

Back in high school, we had Sadie Hawkins Day, on which girls asked boys to a dance called Twerp Twirl. It was kinda a big deal--the girl made a corsage for her date--of vegetables rather than flowers--and, if possible, took him to dinner before the dance. 

In our senior year, I took John. We double-dated, as we often did, with our friends Stephanie and Steve. I don't remember anything about the dance or the corsage, but I do remember that we splurged and took our dates to a really nice steakhouse called Steve's (different Steve) Rustic Lodge on Lake Thonotosassa.

Stephanie and Steve didn't endure as a couple, but John and I will be celebrating our 64th Sadie Hawkins Day together. We might howl at the moon--if we're still awake when she rises.


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Giving Meema Some Fashion


I am trying to get Meema to wear more fashion. (She always looks the same, with about a million sweaters.) So I am making a fancy hat for her...                                                                                     

The hat and the beads and the fancy scarf thing are a good start but something is missing... 

I have just the thing!

What do you think?

       Meema says: The flowered scarf is a half-slip from my trousseau in 1963. The hat was a gift made by m friend Louise long before Josie was around. And the beautiful (wax) lips were a gift from Joy after one of my classes. It pays to have a grandmother who keeps weird stuff around... 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Back Then

More pictures from the recently discovered stash of family photos from the Twenties (last century's Twenties)-- the first one has no information on it, but I just love this lady's relaxed pose. She looks like she'd be good company.

The steamship Governor Cobb. My maternal grandparent's only trip out of the country was from Key West to Havana in 1922--my grandmother mainly remembered the sad experience of dining in restaurants where beggars pressed their faces to the windows.

Despite this less than pleasant memory, she always wanted to go to Europe, but my grandfather refused, saying it looked bad for a banker to leave the country.

There's more about the Governor C HERE. 

These last two had writing on the back--"scene near Cocoa, Fla. Dec. 1922" I remember when there were roads like this near Tampa and I get a little homesick for a time long gone. 

And " David from St. Louis
Paul Nicky (?)- full-blooded Hopi Indian charge of garden at Hotel Lommery(?)"

What I like in this picture is how the little boy in cowboy garb proudly grabs the arm of the full-blooded Hopi while the unidentified dandy in short pants stands aloof. Also, the gentleman in the chair.


Monday, February 26, 2024

The Best Water in the World (a repost)


We're proud of our water, here in the mountains. "The best water in the world" we call it. A man may live in a tumble-down shack but if he has a spring above his house, he can dig down to the place where the water runs over bare rock, dam up a small pool, and pipe the water from the pool to a reservoir (which could be anything from a wooden barrel to a cast concrete box) and thence to his house. Gravity water, cold and clear and free.

Clifford, who with his wife Louise owned the farm we live on, told us how during the Depression he went to Detroit in search of a job. "And I woulda made good money too but I couldn't drink the water. Just got on the bus and come back the next day."

I grew up drinking the city water in Tampa and always assumed that was how water should taste. But after I'd lived in the mountains half a year, drinking the water from our own spring -- I was spoiled. Totally and completely. When I returned to Tampa for a visit, the water tasted so much like chlorine that I found myself using bottled water even to brush my teeth.

Our little spring puts out a tiny stream, the size of a pencil, but (so far, knock-on-wood) it's never slackened. It was adequate for our needs till our older boy went to college and began coming come home for spring or fall break with five or six friends. The little spring just couldn't keep up with all the showering and laundry and flushing. So we had a well dug.

We planned to use the well water for the laundry and bathrooms and to have another pipe to supply the kitchen from the spring. My husband, the resident DIY plumber, was resigned to a long, unpleasant session in the cramped crawl space under the house, tackling this complicated reworking of our plumbing. Then we tasted the well water - and lo and behold, it tasted just the same as the spring!

The best water in the world!

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Look Up


Saturday, February 24, 2024

And About the Bible . . .


 Some years ago, we had a lovely couple as long-time tenants of the house where Justin and family now live. They were excellent tenants, not only keeping everything in good repair, but making needed improvements. They were also committed Jehovah's Witnesses.


They asked, at our first meeting, if that would be a problem and we said of course not--but we're not interested in Watchtowers and Bible study. 

That understood, we had an excellent relationship. Then, some years later when Ethan was getting ready to go to college, the wife of the pair gave me a book for Ethan to read. All about the Bible and what it means and how to lead a biblical life.

I thanked her and said I'd pass it on to him. But, I warned her, we don't "believe" in the Bible as anything more that a collection of old stories and songs, passed down and changed over and over in the passing.

She was gobsmacked. Around here, the prevalent religion was Baptist and those folks take their Bible seriously. Or pretend to.


Now I'm the one who's gobsmacked--at the rise of Christian Nationalism in this country--which was founded by people escaping the lack of religious freedom in England.  

Alabama's Chief Justice and Speaker Mike Johnson are two recent examples of politicians basing their decisions on the Bible--which is a lot like using a map from 1700 to drive to California. 

I am wary of a government run by folks who care less for the here and now than a hoped-for heaven. Why worry about the environment? The Rapture will be coming any day.

When John was in grad school at University of Iowa, studying Comparative Religion, I had no job. So I  typed all his papers and, having an interest in the subject, read most of his textbooks. 

It was fascinating to learn how errors in translation and doctrinal disputes had shaped the Bible over the years. Man's work made the book what it is.

In the King James version, it rises to poetry in places. Some of the New Testament, the Beatitudes for example, is pretty darn woke. But the Inerrant Word of God? Give me a break.

Running a government based on the 'Holy Book' of a subset of the population is wrong. It would be wrong if it were the Queran, the Vedas, the Analects of Confucious, the Torah, the Tripitaka. . . or Atlas Shrugged or the poems of Rod McKuen.

And it's wrong when it's the Bible.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Snake Oil Wars


The sequel to Waiting for the Galactic Bus, this 1989 novel is, sadly, even more relevant today. Darkly humorous, it's also a warning and a philosophic manifesto. 

Consider the dedication: "To those lucid and courageous minds who gave you the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, Falwell, Robertson, and the God-Inspired Rule of the Righteous. To those intrepid souls who fight with unflagging zeal to remove from libraries dangerous books they have not read and from theaters those spiritually toxic films they have not seen, believing that thought is a controlled substance and secular thinking hazardous to mental health."

Thirty-five years later, they're still at it. Today's terrifying watchword is Christian Nationalism. These fundamentalists dream of a USA under the banner of Jesus, with laws based on the Word of God--and they are the ones who'll tell you just what that Word means.

We already see how MAGA eschews 'Woke Jesus,' in favor of Gun-toting, Kickass (or Republican) Jesus. Theirs is not a world I want to live in, any more than I would want to live under Sharia law or under a Dear Leader (the former guy's wet dream) as in North Korea.

Why the Snake Oil Wars? Because the novel's premise is that mankind creates religion and then relies on it to "fix" everything with thoughts and prayers. Just like Snake Oil.



Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Kittehs Are Glad There Is a Gate

I don't know, Angeline. The Woman has no discrimination. That Domino dog is wearing a shirt and pretending to be a Dalmation and they are all of them Out Of Control.

Well, Cory, I just say Thank Bast for the gate that keeps them out there.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Josie's Pirate Family

This is a picture I made for my mom and dad's birthdays. (Meema helped with the hot glue, but I stuck the shells on.)

In the picture, we are pirates on a pirate ship. I am at the steering wheel and Mom is pulling up the anchor. Dad is wearing a pirate hat.

We are not really pirates.


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Amazing Amaryllis Just Keeps Going


Back at Thanksgiving, Claui's folks gave us our Christmas present--a beautiful tureen planted with two huge bulbs. One bulb has bloomed magnificently, producing four flowers . . .while the other has taken its sweet time.

But finally, the last bloom began to fade-beautiful to the end.

When the blossom had turned to a dark, limp rag, I cut off the stalk and was surprised to find a second bud, beginning to show. Meanwhile, the other bulb, the slowpoke, was rearing up and it, too, seemed to have a hint of another bud to come.

At this rate, the show could go on for some while! Thanks, Bill and Nancy!


Saturday, February 17, 2024

Josie and Valentine Stuff


There was a Valentine Dance at my school! It was the first dance I have been to. This is me and two of my friends. They do Not have bubbles on their heads, but Meema said she couldn't put their pictures on her blog because their mamas might not like it. So she hid their faces. But you can see their pretty dresses.


There were lots of kids at the dance. Can you find me?
Valentina is a pink T Rex that Mama got me for Valentine's Day. On Friday after school, I brought her up to meet the babies.


When I got to Meema and Grumpy's, there was a late Valentine waiting for me. Her name is Trina and she is a fluffy blue triceratops. The babies took turns riding on her.                                                     

There were some lollipops too and I wrote a song for them. I am getting good at writing. It is fun.                                                      

Friday, February 16, 2024

VOTE--While You Still Can


Yeah, just the primaries--but at a time when much of the electorate seems willing to turn our democracy into something akin to a dictatorship, I feel a need to show up and vote on the candidates.

North Carolina's early voting makes it easy. Our county has three locations, and it was a matter of a few minutes to cast my vote. (The lagniappe was that two of the poll workers were acquaintances and fans of my books. They asked if I was writing another and I told them alas, no--that the promotion required was simply not something I wanted to do anymore.)

For me, there's always a warm Norman Rockwell feel to voting in my rural county. One of the poll workers was the mother of Josie's much-loved kindergarten teacher; a nice fella outside showed me a sample ballot and invited me to a precinct meeting. 

It was also really pleasant to be out, cold-free at last, on a day that was pretending to be Spring.


Thursday, February 15, 2024

From Dogfish


Sometimes M.O. is so right on I can hardly stand it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day!


I'm much better though my head continues to feel as it were stuffed with soggy cotton. Could be worse.

No fancy Valentine meal tonight; instead, John will make a run to Bojangles for fried chicken. I've made Greek potato salad and there is bubbly in the refrigerator. Ahhhh!

My Valentine's love and appreciation to all of you folks.