Thursday, December 20, 2007
We went to see the Nutcracker last night. Arabella, our 6 year old Granddaughter was in the production along with lots of kids from her dance studio. They performed it on the stage at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (UTC). Maybe I will get some of those pix on the blog after Christmas. It was truly delightful! And some time soon I hope to post some pictures of our recent trip to Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. Ed surprised me with a day trip up there this past Tuesday to get me outta the house. The Christmas decorations there were just beautiful and the grounds are gorgeous. There is even a winery on the premises. We didn't see everything and we have to go back when the gardens are blooming. But it worked and got me in the spirit to go right home and decorate my mansion.
But today I am trying something new. I am posting a little video. If it works I might try it again. If I don't get back to you before next Tuesday, have a wonderful Christmas, everyone. And a Healthy Happy New Year!
(Just click on the right arrow and turn up your volume.)
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Part I. Breakfasting with Princesses
“I want the Princess Placemat!” said 2 year old Indigo, in her sweet and delicate, irresistible way. “But that is my, placemat, Indigo.” responded six year old Arabella, in her saddest middle-child voice. She was right. Grandma had bought her this placemat with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White colorfully depicted on clear plastic at the Dollar General, along with one of Spiderman for oldest brother Zeppelin, and one for Indigo of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and company, with whom she was so enamored just a few short months ago. But this morning, she only wanted the Princesses.
With some coaxing, Arabella agreed to share her Princesses with her little sister, and this made her Grandmother very happy. Grandma was a little less energetic this Sunday morning than she had been the morning before when these two tow haired princesses had been dropped off for an overnight at Grandma and Grampa’s house,but she still had a little something left in her.
So, with Indigo settled in with her Dora the Explorer bowl and spoon set on Arabella’s Princess Placemat, Grandma set a special place for big sister Arabella. She went to a special drawer and took out a hand crocheted placemat made by Arabella’s mother a few Christmases ago and paired it with a matching cloth napkin. As Arabella watched with some curiosity, Grandma pulled her big step stool over to the cupboard and climbed up to the top step. She carefully took a treasure from the highest shelf there and climbed back down. In a minute or two, she came to the table bringing with her a small yellow and blue ceramic object and ceremoniously placed it near Arabella’s grown-up place setting.
It was a small pitcher shaped like a pig. The pig was yellow with a blue kerchief around its neck. It had a handle at its tail and a hole where its mouth would be. And it was full of milk. Grandma said to Arabella “This pig has a story.”
“When I was six years old, exactly how old you are now, I had to have my tonsils out. I went into the hospital and while I was there, somebody I love made me feel much better by bringing me flowers in this ceramic pig. And I have loved it ever since then. On special occasions I sometimes let children pour their own milk from the pig pitcher, just like I did when I was a little girl. This pig is fifty years old now, and if you are very careful with it today you may use it.”
Arabella was very pleased and felt very grownup as she proudly poured her milk on her cereal. Indigo was happy, too, and when she was finished with her breakfast, for some reason she placed her white paper napkin right on the top of her little blonde head. She looked at Grandma and Arabella and announced “Look at me! I am Snow White!" Grandma and Arabella looked at each other and laughed.
And while Grandma was cleaning up the breakfast dishes she was thinking about that fifty year old pig and the wonderful woman who gave it to her so many years before. And Grandma smiled.
Part III. Frank Capra and the Fifty Year Old Pig
After John came to pick up Arabella and Indigo this morning, and while I was basking in the glow of grandmotherhood, I couldn’t stop thinking about my fifty year old pig. Like the story said, I have had it since I was six and was only allowed to use it as a child on special occasions. There is something special about having your very own little pitcher of milk when you are just a kid. I remember when we were sick and couldn’t come to the table to eat, we often had Cream of Wheat for supper while we were still in bed. We had these really great metal bed trays painted with the map of the United States on them. They had fold-down legs that were placed on each side of you and you had to stay very still while you ate so as not to spill. There was one for Chuckie and one for Suzie. I have a clear recollection of this little pig pitcher on that tray.
But what the sight of this little pitcher really made me think about was the woman who gave me this little object d’art. Her name is Gloria Petersen, closest friend to my parents, and I adored her all my life and still do. I married her nephew many moons ago, although I have never held that against her. I am sure the card on the flowers that day in the hospital in 1957 was signed by both Gloria and her husband Pete, but I have a hunch it was her idea. That was how I first learned what Baby’s Breath was. I don’t remember what flowers were in the arrangement, but I remember the Baby’s Breath.
Giving me this little pig fifty years ago is what I call a Frank Capra thing. As you know, in the Capra film “It’s a Wonderful Life” the message is that we all touch each other in ways that we might never know. In the movie, George Bailey’s mere existence was responsible for keeping someone out of jail, for saving a couple of jobs, several marriages and even a life or two. For the movie these things had to be monumental. In real life these little things may or may not have a monumental impact on our lives. But we can’t underestimate how powerful a small gesture of love, an exchange of knowledge or a kindness might be.
I like to tell teenagers I know that everything they say and do even at their stage in life can have a huge impact on their future and the future of those with whom they come in contact. So be mindful of what you say and do. I use the example of the teenagers, summer sweethearts, who decades later came together again, fell in love again and married. Of course, they don’t always believe the story until they find out that the girl in the story is me.
Little things we do or say that maybe don’t change lives, but can immediately bring up thoughts of funny and loveable memories can serve as little legacies we leave behind. There are three such legacies that I think of all the time, besides the fifty year old pig.
First, whenever I make a bed or fold a sheet I remember my Godmother, Maryellen. She taught me how to make square corners. She taught me how to fold a sheet by “kissing” the corners. And she taught me how to put a pillowcase on a pillow in a silly way by turning it inside out first, just to make it fun. I think of her whenever I hear Que Sera, Sera, too. She used to sing that to us all the time.
And I think of my cousin Liz every time I curl my eyelashes. She taught me how to do that, even though she doesn’t remember it, because I asked her not long ago. But ever since I was about 14 I have thought about Liz everyday when I do my eye makeup.
And I think of Mr. Myers, a much loved fourth grade teacher who a generation later taught my son Doug when he was in fourth grade, the first day of every new month. Mr. Myers taught Doug about Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit and Doug brought it home to our family. I wonder how many of Mr. Myers former pupils think of him the first of every month.
To this day I can’t look at that little fifty year old pig pitcher without thinking of Gloria and Pete. Pete passed away a couple of years ago and we miss him very much. Gloria doesn’t remember things as well as she used to now and she may not remember the gesture of giving me those flowers or that little pig. But this morning when Arabella was pouring her milk from it, it was just like Pete and Gloria were having breakfast with us and I have been thinking about them all morning long.
I know you all have a fifty year old pig somewhere in your cupboard. I am sure there is an object, or a phrase, or the scent of cinnamon or something that will lead you to these little legacies in your life. Leave me a comment if you think of some of yours. And if you are lucky enough to have these folks still on the planet with you, why not share with them how they have touched you along the way. I bet they will be just as surprised as George Bailey was that they made a difference.
Have a great day.
PS. It's A Wonderful Life airs on NBC December 14th at 8PM Eastern
Friday, November 30, 2007
Now that we have dealt with the rabbits, let's talk about ducks! Ed and I spent the night after Thanksgiving in Memphis,, home of Elvis and Graceland, at the Peabody Hotel, the grand hotel of the south. This was a wedding gift from my pals back in Massachusetts.
The Peabody is a lovely old hotel and we were treated to special accomodations on the Club Level that included hot hors d'eouvres and wine at the cocktail hour in a special lounge, pastries with turn-down service at night and a special concierge just for that floor, which is the 12th floor, the top floor with a lovely view.
The room was really beautiful. Very elegant. One of the MOST comfortable beds I have slept in...EVER!
I enjoyed a glass of wine in my robe. (sorry my wine loving friends. It was white Zin.)
Elegant bath with TV and telephone.
People gathered all around and blocked our view, but it was still fun. At 5:00 every evening, they reverse the trip and go back up in the elevator to their rooftop palace.
One of the desserts in one of their restaurants with the "ducky" theme.
If we had more time we would have taken a carriage ride. One of several out in front of the hotel, this one was all lit up and was in the shape of Cinderella's coach.
This little guy, seated in the driver's seat and dressed like Santa was waiting for his next customer.
There was another carriage, too, but we don't think the driver ever bathes. YeeHaw! I don't think he had many customers.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This year, when you are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, notice the band playing at 10:26, or at least that's the schedule that was in the paper. The Ooltewah Highschool Marching Band should be on your TV screen at that time. As you watch you can say "Hey I know someone who lives in Ooltewah!" That's big news around here as you can imagine.
Friday morning, Ed and I are heading to Memphis for a couple of days to spend what promises to be a very special night at the Peabody Hotel, "the south's grand hotel" courtesy of my wonderful "gang" of friends back in Mass. A gift certificate for one night's stay with very fancy accomodations on the exclusive "club" floor, (the top floor) was a wedding gift from Rick and Kitty, George and Melonhead, Linder and Frank, Elizabeth and Malaryn and Denny. There might be a blog in there, So, stay tuned!!!
I am so thankful for my family and friends on Thanksgiving, just like I am every day of the year. But, it's nice to actually all be thinking about it at the same time!
So, Sing a verse of We Gather Together, carve that old bird, dig into the marshmallows and sweet potatoes, that green bean casserole or that jello salad. Slice the cranberry nut bread and the apple pie; watch the parade, the football games, take that after dinner constitutional or snooze... Then kiss your kids if you are lucky enough to have them with you, or your parents or friends and say a prayer of thanks to God that they are in your life. Ed and I have so much to be thankful for this year. I hope you do, too. You are all in our hearts and thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!!!!
Monday, November 05, 2007
(Reminder: clicking on some images will enlarge them. After looking at the larger image, use your back arrow key to return to the blog.)
Everybody’s going green these days. And Ed and I found ourselves going a little green without even knowing it. Ed wanted cloth napkins to bring with his lunch everday.
He thought it would add a little something to his lunchbreak.
So, we bought a few inexpensive cotton napkins in a variety of colors at our local department store.
I liked the idea of using cloth napkins because they seem kind of homey, country...Southern. So I went back and got enough for us to use everyday at home.
As many of you know, I moved from the northeast to Tennessee almost a year ago. And as many of you also know, there is a certain amount of culture shock between those two locations. But aside from the obvious differences in the demographic profiles, one of the differences I see every day when I finish with a Diet Pepsi bottle or use the last drop of Tide or Ed finishes the Sudoku in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, is that there is virtually no recycling down here.
There is a recycling center about 5 miles from here, open for a few hours and only 3 days a week.
But I feel very guilty about that and realize that here, where recycling is really inconvenient and not mandated, it takes some real effort to do it.
I always grumbled about recycling back up north. Sort of felt like it was something they forced us to do, against our will. Voted against the bottle bill and everything. But now, living in the Volunteer State, land of the Great Smokies and Lookout Mountain;