Archive for the ‘Famous and infamous’ Category
Posted in Books, Children's books, Famous and infamous, Historical, Holidays, Nature/animals, Quotes, tagged Brother Eagle Sister Sky, Chief Seattle's letter, Earth Day, Susan Jeffers on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 | 13 Comments »
Posted in Books, Family and friends, Famous and infamous, music, tagged Andra Watkins, Hit the Road Jack, Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Ray Charles, the Natchez Trace, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins on Monday, March 9, 2015 | 20 Comments »
Well. she sheds a puddle of tears for, though she knows how the story ends, it is the journey that is the protagonist in an adventure that is both funny and sad, painful and celebratory. It is the story that is both physical and personal for the author, and it reminds the reader, perhaps, of one’s own long travelled road; of memories made, bridges crossed, battles fought (some won and some lost), of lessons learned and of those lessons she keeps learning. It brings to home and to heart the value of family and friends, and of those who have cheered us on and had our back along the way.
“Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace”, is the book and the author is none other than the remarkable and gifted Andra Watkins.
Andra’s name often appears in the comment section here on the Cutoff, for which I am grateful. Her name also sometimes appears in the body of a post, especially when one of her books is published, such as last year’s “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis”, which I wrote about here.
I was delighted when I won an advanced reading copy of Andra’s second book, “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace”. “Not Without My Father . . . ” is Andra’s memoir of her trek along the Natchez Trace, promoting her first book. It entails how she drafts her father to be her “wingman” on her journey – the angst and pain, frustration and hilarity that occurs along the way. Roy Lee Watkins is bigger than life, a natural storyteller, and a bit of a character, to say the least. The book is the story of her journey along the Trace, as well as their personal journey as father and daughter.
In the book, we also meet her mother, Linda, her friend, Alice, and others; from the innkeepers that provide a nest’s rest, to the National Park workers she meets along the Trace, as Roy sells her book from the trunk of his car and weaves his own tales.
It was in my second reading of Andra’s book, once it was published, that I realized I was mentioned in the acknowledgments, along with a host of other readers, for song suggestions, which are used as chapter heading in the book. What fun it was to discover.
So, in honor of Andra, who will be wending her way to the Cutoff as part of the Chicago leg of her book tour, here’s a little Ray Charles and a lot of hope that she does come back some more, some more, some more, some more . . .
Posted in Famous and infamous, Nature/animals, Quotes, tagged Cooper's Hawk, Corrie Ten Boom, daffodils, Elmhurst College, first signs of spring, Hammerschmidt Chapel, Nun on a Bus, Sister Simone Campbell, winter's end on Friday, March 6, 2015 | 22 Comments »
“How often it is a small, almost unconscious event that makes a turning point.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place
On Monday, the Elmhurst Garden Club celebrated our scholar recipients with a festive, delicious, nourishing “spread”. Tables were adorned with bookish centerpieces and the names of the scholarship recipients. The meeting’s highlights were the creative and informative presentations by these worthy scholars. They give me hope for the future.
On Tuesday, I put a few bits of our home back to order; the “this” and “that” which become jumbled when one has been laid up for a spell. It feels good, does it not, to slowly get back to normal – whatever your normal may be? I then doused some “fires” that had been simmering, learning a few new tricks of the technology trade as I did. While I whimper over how many issues seem to cross over my virtual desk, I do love a challenge and the opportunities to still grow and learn and be useful.
On Wednesday, as I wended my way down the Cutoff, a Cooper’s Hawk caught my attention. He was perched on a branch, not ten feet from my car. As I rolled down my winter-smudged window, we stared, eye-to-eye, for a few pregnant moments. He then he tilted his head, shrugged his shoulders and rose, his magnificent feathers barely whispering in the crisp wintry air. I so love the sound of a bird taking flight; that almost imperceptible instant of take-off that catches the air.
On Thursday, which was colder than cold, the Antler Man and I spent the afternoon at the retinologist, heading home as the sun was setting. I iced my knee, then headed back in the same direction I had just come from. Sometimes I wonder if my life isn’t just making a rut in the road with my tires. I nibbled on a few crackers (I’m telling a fib; they were Oreos) parked my car, and was greeted by Marilyn, who always make me feel good just telling me hello. We were headed to Hammerschmidt Chapel at Elmhurst College, picking up other friends along the way, with Bev driving . Like the good little pilgrims we are, we filled two pews and chattered away, not missing a beat, from one conversation to the next, turning left and right and behind, as only women can do.
Our rewards for venturing out on a frigid night were twofold: the first being the rising of our faithful friend, the moon, who crept up over the roof of the student union, round and full, casting its reflection upon the sleak slate of icy snow on the college’s quad. It brought to my mind Corrie ten boom’s “almost unconscious event” as we oohed and ahhed, greeting others who also stopped to look at the moon before heading inside for a most remarkable and challenging lecture by Sister Simone Campbell. Also known as the Nun on the Bus, she was the second reward and the reason for our evening’s adventure. She made us laugh and challenged all in attendance with her faith and her life’s mission of justice.
Now, it is Friday. The week is nearly spent. The sun is shining, defying the mere 10th degree. There are deceptively thin sheets of ice to navigate and shards of icicles hanging from eaves; weapons of nature to avoid. We are still bundled up beyond recognition and so weary of winter we could cry – but our tears would freeze. Our mothers told us so, many full moons ago.
We are, however, at a turning point. There, in the snow and ice and rotting leaves of last Autumn, low on the ground and ever-so-tentative, are the precious tips of daffodils pushing through frozen soil, poking and shoving, demanding this winter to cease.
Posted in Adventure, architecture, Arts and Crafts, Books, Famous and infamous, Historical, tagged "The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places", Cookbooks, Cookbooks from famous restaurants, Elmhurst Art Museum, McCormick House, Mies van der Rohe, regional recipes, Robert Koppe, Sherman House hotel in Chicago, Well-of-the Sea, Well-of-the-Sea restaurant on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 | 24 Comments »
Jennifer and I were enjoying the opening festivities of Autumn Splendor at the Elmhurst Art Museum, sipping on wine, nibbling on finger food, chatting with old friends and acquainting new. We wandered into the galleries and the Richard Koppe Exhibit. As we entered the gallery, a display case caught my eye. Actually, something in the display case caught my eye. A book. It’s always a book with me, it seems, even in a renowned art museum. The book, to be precise, was a cookbook. I looked down and squealed “I have this book” .
As others were observing the large surrealistic works of Koppe, I was chewing on a cookbook.
Several years ago, I came across the very same cookbook in a second-hand store. “The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”. A more charming than practical compilation of recipes from famous restaurants throughout the United States, it is divided by regions, and illustrated with stylistic paintings of each restaurant, a recipe from the restaurant, and a short description. The books were sold by the Ford Motor Company in the heyday of US road travel in big cars and fine dining along the way as many veterans returned home from war, bought houses that were springing up all across the country, bought their first car . . .
. . . I snapped up the book faster than a filling station attendant once rushed out to fill up the tank, clean the windows, and check the oil!
In subsequent years, I came across several other printings of the book, with some new recipes and new restaurants as original ones closed. A small cookbook collection ensued. When in the mood for nostalgia, I’ll pull one of the Ford Treasury books out, then all of them, and browse through the regions, admire the illustrations, and reminisce over featured restaurants I have actually eaten in. As I looked into the display case at the EAM, I recognized one of the printings of “The Ford Treasury . . . ” . The book was opened to page 159, with a painting depicting the interior of the once famous Well-of-the-Sea restaurant in the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. Neither the restaurant, nor the hotel, still exists, but, the mural in the background of the illustration does. When I was though swooning over a cookbook, I looked up to see Koppe’s surrealistic mural generously covering a wall of the gallery. While not my favorite artistic style, I could not help but be impressed at the “real deal” and the vibrancy of the colors and textures. Back home, I pulled out my treasury of mid-century finds, and there it was, page 159, in the North Central region. The Well-of the-Sea. I wandered about the pages of several Treasuries, finding restaurants I recognized, even some I have eaten in, across the country, getting hungry for food – and for hitting the road. Here are a few I found that I have visited: The Wayside Inn, MA; Williamsburg Lodge, VA; Antoine’s, LA; New Salem Lodge, IL; Plentywood Farm, IL; Don the Beachcomber, HI. Do you have a dining “treasure” you would like me to look up in these books? Let me know. I would love do a future post showing a page of your remembered restaurants.
This book jacket opens up to a map “. . . to decorate your kitchen or game room”. I think I’ll just keep this one on the book.
Posted in Family and friends, Famous and infamous, Just for fun, music, tagged Chicago, Chicago band, Chicago Experience, Jackie Robinson West, JRW, Little League champions, Little Little Champions JRW on Saturday, August 30, 2014 | 12 Comments »
This week was a week that was; a toddling sort of week, in a Chicago big shoulders sort of way. A good week for a town often plagued with scandal, murders, and controversy.
It was a good week in Chicago. A week to forget for a bit the troubles that we have as we enjoyed the feel good moments of the National Little League winning team, locally referred to as JRW – Jackie Robinson West. In a town big enough to have two major league teams, the south side White Sox, and the north side Cubs, we finally have a team that has won a national series and became the National Little League champions.
On Tuesday, the “boys of summer”, as they are being called, were honored with a tribute at their home field, Morgan Park, with politicos of every ilk, media of every kind and accolades they rightfully earned. It was followed by a a parade through Chicago, a town that loves its parades, to an enormous rally at the lakefront in Millennium Park.
My dear readers, JRW is a team to be proud of. These young boys were humble in their achievements, and gracious in their loss as World Champions to Korea; lessons to be learned by professional athletes, who scream, shout, and carry on.
Tom and I sat and watched the festivities, smiles and laughs and a tear or two. This little league team, it seems, has taught us all some big league lessons that have far more to do with life than about baseball.
We finished out this wondrous week that was by attending the last of the free summer concerts at the Burr Ridge Centre. For one reason or another, we only managed to get to one concert this summer; one that was just so-so. It was an ABBA tribute and should have been frolicking good fun, but, well, it just wasn’t.
Friday’s band was what we call a tribute band called the Chicago Experience – and oh, what an experience it was. A tribute band for a well known group of years bygone, Chicago. This band played, non-stop, for more than 90 minutes and would, I believe have gone on longer if the threat of thunderstorms had not been pressing. They played Chicago songs without missing a note and took many of us back several decades; as far back as 1969.
Like their namesake, Chicago, the Chicago Experience consisted of more than most groups of the era. This was a 10 piece group of musicians, at least that was how many I could see and count, replete with a phenomenal horn section.
Yes, dear reader, it was a very good Chicago sort of week – and a grand way to officially end our summer.
This music video is Chicago, the original group, courtesy of YouTube, not the Chicago Experience, though it could easily have been. We had fun at the concert, even more so since our friend Rick, a trumpeter himself, was with us. His appreciation and reactions were priceless.
Does your town or region have a rock group that carries its name? Did you see a live summertime music performance this year?
Posted in Famous and infamous, movies, music, Nature/animals, Quotes, tagged at water's edge before sunset, Elaine Stritch, flowing water, Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiod on Friday, July 18, 2014 | 14 Comments »
“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
Oddly enough, or maybe just so, as I was mating Margaret Atwood’s words to my photo, the news came to me that Elaine Stritch had passed way. I gasped. It was as if the water, the words, and the woman were one.
I took this photo at day’s end, about a week ago, while walking the path at the pond in the Dean Nature Sanctuary. I was at the water’s edge, in those ethereal moments of light so bright that they make even color evaporate.
What a remarkable talent Elaine Stritch was – and how brilliantly she flowed through life.