Tuesday, March 29, 2016


My staunch, Stalwart Tree, tallest for miles, with skin like a polished gray lizard and home to birds and squirrels and chipmunks.

She’s a great noble HERO of a tree, about to burst once again into the GREEN of Spring, shadowing half the yard for a cool retreat to haven in for Summer.

Just thinking about Heroes, and having done quite a few additions to my long list, a recounting for this End of March and beginning of New Things:

You know I’ve been a reader all my life, with books such a great part of the Who I Am, and though I DO know fiction from fact most days, I’m just posting a list of the folks who, by dint of character or spirit or heroic dedication or plain old good company or sheer brain power---though I think I might not LIKE a few of them, I’d still want on MY SIDE, when I needed them.   They’re all IN IT, Banner and Blade:

Charlie Allnut

Samwise Gamgee

Briene of Tarth

Samwell Tarley
Ree Dolly
Gus and Woodrow

 Mal Reynolds and all the crew of Serenity
Atticus Finch
Tom Joad
Quigley--Orrin Sackett---Jesse Stone--Frank Reagan--Thomas Magnum
Catniss Everdeen

Lisbeth Salander
 Merry and Pippin

Leon the Professional


Neville Longbottom

Walt, Henry,Vic, Ferg, and {Hector} 
"Red" Redding 

Alan Shore, Red Reddington, Dembe Zuma 

Reese and Finch, Shaw, Root, Elias, and Marconi
Donovan Livingston

  Chuck Norris (and would HE not have made a splendid REACHER, for all 20+ movies, had the time been right)
Jessica Jones
Foggy Nelson
Miss Shambala Green or anybody played by Lorraine Toussaint 
Barney, Christmas, Trench, Gunnar 'n' 'em
Atticus Finch
Tom Joad
Marge the Cop 
Jaqen H'ghar
Opie Winston
Wile E. Coyote
Gunny Bricker
J.B. Fletcher

Raylan Givens (or perhaps just his hat)
Boyd Crowder

Penelope Garcia

Dr. Spencer Reid

Andy Dufresne

John Coffey--Paul Edgecombe--Brutal
 Nero, Jax, Bobby-Elvis, Tig, Chibs, and Miss Venus van Dam

Vincent/Hellboy/Clay Morrow

Ben Matlock/Andy Taylor
Lt. Dan 
Aibilene Clark
Andy Sipowicz

Vergil Tibbs
Louis Litt
Bobby Goren

Inigo Montoya


Idgie Threadgoode

Rooster Cogburn
Michael Westen and Fi
Summer Glau
Clarice and Hannibal

Mags Bennett

Randall McMurphy

Jack Burton
The Goonies

Luke Danes
Jo March

Mammy at Tara

Edgar Roy




Clete Purcell

Ignatius J. Reilly

The Hound

Peter and Elizabeth Burke-best marriage on TV
Jeeves, though in our last days, we'd hope for the comfort of a Hoke  

Lorelai Gilmore

Frank Drebbin

Elizabeth Bennet  

Those four teenage boys, strangers to me, who surrounded me suddenly on a silent Eighties street, emerging from the dimness, walking around me like a phalanx of Palace Guards as I passed barred stores and grim faces in the dark, then melted away when I was safely locked in my car and on my way.

And, of course, the realest “Character” there is.   Chris.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Things looking brighter, folks---at least CLEAN bright.   We’ve had haulers and Goodwill trips and a delightful young friend who braved a neglected MESS and hauled away 20---count ‘em---TWENTY banana boxes of unspeakable detritus in one unholy couple of hours, as I loaded and he trudged up the stairs and out with junk and grodue we’ve not seen for fifteen years.  We wore gloves and MASKS, folks.   God Bless the Young Folks, and when they’re MY age, may there be a THEM to help out.

A new cleaning service came and wrought miracles to the living room and sitting room, as well as this big gathering space down here (didn’t have to touch my lovely pink kitchen---I’m delighted to do THAT).  And Caro’s kitchen upstairs is, as my Mammaw used to say:  Shinin’ like NEW MONEY.   She's so happy with it, for she's still not quite back to her old self and strength.

What a yoke has been lifted, since this time last year, when we embarked on this kitchen renovation and all the attendant chaos (plus some added on and other parts acquired, and I’m beginning to think some of it just looked in on the migration South, liked our style, and stayed like the Man Who Came To Dinner).  We're just so grateful to have our girls regaining their health.   It’s just lovely out, the house looks and smells lovely, and I’m feeling like Dufresne In The Rain.

I SWANNEE, you've been patient.  I love everybody. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Yes, I'm wearing the Green today, in honor of my ancestors with long-ago roots in Ireland. They left the known for the unknown in 1730, when this country was still great stretches of unbroken green, wild and untrod, and those steps were taken on Faith and pure Grit. I'd rather claim those hard-working, hardscrabble farmers, leaving those smoky, humble crofts and taking only their hope and their callused hands to a new land, than anyone's born-to-the-manor family line.

And I just discovered the most remarkable thing today, from just a tiny mention in Donna’s blog "GATHER.   I hadn’t known that the people of the Choctaw Nation, having just undergone the tragic cruelty of The Trail of Tears in their “banishment” to Oklahoma in 1831, reached out from their kind, empathetic hearts to the people of Ireland.   Less than two decades after their deprivation and loss beyond imagining, those impoverished people, so devastatingly needy themselves, gathered up and sent $170.00 in 1847, to help the starving people in Ireland.

MY Choctaw ancestors gave a Love Gift to strangers, and though my own Irish relatives had already left Ireland for America, that money helped to nourish and sustain Blood of My Blood.   What a stunning, exhilaratingly heart-searing  thought!   

 In Keats' A Thing Of Beauty, the first line is widely quoted, often used, and most likely the only part remembered by most folks. But the last---Ahhh, the Last. It stands beautiful head and shoulders above any lines which come before:

I send my herald thought into a wilderness:

There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress

My uncertain path with green, that I may speed

Easily onward, through flowers and weed.

I’m joining the group at Kathleen’s Cuisine today, for all the GREENS.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


She’s gone and MARRID my Mistah Kennedy!!

In the last while, I’ve read several “things I don’t like about books"---a concept which is totally beyond any thought I ever had on the subject (well except for a few which were a pure-D waste of tree, ink, and ANYBODY’s time).

One of the most-mentioned “hates”---yes, they mostly all said “hate,” was dialogue in dialect.  And I do admit, some of it does get more than a bit boggy when attempts to interpret repeat accents or regional patterns of speech on the page just go ON AND ON.

But, mea culpa all over the place, I DO tend to write like I talk.  Or other people I’ve known did and do.  Well, golly-gosh amoddy I’m guilty, raise my hand and can’t promise to stop.  A friend of mine says that if you KNOW better, you can traipse REALLY close to the grammar line, tossing out ain’ts and Shouldas and Y’alls with abandon, but only to folks what know you.

Maybe my trouble is that I just don’t wait for an introduction---I just sprinkle and splash all these old Southern terms and idiomata around at will, justa flyin’ along with my mind so far ahead of my fingers I just don’t KNOW what.

And I’ve had a life-long love affair with words, especially the convolutions and conflaptions of the South---but I wonder if all this I SWANEE and Pert Nigh and Like ta DIED sometimes come off as either ignorance or affectation when I get going and just don’t know which way to stop. 

I wouldn’t want to read much of a conversation constructed merely of Mrs. Topper’s relating of Mr. Topper’s Last Will and Testament:

“He’s establishin’ a chayeh at Ole Miss for the Futheruntz of Liderrareh Studiz.”

  But I’d certainly understand it, and be mighty inclined to think highly of Mr. T. for it, Bless his Heart.

But stories that go on and on  spelling out ditten and watten and cain't every single time, and the pulled-out-of-a-very-unfashionable-hat anythin’---why anybody knows no self-respecting Southern Accent would include such a travesty.    And if  you’re going for the stress, it’s anyTHANG.   Now, Somethin’ is perfectly acceptable, as is the slightly déclassé SUMPIN’ in a real case of drawl, but for Anythang, just leave that G alone.  I’m talkin’ to YOU, movie dialogue coaches, who make perfectly good linguists sound like Gone With The Wind understudies.

Besides, all that repetition and getting-it-just-alike every time  must be nerve-racking for the writer, and give them a headache, besides.  I certainly couldn’t do it, and I talk that way.

Nuff said, I think.  Anybody else get turned off by a writer’s repetitious attempts to convey any kind of accent phonetically?

ps  I have never once in this life ever called cornbread corn PONE, at least not in its presence.

Monday, March 14, 2016


A sweet note from Jeanne made me want to post a BLUE MONDAY item, and so I sorta turned the wheel, went into the thousands of photo archives, and the very first one I stopped on was this.

It’s an ordinary little moment, exactly five years ago today, of Sweetpea and her Ganner, sharing a tiny bit of Afternoon Tea after her nap. It’s sorta out of focus, sorta wonky-framed, a whole lot where-did-those-years-go, and wish I could live them again.

My very first Blue Monday for Jeanne. Happy Day to all.


Friday, March 11, 2016


Luscious picture courtesy of ROADFOOD and Shealy's BBQ
How many folks these days do you think even KNOW what these are?  Especially by that old-timey name they’ve been called all my life---the coveted piece all my childhood, and the second-place honor of being granted a chance at the wish with someone else, as you grasped one side of that slick thin "V", closed your eyes, and  wrestled that limber talisman for the granting.  

We simply assumed that the magical properties rendered any residual spit harmless, and grabbed hold of the proffered chance with thumb and two fingers.   A tiny “crack,” a little wrestle-pull of the slick twig, and there was YOUR half, with the extra crook on YOUR SIDE showing your luck.

A Pulley Bone is sort of a by-gone thought nowadays, unless you cut up a whole chicken the “real” way---the fourteen-piece way, starting with severing thighs from body, then drumsticks from thighs.   That tricky little operation out of the way, the wings removed, and you sliced up and down each side, halving the football into back and front.

With the breast part uppermost, the knife was brought down about a third of the way from the top, where you judged the little roundy-flat tip of the pulley bone to be.  A soft severing upward through the softness, and there it was in your hand---a smooth lump like plump little pink harem-pants, with a small divining-rod of bone running through.

Only then did you place the cleaver straight up and down on the breastbone, putting a good weight on the whole operation, as the give of cartilage and crack of bone made two neat halves of the breast.   Little collops from each half were nice, as well, but you could just cook each half as is.

The back took similar cleaver-weight and cracking crosswise, unless you were one of those rough-and-ready cooks with strong enough hands to break it manually, separating the lower, oyster-bearing half from the rib cage with one firm hold-and-snap. 

There you had it---fourteen pieces:  two drumsticks, two thighs (second joints, I learned from relatives who visited from “off”), two breast halves, two wings, two back halves, neck, liver, gizzard, and PULLEY BONE.

I hope you get to enjoy one soon.   And make a wish.