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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Things You Didn’t Put on Your Résumé

How often you got up in the middle of the night
when one of your children had a bad dream,

and sometimes you woke because you thought
you heard a cry but they were all sleeping,

so you stood in the moonlight just listening
to their breathing, and you didn’t mention

that you were an expert at putting toothpaste
on tiny toothbrushes and bending down to wiggle

the toothbrush ten times on each tooth while
you sang the words to songs from Annie, and

who would suspect that you know the fingerings
to the songs in the first four books of the Suzuki

Violin Method and that you can do the voices
of Pooh and Piglet especially well, though

your absolute favorite thing to read out loud is
Bedtime for Frances and that you picked

up your way of reading it from Glynnis Johns,
and it is, now that you think of it, rather impressive

that you read all of Narnia and all of the Ring Trilogy
(and others too many to mention here) to them

before they went to bed and on the way out to
Yellowstone, which is another thing you don’t put

on the résumé: how you took them to the ocean
and the mountains and brought them safely home. – Joyce Sutphen

(from You Tube)

This poem popped up in my email this morning from a daily subscription I receive. The poem, new to me, resonated with my own child raising years and bring to mind my grandchildren’s parents, Katy and Tom, and Jennifer, who sang these words over and over and over again. Perhaps, it will resonate with you in some way as well.

Poem from The Writers Almanac :  “Things You Didn’t Put on Your Résumé” Reproduced from Carrying Water to the Field: New and Selected Poems by Joyce Sutphen by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Forthcoming October 2019 with the University of Nebraska Press.

Bedtime from Francis as seen on Amazon.

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Isn’t it amazing how lyrics to songs pop into our heads and fly out of our mouths at unexpected moments in time?

This “oldie” has been playing in my head,  for some time now.

It all started just before Mother’s Day with sniffles and sore throat growing to fever pitch, then a hacking cough with a general feeing of malaise. A bother, but, a few friends were wearing similar symptoms of an upper respiratory/cold ailment, and I thought it was just something going around. It was Mother’s Day, which actually had me “down for the count” and even (horror-of-horrors) responding to Katy’s Mother’s Day text telling her not to call later – we would talk soon. Sigh.

The symptoms abated and I managed a most delightful trip “up north” to experience the joy of our Ezra’s end of-year-kindergarten program. Yes! He’ll be heading into first grade! I was still coughing, but, felt up to the drive (and all the Japanese gardens of my earlier post). I was sad to leave my Up North family, but, needed to return home to the Antler Man, some pending responsibilities, and to attend the Lyric Opera with Jennifer – my Mother’s Day gift of seeing West Side Story!

My cough, however, just never went away. In fact, it became more frequent, and I realized that “enough is enough”!  Something else was going on. The long and short of it is I have walking pneumonia – when I would much rather be boogie woogie-ing! I am much improved, but, the cough creeps in as does the fatigue that is common in this ailment. All will be well, but, in the meantime, I’m relegated to the easy chair with my “walkin’ pneumonia” as I boogie woogie in place.

Some of you will remember this tune.

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When I saw a notification that there was to be a spring concert at the Center in Palos Park, I marked it on my calendar in sincere hopes of attending.

My hopes were realized on a recent Sunday afternoon. As the day’s shadows lengthened, my dear friend, Kathryn, and I climbed the stone steps up to the The Center. Kathryn is an artist gifted in finding beauty in unexpected places. I hoped that she would enjoy the concert, but, I instinctively knew that she would appreciate the serenity of The Center and the Wayside Chapel.

Since my wintertime post about The Wayside Chapel at The Center, I have managed occasional walks around the grounds, taken photos as the season slowly changed from winter to spring, and subscribed to their online newsletter and notifications. I have come to realize that there are even more activities than I first imagined and vowed to take advantage of some of them.

I finally did.

 

Isn’t this a charming little cottage? It is a private residence on the grounds. I did not take photos up close, though I might have peaked in the windows. I could not, however, resist this appealing view.

We wandered about, enjoying the sweeping swathes of daffodils and Siberian swill (Scilla), the pathways and birds flitting about, and the quiet serenity of the space before us.  There is a certain calm and peace that envelopes pilgrims who wander these paths. It is hard to describe but quite palpable.

Soon, very soon, we walked over to the Lodge, following the sweet restrains of vocalists rehearsing for their performance. We were greeted by several women, one who I later discovered was the pastor. Kathryn and I found seats, chatted as long-time friends do, and waited for the concert to begin.

Oh, what joy this was! The Center Singers opened with “By Our Love”, accompanied with piano and percussion. As the concert carried us through gospel and jazz music, the old familiar hymns took on a celebratory air, with a sprinkling of hand clapping, foot tapping, and sighs of “oh, I remember that one”.

As the music ended, refreshments were offered – and we accepted. Who can say no to chocolate chip cookies? Two large trays of homemade delight along with comfortable conversation with other attendees added to the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We casually wandered around the lodge, enjoying the ambiance of such a welcoming place, chatting, taking photos, content in the moment.

“I’ll Fly Away” is a favorite of mine. The Center Singers performed a medley of songs that included it. I have posted other renditions before, so offer you this rendition that I discovered on YouTube.

 

 

 

Illustration atop this post is from the concert’s program. 

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Come to the church in the Wildwood . . .

As often happens while gadding about, I was looking for one thing and  ended up finding something else, instead.

Zooming past on a wooded by-way at about 50 mph, I saw a sign for the Wayside Chapel. I caught a glimpse of the entrance before I had a chance to signal and made a silent vow to check it out soon.

Soon came a few days later. It was after a heavy snowfall had blanketed our little corner of earth. All things considered, the weather was stable, the roads cleared, and I had been itching to check the Wayside Chapel out.

The Antler Man and I bundled up and set off to see what was to be seen. We were both surprised at this newfound treasure not far from our home.

We didn’t walk far for it was close to dusk, but, there was a paved path that was shoveled clear of ice and snow and we were curious.

The air hung still and silent. There was a downy comfort of over a foot of snow which brought a measure of serenity and peace that we both needed – and it was there for the taking at the Wayside Center in Palos .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked the short path to the Wayside Chapel enjoying the panoramic view and catching glimpses of the farm below. The Children’s Farm, across the road and accessible via a bridge further along the Chapel path, is part of the Center and somewhere I look forward to exploring. I was excited to see that the visitor’s center sells eggs from the farm as well as honey from the farm’s hives and many crafted items made at the Center.

There is a scattering of buildings for all sorts of activities from yoga to painting, meditation to work carving, social services to exploration.

As we explored the center, I felt a sense of tranquility come over me and the words come to the church in the Wildwood started playing in my head. An old version of the song by the Carter family is below and was found on YouTube. Do you have a favorite rendition of the song?

 

Information on the Wayside Chapel at the Center can be found here.

 

 

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Oh, September grass is the sweetest kind, it goes down easy like apple wine.
Hope you don’t mind if I pour you some, made that much sweeter by the winter to come. – James Taylor

 

There is an aged apple tree: near death if-truth-be-told. It stands, barely, far back on this equally aged property we call home. The tree has a newly splintered limb as well as a hallowed-hidey-hole demeanor. It is related to an apple tree that straddles the neighbors’ property and ours along a grassy peninsula of ferns and creeping Charlie.

We take turns looking at the drive-by apple tree and contemplate its condition in times of neighborly chats, musing over its gnarly stature, remarking over the observance that we can now see through the trunk and hoping that it doesn’t topple in the next big storm. That the apple tree still bears fruit is remarkable.

The deer wander down our respective driveways, munching on the windfall apples or tugging on the branches, stripping them of fruit. Oddly enough, there are still plenty of apples that one side will bake a pie with, the other applesauce.

The wasps arrive, come September, attracted to the apples’ juices – road cider pressed from the weight of our cars. The scent is noticeable now, not only along the drive, but also in the grassy plot of sunshine and fallen oak leaves further back. What the deer don’t eat the riding mower will devour. We will, however, manage to claim some apples for ourselves. They are easy enough to harvest in the grass and a long pole with a basket grabs the hanging fruit, plucking them from the  tree branches.

As the long slant of the warm September sun casts her golden glow upon the apple trees, I feel gratitude for the earthly stewards who planted them so many years ago, for these apple trees provide shelter to birds, squirrels, butterflies – and they host a vociferous chorus of tree frogs that serenade us well into these soft September nights. The shade us from the sun in summer and they add to the winter landscape when the snowfalls arrive.

Do you have any fruit trees or pick fruit yourself at orchards? Do you cook/bake with apples?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oddly enough, Tony Orlando and Dawn have been singing away in my head lately.

Knock three times, on the ceiling if you want me,

twice on the pipes, if the answer is no

There I was, water raining down, my hair all wet and lathered up, when the water pressure slowly diminished until it was but a mere dribble. It would have been easier to rinse with an eye dropper. I somehow managed to get the soap out – and then became shower-deprived, followed by  flusher deprived- if you know what I mean.

For awhile, we were able to wash dishes and hands and use water by tapping on a valve, in the basement, two flights down. This meant we both needed to be in the house. It was, shall I say, an interesting “tap” dance in marital harmony.

I hesitated to complain, but DID, quite vociferously, in fact, to my beloved Antler Man, who had been waiting to shower for a very long time as he recovered from a foot wound. Instead of a shower he was employed in fixing the flusher (which I just wrote for alliteration). We did, in the end, need a new pressure valve and then, a few days later, a new tank. Thank heaven for this dear man who meets many such challenges and for our neighbor Rick who lent a helping hand and some expertise.

All’s well that ends well and a few more horticultural posts are perking away.

Besides being in a flush, I’ve been busy with family, gardening, and life in general and apologize for being absent for such a long while. I hope you are all doing well. For now, while I take another shower, here’s a clip from a movie I enjoy viewing every-now-and-again. Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. It reminds me of our recent plumbing issues here on the Cutoff.

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It was a very fine day in May. Sunny and clear. Not too hot, nor too cold – a “just right” sort of day to marry.

A limousine pulled up to the door and the bride was carefully arranged inside, her bouquet set delicately next to her on the car seat by her mother, who was much calmer than the bride had imagined her mother would be.

The door was carefully closed by the attentive driver. The bride’s mother sat down in her own car and was driven away by a friend as the bride was chauffeured off to meet her groom at the church.

As the limousine driver steered the car down the byways and highways en route to the ceremony, he spoke with the bride. A kindly man with a gentlemanly way about him, he asked a simple question one might ask in the moments of moving toward a wedding.

“What will your married name be?” 

O’Neill. My name will be Penny O’Neill.” 

As he drove, he looked into the rear view mirror, which was positioned to see both the traffic outside and his passenger within.

“A very nice name, Penny, but, you will be often called Peggy, from the song Peggy O’Neil”. 

The limousine driver’s prophecy proved to be true, and so it has been that as the young bride grew older she has, indeed, often been called Peggy. In fact, just yesterday, having introduced herself to a couple she had not yet met, the gentleman held out his hand and said

“It is nice to meet you, Peggy.”

She smiled, corrected the mistake and remembered the kind driver’s prediction on that “just right” sort of day, now 44 years ago. She smiled at the ever-sweet memory and she silently counted her blessings as she drove herself home to the prince who still waits for her –  and who knows her true name.

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