Friday, July 31, 2015

FAIRY TALE LIFE





Lots of people seem to flit through life, soaring along with ease.













And then there are some of us:




Have a Lofty, Flighty WEEKEND!!
 



Saturday, July 25, 2015

HAVEN











Cool, quiet grace for reflection.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

FABRICATIONS








There’s a dry whisper to all the memories of the Aunts and some of the Uncles of my childhood, for their clothes and shoes and selves seemed crisp, somehow---the fabrics and nubby  linens, the book-edge cuffs and sharp pleats of the men’s pants.   Serge and gabardine and woolens are serious cloth, not like the frivols of today’s miss-matched cottons and all those man-made, unmemorable plasticky garments sported by the young.  It seemed to me that the adults of those times, with their hair, clothes, powdery skin---all seemed to be made of dry fabric, as if they spent their days pinned on a line in the wind.   
  
Even lively and laughing, they seemed preserved, somehow, with the little dust of powder on the ladies’ faces, the pencil-swoop of eyebrow, and the tissue-blotted lipstick a matte effect, in contrast to today’s glows and shines and all those modern glittery, gleamy cheeks and wetnesses of lip smeared and dabbed on at random moments, morning to night, while driving, in conversation, balancing purse and phone and applicator deftly, not missing a beat as that small wet wand swoops across a tightened lip, between children’s schedules and plans to meet Brandy for lunch.


OUR ladies sat at Vanity Tables, carrying their taste for tulle-and-net-covered dressers way past their teens and into their married bedrooms, and the poufy effect was enhanced by all the powder puffs and atomizer bottles and dresser sets of comb, brush and mirror, all laid out as part of the room’s décor---all with their own perpetual haze of sifted-down face-and-body powder lending a soft focus to the entire scene.  A matching ashtray was quite a part of the arrangement, as well, holding a few lipstick-tipped butts as casually as the little china box held bobby pins, and the smoke-drifts added their own oddly inoffensive-then note to the perfume's bergamot and rose. 

 They sat down and tended to things, those ladies in their boo-dwars, with everything to hand right on the countertop, and every gesture and application a serious business.

The foundation swooped and smoothed just so, the powder, the tiny round rouge puff maneuvered delicately over contour of cheek, and the practiced touches of the lipstick, with the final lip-clench over a bit of Kleenex to avoid smears on glass or cigarette.   
 





   All the younger Aunts but one---my dear Aint May-ry-on-the-other-side, she of the soft  smooth skin and fine blonde hair, contagious laugh and forward-tilt in her pretty white pumps, a dry rustle to her own crisply-ironed cotton blouses and skirts---all those other Aunts smoked, as did my Mother and Daddy. And since I saw these relatives so seldom, and then always with all of us in our Sunday Clothes--“dressed-up” to me naturally meant a nice spray from the Chanel or White Shoulders bottle, the smooth hang of their luxurious fabrics in unfamiliar greens and browns and taupes, or some soft-toned mustards and yellows, and the ethereal suggestion of just the faintest wisp of Chesterfield or Kool.   It was simply a fact of life, that scent-addition encircling almost every adult in the family---either the honest sweat-and-khakis of a hard work-day, or Sunday clothes with their own dry-goods-store aroma mingling into the Old Spice/Coty/Shalimar/My Sin and smoke.

I loved to watch my visiting Aunts get dressed for the day, especially Aunt Cilla.   She had the most wonderful wardrobe of them all, from Goldsmith’s and Lowenstein’s in Memphis, all cut to fit her tiny frame.   She’d hang her things in the closet as soon as they arrived, in hanging bags-to-match-her-Samsonite.   Those smooth tobacco-brown cases held wonders never imagined by Aladdin in that cave---pale stockings-with-seams, all in a pink satin bag to keep them safe from runs, and stacks of pastel undies and gowns and dusters and the tiniest bedroom shoes of velvet and and beadwork and lace, cuddled into the Overnight Case with tiny satin sachet poufs tucked in.   Her real shoe-case was a square puzzle-box thing that folded out in several directions to display a half-dozen pairs of beautifully polished leather shoes---mostly peep-toes or sling-backs with heels which raised her height to at least 5’2”.

And the dresses and pants and little jackets with peplums, or that one darling “military-style” one which was a deep blue, cut off sharply at the waist, with gold buttons and the smallest hint of little epaulettes.  I remember she wore that one occasionally just around her shoulders, striding down our little main street in her perfectly fitted slacks and fabulous shining shoes. 







She was FROM there, but no longer OF there.   Being “from OFF” separated her and Uncle Jed from the rest of us, into a cool, sanctified place, of wide streets and hedged lawns, of brocaded spindly chairs and sofa (as opposed to our chunky, wide-armed prickly-covered COUCH and chair-to-match.  I remember that Daddy complained from Day 1 that you couldn't balance a glass or plate on the slopy arms of those things.



 Even having been ordered from Sears in Memphis and delivered on the TRAIN did not imbue ours with such cachet as the stately, delicate furniture in the still, sea-green living room in her House on Parkway).   It was, and still is, the absolute in décor and gracious living.





And if I could replicate it, I’d go there and simply DWELL, swinging along on my own two merry little clothespins.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

IN A PICKLE


Is where we are today---the great line of rainstorms which has covered us intermittently for DAYS, with deluges and torrents and bursts---well, we can attest to many, many gallons of that, because we have been wading through and walking on it for days on end.

This happens perhaps once every several years, and WOW this WAS the year.  AND THE RAINS CAME TUMBLIN' DOWN!
 



So, with the yet-to-be-put away lugs and containers of STUFF taken out of the storeroom to arrange all the leftover kitchen stuff I’ve culled out, and all the lugs and containers of STUFF that Chris packed, took to the coast for a week, and brought back, all lifted high and dry from the sodden carpet, or slid onto the slate in the kitchen, we’re still in absolute chaos.

The kitchen is gorgeous, but like a beautiful child, dressed in an unimaginable assortment of shoddy clothes and unseemly gewgaws, with wet feet and a muddy face to boot---well, it’s not yet for showing in polite company.

Towels all over the floor, for stepping from this wet carpet onto the slick slate will catch you unaware and send you flying if you don’t step directly onto a towel to dry your shoes.   And stepping around all those cluttery lumps, in fear of falling and tripping, is not conducive to much cooking either.   Miss Frankie is still shining, with her pretty red earbobs and big gleaming smile, and all the counters and PINK are simply lovely; they’re just taking backseat (rumbleseat, back of the bus, wait for the wagon) to all the other necessaries we’re coping with.


Right now, there are five fans, two air-cleaner machines and uncountable unsheathed Air Freshener clots of gaudy waxen fragrance  scattered about this room, with a roar and a whoosh to addle anyone’s brain, let alone my not-yet-recovered befuddlement from living in the Land of Misrule since March.








Y’all, the humidity in here has been so bad, it SNOWED in my new freezer!!!





But what the heck!!  Yesterday was National French Fry Day!


I made the Fries, by Maw's crunchy-crispins recipe, and four dipping sauces:  tarragon mayo, BBQ, grainy-mustard-mayo, and bleu cheese.  We ate up at Caro's house, where she'd cooked us a wonderful dinner of pork chops, smothered squash and onions, kidney bean salad, and Unky Kim’s splendiferous scalloped tomatoes, right down to the little buttered toast points on top.  




 
 

That and good company and laughing to complete the evening, and those pickles are looking mighty good right now.

Moiré non, soon as that dove gets back.