Saturday, January 30, 2016


The sun was streaming down the stairs when I awoke and came in here---a delightful surprise in the stretch of these iron-cold days.  We still have the screens in the top halves of the doors, and so have not had the “wooden” doors open for some time now.   The almost-Spring scent of grass and sun-warmed hedges floats in, to mingle with the aroma of the big pot of pinto beans and ham simmering on the big old Franklin.   And a lovely aura surrounds the huge bin of throwaway TREATS---all those bits and bobs and quarter-Tups of leftover staling Christmas goodies, all dumped in a dry plastic bucket to be doled out to the birdies on the lawn, for chocolate and spice and vanilla and candied peel and candy melts all mingle in this warm room like a home-style version of walking into the sanctified scents of Laduree or Godiva.

Our house when I was growing up always smelt of BOOKS. We had lots of new BOMC ones which I read much too young, all the ones from our school library, and the loads I lugged home from the little smoky-green board-and-batten library which dispensed books and a cookie now and then. And the old crumbly ones, whose pages would shatter at the corner if you didn't turn with your gentlest touch.

My own personal trove was a gift from a between-generations cousin, who was exactly ten years younger than my Mother and ten older than I. Lynnette was the Nellie Oleson of our time, an absolute terror, a hitter and pincher and tattle-tale whose parents owned one of the two little grocery stores in a neighboring town, and who had an enticing gallery of exquisitely-dressed dolls, ordered from "OFF" for her childhood Christmases and birthdays. She also had BOOKS.

“Bought” books of her own---whole series of Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton and the Maida series and the Hardy Boys and every Tarzan in print. I would look at the dolls (not allowed to touch), but I coveted those books with a grievous avarice, and when I was in third grade, we got the CALL: Come get something she was giving away.

She was putting away childish things, and my Mammaw's joy at the idea that I would be receiving all those gloriously-attired dolls was boundless. She had even discussed shelving with my carpenter Daddy, hoping to provide them with the perfect display area.

We arrived to find three huge boxes, all packed and taped, and so heavy that they required the dolly and the help of a couple of bystanders---they had BOOKS inside, and Mammaw was NOT happy. And I was absolutely mortified that my Dad was handling a big container with "KOTEX" emblazoned on the side, RIGHT THERE IN DAYLIGHT.

But the bubble of joy that displaced all the feeling in my stomach---that anticipation and pre-enjoyment is still a milestone in my life for sheer happiness. I spent the entire Summer immersed in places and lives outside my own realm; I was right there in the front seat of that roadster (in my own smart outfit and dashing hat) as Nancy sped toward the solution to the mystery.

I passed whole days up an enormous pecan tree, trekking the steaming jungles in pursuit of elephant burial grounds and wicked traders, joining in the Jane-rescue with an echoing yodel and a swift vine-swing.

Lynnette gave the dolls to the younger sisters of her boyfriend, and I have no doubt that they were soon scattered around that tatty yard, all those satins and velvets, little feathered hats and tiny, intricate shoes, trampled and whisked away in the wind, but I can still close my eyes and be up that tree in the deep Summer heat, keeping watch for dastardly poachers and angry tribesmen.

The scent of old paper, the Johnson's wax we used on the hardwood floors (my Saturday polishings were carried out to rocking music, as I put on Daddy's old socks and danced the floors shiny), the flowers which were always present, the faint scent of my Mother's Pall Mall's, the aura of Chanel and Joy and Estee Lauder wafting from her dressing area, the delicious odors from the kitchen, where we would all be chopping and cooking and baking, the Summer tang of vinegar simmering in the latest batch of pickles, plus the Coppertone richness of a thousand days in the sun---those are still the scent-memories of my life, and my own home replicates these in its own way.

We have no idea of the complexities of our own homes' personae---the scents are just one of the points which go into their makeup; a friend used to come to our house often, and several times she said, "This smells like rich folks' houses." It was just a little house on a little street in a VERY little Southern town...but she was WAY right about the rich part. Books and music and really good food and friends to visit. Wealth beyond wishes.

And what three things does YOUR house smell of, right now?

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Amidst this run-for-your-life day of WEATHER and SNOW and Stranded-in-traffic and Snuggling-in-at-Home, I hope for everyone a safe, warm day and a quick recovery from all the ravages of the storm.

It’s also National Pie Day, of-which-we-could-always-use-more, folks, and though I’ve never had a “hand” for pie crust, and we’re mostly CAKE people, we’re having Chicken Pot Pie on this blustery, iron-cold evening.  

And I never think of pie anymore without thinking of the scene in “MICHAEL,” when they sit down in the truck-stop restaurant, a whole bunch at the table, and order “Two slices of every kind of pie you have.”   Haven’t you always wanted to do just that---just sit at a table of good friends or family, contemplating such a generous array of SWEET, and sampling each at your leisure, as you chat amongst yourselves in that long-time friendship way?  There would be just something about someone else setting such largesse before you, like Royal Command and Sovereign Decree, with just the quiet request and the cheerful delivery.   

That rowdy Michael tells Andie McDowell to “sing your song about pie,” and she does, in that slow, earnest way she does everything.    

But don’t stop THERE!   You can't miss that famous Michael Dance, which will have you sashaying around the kitchen like you’re wearing your Saturday-Night outfit, Shalimar and best kickers.  

I’ve got a lot to do for tomorrow’s Birthday Gathering, so go DANCE for me---like my Mammaw always said, “It’ll do you good and hep you, too.”

Stay warm and well, my dear friends,

Friday, January 15, 2016


Just taking a quick look back, here on this Ides of January, and it’s been a blurry WHIZ-BANG-WAY-GOLLY-GOSH of a year.

Some great high moments to begin, with TEN of the chillun and GRANDS gathered for New Year’s Eve, and some quiet, contemplative times, as well as a few overwhelmingly SCARY-AS-IT-GETS days, as Caro was in the hospital this past week.

She’s home, her usual cheery, kind self, as she was the whole time of all those needle-sticks and tests and unending interruptions of rest.  We’re beyond thankful for all the care and the healing and the happy conclusion, and the hope for all of us a quieter, happier second half of this first month of the Whole New Year.

I’m focused on COMFORT today, folks---on clean, comfy clothes for everybody and fresh-changed linens on the beds, and quiet lighting and the glow of my color-changing lights strung all around this still-cluttered, laundry-strewn room. 

  Caro’s all showered and shampooed and settled in her own house upstairs, with some good things on the DVR and her Nook, and the prospect of a simple, quiet supper.

We’re so enervated and “give plumb out,” as my Mammaw would say, I found a bit of cheer and even some toe-tapping in this bit of Happy Music---maybe it’s my Irish roots which keep me smiling, all the way through the curtain-calls.

Moiré non,

Friday, January 1, 2016


We had TEN of our kids and GRANDS here last night, for a wonderful, loud, bright gathering, and it was a splendid evening.   I don’t have words yet to tell of all the glory and wonder of that time, so I’ll just wish you a glorious and happy-filled NEW YEAR of your own.

Moire non,


Linking today to PINK SATURDAY---this Christmas had as much PINK as I could get into it this year, including a tiny pink tree Caro gave me for the kitchen pass-through.