Sunday, October 31, 2010


I think the true Poets Laureate of our country are songwriters, especially those categorized as COUNTRY songwriters. This one is by one of my favorites, who also produced such legendary masterpieces as For the Good Times and Help Me Make It Through the Night; and who of us hasn’t sung along lustily to those familiar lyrics, ‘Freedom’s just another word for Nothin’ left to lose . . .”
This one is called Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down---written by Kris Kristofferson, and first recorded by Johnny Cash---an instant and long-time hit.

Those songs were penned about sad times, and Kris KNOWS those times---those rough-grit Saturday nights between Hell and Salvation, with the tug downhill the stronger and the Sunday waking a blast of Hades---whether he lived through them or not. Look at him---listen to him---look at the wisdom in those deep-set, wise eyes---he MUST have lived that life, and must know whereof he speaks. And after having been a Rhodes Scholar with impressive degrees to his credit, an Army Ranger and helicopter pilot, and having a Golden Globe and other awards from the ninety-something movies he’s been in---out of all that, just this one song would have been enough.

This is not your usual Sunday song---it mentions church and family and home and children playing, and even the homey scent of fried chicken, but it’s a song mostly of the outsiders, the not-of-the-folds, the disenfranchised, disillusioned, dismissed, disowned.

It’s about the Sundays of those who are not OF the flocks flocking through those beautiful doors---but the ones who awaken bleary-eyed and unfocused and hungover and drained, with the hopeful sun blasting another day beneath their eyelids. They know It’s Just Another Day, but there’s a bleaker AIR to things, somehow, usually by dint of the Grinding Lonesomes after a night of Can’t Remembers, and somehow, somewhere in there, perhaps there is a recollection of a better time, of a bright-washed face and combed-down hair and a joyful dash into Sunday School, then home to a good Sunday Dinner.

They are the ones whom Outreach and Go Ye Therefore and Love thy Neighbor were coined for, the ones who NEED the bringing in, the ones who want to be brought, and the ones who’d have to be dragged scratching and scrabbling from the lonely bleak path they’re on.

The song tells of heartache and longings, and wishes for more, as the Sit-alone on Saturday night becomes the far more bereft Sunday Morning. I’ve known these people, the left-out and the leftovers and the left-behinds---they’re of us and with us, and There, But For The Grace of God . . .
Y’all know how I am about words, and these are some of the finest I’ve ever heard or read.

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down. The singer and the writer. Singing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I'm as simple a person as you'd ever want to know---nothing complicated (except maybe my rickey-tick brain which flies off on too many tangents to count), and the simple things are most precious to me. Of THINGS, I look at our books and feel a quiet wonder and warmth at so much lovely learning and mystery and delight right there between those covers. Just looking at a bright array of dishes, or a colorfully set table, or even a dish of good home cooking---those are joyful things, pleasant and comforting.

Aside from books (and music, which I lump right in there together) and a full larder, as Winter draws its cold curtain slowly around us, I think cleaning products are some of my favorite treasures. Not that you'd know it, from the usual state of my house. (I just told a neighbor, to whom I'd delivered a couple of salads to go with her lunch for all the visiting children---my old stand-by: "If you could see my house, you wouldn't eat my cookin'."

It's in a dreadful state at the moment, with a first-in-years burnt pot, whose lovely tiny baby carrots boiled slap-dab dry and set off the smoke alarm while I was upstairs (forgetful,forgetful) with Caro, stringing up some lavender to dry. I've soaked it, scraped it, scrubbed it, boiled it with detergent and water, and still there's a horrid black slick coating on the bottom which would do great credit to the outside of any reputable black skillet.

I'm gonna try the Easy-Off, though I think that's mostly for burnt-on grease, and acts on the oils; there was never anything in the pot with the carrots but water and a little sugar and salt.

And one of the above is for MEEEE---I just LOVE an O-Cello sponge with all my lovely scented washes. Aside from a true seasponge---the real thing that used to house a little critter---they're the best I've found for a good scrub in the shower. I usually cut them in half with the big kitchen scissors, for easier handling.

And those little "Finish" thingies with the red dot of rinse-stuff (wouldn't the company be proud of me and all my technical terminology?) are really good, as well. I haven't for the life of me figured out how to twist the little plug for the Jet-Dry dispenser in the door, plus I'd forget to fill it for weeks on end---so these are nice.

I think even the packaging is pretty---I like to walk past the shelf and just LOOK at 'em.

And, as Dear Forrest said, "That's all I got to say about THAAAATTT."

Tomorrow: one of my favorite songs and songwriters

Friday, October 29, 2010


Y’all, I’m STILL hacking a bit with this silly cough!! It’s beginning to feel the way it did last year, when I thought it would never end and got worse and worse. . . that was from a reaction to medicine, which I kept taking and taking, and I’m going to write about that one soon---I was surprised---startled, even---by the people who had had THE SAME THING and didn’t know what was causing it.

Anyway, this unpleasant interlude reminds me of a long-ago time when I had a lingering cough, which prompted every single person who came into my office to part with their own Sovereign Recipe for the remedy.

There were Whiskey and sugar, in a spoon---still crunchy and with the few drops of Whiskey holding it together.

Whiskey with sugar stirred into a good-size glug of it

Whiskey and lemon, whiskey and orange juice, whiskey and Robitussin (don’t know quite who would win in that situation), Whiskey and honey, whiskey and lemon and honey---well you get the drift.

With the recurring thread, my desperation for a night’s sleep, and with only a bottle of Amaretto and some long-forgotten rum extract in the house, I begged a tot from my always-supplied Father-in-Law. The imparting of his OWN tried-and-true recipe accompanied the glug, which he poured into a little pimiento jar with a red lid. I DO doubt that he'd ever even had to TRY the recipe, with him taking a little booster dose every night about five, and all.

I went home on that blustery day, informed the kids that they were cooking supper, and headed for my room, snagging a lemon-half, the honey bear, a spoon, and the most beautiful heavy cut-glass old fashioned glass from the hutch, thinking that the more elegant I made the drink, the easier it would be to down it.

I squeezed the lemon into the glass, feeling a bit like the spent, squeezed-dry husk, then stirred in a squirt of honey, then the Whiskey.

I turned down my comfy bed with its soft, light comforter, laid out my snuggliest flannel nightgown, and started a bubble-bath running, with the bathroom heater going at a nice rate.

As I sat in the wonderful lavendery suds, lying back in the candle-lit room, I took a grimacing sip of the the stuff. It was worse-than-Terpin hydrate, worse than Nyquil's dreams of perfection. I just kept trying and trying to sip it down. Just a drop or two would pass my reluctant lips, and cross my tongue, as I tried to get the medicine down. No use.

I finished my bath, got dressed for bed, carried the glass to the bedside table, where I managed a few more unwelcome sips, wondering how on EARTH anyone ever drinks the stuff VOLUNTARILY. Eventually sleep came, and I must have passed a few cough-free hours, for I woke to the most Gosh-Awful SMELL in my room---the Whiskey fumes had crept out of that glass and rolled in layers and clouds all into that closed room like fog on the bayou. That haze of a full-steam-ahead distillery was prompting me to run for fresh air or throw up, whichever came first.

But if I remember correctly, the cough was gone---probably scared into other, friendlier places. And it seemed to take DAYS to get the lingering scent out of that room---I know it was just my imagination, but I had to wash all the bedclothes AND the drapes.

And if you have a cough remedy that involves Whiskey---keep it to yourself, please. I’d rather take my chances with sugar and lemon and big spoonclop of Vicks stirred in---right out of the jar.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Wednesday's little Art Project---the carving of Our Pumpkin---was changed up just a little---the Master of Carvery title was passed from Caro to Ganner, for she'd had a hard night at work, with loads of special orders, so she passed the torch (actually a new-fangled little electric pumpkin-carving whiz-bang which HE'D bought for HER). Parse that.

He suggested it, and was delighted, for he loves doing fun things with the Grands---we jokingly call me the Looker-Afterer, and him the Cruise Director. And showing a little child something special for the first time---that's an honor and a blessing.

We got started about nine a.m., with the breakfast table all cleared off and fresh white bags laid down to collect the debris.

First (with, I'm sure, our generations of pumpkin-carving forebears sending out a blanket sigh of resignation and dismay) they went to the Internet to find a pattern. Through pages of ghouls and ghosties and coyly arched cats and bats and moons, they persevered til they found what they were looking for: A plain old happy-faced Jack-o-Lantern, with goodwill toward all and nothing much on his mind:

He's all traced and drawn out (teeth added to the smooth smile by Ganner, who HAS to give a little tweak to the artistic process).

Herself, avidly helping and advising and reaching for pens, was given a small pumpkin of her very own, which she gravely considered from all angles, before drawing her own pictures thereon:

Chris laid aside the electric doohickey in favor of a little carving set we'd had since last year, still in the wrap. They must have had carving-with-kids in mind, for in addition to all the little orange-handled metal-sawtooth gizmos, there were three of perfectly safe plastic, almost like three versions of popsicle sticks, which delighted Small Helper.

But first, the ooey-gooey process of innards-removal---I'd figured any kid would have a wonderful time pludging around in those yukky pumpkin-guts, but ours RAN. And stayed away, whilst she peeked from between her fingers at the sight of her Ganner and me, as we plunged above-the-wrist into the unknown and emerged with dripping fistfuls of seedy goo.

All carved and candled:

Debris left in the operating theater:

There you have it---a Good Ole Boy pumpkin who will drive up and sell you watermelons off his truck. Or give you one. Or change your flat tire. That's what really lights him up.

And since he had a hat, Sweetpea's received a cute topper, as well---the lid from a container of candy corn. In all, a wonderful time. But it's just as well we serve our Thanksgiving dressing in a big casserole dish. I'd hate to have to stuff a turkey in front of That Child.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


ALL of these this morning, it seemed:

But Thank Heavens not this one:

We've had the stormiest morning since we lived in Mississippi!! The whole city was under Tornado Warnings for an hour or so, and lots of Watches and big red angry swatches on the radar, like patches of flaming heatrash just inciting rebellion and chaos, and due to erupt into mayhem. And the sirens---they screamed and blared and blatted until you could hardly hear the Weatherman talk. We've always applauded the Friday siren, for it means they're Keeping Us Safe, and so our little ones will not be afraid of it; today our hands and "Yaaaay!" got quite a workout.

Images of flung-about debris and that ratty old Kansas house whirling in the vortex and eye-of-the-storm and straw-through-a-board littered my scampering mind like carnival sideshows foist on captive audiences. I never QUITE reached the Hen-In-A-Jug level, for I could not comprehend that it might hit HERE. I think it's because I've never, ever seen a picture of an actual city of high-rises damaged by a tornado. In my meager experience, it just seems as if the whirling juggernauts all affect the flattish, unencumbered lands of less-than-three stories, for some reason.

Of course, we're just a little outlying subdivision, and several of those have had unimaginable damage during the twenty years we've lived here; you can drive through one of the areas from several years ago, and still see the twisted, nakedly-flensed areas on the trees which were wrenched into gnarl like twisting the greens off turnips.
I KNEW I could get that big foam mattress down these stairs and into that huge windowless bathroom, with its tile-armored floor, ceiling, and walls.

We said a little prayer at the breakfast table, and I muttered fervent ones off and on all morning, til the great red cloud on the map passed over. And we are grateful---for the great flurries of leaves dotting the grass, for the tiny pink and purple doll-bed thrown quilt-over-teakettle against the grill, and that the bits and pieces were ALREADY bits and pieces, rather than parts created from wholes, crushed and torn apart by the storm.

And now the sky is clearing, the windows open to the fresh clean dampness of the air, Our Girl safely singing herself to naptime, and the kitchen filled with the ordinary scents of collards and orange cleaning-spray. Gratitude in my heart is the major element of all the aftermath, and weathered the storm a heartfelt prayer of thanks. We're safe---all six of us, scattered all over town. Safe.
Ordinary is quite good enough. Ordinary is just perfect.

Monday, October 25, 2010


What's THIS???

It resembles the contours of a tasty snack which had its heyday in the past.

It is the preparation for a Summery stand-by.

It is quite dangerous if not handled properly.

It makes use of a special technique which became the norm several decades ago, and is practically indispensible today.
Wanna guess? Or translate the clues?


Early morning Stroll, anyone? This glorious allee' is one of the highlights of the Fall season, for it stretches out into the distance in such colors and such vistas---just magnificent. It's not quite there, into its Autumn glory, but soon.

The Luck Leaf Bushes all down the sides are getting rosier every day. We have a huge one of these bushes in the back yard, and ever since the first GrandDaughter started the custom, we hand a Luck Leaf through the car window to anyone who is departing.

Looking up-up into one of the trees at the end, where the sun has kissed the leaves in a heartier smooch.

Will you join me for a stroll down this beautifully-promising vista? Don't you wonder what lies just around the bend? Shall we go and see?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


My first Mother-in Law made the most wonderful home-cooked meals---she was up before dawn, turning out the bacon-and-eggs-and-biscuits for her farmer husband, and there was no “lunch” in her lexicon, unless it was packed into a lunchbox for the children.

Noon meals were a hot, down-home dinner of peas and cornbread and whatever other hearty side dishes she decided on, with fried chicken or pork chops or spaghetti and meatballs. Meat was a MUST.

And supper was also a hot, hearty meal, tapering off on the number of dishes, but to me, rising in the level of trouble-it-took-to-make. FIL would not think of eating the same meal twice in one day, and so another batch of heavy fried fare, plus a pan of risin’ rolls or biscuits and some form of fried side dish were his cup of tea.

And Maw made the absolutely best French fries in the history of frites. They were just plain old potatoes, cut into fries, soaked in cold water “to remove the starch” and then drained in a colander.

Into a big bowl, then perhaps a half-cup of self-rising flour dumped on top, then sprinkles of salt and pepper and perhaps powdered garlic and some paprika or chili powder for color.

The whole thing was tossed and tossed, with that seasoned flour meeting those wet potato sticks, tossing over and over until the entire bowl was a mass of pinkish goo coating the potatoes.

A quick dip out into a couple of inches of sizzling oil in the trusty old WearEver dutch oven, a while to get the bottom good and crisp, and then a turn and several swirls to separate the fries into those incomparable golden strands of potato perfection, salty and crispy and enhanced exponentially by the thousands of little savory crispins attached.

I cannot tell you as good as it is. Those platters of potatoes---those still-hissing, salty-rich morsels of nirvana---you just don’t know til you’ve tried them.

Ore-Ida and McDonalds---take a place below the salt.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


We had what I think of as a soft, gentle day yesterday---we went for a walk around the neighborhood, looking for clues once again---this time with a REAL spyglass, with a light in it. She focused it on leaves, berries, the lines in the sidewalk, a few errant dandelion flowers who obviously got bumped off the hibernation train in favor of the hostas out back, who are all lying bedraggled and yellowing, like limp daisies in the beds.

We stopped to speak to our neighbor, who does the pretty necklace crafts, and whose efforts have redoubled with all the orders she's taken in the past couple of weeks. Herself was most interested in all the pretties in those nice crinkly bags, and Neighbor offered to give her some of the beads she's no longer using.

We chose seven, from the small box of shining wooden beads, choosing four pale blonde woods for the two ends, then two chocolates, to flank a center bead of dark mahogany. We came into the house and had a bite of lunch; she had a cut-up hot dog, (naked, thank you, with ketchup for dipping) with a cup of vanilla yogurt each and a handful of the loveliest grapes we've found in many a moon. They're immense pinkish pearly things, almost translucent, and almost too sweet, with the tablespoon or so of juice quite apt to christen your chin as you take that first bite.

We got our hands all cleaned up, and I went looking for an appropriate cord for stringing; my choices seemed to be amongst plain sewing thread, sorta haystackish raffia, and a pair of New Balance shoestrings, languishing in the sock shelf. We chose the laces, and though their pale gray tones did not quite match the tans and browns of the beads, Herself was QUITE pleased.

All I had to do was set them down in the order should go on the string, and tie a knot in the other end to prevent slippage. The little lace-aglet made a perfect guide:

Then, until naptime,we busied ourselves with making a cake. I had several mixes to choose from and asked my fellow cook. “Orange," she pronounced, with a glance at the boxes. Having no orange in the lot, I settled on an old stand-by from the past, when every birthday and wedding drew requests for “that gooooood orange cake.”

The recipe was quick serendipity one fall night long ago, when I needed to make cupcakes for the concession stand at the next night’s football game at the kids’ school. I grabbed a box of Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Yellow, dumped in a quarter cup of TANG, dry, and baked the cupcakes as usual. They were SUBLIME, as if you’d squeezed and zested the most luscious oranges. I don’t know what it was about those plebeian ingredients, but the combination of the butter and that orange flavor and the buttery crust---a new family favorite, which quite a number of other people liked, as well.

Alas---no Tang in the house, but there was a box of Sugar-Free Jello, so we tried it. We got into our matching aprons, she stepped up onto her little stool at the breakfast table, and I gave her the bowl, with about a quarter of the cake mix and a quarter of the dry Jello, keeping the level small to avoid accidents. As I got out the mixer, she stirred that bowl with a teaspoon as easily as Miss Martha herself.

See that little brown wisp of paper way over on the right side of the table? Keep your eye on that---it will figure in the story later. I melted the butter, measured out the water, brought a little bowl for the eggs. As I cracked the first one, I offered it to her, to separate the two shell-halves and drop it into the bowl. Forgetting, of course, her idea of eggs: Squeeze them as hard as you can, and they will open.

And it did: Sploosh into the bowl, with only a little of the yolk spread around, and no shell. We put in the rest of the cake mix and mixed up a batter as bright as the harvest moon. Not until I cleared the table did I see that the little Jello packet was quite empty---she’d caught me with my back turned and poured the whole thing into the batter.

We put it in to bake and took her upstairs for her nap. When she awoke, the cake was cooled and ready to frost. The little divot is “cook’s treat,” dug out for sampling with one of the tiny knives from her teaset.

We frosted, and I know you see that can of Bought Frosting. Chris brought us a Christmas kit the other day to make one of those Funfetti cakes, and so we used just the frosting, and our own Fall sprinkles. Anybody want to say “EEEEWWWW!!” at the thought of bought frosting?? You can come right on over here and try YOUR hand at Swiss Meringue or Warm Buttercream with a three-year old at your hip. HMMMMM???? Didn’t think so.

She started the sprinkles with infinitesimal finger-pinches of one or two, and laid them gravely on the cake; things got faster as she went on, with great handfuls cascading down onto the cake, and once, with her hand caught in the little jar like the monkey in the monkey-trap, unwilling to let go, and unable to get out.
But you'll notice that quite a few of those leaves are already swept into piles.
After she and her Mommy left for the day, Chris and I settled for a simple supper of Crab Louis for him, with a lettuce/tomato/sweet onion salad beneath, homemade 1000 with Cajun seasonings, and great spoon-clops of avocado.

Mine's the same, with a can of tuna instead of crab:

Some of those wonderful Asian Green Beans on the side with skillet toast and crackers.
And cake for dessert---which is even more TANG-y than I remember!
And speaking of CAKE: The most charming Halloween Party is going on over at
I signed up to have a party here, before I got this cold, and it totally slipped my mind---please go a take a look---It's the most inspired Lawn Tea in the history of Teapots!!
I've never seen ANYONE with such lovely ideas of an outdoor Halloween Party, and the decorations will amaze you. Please drop in---I'm going back right after dinner, so I'll have time to browse and let the enchantment sink in.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I’ve always been able to spell pretty well---able to throw letters down in the correct sequence to form words.

Casting a spell would be a bit beyond most of us, I think, but we could all spell a word, spell out directions, or spell someone who’s plumb wore out.

In the South, you could sit a spell, passing the time of day, or rest a spell from your labors, as in “spell your tired body." In this usage, the connotations seem to be in a restful realm---you never hear anyone say “work a spell” or “cook a spell.”

There could be a sick spell, or a spell of bad weather, a fainting spell or a dizzy spell.

“Mrs. Gentry took a bad spell,” could mean myriad things---She’s really ill; she’s heard some bad news and reacted beyond the norm, or (whispered) “It’s just a matter of time.” Perhaps she’s of a certain age, and it’s just so dang HOTTT down here.

Why, everybody knows that red-headed hussy down at the truck-stop caffay spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E, and if Cissy Maud catches Bobby Frank down there one more time, she’s gonna do something that will land her a spell in the Calaboose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I love hats, though I do not wear them well. I have forever had my heart set on wearing, just once, one of those little front-flipped skimmer numbers which make anybody look sixteen, but prefer to turn me into Gabby Hayes.

It’s just as well---I don’t like wearing my hair down anymore, and the knob of my ponytail/bun causes any hat to sit sidesaddle, spoiling the entire effect. Nothing fits, nothing is becoming. I did have, however, a wonderful “straw” hat for a trip to England, bought because it was crushable, popping back to shape like the life-raft that inflated in the Petries' closet. It had little embroidered flowers on the front---lots of different pastels which would go with every Tee and shirt and outfit I took with me.

I remember standing outside Buckingham palace, with all the tour group as they waved at the windows and speculated that the Queen was looking back. Having heard it ad infinitum for years, I’m sure, our guide listened for a while, and said, “She’s probably looking out at Rachel, saying, ‘Nice hat.’”

And on Sunday morning, as we tiptoed into the back of a cathedral and around several of the side-rooms, as services were going on, one of the long-robed gentleman serving as ushers (oh, I so hope he was a Sexton---Baptist churches have no such officials, and I’ve always thought it so much more ceremonial a word) had ignored the shuffling, whispering tourists as they wandered around the peripheries of the worship, but came over to me where I was standing quietly against a tall post, just drinking in the atmosphere of tranquil reverence, and said, “Would Madam like to be seated?” It might have been the sedate older lady look, or my silence and respect, but I think it was THE HAT.
I’ve had a few in my life---a little cap of tiny pheasanty feathers, which wrapped my skull in gleaming bronze; there was that immense cartwheel number, which caused me to have to sit on the back row at weddings, and to maneuver my way through crowds like a nun in a wimple. There was one pretty stiff-veiled one, a bit like this one, but with a single lush pink rose which sat atop my head like a pouf on a cupcake:

A Winter one, for wearing with my all-the-rage mouton jacket:

But my all-time favorite, worn for several years, was very similar to the stiff-veiled one above---a simple black peau de soie circlet, like a padded embroidery hoop, sitting flat on my head with the stiff black veil encircling my face like it had been molded on an enormous lightbulb. I felt SO chic and mysterious, peering out between those tiny black-bordered panes, and longed for the glamour of red-red lipstick and a cigarette holder to complete the intrigue.

It looked something like this, and I felt simply beautiful in that hat:


Does anyone still wear a hat regularly, or have a favorite, or perhaps one which lives on in memory and longing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I’m rushing to get over a cold before Our Girl comes to visit tomorrow, and my system is full of everything you can buy over the counter in a capsule, big ole chalky horse-pill pushed out of a blister-pack, and icy lozenges to melt under your tongue. I cringe as I open the fridge, for that’s where the oozy cough syrups live, and my tongue is ablaze and numb all at once, from a constant residence of a Hall’s in my mouth. This year there was no Vicks’ SAAAAAVE for I just didn’t think of it, and it kinda icks me out after all those years of hot flannel and that gooey camphor.

So I may be wandering a bit, but I thought of a couple of little Southern things I’d been meaning to ask about/define/mention.

There are some little Southern phrases regarding time which confound those who haven’t been accustomed to them. Both reference future time, and even in the South, there are two contingents for one of them---like the Big and Little Endians cracking an egg.

Folks say either, “They’re coming to visit Tuesday,” which to me means the-very-next-Tuesday-on-the-calendar. Proponents of calling that “Next Tuesday” confuse me all to heck, for when they say, “They’ll be here next Tuesday,” I’ll miss the whole thing, for to me, NEXT TUESDAY is the one after THIS Tuesday. They'd have to say "the next Tuesday there IZZZZ," for me to get it right.

Even in families, depending on the clans they married into, there are sometimes confusion and missed events and even downright arguments, for each side KNOWS their phrasing to be the right one. And the little Bledsoe girl’s word-of-mouth-in-fourth-grade birthday party will occasion many a frantic phone call to see exactly WHEN the party is, with ruffled feelings on both sides over which-phrase-means-which and tears on hers when several of her absent guests later insist that the party was NEXT WEEK. Their Mamas said so.

And the other little idiom is in reference to tomorrow. “Is your appointment in the morning?” almost always leaves “or afternoon?” implied, as in morning vs. afternoon.
But if you say “IN-NA Mornin’” it ALWAYS means tomorrow.

“Do you want to go in the morning?” is “Shall we depart before noon?” but “Do you want to go IN-NA Mornin’?” means departure tomorrow, but implies your choice of any other day you’d choose.

I’d love to hear what the different phrasings mean to YOU, in your own part of the world.

Hope I haven’t muddled you too much; gotta finish up all this Clorox-wiping to get ready for Herself coming IN-NA mornin’.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This is Meme Monday for a lot of my blogging friends---it's called Blue Monday, and each entry is supposed to have a bit of blue.

There are a lot of participants, but I was especially struck by Beverly's How Sweet the Sound.

Prayers answered.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


See that brownish thing-a-ma-bob there on the left of the dish of doorknobs? I cannot for the life of me remember what it’s called. I want to say "corbel" but those are more for holding curtains, I think. It’s upside down now, and I suppose it’s some kind of little wall bracket---I just liked the look of it, the heavy heft of it and all the pale pastel edgings. I think I grabbed it for a dollar at a Yard Sale, thinking I might use it in a little mini-canopy over the daybed when Our Girl graduates from her high-sided baby bed.

And the little Baker’s rack that holds all the mementoes---the original Fairy Tea set, a hanging box of all my Scotland/England pictures---nine times out of ten, I can’t think what to call it, either. “Have you seen my keys?” Chris says. “Over there on the ----(wildly pointing) ---- Tea Cart!” I’ll finally come up with.

If it’s an adverb or adjective, I’ll fish around up there til I can find a passable one, but still there's that little nagging tickle of dissatisfaction which sends me pondering or running the alphabet, hoping to unearth the right word. Those tip-of-my-tongue moments populate more of my time now than in the past, for I’ve a tiny person to converse with and teach and lead-up-in-the-way-she-should-grow.

But nouns, now---nouns are easy. No matter the use, the name, the actual title, a lifetime in the South has given me a vast lexicon of possibles to insert into my talk, with nary a pause save to choose from the long list. In hearing them in MY locale for so many years, I sometimes think them universal, and other times find them to be Dixie-driven in all respects.
I DO tend to point toward the general area of the Thing, in a little ridiculous flutter, my point-finger growing a bit more agitated as I delve for the word, but failing, I blurt out whichever of the old Tried-and Trues hits my tongue first.

In Random Order, and with no particular purpose, here is a quick-list of WORDS WHICH WILL SERVE when you either don’t KNOW the name of a thing, or just can’t dredge it up from your brain right now:

Bits and Pieces
Odds ‘n’ Ends

To me, they’re all Southern, for that’s my frame of reference. To YOU, they may be a part of your own vocabulary from the place of your own raising.

All comments, additions, definitions, and remembrances gladly received and enjoyed.
What words do YOU use?

Friday, October 15, 2010


Two weeks from today, on Saturday, October 30, a large group of friends and neighbors in Destin, Florida, will take a long walk which will make history---the history of helping people battling breast cancer, through early detection and treatment and therapy, and with counseling and support. The history will be in research and medicines, in doctors and scientists, in caring care-givers and in care.

A history of helping a young mother, or an older friend, or a sister or an aunt---just ONE person helped, or eased, or cured, is worth the sweat and the TIRED of the long walk, and many, many of the walkers HAVE been helped in their battle with breast cancer. Many have recovered; some are in the first months of their treatment, and some are soldiering on, still bravely fighting the fight with grace and courage.

I wish I could be there. I’d put on my walking shoes and get right out there in the group, marching together for a CURE. I have a sister, two daughters, three daughters-in-love, three grand-daughters, a great-grand-daughter, a sister-in-law, a mother-in-law, eight nieces, and five girl cousins, as well as dear friends whose warm personas and close friendships I cannot even think of being without. I love and care about each and every one, and this walk could very well save the life of any one of my own Dearies.

The Team that I know personally is Team Davenport, led by just a beachkat’s Kat Davenport.
She has been a Survivor for several years, and is a staunch proponent and supporter of the Walk. (click) SHE WALKS FOR LIFE.

Do go and have a look at the plans for the Walk, and if you’d care to contribute from far away, just click on the little pink thermometer---it takes only a moment, and as few clicks and letters as it would if you were just making a “comment.”

And while you’re there, DO listen to the song---It’s Melissa Etheridge, with a story of courage and survival, and the will to Run for Life.

Brava to every single person who puts shoe to path, or hand to purse, who hands out water, or band-aids or assistance, or who helps another along on the journey. The blessing will spread a thousandfold, and we can all be someone’s angel unaware.


Yesterday was a different day, all around---I had an early appointment, and the leaves baring the big tree must have caused the sentry lights to really be bright in the back yard, for I woke thinking it MUST be after seven, and was brushing my teeth when I looked in at the clock---4:45. Too late. The coffee was brewing and I was up, and what the Heck.
The appointment, then I got my flu shot, then home with our little one for a good session of sweeping the leaves off the patio rug (see last year’s sweeping post---not much has changed---though this year she has her own small broom with about eight little yellow teeth that can sweep more leaves back onto the rug from the lawn than I can evict).

SO, in the afternoon her Mama came to pick her up and we got to talking, and her Daddy called and said he’d like to stop by, so before he got here, we called in our usual order to our favorite Chinese restaurant. Chris went off to fetch it.

We set the table with paper plates, poured the tea, and helped our plates, talking of this and that, and the Little One’s latest adventures. THEN the conversation turned to the dog’s haircut---Chris’ first effort after a year of paying a groomer fifty bucks every few weeks. Son said “Eye could use a haircut.” We took him to be kidding, but Chris jumped right in, telling about his previous experience in barbering.

Dear Daughter in Law and I laughed and scoffed, knowing they’d never do it. But when they pulled a lawn chair into the kitchen, got out an old oilcloth tablecloth for a drape, and the clippers started humming, I knew they were serious. Both of them.

DDIL and I conferred over every whirrrr and every pass with those clippers. Those DOG clippers. We ladies teased about great expanses of scalp showing, of great bald patches; we put hand to cheek with horrified expressions, gasping news of one sideburn completely gone.

No use---Son did not bite. And it WAS a really good, high, tight haircut---exactly like a Deep-South farmer likes it. The neckline even looked pristine and even---Who knew. This man has facets I knew not of.

So, from stumbling into a too-early day to hosting a haircut right here in my kitchen, it was quite a day. And yours?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I’ve recommended an author to a couple of people lately, as I’d noticed that they like to read mostly gentle books, with mostly kind people, and nice endings. I discovered her in Elementary School, in our little school library, and for many years I considered the first of her books that I read ---THE ROLLING YEARS---to be the best book I’d ever read. I re-read it every year for a long time, and except for being totally awestruck by Steinbeck’s EAST OF EDEN, (MY nominee for THE Great American Novel), I still consider it my favorite book.

Her name is Agnes Sligh Turnbull, and she was born on this day in 1888, a time in which Lady Authors, or Authoresses, as they were generically Plume-Nommed, were expected to write of hearth and home and perhaps flower-pressing and embroidery, with a tender, innocent romance culminated by clasping hands beneath a bough.

She looks kind and intelligent, and I like the way she smiles, as if she holds a wonderful secret. I’ll bet she was one of the first in her family to bob her hair; I imagine she could drive a car, and I like to think that she was a good cook, for her descriptions of cooking and food of the bygone eras are most evocative.

She IS a gentle writer, but her scope is far wider---in THE ROLLING YEARS, she wrote of young widowhood and tragedy and loss and war:

THE DAY MUST DAWN is a view of the gritty Pennsylvania frontier, through the eyes of a woman committed to securing a better life for her only daughter. The book portrays some of the tragic events which happened in the author's native western Pennsylvania, and gives a wonderful portrait of the triumph of human spirit.

THE GOWN OF GLORY is the one I always recommend to be read first of her books---its gentle simplicity of a Pastor’s family and their years in a small parsonage at the turn of the century is sweet and charming, with just enough hardship and loss to enhance the storyline, and a hopefully fulfilling ending.

And, until I went searching for pictures of her books to use, I did not know of her great popularity and remembrance amongst the dog-lovers of the world---she must have been quite a devotee, herself, for one of her quotes was printed on dozens of posters featuring pictures of dogs:

She was born in western Pennsylvania, the setting of so many of her stories, and then lived the last sixty of her ninety-three years in New Jersey.

It also brought me a little pang of regret to read the date of her passing, for since she was an author of my childhood, I had no idea that she lived until 1982. Knowing that she was alive when I was all grown up, and I could have written to tell her how much I had enjoyed all her wonderful stories and characters---I still feel the rue of missing that.

It was as if Jane Austen had still been alive in my lifetime, and I could have sent her a letter of thanks for all that her books and her words had meant to me.

And I SO wish I had.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



It's the beginning of a GREEN THING.

That green swirl is the one-drop of McCormick Food Color which Chris dropped into the blender, just after he’d given a stir to the Margarita Mix and Dos Dedos in the bottom. He makes margaritas maybe once a month, and we all call them “Green Things.” They had always looked so unappealing in that anemic goldy-green straight from the bottle of mix, so I suggested he put in a dot of color. Now and then they’re pink, depending on whim, but mostly they stay Green Things.

Even his sweet little Baptist Mama will ask about five o’clock on a visit, “Isn’t it about time for one of those little Green Things?” And he mixes up a couple---I lime-rub and salt the glasses, but just don’t care for any liquor very much, especially the Shinola/turpentine taste of tequila.

Sunday night Supper is a hit-or-miss with us---if we’ve been to lunch or brunch, we’ll just have a quick sandwich, or maybe will cook a good pot roast all afternoon and invite everybody---it just depends on how we feel.

This past Sunday, CARO MADE FAJITAS!! That’s a wonderful treat, for she goes all out, getting things marinated and cooked and chopped and gathered together. It’s her day off, and she does most of her cooking for the week on the weekends, so she makes up a big Tupperware of Chicken Breast Something, and this time it was fajitas.

And since it WAS her day off, she was planning on having a beer with her supper. THEN Chris cranked up the blender, and a good time was had by all.

She'd made a scrumptious Black Bean/Corn Salsa, with tri-color peppers, onion, sliced green onions, jalapeno, cilantro and lots of lime:

Her place. They ARE bright, aren't they?---as if you'd handed over Kool-Aid duty to the five-year olds who are the only ones fond of that IMMENSE green. I didn't look, but I expect that their tongues took on that vibrant color, as well.

A store-bought tomato salsa, grabbed by Chris on his way home:

The Fajita filling, with 2 kinds of peppers, onion, grape tomatoes and cilantro, and all kinds of yummy spices:

Chris likes both kinds of tortillas---crisp and flour---the crisp ones baked for a few minutes in a 350 oven:

Caro's Fajitas, on whole-wheat tortillas:

Some canned re-fried beans, gussied up a bit with cilantro and green onions:

We sat down laughing and talking, and spent the whole dinner in some state of merriment, with all the good food and good fellowship flowing.

Then we neatly packed all her food away upstairs, poured more glasses of tea, and all watched
The Blind Side.

And we all agreed that it was the best meal and funnest evening we've spent together in a long time.