Less than two days later, the sun came out, and the muffins are just about gone.
Do you know the muffin man?
Less than two days later, the sun came out, and the muffins are just about gone.
Do you know the muffin man?
The car’s headlights illuminate them in small groups, nestled up against the house, huddled close together for warmth, or yarding up in the garden, deep circles on matted snow with leaves and sticks and summer’s leftovers, latent evidence of their resting spots.
One morning, from our half-moon window on the second floor, I saw several resting alongside the sleeping prairie garden. At first, they looked like boulders set up against the background of snowy grasses. Then, from my bird’s-eye view, movement. An ear twitched, then a head uplifted. One, then the other, arose and stared up at the window, one stomping her leg in a primal code, warning the others. So acute are deers’ senses that they were keenly aware of my presence at the bedroom window. Suddenly, nine deer materialized, leaping from corners and caverns and crevices known only to them, as they leapt to wherever their safe harbor was.
I watched again, mid-afternoon, from the livingroom window as the herding family leaped effortlessly over mounds of snow bordering the road, then down the paths they have paved, across our lawn and into the barren lot next door. There, on the border between lands, two yearlings nibbled on decomposed leaves, unearthed from the depths of snow, while another, a doe already heavy with child, scattered snow like a cat in a litter box, rooting for something to eat.
In between the pages of my book and baking a loaf of banana bread, I noticed flashing tails, darting and leaping and head bowing, and knew there was a stag nearby, looking for his lady – and there he was, near the neighbor’s pines, searching for a winter mate.
Case in point. As I motored down our long drive driveway, which currently looks like a luge, I thought to check the mailbox before turning onto our road. Skidding to a stop, I bounded out the door, up a mini-mound of packed snow left by municipal street plows, leaned down into the mailbox (for the mound is currently higher than the regulation mailbox height) and burrowed in to see what the postman left. There I was, Queen of the Mountain, balancing on two of the only remaining petite portions of my physique, discovering a box, addressed to me. “Oh, goody” says I. I love, Love, LOVE getting packages in the mail.
Tumbling back into my mochamobile, I noticed the name on the return address, Michael Maher, and wondered what my friend’s husband could possibly be sending me. Showing uncharacteristic self control, I set the box and mail on the car seat, and went on my errand packed way.
Home again, I set about seeing what was in the box, still pondering what Michael sent. As soon as the box opened, I chuckled with childish glee, realizing that the package was from a different Michael Maher, which I would have known first off had I looked at the Charleston address. The box was from the ever-delightful author, Andra Watkins, and she had used a return address of her talented architect husband, more commonly known to readers of Andra’s blog, The Accidental Coochie Mama, as MTM.
Some time ago, Andra did a post displaying a pair of penguin slippers, which I commented on, mentioning my own pair of Mary Jane slippers which are, sad to say, a mismatched set of two left feet.
Yep. That’s me. Two left feet; fitting for someone who is always taking a tumble, like that ill-fated day we went cross-country skiing and I landed in someone’s cup of Campbell’s tomato soup!
Back to the box. There, snuggled inside the box sat none other than the pair of penguin slippers!
But, wait . . . also in the box was the official announcement of the upcoming release of Andra’s novel, which is about to be released in paperback and e-reader, “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis”, which I am most anxious to read.
Friends, I have a stone in my slippers, those of the two left feet, that I mean to rectify asap. While I await deliverance of Meriwether Lewis, which I have just ordered from Amazon, I would like to spend time highlighting a few of you who have also written books, some of which I have sitting right at my elbow and have not yet gotten to. I blame my two left feet and I mean to rectify this as soon as I get my toes sorted out.
In-the-meantime, said toes are cold, so off I go, to put Nick and Nora (the brand on the soles) on my feet, and to think happy feet thoughts of my friend Andra.
Thanks, Andra – and best of luck as your launch your book and as you soon set out on your trek, walking the 444 mile Natchez Trace, following Meriwether’s footsteps.
Posted in Books, Family and friends, Famous and infamous, Historical | Tagged Andra Watkins, Meriwether Lewis, My Two Left Feet, Natchez Trace, penguin slippers, slippers, The Accidental Cootchie Mama blog, To Live Forever; An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis | 20 Comments »
There is a sheen of hope in the air; in spite of the bone chilling cold. In spite of the dismal predictions of yet more snowfall, there is hope. With two feet of snow upon the ground and four feet more piled in plow drifts along the roads, higher still in parking lots, one wonders if the sun could ever slant through. Single digit or less temperatures hovering in a pregnant pause make it feel as if the sun will never shine.
Ah, but, it has. It has.
On Sunday, seven good friends came for brunch. We sat around our well-worn kitchen table eating and talking and eating some more, flush with good will and angel rays of slanting sun streaming through the kitchen windows. It felt so good, so right, to have friends gathered around in fellowship, especially during this long and trying season. While we provided the food, they provided the sustenance of soul that Tom and I have been needing. Ah, life can be grand!
Monday morning, as I put away dishes and pans and such, the sun came up and peeked through our door, touching upon the red tulips Pat and Rick brought. While the sun kissed the blooms for only a few moments in its ascent, it was like that sheen of hope upon my winter weary mood.
This morning, as the sun once more arose, urging temperatures above the zero mark, I heard the sad news that Shirley Temple Black passed, and I felt a bit of my childhood had just chipped away. I have always known Shirley Temple, who, to me, has always been one of life’s sheens of hope.
Who among us, of a certain age at least, did not have – or wish for – a Shirley Temple doll, or suffer through a night of rag curls, awakening looking like, or so we thought, Shirley Temple, herself? I, for one, have been known to burst into a childlike rendition of “Animal Crackers in my Soup” when ladling up a bowl of Campbell’s vegetable soup and are there not those among us who have set sail on “The Good Ship Lollipop”?
A child actor, who later became a politician and ambassador, Shirley Temple is credited with saving a movie studio during the Great Depression, and, more meaningful to the common man and woman, for giving a country hope. With her optimistic demeanor, ready smile, and dimples, Shirley Temple and the roles she played always seemed to look on the bright side of life. Unlike our modern childhood actors, she comported herself without drugs or bad behavior and she crafted a meaningful life after she outgrew her Hollywood image.
Shirley Temple was a sheen of hope through a dark, dark time, a talented dancer and actress, who learned her lines before she could read. She was a ray of sunshine through her adult life; an accomplished woman who lead a long life, and a good one.
Of all the memorable childhood characters Shirley Temple portrayed, mine has always been Heidi. Do you have a favorite Shirley Temple character?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, angel rays, Animal Crackers in My Soup, Fellowship, friends, Heidi, Shirley Temple, Shirley Temple Black, sunshine, The Good Ship Lollipop | 23 Comments »
It was a wintry Saturday afternoon; sunny and just warm enough to walk the six or seven blocks to the bustling business district in Broadview. My friend, Nancy, walked the two blocks to our house on Harrison Street in Maywood and we started out, eastward, past the corner store, Fred & Ed’s, over the low bridge spanning the Eisenhower Expressway, past Zanoni’s, another corner store, down blocks of mid-century brick bungalows to the shops on Roosevelt Road. We swirled on stools at the the soda fountain in Woolworth’s and ordered cokes and fries, went into the Ben Franklin, where anything and everything could be found, checked out what was “cool” at the clothing store, then crossed over Roosevelt to look in the window of the local record store.
“Those are the Beatles” said Nancy, pointing to a poster.
“Who?” I queried.
“The Beatles. They’re the new singing group from England.” I stared at the poster of the four cute boys from across the pond, wondering. We went inside and picked up a copy of the WLS Silver Dollar Survey, browsed, giggling, then headed home, chatting away in the silly, companionable way of eighth grade girls with nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Sunday night, February 9, 1964, my family sat in front of our black and white Zenith television set, just months before it exploded into hundreds of tiny pieces, Daddy and Yia Yia sat on the plastic covered chairs (the plastic covered the slip covers which covered the French Provincial furniture, whose actual being I would not actual witness for several more years). Ma flitted back and forth from the kitchen. My dad’s cousin, George, and his wife, Athena, were visiting. They were sitting on the couch (also enshrined in plastic). My sister and I sat on hassocks. It’s funny sometimes what we remember, isn’t it?
We were all waiting for Ed Sullivan and yet another “really big show” to begin - and it did, with what became known as the British invasion. Paul and John, George and Ringo; the boys on the poster in the record store window in Broadview. There they were, singing ”All My Loving” with all that hair, and all those girls screaming, and grownups wondering aloud what was happening that memorable night, 50 years ago.
Posted in Family and friends, Historical, music | Tagged All My Loving, Broadview record store in the 1960's, Ed Sullivan Show/Beatles, Fred & Ed's in Maywood, lunch counters at Woolworth, The Beatles, The Ben Franklin, The British Invasion, WLS Radio, WLS Silver Dollar Survey, Zanoni's in Broadview | 21 Comments »
I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice
might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe
behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,
the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time—
now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,
lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?
Posted in Books, Children's books, Poetry | Tagged Aimless Love by Billy Collins, Beatrix Potter, Billy Collins, poetry by Billy Collins, The Country by Billy Collins, The Tailor of Gloucester | 14 Comments »
Family and friends, books and gardening, service and soul while wandering along this road called life.
The Farm at Middlemay
Beautiful Things Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
savoring the beauty in the everyday
old fashioned girls living in a modern world
Beautiful Beekeeping, English Cottage Gardening, and Cooking with Honey
FOR DISCERNING READERS
An old fashioned heart
Bringing you voices from this blessed plot
A site for readers and writers
Analysis and reflection from someone endlessly fascinated with Louisa May Alcott. Member/supporter of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (including the Alcott International Circle) and the Louisa May Alcott Society.
Reducing stress one exhale at a time
Happiness but little consequence
musings from and about our cottage in the West of Ireland