Sunday, August 30, 2020

Thursday's Story: Hey Y'all! Watch This!!

I live in a small community and our houses are close together. Sooner or later something I'm doing is going to get on a neighbor's nerves. And someone is going to get on mine.
Bynum Front Porch's Sunshine Library     
      Leave one. Take one. Any bench will do.

Then I turn on the tv to escape... wrong. 
Then I go on Facebook to surf.... nope. Can't hide there either. 
And then the INtERnEtS is down. DOWN. 
D-O-W-N down. down. down.
Have you ever felt like the whole world, us included, needs to take a deep breath? Pretend to be at the beach for a week? Wait. We can't. We have on masks. And. There was that hurricane....
We are living in paradise and the World's angst even seems to have made it here ... Here. Even to our precious Bynum.
Isn't it time for one of us idiots to say, "Hey yall. Watch this. Let's get out 2-3 water hoses and make that giant bank above the turbine building into a mudside!!! Are the FIRE ANTS gone?" Yes. I definitely think it is time for some shenanigans. 
I have found when I am feeling bad - out of whack - worried.... if I do something good for someone else. No matter how small. It makes me feel better.
And when someone does something outrageous. Unexpected. It makes us laugh. When we laugh we breathe deeply. Ah.
We need a parade.
Stargazing on the bridge with our chairs ten feet apart. 
A water balloon fight at the ballfield.
Chalk art on the streets... All the streets.
A giant weed whacking party in my yard???
I know. Let's put the speakers on the porch. Crank up the stereo with that Donna Summer CD we all have. Still. AND DANCE IN THE STREETS.
"Hey y'all. Watch this!!" Most brilliant words. Ever. Spoken.

All my love. Cindy

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thursday's Story: Oh Canada!

When I was 14 we went to the World's Fair in Montreal. Then we drove as far north as we could - until the road ended. We camped for a week among the chipmunks, beaver and moose... caught sturgeons, cooked on the fire. We didn't see anyone else for a week. Then we traveled around up-province Quebec - so long we started to speak French. 

Eventually it was time to decide how to head home - school was starting in a few days. My Dad: "We could get up at 4 am to catch a ferry - in Sorel, Quebec - and have one day to explore New England. Or. We could drive to Niagara Falls and spend our last free day there...". My dad justified the westerly route: "We'll be able to see the Erie Canal on the way home - it's an important part of this country's history. Besides a fellow never want to go home the same way he came - that's backtracking." We all agreed! Niagara Falls!! New England deserved it's own trip, but we mourned missing that ferry ride more than just a little. 

We packed up that night and drove most of the next day. Before finding the campground we went by the Falls to see them lit up and glowing in the twilight. 

We woke up excited! In full tourist mode! There is a space needle, a botanical garden, the FALLS, the Maid o'Mist, a power plant Thomas Edison designed (this country's first!) took two days. 

On the fourth day my dad called the school principal collect and said "We'll be home soon." And we pulled out. 900 miles. A station wagon. 6 kids, Mom. And a 23 1/2 foot camper. Buffalo. Cleveland. Columbus. A few hours sleep in a rest area mid-Ohio. Cincinnati. Lexington. The cornfields of Kentucky. (Tamera Moman got bored and stuck the Super 8 camera out the car window and made movies so we'd remember them.) About nightfall, finally, Tennessee. About 2 am, on the other side of the mountains, we made it home. My white Tom cat, Frosty, met us on the porch and actually cried. 

Six hours later I started high school on the third day of school.
© Bill Dutfield

This year on my Dad's birthday my sister Lydia said, "I again remember how thankful I am to have had a dad with an adventurous spirit, a Rand McNally and a camper." Thanks for reminding me too, Lydia. 

I love gardening because of that botanical garden. I can still read a map. I understand DC vs. AC electricity. I remember the beautiful blue mosaic tile on the Iran exhibit. I remember the beautiful flowers of Ottawa and the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. If I am scared I think about the roar of Niagara Falls and how powerful it is - and so am I.

I don't remember hardly anything from 9th grade. And. Funny enough, I don't remember the Erie Canal. But I do remember it's an important part of this country's history.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thursday's Story: Ree and Christmas

Thursday's Story
I was in the stores today. They were pulling out Christmas "stuff" - Santa-shaped platters and sparkly baubles... potholders that light up and play Rudolf.... So much will end up - if not in the landfill - in the thrift shop come January.
It made me think about 'Ree - Marie Whitmire - the little wiry, sweet, tough and funny red-haired mountain lady that took care of me and my sisters and brother when we were growing up.
She never looked a day older that 14. There was always a look of joy on her face - in seeing the sun shine, the chickens set, the beds made - babies well fed.
After I went to college I'd come home to the mountains for Christmas and first thing, I'd go see 'Ree. When I asked her what she wanted me to get her for Christmas, likely as not she would say, "Your moma is getting me a chicken so I can make a pot of chicken and dumplings. I don't need a thing!"
I finally learned to stop asking. I'd bring her Arnold Coconut Macaroons and a scarf I'd knitted or a quilted vest - something warm. She lived in a cabin on the top of "Blue Ridge" - one of the world's beautiful spots - and the wind always blows there. And she loved coconut.
I can smell the wood smoke and flannel now. She cooked on a wood cook stove.... She'd give me a bowl of pintos and corn bread and hand me a big spoon - I think the size of the spoon was a point of pride.
After supper we'd listen to Country and Western records with her son Charles. Between Loretta Lynn and Conway and Bill Monroe her husband Stein would be telling stories. He knew everything and everybody.
And 'Ree was always piecing a quilt - pulling small colorful scraps of fabric from a black Hefty bag taller than her, stitching by hand. Me and my sisters all sewed back then. There was an never ending supply of scraps... 'Ree sewed them into quilts one stitch after another.
Now as I spread a quilt on the bed I recognize a skirt I made, a niece's jumper, my sister's Easter dress... tiny stitches... I have two quilts from 'Ree and two from Aunt Myrtle - they are my prized possessions.
Today. As I looked at the Christmas Kleenex and Christmas Oreos and Christmas bell-shaped-Jello molds... I knew I didn't need any of that to have a happy Christmas.
I'd love a bowl of pintos. A big spoon to eat them with. The smell of woodsmoke, flannel and hot cornbread. Chet Atkins on the stereo. Stein telling stories. Ree piecing a quilt... .
I hope your Christmas is everything you want it to be - and coconut macaroons.