Thursday, November 27, 2008

Coming Around the Bend....

...and the Finish Line's in sight! I am currently in a state of Happy Anticipation, as I look forward to completing certain projects:

1. NaNoWriMo. The finish line is in sight - the deadline is midnight on Sunday, November 30. By that time I must have finished my novel, containing 50,000 words (or more). I'm thinking there may be a few more, because a) I have a HUGE honkin' bag o' words; b) the section I just finished contains 45,000 words (I'll wait for the applause to die down) and c) where the story is right now, the girl is just heading out for the castle where she will have to perform some magical acts with the help of her supernatural helpers, resulting in (as I see it now) the place where she throws her hand-knit shroud (what do you think, cables?) over the wicked witch, who will immediately die in a great, shrieking, howling and dramatic way (no, smartypants out there, she can't scream "I'm shrinking, I'm shrinking" because I think Margaret Hamilton got the permanent rights on that one). Maybe she's allergic to wool and itches herself to death? But I'm not sure, and I think I have more than 5,000 words' worth of stuff to get to that point.

Incidentally (I haven't used that for a long time, Lovely Daughter, live with it) I did entertain a brief thought where all the little girls in the village go up to the castle, each claiming to be the true Princess to heroically save their little friend -- but see, I had this scrawny little man dressed in rags standing up in the back of my mind and shouting " I am Spartacus!" No, she's going alone.
Well - the priest (yes, he's back and it's fine), the sheep and the cat go with her. They have to, they're the "magical helpers".

I've said straight up all long, we're going for QUANTITY, absolutely not quality.

2. The Dr. Who scarf is nearly, almost, very close to finished too! It has all the ends woven in and one end is entirely fringed!! So all that remains is the fringe on the other end. I like it, I'm proud of it, and I'll be glad to get it finished because a) I feel as though it's been my Sisyphus' Rock; b) I'm ready to work on something else (dare I say it? I already have another toque on the needles!); and c) it won't be a fashion statement any more, it'll be a lifesaving necessity for the recipient. I have no pictures at this point (with the fringe) but I aim to get a portrait with the fellow wearing it.

3. I'm nearly ready for our Thanksgiving meal - well, I still have to put away the two ...erhm... three ...that is to say five knitting baskets away, ( hey, they're part of the Decor ! ) and move all the rest of the extraneous stuff in the living room to make room for The Table. (See November 24, 2007 for the Annual Routine.) Mr Dearling is In Charge; all I have to do tomorrow is make the corn pudding and then set the table and so on. I *think* all three of my progeny will be under my roof together which, if it actually does happen, will make me very thankful indeed.

And the other thing I'm anticipating is that this is the beginning of THE HOLIDAY SEASON. Now, how do you know that, Dale-Harriet? Oh, I dunno - my first clue was the Christmas ads on the teevee!!

Now, the truth is, I really like some of them. I like the little Hershey Kisses that ring themselves like handbells. I'm a terrible sucker for the Heartfelt, Sensitive, Tender, Moving commercials you get from Hallmark. Oh heck - remember that one a few years ago with the Russian-Soldier-lookin' dude watching the people walk what absolutely looked like "out of East Germany and into West Germany" for the holidays? A little kid drops his teddy bear and the soldier picks it up, hurries after him and then kneels down and hands it to him. I'm telling you, I cried my eyes out every time I saw that one. What was it for? Oh heck, I have no idea. NOt a clue. Helluva commercial.

But it's almost time for Lovely Daughter and me to go hunting for the annual Little Italian Guy for Mr Dearling's nativity scene, and for me to find a really beautiful new Heart ornament for him, too. Oh, and the star - I always send a star ornament to my granddaughter's other grandma; I've done that since her birth, in honor of "the little star we both share".

But it's almost 3:00 AM (looking back, I see many of my posts are written in the deeps of the night) and I think I might try to get the girl to the castle, at least, before I go to bed.

I'm going to end with a new Pet Peeve, though, probably because even though I'm a Night Owl, I'm a little cranky. And this is about commercials too. There is a word I don't like. I mean, it's a perfectly good word, superior to other names for the same bodily product, but this has bothered me for some time. I do not like the word "MUCUS". It just sounds like what it is: slimy, yucchy, ishy. (My children NEVER had runny noses - although they may be neurotic today from my perpetually running after them with a fistful of tissues when they were little.)

So WHEN, I ask you, Mr Madison Avenue, did it become a good idea to make commercials with big, green, soft, squooshy-looking Mucus PEOPLE?? As if that's not enough to nauseate me completely (which it is) now Mr and Mrs Mucus have CHILDREN! And that, ladies and gennulmen, gives me a mental image that I DO. NOT. WANT.

And the latest: we're shown a few pair of hands "text-messaging" -- and there are...(if you haven't seen it yet, you may not believe this) heads - human heads - on the thumbs. And guess what, the thumb-heads are conversing. Re-read that, I'll wait.

OK, I'm going to listen to Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention in my earbuds now, and try to get those images out of my mind. And then go to bed. G'night.

Alert! Alert! Just was reminded by Mr Dearling, that in FACT, the Wicked Witch in "The Wizard of Oz" says, "I'm MELTING, I'm MELTING!" Although I do not doubt what he says ever, on account of his being right 99.44% of the time, I checked it out (we loves us some innerwebs) and as I thought, HE IS RIGHT.

Therefore - my evil sorceress may INDEED make some howlings along the lines of shrinking (who knows, if she's also 4'11" tall, then shrinking is too awful to contemplate).

That guy in the back of my head, though? He IS yelling "I am Spartacus!"

Thank you, Mr Dearling, you've made me an honest woman......again!

Monday, November 17, 2008

So what ARE you up to,


Well, for one thing, KNITTING! Oh, yes I am (admittedly just a row or two, here and there). But you know, "slow and steady", right? OK, get this:

It is DONE! FINI! Well.... almost . I still have to weave in three ends and, having meditated, prayed, thought, whined, stamped, cried, and sulked, I have decided that YES, I'm going to put nice fringes on each end. Just seemed dumb not to, like putting together a really beautiful pie and then not baking it, you know? (This is not to suggest I have ever put together a really beautiful pie, so don't bother asking.) But at this point, I still have at least the beginnings of that delicious feeling you get when something is completed. I don't think I'll tell the recipient until I'm actually ENTIRELY done, because I anticipate him jumping from one foot to the next and chomping on his knuckles in eager anticipation; I'd hate to interfere by giving him an idea when it will be his.

This is that Dramatic Moment - when I was literally half-way done with the very last row before casting off. With Previously-Unknown Fortitude I stopped (!) and laid it out for this picture. And because I'm (basically) an honest person, I will admit that, when I sat down to finish that row, I experienced just the TEETINIEST millesecond...nanosecond (is that shorter?) of a slight, vague inclination to....KEEP IT ALL TO MYSELF!!! (insert wicked cackle here). However - better judgement .... upstanding morals .... strong sense of honor .... the realization that it's 12' long and I'm just under 5' long, stopped me. The truth is, if I wrapped it four times around my neck it would still drag on the ground and trip me -- and that's assuming I could even walk with all that weight hanging around my neck. Nope. It'll be "Merry Christmas, Rick...and here's what you owe me."

OH no. This is NOT a gift. There IS a list of people I love enough to knit one of these for.....this chap's not on it. Heck, I made Lovely Daughter finish her own when I started knitting one for HER those years back, and I DO love her enough. Just sayin' is all.

I have also been preparing food and enjoying a visit from a Pack of Wild Indians. Some time back I decided it would be fun to have Theme Dinners for two of my little grandsons (the third has a sketchy schedule; hopefully we'll be able to include him at some point). It was time for the Red Indian dinner, and their mom said they "had a surprise for me". I have, as you know, quite the imagination, and I was a little worried. I needn't have.

They just Came Prepared! I LOVED IT! I mean, how cute is that? They'd made feathered headdresses, spears, (Dad's holding the tomahawk, we forgot to hand it to them for the picture); they had painted lines on their faces and they were READY!

NOTE: Overlook the Transformer costume on Xander and the brutal wrestler on Domanic's shirt. They are, after all, four and seven.

We had roast buffalo hump hunted by Grampy (ok, it was eye of round, beef. Use your imaginations.) We had corn and squash stew with maple sugar, and wild rice with wild mushrooms and nuts. (OK - frozen squash, canned corn, and the wild mushrooms came out of a particularly feisty can of Golden Mushroom soup. IMAGINATION! ). We also cheated considerably and had maple-nut ice cream for dessert. Nevermind.

It was incredibly fun, and we taught the boys some Ojibway words and our favorite message in native hand-sign language. I'd have to say it was a great success, a good time was had by all (even Their-Dad-My-Son who, at 41, is still at the eye-rolling stage). And before they left, their Mama said "What's the theme for the next one?" and Domanic said, without hesitation, "AFRICAN!"

So tell me - does Trader Joe's have canned elephant?

And in conclusion, the reason I haven't been around here much. I told you earlier on that I am participating in NaNoWriMo , the National Novel-Writing Month. To that end, may I say, I am ON SCHEDULE! Yes, folks, as we enter the third week, I can say that I am half-way through, and it looks (she said, hoping it doesn't jinx it) that I WILL end up with a 50,000 WORD novel at the end of the month. May I reiterate that it will be easily in the top five "Worst Collections of Words Ever Compiled By Someone Not a Monkey." I have this one character, a priest, who not only blathered for about five pages but caused my OTHER priest to do the same thing. They're both in Time-Out,waiting to see if they're allowed back in. But the word-count is up and all's well.

I have a secret: I hired a taskmaster to make sure that I'm keeping on-task, who yells at me LOUDLY if I leave my writing room for more than a trip to the bif. Excuses don't cut it, and outright exhaustion, I am told, is "NO EXCUSE!" Yeah, well - that's easy for her to say, she usually sleeps the whole time I'm working!

OOOPS! Woke her up by stopping typing to insert photo. (At least she can't tell the difference between novel-writing and blogging.) It's true, though, I put the throw next to the laptop because when she was just sitting on the hard, cold desk her looks were more baleful than usual, but if I start wandering away from the laptop she follows me yelling. To her credit - if I actually turn OFF the laptop she recognizes that I'm going away for a purpose, and -- figuring there'll be food involved, she follows me yelling. Cats.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Briefly.... Dr Who pattern says:

36 purple

and then it says:


And THAT, boys and girls, laydeez and gennulmens, says it all.

(PS my hanging-around-my-neck-row-counter-says "3", for the record.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Delight, Despair

Have you noticed the Change? I don't know, maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that there has been a collective sigh of relief, and people are now thinking that there IS hope, it really is worth looking ahead. President Obama (isn't that delicious?) is taking the reins of an abused animal, and it's going to take a while before he can soothe it and begin to heal it, but I think he's the man for the job. I'm saving newspaper articles and stuff, because some day I'll give it to my brown grandsons to prove that this really IS an historic event; I imagine they'll wonder what's the deal? That's just what we were all hoping when we linked arms and sang "We shall overcome". (Evangeline doesn't know what the big stir is about, either, but wonders if the new President will legislate Tuna in Every Bowl...)

I always tell the children on my Museum tours that one reason it's important to know History is because it gives us a good opportunity to learn from the past, so we don't make the same mistakes. Oh, each generation can make new ones for their descendants to learn from, but hopefully we won't make the same ones again.

Sweater worn by Auschwitz Survivor

on display at our State Historical Museum

But today - and tomorrow (November 9th and 10th) is an anniversary of an historic event that was unequalled in human recorded history. What I speak of, of course, is the 70th anniversary of "Kristallnacht" , "The Night of Broken Glass."

Youngsters (that would be anyone under about age 45) may read about it and shake their heads - "That must have taken place in the Middle Ages, what a terrible thing." Well -- let me put it in a bit of perspective: there are survivors of Kristallnacht alive today, and they are not extremely old. It happened well within the lifespan of many of our senior citizens, and I venture that a visit to a retirement center would produce a group of people who remember hearing of it or reading about it at the time.

I've stated before: if asked "what I am", I reply that I'm Jewish, and indeed I was raised in a Conservative Jewish household. NOTE: "conservative" in this instance means neither the strictness of Orthodox Jewry nor the more casual and modern Reform branch.....has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with politics. Having said that, I also add that I consider myself an ETHNIC Jew, as opposed to religious. Judaism is a religion, true, but it's also an ethnic group - and there are candles burning all over the world where knots of scholars discuss this definition and its consequences until the crack of dawn.

What it means to ME is, when my children were little (and today) I celebrate Chanukah, Passover, and the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). Part of being an ethnic Jew is the food....and those holidays have the best food (well, except Yom Kippur, which has no food at all - one fasts, *entirely*, from sundown to sundown).

But even ethnic Jews are aware of the history, and Kristallnacht was the match held to the candle that became the Holocaust, and illuminated a period of history that showed, clearly, the lengths that Man's Cruelty can go to. Again, reading of the Holocaust sounds - even to me - like events of that nature must've happened early in the Dark Ages.

My mother was known for her elegant dinner parties, and while I didn't attend (I was a little kid, and not the sort parents trot out for the admiration of their friends) I got to meet the guests before going up to my room. (Oh, hey - my sister and I got to eat the great food, don't get me wrong.)

There were newspaper dinner parties, comprised of journalists and newspapermen who worked with my father (and admired him - did I ever mention that my daddy is in Who's Who in American Journalism? Did I ever mention that I digress?)

And there were Just Friends dinner parties, and they, of course (being the 1950s, &c) were comprised mostly of Jewish friends. I remember occasions where two people in particular remained in my mind, though their names are forgotten to me, along with their faces and their relationship to my parents: one was a woman with a long, dark, purple number on her forearm. My recollection is that she wore a long-sleeved sweater, but I was shown the number. The other was a man, whom I remember thinking was very handsome, who had a leather glove on his left hand. (I also remember him as having an eye patch, but I think that's the romanticism of my little-kid self, to tell you the truth.)

I was told that he wore the glove because his hand was made of iron; he had lost his "meat hand" in Germany, and he was Israeli. He had an ACCENT! I mean, does it get more exciting than that? A tall man (ok, I'm only 4'11" now; I was a kid then; he might not have actually been tall at all) with an exotic foreign accent, described as Israeli - and with an IRON HAND!

Well....I remember asking Mom what was the deal with the number on that lady's arm, and I remember that she answered me and I don't doubt that her answer was age-appropriate, but I imagine it didn't really mean much to me.

When I got to junior high school, I hit a Jewish Phase (have I mentioned that I was a trial to my mother? Ooooh yeah). I bought a large beautiful carved Mexican sterling-silver Star of David on a fairly heavy chain and determined to wear it always. My mother forbade it! I was horrified...and realized, years later, how that must have made her perhaps terrified as well las uncomfortable; her generation practiced their religion openly - but didn't go out of their way in their daily lives to draw attention to it. That's one thing for which I mean to apologize when we meet in Heaven or whatever happens. I was put out, but didn't wear it.

But also at that time, I started reading some books, taken from our shelves at home, about the Holocaust, and I came to realize something, which I believe today. (This is my opinion, based on nothing resembling research, &c)

I think there are two kinds of Jews: one kind reads everything they can on the Holocaust, studies it, discusses it, researches it. The other kind acknowledges it, mourns it - but doesn't want to see any pictures or hear any first-person memories. And guess what? I'm both.

I read a lot - but given the chance to tour the famous Holocaust Museum (it's in Washington, D.C., I think) -- my initial feeling is, I won't. I'm sensitive to historical artifacts; I get misty-eyed at our Museum looking at Abraham Lincoln's shawl and the rock thrown through the window of a black woman in Little Rock, AR with a note tied to it reading "Next time it'll be dynamite...KKK".

So walking through a boxcar - seeing (as I understand it) piles of gold taken from people as they entered the chambers....I don't think Icould. Or would. Truth to tell, I don't know. Given the chance (I've never been to DC!) I might try and have to flee; I might not even try; I might go through it, probably sobbing.....I just don't know.

Well, boys and girls, humanity has given over atrocities, we haven't got the whole message from Kristallnacht or from the Holocaust (and I say "we", but of course now, as then, it's the few who somehow lack 2/3 of their hearts and 3/4 of their brains, but still....). There are new ones, or the same old ones performed with modern technology.

But now the world knows of Kristallnacht, and it's mentioned on NPR and in the newspapers, and it must be mourned afresh. I am mourning it afresh - but through my tears, I still feel optimistic. CHANGE, especially as it relates to human beings, is painstakingly slow. But the turtle won the race. So will we; if not in my lifetime, perhaps in my grandchildren's?

I'll end with another memory, one I might have mentioned before: I remember lying on the floor, coloring in my coloring book, while my parents sat listening to the big radio. It was 1948, and I was five years old. It was some dull recitation and I wasn't really listening - but suddenly my parents both cried out, and when I looked up, they were BOTH weeping. I didn't know daddies COULD weep, it was unthinkable! And they said "It's passed the UN, Israel will become a Jewish State." I had no idea what that meant - but it's now one of my most-cherished memories. Advancing age provides an exquisite appreciation for history.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Letter to Willie

Willie Lee Carter

Dear Willie,

We went over to John and Beth's tonight, because today - November 4, 2008 - was the end of almost two years' campaigning, and the culmination of it all. There had been a huge push to register new voters all over the country and all forms of media declared what an Historic Event this Election Day was going to be.

This was nothing like the voter registration drive I went to observe in Indianola, Mississippi that Spring Break of 1963; I was going to say "Remember?" but you wouldn't, because we hadn't met yet, you and I. But I remember I told you about it.

I had signed up to go to Macalester's "sister city", Indianola, during Spring Break. There was a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside Chaplain Al Currier's office, asking for people to go down and take some money we'd collected and some school supplies, because their Freedom School had been burned out. I wanted to know if what I was reading in the press was exaggerated ("Holy cow, it cant' really be like that , it's 1963") or underplayed ("Holy cow, do you suppose it's really worse than that?") or if we were maybe getting the facts.

This was the Schwerner-Goodman-Cheney period, remember. Well, as I told you, no one else signed up. But I thought I'd go anyway, because *I* could take the stuff as well as anyone else, and then I could see for myself. Also, I was curious, naive, not very bright and above all, naive.

I took the bus - Greyhound most of the way, Continental Trailways the rest of the way. My best-laid plans to be travelling in the South only during daylight fell apart when the layover in Memphis was something like three hours, and it was dark by the time we got to Mississippi. The bus went to Greenwood, and I was supposed to call "Larry", a white Civil Rights worker in Indianola, when I got in; then he'd come and pick me up.

When I got off the bus in Greenwood I started into the brightly-lit depot...only to be grabbed by the arm by my seatmate, saying "Y'all don't want to go in THERE!" as she pointed to the sign over the door: "Colored". (Well, matter of fact, I did - but you know, no. And the OTHER depot looked much fancier anyway.)

Long story short, as they say: I was afraid, so I found a cab and asked to be taken to a hotel; in the lobby I took a room and the porter came to carry my bag up to my room. He was black...and only had one arm. He followed me up to the room and when I opened the door, set the bag inside and trotted away. I should've tipped him - but I was nervous and didn't know how you did that.

I called Larry, who asked where I was and what room and said they'd be by to get me. I hung up and was crying (did I mention I was afraid?) and when I went into the bif to wash my face I didn't see the little step up, so I fell and hit my head on the sink and it hurt.

Man, Willie, I'd forgotten a lot of this, although I bet you haven't because you always did have a better memory than mine. Anyway - when Larry got there he called my room and I said I'd be right down. The porter came up to get my bag again....only this time he walked WITH me, and said he hoped I'd enjoy my stay in Mississippi. When the elevator opened there was a thin guy in overalls, and I all but fell into his arms, I was so glad to see him. Remember when I told you that, and you said "How'd you know it was this Larry guy and not the KKK?" Oh, man, Willie. Powerful glad I HADN'T thought of that. Like I said, naive.

There was the very tense ride to Indianola, where I sat in the front seat between Larry, who was driving, and his friend (name forgotten) -- he was black. Didn't occur to me as anything odd, until Larry pointed out that there was a car behind us keeping the same distance whether we sped up or slowed down.........but nothing came of that. "Teenagers", Larry said, "they like to try to scare folks." Yeah well, it worked on me, I can tell you.

I was there for three days, which included a trip to the police station with Larry and two little girls, about 9 and 13, to report that they'd been threatened by some white guys with rifles sitting on their front porch as they (the girls) had walked past them en route to school. The police chief asked me how to spell my name ("uhh...D A L E") and then asked what the ni****s where doing there.

That was when I learned the Secret of the Civil Rights Workers: wrath cancels out fear. You don't use that term, ( where I come from ) and CERTAINLY not in front of children. Nothing ever came of it, but Larry and the other white workers were trying to educate the black citizens of Indianola that they DID have rights, and they should exercise them.

The other two days I was there, we went around and talked to people about registering to vote. We had to point out that ... the fact that the black folks had to recite the State Constitution before they could register (!) ... wasn't legal and couldn't be demanded. (I ask you, Willie, could you have recited the Alabama Constitution? I didn't think so, and NO, Silly, you knew I couldn't do Minnesota's, either, so there!)

There was the girl who told us that her husband was in jail for singing "We shall overcome" in the hearing of some white folks, and that the cops had come to ask her to sign a paper so they could release the prison. When she refused, they made threatening comments about her baby, but left - only to come back later with a BLANK piece of paper for her to sign. She refused and had called Larry to get the name of a lawyer for her husband.

I told you I didn't know if I'd have been able to do that, refuse after they threatened my baby, and you said "Oh, sure you could, believe me." I'm not so sure about that, but then - I didn't live in Mississippi and I wasn't black, and at that point I didn't even have a baby.

There was the night Will Henry and Lynnie and I walked from their house (where I was staying) to a store to buy beer for a little gathering that night...and as we walked back Will Henry swung his arm across my and Lynnie's backs, sending us sprawling face-down in the dirt road -- as some shotgun shells whizzed past and hit the dirt a few feet in front of us. He'd dropped too, and when the car the shots came from sped past we got up and when I asked Will Henry how he knew there were kids and shotguns in that car (because he did NOT ever even look over his shoulder) he said he just knew; the car wasn't going "the right speed". And you nodded when I told you that and said "Yeah, you just get to know stuff like that."

And the night before I left (because most of the white Workers and a lot of the black citizens were leaving for a big rally in D.C. and I really did NOT want to stay down there pretty much by myself, I didn't have THAT much confidence in my wrath), Will Henry tapped on the bedroom door (he'd given up his room for me while I was there) and when I said "Yeah?" he said "Hey, y'all wanna see the KKK?"

Well hell NO! but... you know, I said "sure...." We went into the kitchen, with all the lights out, and across the back field from the house they were marching along, two by two, with a burning cross thing at the front. And he said "They ain't gonna do nothing fitted up like that, because they know there's them FBI around. They're only dangerous when they dressed like regular folks."

The police cars there were the whitest cars I ever saw, and the Workers told me they had, next to their police radios in the cars, radios belonging to the White Citizens' Council. And when the people called the fire department to report the fire in the Freedom School - they came out and pissed on the fire to put it out. The school was, of course, a total loss.

Well, my dear Willie - THIS year, I bet those people registered. And I bet they voted (without reciting the State Constitution). And I am here to tell you - that Mississippi went for McCain, and so did some other states (because he did have some things to his credit and was even a Viet Nam vet like yourself, and he did time in a prison camp and stuff), but more people all over the country registered to vote, and more new voters registered, and more people actually got out and WENT to the polls, than probably ever ever before; the statistics aren't out yet, but they will be,) and I bet you'll be able to see them from there, too.

And Willie? Barak Obama won! He's going to be the next President. He's the President-Elect of the United States of America. We're going to have a black President. And a black First Lady (instead of all the black ladies in the White House serving food....which may not be fair, but I bet there's some truth to it).

Check out that picture at the top, I took it right off of the teevee (we have these digital cameras now, they're very cool).

I bet you can see the future up there, huh? Well, don't tell me, because I'd rather be surprised, and maybe we'll be together by then and can watch it on the teevee up there - but maybe our grandson, Domanic, will be in the White House one day. He could, you know. I mean, we always used to say that, but now? Well, the precedent has been set. And probably even HE won't believe me when I tell him what a big deal history thing this election has been.

Let me tell you one last thing -- and also, thanks for slogging through this. I remember you used to grin and shake your head when I started in one "one o' your tales", you'd say. I seem to still be at it. Anyway, this guy came to the door earlier to ask me to get out and vote (and for Obama, please); when I told him I already had, a couple weeks ago, he gave me a big yellow "I VOTED" sticker and told me this thing he'd heard. When I shut the door behind him, I cried - but you knew I would, didn't you? It goes like this:

"Rosa sat - so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Obama could run.

Obama ran so our children can fly."

Your Wordy Widow
PS I still want some of your barbecue when I get there. Our daughter's barbecued ribs are fabulous.....but yours are still better.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Always Learning....

That would be myself -- may I be quick to say, to Molly Bee and the world in general:

'Tis true, if I had to write 50,000 pages, something more than Medflight would be called for. I must've been drunk tired when I wrote "50,000 PAGES". I am here to tell you, I don't imagine I will live long enough to write 50,000 pages of anything. It is to SHUDDER!

Having said that, I will here report a hodge-podge, which is what seems to be roiling around in my brain anyway.

First - progress is being made on the Scarf in spite of all this writingness going on - and I have also gotten out the wool and needles to begin the first of a few toques ordered up. I would SO love to have it done by next weekend, but I'm not sure that's conceivable, what with being so close to the end of the Dr Who that it makes my eyes water....and this writingly thing.

Second - yesterday, being a very nice day, we drove down by Viroqua to collect Mr Dearling's 19th century suit, which was made for him by a lady skilled in the tailoring of 19th century apparel. The suit consists of a fine frock-coat (silk-lined), a very handsome vest, and a pair of pants. We were quite satisfied with it; he's actually looking forward to getting a shirt, shoes and a hat so that he can accompany me in my 1857 gown. But there was a little bonus to the trip!

Seems our seamstress had in hand two extra tickets for a concert being played right there in the tiny theatre in Viroqua, so we "had them of her"......occasioning the opportunity to hear (are you sitting down?) THE KINGSTON TRIO!

As it turned out, the house was packed and we were unable to sit together, but that was OK. I did get some pictures, and will post them anon. Now, this is NOT the original Kingston Trio; one of the troupe, Nick Reynolds, just passed away a few days back. But two of these fellows had joined from The Limelighters; they all three had excellent voices and their sound WAS the Kingston Trio. It was a good concert, I really enjoyed it.

NOTE: the average age of the audience members (and this is not hyperbole or exaggeration) was probably 75 - but by watching the reactions of my fellow audience members, I realized that many of them were "my era"; we had shared the Viet Nam experience, the Civil Rights movement, &c. Our seamstress said later that she'd only recognized two of the songs (she's likely in her 40s) but I knew every word of every song!

Gotta say, though: it was a very surreal experience. Closing my eyes I suddenly remembered what my dorm room looked like and remembered the name of the college chaplain, who was active in our Civil Rights organization (Al Currier). Opening my eyes -- well, I got a vision of nursing homes in my future.

And now, as I must get back to my writing, I'll leave you with a *funny*. Might I add, to those who may not know, one of Mr Dearling's endearing qualities (which are too numerous to list) is that he has, from time to time, a brilliant explosion of the kind of dry wit you only encounter a few times in your life. Here's the set-up:

I was looking up information online about sheep. (Silly you, of COURSE there's a sheep in my story! Also a cat! What were you thinking?) I found out the answer to my question (take notes: a wether is a castrated male sheep; I needed to know from "bellwether") AND I found out another neat fact. When I went to share, the conversation went like this:

ME: In Iceland there's a breed of sheep called "Leader Sheep"; they have a highly-developed sense of direction genetically, and are used to lead the herds. They've even been known to bring the herd down from a winter pasture ahead of a storm that the people didn't know was coming!"

Mr. Dearling: That's nothing! Those Leader Sheep are so smart, they train them to herd dogs!

Well, it cracked me up for about an hour, is all. Back to the novel.