Sunday, December 30, 2012

St. Philip's Celebrates Christmas

In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise to "seek and serve Christ in all persons." On the Saturday morning before Christmas, parishioners filled grocery bags for 41 families. These were mainly the families of children who attend nearby Laurel Elementary School and depend on meals served at school. The bags of groceries included not only a turkey and all the trimmings, but also enough food to help feed the family during the winter break. 

St. Philiip's also adopted five families through Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS) and provided them with clothes, toys, and food for Christmas. In addition, parishioners gave gifts to children whose parents are temporarily living at Reality House, an inpatient addiction treatment center just down the street from our church.

On Sunday morning, December 23, we had just one service at 9 AM: Advent Lessons and Carols.  Then the choir had a special two-hour practice while others "greened the church." They made garlands of fresh pine and laurel, which were draped over the old, dark wooden beams high in the nave.

Christmas Eve services began at 4 PM with the Children's Christmas Play. We had two Festive Eucharists, with incense, bell choir, choir anthems, carols, and even a marimba. The first service was at 8 PM; the second, at 11 PM. "Midnight Mass" is an Episcopalian tradition, but I wonder how long our sleep-deprived generation can keep it going.

Tonight we welcome 34 homeless men and 4 homeless women for a week's stay with us. They'll have a warm place to sleep and they'll have a hot, home-cooked dinner every night. After breakfast, everyone will leave for the day, taking a bag lunch. Many of our guests have jobs. Those who are unemployed might head for the public library or the "day center" on Route One. Next Sunday morning, our guests will move to another congregation. The Winter Shelter began the first week in December and will continue until mid-March. Over 15 congregations, including the synagogue, will each host the guests for one week. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012


We have a new grand dog. Her name is  Mabel. Our daughter's family found her at Tara's House, a shelter in Frederick, MD.  She's part pointer, about a year old, housebroken, spayed and mischievous. 

She's been spending weekdays at our house. We'd been keeping her elderly and rather incontinent predecessor, Violet, confined to the kitchen and family room by blocking the kitchen door with a rail from an old baby crib. This worked for Violet and Ramsey. It seemed like a sensible arrangement for Mabel, but she would have none of it. She sailed over the fence with ease, like a horse at the Olympics steeplechase. 

Although she arrived at our house with her own bag of toys, she soon found others around here that she liked better. She pulled down and ripped up Ramsey's stocking. Perhaps it was still redolent of treats from Christmas Past.  She also made a chew toy out of our TV remote, seen below in the photo of the Beautiful Dreamers,  just prior to its ruination,

At 13, Ramsey is totally bored by squeaky toys. This polka-dotted plush bone temporarily revived his interest, but only because it belongs to Mabel. By making it his, he hoped to show her who was boss. 

We don't know much about Mabel, except that she was found on a country road in West Virginia. We think she must have grown up around cats, because she gets along fine with Georgie. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A New Dog, An Old Story

A silly new dog has joined the pack. I planned to write about her today, but after the tragic killings yesterday of the young children and their teachers in Connecticut, it didn't seem right.  Maybe I'll tell you about Mabel when things get back to normal. If they ever do. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Sister, the Artist

Some of my sister's pastels will be shown at the Old  Town Art Center in Chicago from early December through mid-January. I saw some of her work last summer. She's good.

Clicking on the picture will enlarge it and give you the gallery address and hours. Winter is a great time for "chasing light."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

She turned 49 yesterday, our baby girl. How can our child be 49?

She was born in Pasadena, CA on November 19, 1963. Her dad and I walked into Huntington Memorial Hospital on a sunny Tuesday morning, giddy with anticipation. Three days later, the sky darkened.

Back then, new mothers stayed in the hospital longer. On Friday morning, those of us who were going home on Saturday, gathered in a small conference room to watch a movie on bathing the baby. We waited, but no one came. Finally, we  heard a commotion in the hall. The President had just been shot in Dallas.

The hospital staff continued to function, but a stunned silence settled over the hospital. Toward evening, an aide shuffled absently into our room and changed the sheets for the second time that day. She seemed to be sleepwalking. Before lights out, the nurse tried to comfort my roommate and me.   "Now I don't want you girls to worry," she said, " the Kennedys have plenty of money." 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maryland, My Maryland

I am so proud to be a Marylander this morning. Yesterday, voters upheld Maryland's same-sex marriage law, making it legal for gay couples to marry as of January 1, 2013. We also approved the Dream Act, allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state college tuition rates. And we helped give Obama a second term.  YAY!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Peggy Sue's

Every time we're in Ohio, we always have to go to Peggy Sue's for pie. Peggy Sue's is a little restaurant on Route 36 in Newcastle, a tiny rural town. There's lots of home-cooked comfort food on the menu, including a reasonably-priced BLT sandwich and the best banana cream pie this side of heaven. If someone presented a piece of Peggy Sue's pie to Saint Peter, he'd take one look at this creamy confection with its mile-high cloud of whipped topping and close the Pearly Gates for lunch. Banana cream isn't the the only pie on the menu, which is posted on the whiteboard in the photo, but it's my forever favorite. On one visit, I held open the door so that a man and his little boy could go in ahead of us. The child ordered the last piece of banana cream pie. I don't even remember what I ordered instead, but I was very disappointed, especially when I noticed that the boy ate only half of his pie. My husband always has cherry, blackberry or apple.  The waitress brings a generous piece, offering to warm it up before serving it with ice cream on the side. They treat you like family at Peggy Sue's.

The decor is "modern diner" set off with mounted deer heads. The deer in the photo keeps company with several others on the opposite wall.  One blustery day in early February, which was the last day of deer season,  we were the only two customers in the place not wearing camouflage. 

Going west on 36 toward Mount Vernon, we pass the Fox Hole, a decrepit-looking BYOB place featuring topless dancers. Although members of a local church once filled the parking lot in an attempt to discourage the goings-on, the entertainment industry may offer some local ladies their only opportunity for employment. I just don't know. 

Further west, a farmer set up a series of large signs four years ago alleging that experts had determined that Obama's birth certificate was a forgery and blasting congress for not  booting the foreigner out of the White House. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Got Off Easy

The wind blew the screen out of the door and the rain is filling the air ducts the way it always does during a big storm. We're pumping the water out to the street. When I look at the devastation visited on Ocean City and other coastal communities, including New York City, I know we got off easy. Still,  I wonder if climate change had anything to do with making this storm worse than it might have been. It will be interesting to see what the experts have to say about Sandy. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Is Coming Today

Outside our window, the tall stalks of the Jerusalem artichokes are waving frantically to us. HELP!  Take us inside! PLEASE!

You guys will be OK.
We hope.
Stay calm Stay rooted.
Good luck.

Sandy is making landfall later today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Silly Goose of Mt. Gilead

So here we were on our way back to the cabin from Marion, OH on two-lane Ohio State Route 95. Rounded a corner outside Mount Gilead, when whoa! What was this?  A Dodge Ram pick-up was stopped just ahead of us. Its caution lights were blinking. Oncoming traffic was stopped as well. A young Amishman  alighted from the passenger side of the pick-up. Flapping a green handkerchief, he tried to herd a large white goose to safety. The silly goose waddled resolutely up the highway, stubbornly hugging the center line. Sometimes it would head briefly to one side of the road or the other. Five minutes passed. Everyone waited patiently. No one honked, not even the goose. Finally, the man managed to shoo it into someone's yard. He climbed back into the truck and we were off. 

We had just come from dinner with my college friend, Mary Jane, and her husband, Byron at the Red Lobster in Marion. This is the third straight year we've met. They're from Lima, OH and our cabin is near Danville, OH, and Marion is in between.

Marion is the birthplace of Warren Gamaliel Harding, the 29th president of the United States. The first year we got together, we arranged to meet first at the Harding Memorial. The memorial-- a white, marble wedding cake--resembles the Jefferson Memorial, only it seems larger and grander. We wondered about this. Why such a grandiose memorial for such an allegedly mediocre president? Wasn't he supposedly the "worst president ever"?

Another former resident of Marion, John W. Dean--who was involved in a little scandal of his own  known as Watergate--attempted to show in his biography* of Harding that he wasn't that bad. Certainly others have been vying for the dishonor of being the "worst president ever" since Harding's day. Who knows? By the end of the 21st century, historians may well have nominated someone else as  "the worst president ever."

John W. Dean, by the way, is a graduate of the College of Wooster, as are Mary Jane, my husband and I. According to Dean, William E. Chancellor, a racist professor at our beloved alma mater, tried to derail Harding's nomination by circulating a flyer stating that Harding had black ancestry. Although Chancellor's scandal sheet turned up at the 1920  Chicago convention,  it was ignored. This did not stop the Democrats of that day from distributing handbills containing Chancellor's so-called "research" during the campaign.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

*John W. Dean, Warren G. Harding (New York, Henry Holt and Company, 2004)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Other Horsey Set

We've just returned from a long weekend at our cabin in Knox County, OH. The weather was mostly cool and drizzly, but the sun peeked out occasionally.

Knox and the neighboring counties of Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes and Wayne are home to many Amish. You often encounter their slow-moving buggies on narrow dirt roads or on paved 2-lane roads, where cars zip past them at 50 mph. Five hitching posts stand outside the Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg. The sign says "Horses Only."

We saw this lineup of buggies in Berlin, OH, where we always stop at a bulk-food store owned by old-order Mennonites. The buggy without the legally-mandated "slow vehicle" triangle belongs to a member of the conservative Swartzenbruber group.

As part of Appalachia, eastern Knox County has some hills to reckon with. We recently found ourselves creeping up a steep grade behind a buggy carrying the parents and 3 or 4 kids. From what we could see, the horse had extremely slender ankles. It seemed to be struggling. Then, as it neared the crest of the hill, it sped up! Our Knox County neighbor, David, said, "Oh, that's a pacer."

We're from the city. "What's a pacer?"

 David replied, "That means it's not a trotter. It puts down both hooves on one side at the same time."

On Monday, we stopped at the Amish farm where we buy eggs. We saw a half dozen magnificant draft horses on the way up to the house. "Percherons," I said. My husband confirmed it with the egg lady.

My husband was impressed. He later asked, "How did you know that?"  
"You just pick these up things," I said, airily.  I like to read the horse ads in The Vendor, a biweekly newspaper for "plain folk everywhere." Phrases like "a good boys' horse" or "nice horse for taking girls to Singing" intrigue me. I reminded him of the time some other Knox County neighbors, "English" like us,  fell in love with a horse named "Dutch." They had gone to the auction not intending to buy, but soon found themselves bidding against a couple of Amish men for a beautiful Percheron. They won the bid. The minute they got home with their prize, the phone was ringing. It was the Amishmen, offering to board the horse for free in exchange for letting him "stand at stud, " as they say.

After buying our eggs, we went to the Amish bake shop for apple dumplings and a carrot cake. In the adjacent field, a straw-hatted Amishman was stuffing long stalks into a wooden contraption while a horse walked round and round it in a circle. We asked the bake shop girl what they were doing. "Pressing sugar cane, " she said. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Call from a Bill Collector

It was Beach Week, and I was in Lewes, DE, with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. The Tree Hugger and I always split Beach Week because we can't take our two elderly dogs to the beach and they are too old to go to a kennel. Even though the pit bull is a cupcake, there is something about the name of the breed that scares away potential dog-sitters. 

On Monday night, the TH got a call from a man speaking heavily-accented English, possibly an Indian, as in Mumbai.  He asked for me. My husband said I wasn't home and asked what the call was about.

"I can't tell you," said the man. "It's personal." This statement is guaranteed to irritate the most unflappable  of husbands. 

When the same man called on Tuesday night and asked for me again, my quick-thinking spouse replied, "Speaking." 

The TH could tell that the caller was flummoxed, but what could he do? He had no choice but to  remind "me" that my Macy's bill was two months overdue and request an immediate payment. 

When my husband told me about the overdue bill, I was indignant. "It is most certainly NOT overdue," I said.  "I have a zero balance on my account." As soon as I got home, I called Macy's. Don't ask me how, but somehow I've acquired two Macy's accounts over the years, which has caused no end of confusion. This time,   I had a $98.00 credit on one account and owed $98.00 plus interest plus a $25.00 late fee on the other.  Macy's straightened it out and apologized. I asked for the umpteenth time that they cancel the second account, but I have no hope of that happening any time soon. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Yesterday I met my friend for lunch at one of Laurel's finest restaurants:  good food, fine wine, ice water in goblets, wait staff dressed like penguins, white table cloths, napkins, etc. After our waiter brought our salad, Carol, who lives in Florida, said she'd been following the Penn State story with great interest since coming up to Maryland this week. The coverage in their paper at home had been sketchy.

Carol was saying, "Joe Paterno liked to say he was just an ordinary guy living in a little brick house, but actually he had ---" 

"Yes, that's right," chimed in our waiter who was passing by at that moment. "The ones who get the big pay at these schools are the athletic coaches, but it's another story for the professors . . ."  He continued on in that vein for a moment, then remembered he had salads for another table. He moved on, but stopped on his way past us again to pick up the thread. A few more remarks and he was off again to the kitchen. But he wasn't finished. At the doorway, he wheeled and returned to our table to deliver his concluding statement. 

After he left, we could only look at each other and grin in amazement.  When it was time to get the bill, we had trouble attracting his attention. "Try mentioning Joe Paterno again," I suggested to Carol. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

WAMU-FM, a local affiliate of National Public Radio, asked Washington-area listeners to e-mail stories about childhood memories of summer. I sent a story about walking to a tiny neighborhood store with my friends to get popsicles at age seven. Pretty tame stuff, but to my surprise, I got a phone call from a woman wanting to set up an interview.

She came at 8:30 AM on Monday, June 25th, with a recorder and a notebook. All this for a five-sentence story! Just as she began recording in the living room, my son-in-law entered the family room through the garage to drop off our grandson. As usual, he yelled  "Bow Wow Wow!"  to greet the dogs, one of whom is deaf. We moved to the porch, only to be interrupted by the arrival of the cleaning ladies. A bit flustered, I began again.  This time, I called Mrs. Porter's store "Mrs. Porter's school." Well, the store was across the street from our school.  Finally, we were done. What a production! By 9 AM, to my great relief, she was gone. She said the story would air at 5 PM on Friday afternoon and at 7 AM Saturday morning. 

I forgot to tell our kids and I forgot to listen on Friday afternoon.  Around 10:30 that evening, we had the "derecho." The power was off when I woke on Saturday morning (having slept through the storm), so we missed it again.

Only one family member happened to hear the story. Across town, our younger daughter, also without power, turned on her car radio and was surprised to hear a familiar voice. She told me later, "It sounded like you, but not exactly." 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Holiday Hothead

We live in Montpelier, a subdivision of over 700 Levitt-built houses. We're the original owners of our house, which we bought in 1967. Lots of holiday memories here.

One Fourth of July morning we awoke to find that someone had placed a small American flag at each driveway, near the curb. A small note was attached to each flag wishing everyone a Happy Fourth, compliments of a local realtor.

Our community maintains an e-mail listserve. People report lost pets, break-ins, announce garage sales, ask neighbors for the name of a good doctor, etc. 

Well, one man was so annoyed at the sight of all the flags that he sent out a nastygram via the listserve, publicly scolding the realtor for using Old Glory to increase his listings. Crass, tasteless, offensive and possibly illegal, he fumed.

Soon the listserve brought a reply. The general tone was, "Sorry the sight of all those little flags upset you so much.  I liked them. I also appreciate the time and effort involved in placing a flag at each house.   However, if you will send me your address, I will gladly come and remove the offending item from your property."

Monday, July 2, 2012


We have a new word in our vocabulary. A derecho is a  storm that travels in a straight line at high speeds. One hit the Washington area around 10 PM on Friday night, bringing down trees and power lines, snapping telephone poles in half like broken pencils. We woke on Saturday with no A/C and heard that we might have to wait a week to get power again. The weather forecast called for "hot and humid" weather through the Fourth of July. The temperature reached 100 Saturday and Sunday. 

It was a trying weekend. The younger daughter (Becky), husband, and four-year-old checked into a motel Saturday night. That meant their horse of a mutt, Sophie, had to come here. She was here last weekend while they were away and she leaked the whole time. I began calling her Mademoiselle OuiOui. She was put on an antibiotic, which seemed to stop the leakage. However, she is fiendishly clever at spitting out pills, so maybe she skipped a dose at our house. Anyway, she started leaking again yesterday. 

The older daughter. husband, and nine-year-old son went to a relative's house in Saint Michael's, on Maryland's Eastern Shore on Sunday morning, not knowing when their power would be back on.  Before they left, they brought us a huge bag of ice.

Nothing thawed in our freezer, fortunately. The leftover chicken in the refrigerator had to be thrown out on Sunday, but we put the milk and other perishables on ice. We have a mini-fridge in "the addition"--what used to be Mom's room--which I had been meaning to defrost for months. Well, the storm initiated that project, but I didn't know about it until I found the soaked carpet. 

The power came on at 2 PM on Sunday. The land line worked again, the A/C came on, the LCDs on the oven and microwave began blinking merrily. Our younger daughter and her family were back home. Their power was restored on Sunday morning. The Tree Hugger and I left two dogs and a cat in a cooling house at 4  to take "Mlle. OuiOui" home. After dropping her off, we stopped at Baskin and Robbins for an ice cream cone. They were closed. The Chinese restaurant next door was open, so I bought some General Tso's chicken for myself. (The Tree Hugger avoids  Chinese food because sodium raises his blood pressure.)

On the way home, I held the hot dinner in my lap because I no longer had the sense to put it on the floor.  We noticed that one or two of the traffic lights near home, which had been working when we left, were now dark again. So were all the houses on the way to our house. Uh oh

When we got home, we found we were completely locked out. Couldn't raise the electric-powered garage door,  couldn't get in through the patio doors, couldn't get in the front door. We'd started locking the storm door because of all the recent burglaries. Neither of us had thought to add the key to our rings. Our neighbor said BGE promised to have the power back on again around 7:30.  So we went back to Becky's, with me still hugging the hot carryout. The Tree Hugger decided to hell with his low-sodium diet, so he, our daughter, and I shared the carryout.  Around 8, we left for home, worried about the pets.

The power was still out. The Tree Hugger was getting ready to break the garage window when I saw that one of the front porch windows was unlocked. It took a lot of pulling and tugging, but the TH finally got it open far enough for to wriggle through. Quite a feat for a 72-year-old to enter his house head first.  So we were in.

An hour later, the power came on. That time for good, we hope. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mennonite Employees at the College of Wooster

The College of Wooster is in Wayne County, Ohio, which had, and still has, a large population of Amish and Mennonites. Two stern-looking Mennonite women, probably on the college's housekeeping staff, often sat at the front desk of Wagner Hall, where all the women of the class of '62 lived during  our junior year.  They would watch us sign ourselves in and out. 

Perhaps because their first language was a German dialect, their English was sometimes a little strange. When one of our classmates apparently abandoned a suitcase in the parlor, a warning note appeared on the front desk: "Whose suitcase this is better take it upstairs." 

One very windy March day, while I was signing in,  one of them observed, "Days like this, little folks like you get blown away." ( I weighed about 100 pounds then. )

Friday, June 22, 2012

50th Class Reunion at the College of Wooster

In early June, I was one of 108 College of Wooster alumni attending the reunion of the Class of '62. We now know that someone amongst us must be a millionaire, because the class gift came to an astounding $8 million.

One of the highlights of the weekend was a panel discussion of the changes in women's lives over the past 50 years. Back in our day, the college acted "in loco parentis," keeping the "girls" in purdah, but allowing the "men" come and go as they pleased. Elaborate and detailed rules dictated when, with whom and for how long we could leave the dorm and what we should wear when we did. For instance, girls had to wear long coats over shorts on their way to the tennis courts. Although everyone changed  the sheets on their beds on Wednesdays, it seems to me that the girls had to dust and vacuum their rooms prior to weekly inspection, while the men received maid service.

We all recalled the thrill of seeing the Scots Band, in their MacLeod tartans, cresting the hill above the footfall field, bagpipes skirling.  Another fond memory was "Faculty Sing." The college was loosely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and everyone attended compulsory chapel four days a week, a custom probably copied from the WASPY prep schools of New England. Other than an opening hymn, the programs rarely dealt with religion. Once a year, the word would quietly go around before the first bars of the hymn:  "Faculty Sing Day."  This meant that the faculty sang, but the students didn't. The faculty sat in the choir, facing the kids in the pews. The hymn on "Faulty Sing Day" was typically an unfamiliar lulu. The organist would play every single verse, forcing the faculty to gamely soldier on in full view of the students smirking in the pews.

We had a dragon of a Dean of Women. A formidable woman in her sixties, she was all decorum and intellectual rigor. She once told me that I had a "second class" mind. How encouraging. Anyway, on Sundays we wore dresses and heels to dinner at 1 PM. As a freshman, I lived in Holden Hall. Behind Holden was a WW II-vintage dorm called "Holden Annex." The two buildings, which each had a dining hall,  were connected by a passageway known to all as "the Esophagus."  Students not living in either dorm but  assigned to those dining halls were required to enter the dorms through the Esophagus. However, they usually just trooped in through the front door of Holden.

One Sunday Dragon Lady came to dinner. She wore a tasteful grey-green dress and a rope of pearls. After grace, she stood up and fixed us all with a cold and steely eye. "I understand that many of you are accessing this dining hall by entering the front door of this dorm," she said. "You know that you are to enter this building only through the Esophagus. If you continue to ignore this rule, you will lose the privilege of taking your meals in Holden Hall. You will be reassigned to Lower Kenarden." Wow! How bad was that! Lower Kenarden was the epitome of ungracious living. We called it "Squat and Gobble." Thirty minutes and you were up and out. Still, how funny to see the Grande Dame in her elegant pearls fuming about an "esophagus"  before sitting down to roast beef plated on china and set on a starched white tablecloth.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Last week, Andrew invited his classmate, Katie,  to go swimming today at our community pool.   Today was too chilly for swimming, so Andrew suggested a walk in Laurel's Riverfront Park. We bought ice cream cones at the Laurel Meat Market and walked down to the river. Andrew, already a "compleat angler" at age nine, showed Katie all the likely fishing holes in the river. 

I've told you about Andrew's obsessions. Fishing is one of them. The best fishing hole, in his opinion, is down an embankment strewn with boulders. He scrambled down to the river while Katie and I watched from above. As he started climbing back up, Katie said, "Andrew, there's a perch near the top where you can sit and rest." 

Reaching the top, Andrew asked, "Where's the perch?" Katie looked puzzled. She pointed to a rocky ledge. Now Andrew looked puzzled. Disappointed, too. The only perch he wanted to see was a yellow perch, not some stupid rock. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Obsession Du Jour

Our nine-year-old grandson develops intense interests for short periods. Well, sometimes the periods last for several years. This was true of his Shark Period. In kindergarten, he bolted from Circle Time and rolled on the floor, protesting, "I am not a boy who's interested in books about penguins."

During the past year, it's been aquariums and the fishy dwellers therein ("Can we get a red-tailed shark?"), then lizards,  GameBoy, backyard ponds and koi. Last week it was crayfish traps.  Every so often, his interest in specific breeds of dogs kicks back in. He's read up on the various breeds so that he can campaign more effectively for the kind of dog he thinks his parents should get when their 15-year-old mutt crosses the rainbow bridge.  This changes from week to week. Past favorites have included Boston Bulls, French Bull Dogs, Siberian Huskies, Dobermans, Minpins, and Puggles. Oh, yeah, and Pomeranians. 

During his most recent Dog Period, he was reading aloud from Lynne Reid Banks' The Secret of the Indian.  A horse's leg appeared "titanic" to a time-traveling two-inch-high English boy who'd landed in a frontier Texas town in the late 19th century. I asked him if he knew what "titanic" meant. He said, "Yes, it was a huge ship that sank after World War I." We talked about what "titanic" meant in the book's context. He listened, but he was clearly itching to tell me something. "Do you know that one of the three dogs that was rescued on the Titanic was a Pomeranian?" 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trip to Knox County

Last weekend my husband and I went to our cabin in Knox County, Ohio. New life was everywhere. The roadsides were resplendent with white and purple dames rockets and the fields were nurseries for newborn kids, foals, and calves. 

We always buy eggs at a certain Amish farm. "I'll have to go over and see what they done," replied the egg lady doubtfully, when we asked for our usual two dozen.  She returned with just one dozen. Sundown was approaching. The hens were getting ready for the Sabbath. 

The sign at the Amish bake shop said the shop would be closed on Thursday, May 17th,  in observance of Ascension Day. 

My husband's cousin, Billy, came down from Cleveland  on Saturday. They discussed their mutual interest in genealogy, speculating on why some of their forebears denied their Polish heritage.  My semi-retired husband recently started piano lessons at the Senior Center in Laurel.  He's serious about daily practice, so he decided to buy an electronic keyboard for the cabin.  He called both the music stores he found in the yellow pages--one in Mansfield, OH and the other in Millersburg, OH--on Sunday. No one answered.  Of course. They take the Sabbath seriously in rural Ohio. He tried the Mansfield store early Monday morning, found out what brands they carried and got directions. About five minutes after he hung up, he received a call from the Millerburg store. Our phone number had apparently been recorded when Phil called on Sunday. Since Millersburg is closer, we went there. While the owner was writing up the sale, Phil mentioned how close we'd come to going to Mansfield. Mr. Young, a very genial guy, smiled and said, "Oh, the Lord looks out for me." 

We had a little "fun with hearing loss" on the way home on Tuesday. Phil said, "So many people have plaster deer in their yards."  I heard this as, "So many people have plastered deer in their cars." What a picture!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Cocktail Party

Once upon a time, 50 years ago, a married couple invited their friends to a cocktail party. Such parties were fancy affairs back in the day. Men wore suits and ties. Women came in cocktail dresses. My new stepmother labored for two or three days before the party on dozens of fancy canapes. On the day of the party itself she probably steamed, peeled, and deveined several pounds of shrimp.  She made sure the martini and Manhatten glasses were spotless and that  plenty of olives, tiny onions, toothpicks and ice were on hand. Meanwhile, Dad brought home multiple bottles of gin, scotch, and vermouth to bolster the supply already stashed in liquor cabinet.  

My best friend, Kay, was allowed to stay overnight to keep me company while the party went on downstairs. We offered to take Sunny, our rambunctious boxer, to the park. "That's fine," said Mom. "Just keep her on her leash because she'll get into the swamp if she has a chance."

It was springtime, the season of skunk cabbage. The swamp water was always stinky, even without fresh skunk cabbage. Sunny usually got to run loose in the park.  She didn't like being on a leash. Kay and I, smallish 12-year-olds, could hardly manage her. So when we were out of sight of the swamp, we snapped off the leash. That dog could outrun a horse. With a wild look in her eye, she immediately galloped toward the swamp for a joyous romp. By the time we caught up with her, she was soaking wet, but happy. Somehow we grabbed hold of her collar and put her back on the leash. 

Back home, my parents were dressing for the party.  We sneaked the wet, smelly dog up the stairs, past their bedroom door and into my room. We couldn't hose her off outside or bathe her in the basement because then Mom would know. So we tried sponging her down and towelling her off.  After we'd done our best, she was still faintly redolent of swamp water. We sprayed her liberally with my cheap "Clover Blossom" cologne and sent her out to meet the world.  Anyway, Kay and I wanted to get downstairs before the guests arrived to help ourselves to some party food, especially the shrimp. 

My dad met up with Sunny on the stairs. "Dot, " he yelled, "This dog smells funny." 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Global Warming

Spring has sprung,
The grass is riz,
No question
Where the flowers is.
Daffies dilling, birdies trilling,
Lots of folks find this just thrilling.
Myself, I think it's quite alarming,
Another sign of global warming.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stop the Blog. I Wanna Get Off.

I think I'm done with blogging. Don't have much to say anymore. I'm ready to delete my blog, but I'd like to keep about 200 of my posts. I'd like to be able to download my blog before deleting it from Google. Is there any easy way to do that, or do I have to copy the posts I want to keep one by one?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Heavy Metal

Last night I visited my psychiatrist to get my prescription renewed. She's in a group practice. At 5 PM, the waiting room was jammed.

I saw a woman wearing a bib comprising as many as 35 necklaces of varying lengths and metals over a pastel T shirt. She had at least three rings on each finger, including her thumbs. She was one of the receptionists.