Monday, April 18, 2016


Happily joining BERNIDEEN'S PARTY and   BLUE MONDAY today, and especially sending congratulations to our friends Jeanne and Bill on their 53rd Anniversary!

This charming little blue “house” is a gift Donna at GATHER sent me this week---I’d admired it on her blog, way back on the first day of this new year, and told her about the one the neighbors had when I was a child (a much less elegant item, with square wood sides and a little door with black hinges, as I remember).   Theirs was filled with small rough-cut squares of tablet or notebook paper (for I unabashedly looked inside every time I went to their door, just as I greatly enjoyed ringing their bell---one of those through-the-door ones with the big round brass “school-bell” effect on the inside, and a large kiddie-car key on the outside, to turn and make the most satisfying buzzy ring, like an old alarm clock winding down.   I hope now that I didn’t run Miss Sybil crazy with ringing that bell, for I’m sure I must have given it a few extra turns for good measure before she could rush her floppy chenille house-shoes from the kitchen to open the door).

Their note-box was such a charming mystery to me---it hung beside the big glass front door, way inside the screen-porch, and I always wanted to leave a little message with that pencil-stub on the grimy string.   But aside from “Can Lynnette come out and play?” my conversation with the parents was limited, and besides, would not have made much sense---me being already gone, and all.

I know there were also rather fancy editions of the box, with cutesy cut-outs and even little clock faces, to tell when the family would be back and receiving.   You found those for sale mostly at places like Rock City and maybe Mammoth Cave.  

Décor varied, as did hinges and size and even the little closers---my favorites were the small rectangles of wood nailed on, like dollhouse versions of the latch on Mammaw’s outhouse, to swing up or down to open. 

I wonder about the contents of the little messages---whether “Deliver two dozen eggs this week” or “Sorry we missed you.”  I know there have been a lifetime of small scribings, with impartings and askings and news.   You know how I am about writing anything, and every missive is a treasure to me.   

I kinda think this next one was a Woodshop project by a guy in the FFA, before he moved on to Birdhouses and a Cedar Chest for his high-school sweetheart.   Do not ask me how I know this.

Even that barely-there used-up pencil was a bit of history in lives we’ll never know. In truth, it was probably an eraser-nub Ticonderoga with a few bite marks, and the tell-tale scallops from a whittlin'-knife sharpening job.

I so love this little blue house, with its old leather hinges and the matching brass upholstery tacks, and especially the fact that it’s such a bright, happy blue. It's a weighty little structure, feeling like a hundred years in my hands from the weight of the wood and the shingles, the thick paint and all that history.  

 It even has REAL old-fashioned gritty-tar shingles on its little point of a roof---what lovely detail, and somebody must have loved it.

I thank you all so much for your answers, this week---most had versions of mail box or drop-a-note, and I know truly that it IS a Fairy Portal to somewhere, as are all mailboxes---it's ingrained since the first hole-beneath-a-secret-rock, so everybody's right in their recognition of the Magic involved.  There’s a special spot on my new pink kitchen wall, right over the tiny dollhouse kitchen appliances.  The blue fits in perfectly, and the memories! Just imagining them makes me smile.

From Donna’s e-mail:

Oh Rachel, the pleasure is all mine.  I had it out for a few years then stuck away in a drawer.  I'm so glad you have it now.  I can't ever remember seeing them, so I thought it was quite unique when I found it.  Along with a doily the same color and an old am radio the same color too, it sat on the dresser in the guest room.  I also had a large handmade primitive armoire that color so it all went together.  The walls were the lightest robin's egg blue possible, nearly in the white category.  It was just time to let go and where better than with someone who loves it.  
Warm regards, Donna

And you know, I can open that tiny door and catch the faintest linger of Coty face powder, and maybe Toujours Moi---perhaps it’s from the sojourn in the Guest Room, but I prefer to think it’s the whisper from an old Love letter.

Friday, April 15, 2016


This small blue beautiful is a gift from far-ago and long-away---just arrived yesterday from a blog friend, from her great store-house of marvels.  Of its use and history, I've had several guesses---for the most, "Fairy Door, of course."

Anyone else recognize one of these?  And if you always HAD one, accept my great covetry.   And no, the tiny nail-hole at the top did not support a wee half-moon.

And of it all, moiré non.

For the answer to the conundrum, see next post: PO' FOLKS CALLIN' CARDS.

Linking to Beverly's PINK SATURDAY.

Monday, April 11, 2016


There’s picnic-time in the air, folks, with the world greening and the warm trying to settle into the days.  My first ideals of picnics were gleaned from cartoons---Heckle and Jeckle with the basket spilling bread and grapes and wine onto a red-checked cloth on the ground, and of course, the KING of the Pic-a-Nick Basket---Yogi Bear.

Garfield does love him a picnic, as well, but I can't think how they arrived there with all that fruit and melon and pie, because I know for a fact that there's a huge steaming pan of lasagna beneath that warm red cover:

There’s the Teddy Bear Picnic, with all the furry friends set out into the sunshine for a little repast:

An eager group of bunnies, with the requisite sandwiches and pie and cold chicken.

Even these fey little vacant creatures, with their toy Bento food just set down by a phalanx of thrall-lackeys from that castle beyond, enjoy an al fresco tea as much as anyone.  They're either annoyed at the Paparazzi or loosing their Snoopy brows against the uninvited.   (Someone should, however, remind their governess to tell them that removing their gloves before eating is de rigueur).

The prototype of all my basket ideals---everything neat and ready to hand---all that’s missing is a cold roast fowl.  My collection of Red Man baskets holds a lot of picnic dreams.

And the sweet mystery of story-books, where families were always together, and it all comes right in the end.  But how they got all those cub-chillun into those cunning little sailor-suits and ruffly panties and got out the door with all the food and preparations is beyond me.  Why, just getting all of them to sit still at once without spilling the honey or putting  a foot in the pie---that’s magic, right there. 

Here’s one more true-to-life:

I was the primary picnic-maker; I would have a basket ready to go as soon as we got home from church and could get the Tupperwares out of the fridge and into the Coleman, and those were some lovely afternoons.    We’d find a spot, usually on one of the concrete tables in the park at the lake, spread the big old vinyl curtain, and I’d lay out the food just so, whilst Mother got the ice into the glasses and the napkins laid down with a rock.   And immediately after we’d eaten, Daddy would stand up, stretch his shoulders, and wander around the area to find the best leanin’-tree.    He’d check for ants and twigs, then sit down, lean back, and be sound asleep in thirty seconds---he said it was from all those years of hunting in the woods around their farm, years when squirrels-in-the-pot meant there was meat for supper, so he learned to stay still for hours, and wake in an instant.

And then there's one which just seems so RIGHT to me---an impromptu little out-on-the-lawn for cocoa and cake, when the season’s winding down and the air bright with Autumn.

It’s time.   Let’s plan a picnic! 

Thursday, April 7, 2016



This morning's still-drowsy thoughts of silly teenage memories before getting up for coffee---

We had newspaper delivery when I was growing up, and after Sis was born, our milk was delivered by a milk-man in a snazzy little white truck.   And besides all the garden produce we planted and picked and canned and froze ourselves every Summer, and the "spoken for" quarter of beef, received from Mr. Neighbors' Meat Market in neat white parcels, all smoothed and creased with the artistry of those exquisite Japanese gift-wraps, we did belong for several years to the "Rich Plan."   It was a sort of precursor to Schwann's and such, for they brought you frozen meats and vegetables, and oh, those frozen peach slices in deep cold January, rattling into a pie crust for a taste of Summer!


I loved looking at the crisp colourful pages of the thin "catalog" which pictured all that little toy food---the brightest peas in the history of peadom, the berries, each frozen whole in its little crust of ice, and filling your mouth with its popsicle Summer flavor, and all sorts of "made" stuff.   We'd always made every single item in our own kitchen---salmon patties and all our own pasta dishes and casseroles and breaded chicken, and there they were, each and every one more vivid and enticing than anything in the Betty Crocker book with its stylized outlines of fish and chops in their wee frilly toques and pictures of anemic pastel desserts less alluring than the spread at a Heckle and Jeckle picnic.

  Just the variety of Rich's shapes of pineapple, like little kitchen Legos, fascinated me with their infinite possibilities. 

 Image result for The Rich Plan food service images
   And those exotic Stuffed Crabs---our only exposure to the taste of crab was on occasional trips to the coast or Pensacola, and a day's "fishing" off the pier with a bit of chicken liver on a string, as the determined little crabs hung on to their catch long enough to be pulled up into the small dip-nets.   We'd have one night with a "crab dinner" in our motel kitchenette, cooking the little fellows in a huge pot Mother had brought from home (stuffed full of Sis's clothes and toys for economy of space in the trunk).  Those were messy affairs, with little hammers and the brought-along nut-picks and wet dishrags and bedtime showers for everyone after, especially after a day in the sun and 
sand---and the luxury of all that hot water, with nobody having to wait for the water heater to regroup and refill.

But The Rich Stuffed Crab, now---those were special, and Mother doled them out like ortolans, precious and rare.  They were probably a ratio of twenty parts bread crumbs to one part crabmeat, stuffed back into the strange little bony shells and baked til golden on top.  Those were my dreams of what Movie Stars probably ate, and I helped Mother make great occasions of the special dish---homemade tartar sauce and cocktail sauce and moon-smiles of lemon, and it seemed quite a grand affair, there at our little kitchen table so far removed from the ocean.  And no, I didn't eat them, but I was piqued by such fiddly, interesting ways to "do" food, even at that young age.  

What a silly morning, reminiscing about such far-ago things as crab shells and frilly little panties for lamb chops.  I'm sure that's partially where I got this odd tendency to gussy up food.  Oh. Well.  

Happy April to everybody!