Wednesday, April 1, 2015


We spent part of dinner last night telling Sweetpea about her egg-dyeing past, and saying that on her next birthday she would be turning four.  "NOOOO," she said,  "I'll be EIGHT!"
And in my dismay at that turn of events, or the calendar when Eye certainly wasn't looking, I hearken now back to her first time dyeing eggs, age 2 1/2.   

1. Buy Eggs. Buy a dye kit (or trust to the little battered McCormick box, veteran of four Easters, nine birthday cakes and that unfortunate business with the pink Margaritas).
2. Boil eggs and cool a bit.
3. Get together the dye pack, a bib, the vinyl-covered highchair, the vinegar, a paper-towel-covered tray for drying, and the camera.
4, Cover breakfast table with two black garbage bags, then a layer of paper towels.
5. Go to door to call in Child and her Ganner, to get started.
6. Notice that it’s such a nice day, it would be better for making pictures (and less messy) to do the dyeing outdoors.
7. Get Ganner started on getting out the small lunch table for the patio.
8. Pour about enough vinegar into a small bottle, to save lugging the new gallon up and out.
9. Get the big plastic KoolAid pitcher; put it in a bag with dye-pack, vinegar bottle, a black garbage bag, bib, measuring spoon, wet washcloth, and roll of paper towels.
10. Carry up the items; take them outside and set them on the table.
11. Notice and remember that the table needs a good clean-and-disinfect before using; go in and get the big spray bottle of Orange Pine Sol cleaner; clean tabletop.
12. Running Tag-Team with Ganner, who is busy amusing Child with a new watering can at the expense of her equally new shoes, come back in for high chair. Be thankful once again that it’s tiny and folds up.
13. Set up high chair beside table. Get all items out of bag. Take KoolAid pitcher back into upstairs kitchen for some hot water. Field request from Ganner to bring out the small high-chair with, "You mean THIS one?" Suppress urge to be surly.
14. Hurt finger trying to open dye pack.
15. Ditto, separating the pretty-but-obtuse little plastic tubs. Pour warm water into tubs.
16. Watch it cool while Ganner runs into the house to charge the camera battery. "It'll only take a minute."
17. Watch child slurp all the warm water from the pink tub, one spoon at a time, with the measuring spoon.
18. Drag up a lawn chair and wait.
19. Retrieve and re-fill spilled green tub, which was next on the sip-list.
20. Notice that the little envelope of fizz-tabs seems to have disappeared.
21. Hunt back through all items, including turning sack inside out and looking inside washcloth.
22. Find dye-pack on the ground, stepped-on and smushed into the mud.
23. Turn on hose and wash pack, hoping it’s waterproof.
24. Decide to go ahead and measure vinegar into tubs.
25. Fill four, then relinquish fifth undone, because Child is apparently still thirsty.
26. Go ahead and put fizz tabs into four, making surprisingly nice colors for a kit.
27. Remain happily innocent of how strong those colors ARE.
28. Put one egg in the dye in green tub, just to let Child try it out.
29. Child reaches for egg, dyeing all her fingers.
30. Handwipe and offer the wire apparatus, which is wielded enthusiastically, including an overhand swing of the egg-laden little contraption that woulda done King David proud.
31. Ganner emerges from house, snapping like the Grand-Paparazzi he is.
32. Notice that one of the tabs has not fizzed. Poke it with the measuring spoon and watch as it falls into tiny crumbs. Go into house for trusty old McCormick pink.
33. Get back outside in time to find Child cracking egg on table, then pinching off great shards of the shell. Ganner says it’s OK---he’ll eat it.
34. Child dyes five eggs, which go onto the tray for drying. Child retrieves all five and plonks them into tubs---with the uncanny knack of returning not a one to its original tub.
35. Remove pink egg from green tub; remark that you WONDERED how camo was made.
36. Observe that all five eggs have taken on a decidedly brownish cast, with a few branching over into brindle.
37. Put five more eggs into tubs. Joog them up and down a bit. Remove the most beautiful blue egg in all the history of Paas.
38. See the already-done eggs plonked on top of the eggs in the tubs.
39. Remove what you can, placate wailing child, offer more fresh white eggs into tubs.
40. Run around table and deftly catch egg wobbling for the edge.
41. Get all the khaki/camo eggs onto the tray, with the three once-dyed ones. Notice that Glum Green is this year’s new Pink.
42. Dump dye into the Weatherbush; gather up all items and cram back into sack. Vainly scrub Child’s hands and the splashes on her legs. Remember too late that she's going to dinner with her other Grandparents this evening.
43. Get out her new plastic bathtub, set it on the patio; run into house for a towel, a bathcloth with a little squirt of lavender bubble-bath in it, and a fresh Pull-up.
44. Bring KoolAid pitcher back into up kitchen for hot water; use hose to make water perfect temperature.
45. Let Child play with pouring bubbles back and forth with new watering can until water cools.
46. Scrub most of the residual dye from her hands and legs; bathe her.
47. Wrap her sudsy body in a big towel, bring her indoors, get her dressed for a nap and settle her in her room with three books, a stuffed bear, a Spring breeze through the windows, and the music of all five windchimes.
48. Bring in all the stuff in the yard; empty and wash tub; set in sun to dry.
49. Gently decline offer to sit and look at the 940 pictures Ganner made of the process.
50. Rejoice in the company I keep, and wish I'd been able to find those bunny ears worn by every child dyeing eggs since 1999...

Saturday, March 28, 2015


My PINK today is one of my Valentine roses, which is also the header of my new blog PAXTON PEOPLE---little vignettes and scenes of small-town Southern folks, who are from my memories, my imagination, a combination of the two, and perhaps from wishfuls that I DID know someone like that.

You’ll note that the rose is full-blown, lush with growth, bright with promise and sunshine, and that there is also a blemished bloom; I’d imagine a thorn or two down amongst the greenery, as well.

I hope you’ll drop in sometime---I’ve put up twenty-something of the little glimpses into the people who make up the town, and will be filling it out further as time goes on.

I think you’ll find someone you know, or someone you wish you did, and you’ll always be welcome in Paxton.


Linking today to Beverly’s PINK SATURDAY.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


HARBINGER is one of my favourite words---it has all the anticipation of awaiting a holiday or the turn of a season, or many other moments of import or enjoyment.

With all the Harbingers of Spring and eclipses and SuperMoons and Equinoxes and melts and greening and the scent of First Turning already wafting across the clumps of still-lingering snow in the fields, I’m ready.  

I’ve been spending bits of days getting a little group of my posts together, little vignettes and glimpses of the People of Paxton---that little wisp of a town floating in my imagination, with its gentle pace and quiet green streets lying comfortably in the sun.   They’ve almost all appeared in Lawn Tea before, bits and pieces of lives and personalities and small quiet happenings of fleeting importance, but I’d like to have them all in one place.

When I had all the back issues of Lawn Tea printed in the past few months, they did a splendid job with them, but to get one printed of just the Paxton Folk, I have to compile all the small stories into one group---thus the fresh little blog to neighbor them in.

No doubt Sissy Covington is hosting a party or planning a trip for her and Perk, and Miss Peg Ogletree is still mowing those acres on her small tractor, followed by her dogs, and coming home to her quiet, tidy house full of books and the piano her Daddy bought her in third grade.   Harliss MacIntire is just her old self, into stuff and primping as long for Kroger as for the country club dance, and Bobbie Helen and Hairl Shumake are off to whatever game their boys are playing in tonight.

The Misses Milam are going about their small ways, tending their cats and secretly providing scholarships to deserving students, while Travis Keene greets his long-time customers at the Dress Shop and sends his ethereal music wafting over neighboring lawns on Sunday afternoons.   Meanwhile, Edelstein's Dry Goods is still doing a pretty good business in Mogen David, located just between the Shoe Section and Sewing Notions in the back.

I’ve KNOWN these people, or compiled these people from several others, or every-town-needs-one and I just thought them up.   They’re much a part of me and my thoughts and raising, and I hope you’ll drop in to have a look sometime.

And do overlook the fact that I waver in tenses from character to character, person to person in places, though every post itself will retain the "is" or the "was" consistently through.   Many of them were written when I was reminiscing on people who were a great part of my past, and whose doings were expressed so, as in the Fifties or Sixties when I knew them, and they lived their interesting-to-me lives.   They're all of the NOW and of the THEN, and always the Twain shall meet.

Their address is in my Sidebar, and I'll be updating it often until I've used up all the pieces I've already done.

And of them all, Moire non, in Paxton, Mississippi---happily  situated somewhere between Plumb Nigh and Mought Near, where you can always walk in the soft Summer rain.


Sunday, March 15, 2015


As we rode through the long olive hills of Kentucky a while back, I glimpsed a lady at the mailbox, comfortable in a yellow sleeveless blouse and jeans, putting in a handful of envelopes and swinging the small red flag to Attention.

I imagined her day there in that green spot, that immaculate yard with its baskets of begonias swinging on the porch, as she went back into the house, into the orderly rooms smelling of breakfast.   The Dawn bubbles in the empty sink are long-gone, along with their kin from the Purexed single wash-load, gurgled out and down into the faraway ditch in the field.  The almost-done clothes are now perfuming the hall with warm Downy air from the dryer.

She’d washed up the the few dishes “real quick,” except for the black skillet where she’d fried the bacon.   It’s sitting still on the stove, gleaming with bacon grease, for the supper cornbread she’ll bake later.   She’d written a few checks with her first cup of coffee, sitting there at the table in her duster and slides, and soon as she was showered and dressed, she’d run out to the mailbox to get all the bills in before the carrier comes by. 

She’s completed all her little morning rightenings---beds made, yesterday’s Bluegrass Press, well read before supper and folded in the can, and her long shelves of African Violets given their weekly feed of Miracle Gro beneath their blue-light awnings.   Her husband rode off early after his third cup of Folger’s, away to the Co-op to check out those new butterbeans that cook up like speckled ones, into a big pot of purple-brown pot liquor and soft, rich old-fashioned beans.   He’ll be back with the seeds, and probably a lot more, and put the hills in before suppertime, coming in smiling and muddy-handed, pants-legs wet up the shins, from giving the rows a good drenching with the hose. Marlee has done all the chores with 

the TV on louder than usual, for she’s been following along with that awful trial way out there in the West.   She’s followed it all the way through, missing in only a few places when she had to go out to help with the Missionary Luncheon, or the days she takes her Mama to the doctor, and she’d give anything to haul off and slap the smug smirk off that murdering hussy’s face.   She’s just had about enough of the primping and smiling and lying, and she broke down completely yesterday when the family spoke about their lost brother and friend.  

Marlee is a good Christian woman, and does right by everybody, but she knows, sure as she knows her shoe size and all the grandchildren’s birthdays, that SOME FOLKS just Pure-D need killin’.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


These big beauties were worthy of Mother’s fluted bowl---the one which held apples and oranges all Winter in the closed-off red Dining Room, and surprised you pleasantly with a whiff of Christmas any time you opened the door on that frigid air.   These were the size of a good hefty lemon, and weighed several ounces apiece.   As vegetables go, these got all the beauty genes, shining and tight-packed and perfect, and I set them out on the table just to look at for a while.

We’ve been longing for a Spring Lunch for weeks now, with pastels and pink ham and a sunshiny table in the windows, so when I happened upon this never-finished post from last year, it just called out to me.

All washed and dried and cut, ready for tossing with some good olive oil and sea salt:

Perfectly roasted by Caro, all gleaming curves and those lovely browned sides all chewy with a gentle char---makes my tongue curl just remembering.  Right now, she has three big bags of cauliflower in her fridge, all cut and ready to roast for the weekend---she's promised to do a dish for a friend, and the rest is for our St. Patrick's Day dinner.

Whatever day this was, we’d taken out the “nut cups”---a set of those little pink fluty waxed paper cups from the Fifties, ubiquitous at every luncheon, coke party, and fancy “banquet” of our high school years.   These came inside a small divided wire basket---the only thing I think I’ve ever ordered on e-Bay.   I bought it mostly for the cups, for they remind me of carefree Birthday Parties, with the waffly white paper tablecloths printed in stylized pastel cakes and streamers.  Just opening that flat packet and shaking out the billows of crisp paper onto a table set out in the shade---Oh, My.  With the anticipation of a white Birthday Cake with pink roses, Versailles had no such important events.

Tiny baby Yukons, scrubbed and pillowed with a mixture of sour cream, softened butter and salt, with a sprinkling of sharp Cheddar.

Chris’ grilled ham with pineapple sauce, the sprouts and potatoes served on the pastel “chop plates,” with a little side dish of slaw and a few goodies from the relish tray.

Anyone know what these chop plates are?  I so love their shining smooth faces, with the little handles setting them off.  They're slightly bigger than a dinner plate, with no name on the back.

We’ve been shirtsleeves for a few days now, and I’m READY for a dose of SPRING---how about you?

Linking to Beverly’s PINK SATURDAY.