Memories of Summer

In response to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/summer/

 

Lazy afternoons,

Lying in the tall grass

watching billowing clouds

slowly floating past.

Grilled hot dogs, chips

and root beer floats.

Jumping in puddles

wearing yellow raincoats.

Running with sparklers

on the Fourth of July

capturing lightening bugs

right out of the sky.

searching for crawdads

 in the creek down the road.

The smell of green grass

that has been freshly mowed.

“Hide ‘n Seek”, “Red Rover”

“Ollie Ollie Oxen Free”

Games played with friends

when we were carefree.

Catching a snowflake

on the tip of your tongue,

climbing a tree

just because it’s so fun.

Tire swings that arc

over the swimming hole

and the best cannonball

was the ultimate goal.

Those nostalgic moments

that I can recall

Were idyllic moments

all in all.

 

 

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The True Definition of Perfection

In response to  DAILY PROMPT   https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/perfection/ 

They sat together as they had for years, tucked away in their booth, out of the way from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. Close enough to watch the fascinating dance of waiters carrying well balanced food trays weaving between tables covered with white linen cloths.

Slowly, he reached across to grasp her hand in a loving gesture of perfect harmony. He felt the softness of her skin and rubbed his thumb over the familiar simple gold wedding ring. A perfect moment where the din of the banging cutlery and china faded into silence. It was their anniversary and here, they could have their own miniature celebration before joining friends later that evening.

For those sitting nearby, their display of perfect affection drew slow smiles of appreciation and yet those witnesses probably didn’t comprehend the thoughts behind the value of perfection.

Perfection to him didn’t mean flawless or a fashion magazine’s interpretation of ideal beauty. No. As he caressed her hand, he could feel the soft skin dotted with well earned age spots and permanent creases. Cerulean blue eyes met his gaze…ones that had seen much edged with radiating crow’s feet signifying decades of laughter and joy. Lines from the corners of her eyes showed where life’s tragic events created a path for tears. Together, they had survived life’s struggles, family tragedy and experienced the most joyous moments life has to offer. When he looked at her, he saw imperfect perfection. The silver hair, the glasses, the soft lines of living and the knowledge that together they had weathered the good and the bad. In sadness, they had discovered  strength. In happiness, they had experienced inner peace. In frustration, they had learned the importance of patience. Ultimately, their imperfect life was perfect.

Left to left

A Yankee in Paris

I knew the news was bad about Philippa hours before it was ever released.  I was doing what I always do on the weekends of the “big ones.”  Scrolling through Eventing Nation, constantly refreshing, trying to see the latest update or the most recent scores.  My trainer Allie was four or five riders away in the 3*, and I just wanted to know if she had gone clean; if she was safe.  But then I saw that there was a fall, and a hold.  Philippa Humphrey’s had come off, which made my stomach sank.

I didn’t know Philippa well.  My only knowledge of her was from sharing a warm up arena a few times at the Kentucky Horse Park.  When the bigger riders come to compete against you at novice or training, you know.  There is an aura around them.  A confidence.  And yet as I passed her left to…

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Repurposed, Reloved, Recycle

I admit it. I’m a sucker for an old, worn wonderful piece of furniture. If it looks sturdy enough and it strikes my fancy, chances are better than average it will wind up in the back of my Jetta Sportwagen for the quick trip back to our garage for a revamp. (On a side note, it’s amazing how much one can fit in the back of that VW. They’ve come a long way from the Beetle)  Long ago I gave up trying to sneak any new found treasure into the garage without being discovered. My DH instinctively knew. I don’t know how. He would be standing near the door, arms crossed with a hint of the “stinkeye”. You know the look. One eyebrow raised, lips pursed, wanting to ask why I was delving into another project but knowing it might not be safe to do so – conveying this thought through body language. However this time I felt there was a valid reason. I’ve dabbled in writing most of my  life. While I love it, I’m not prolific nor do I write on a regular basis. I admire those who can crank out amazing articles or poems with such ease but I’m more of a percolator. Plots, scenes and story lines play out and rework themselves usually while I’m doing other mundane things.

looking scratched and nauseatingly red

Worn, scratched but definitely worth it.

Then when it gently falls into place, I try my best to let it flow.

So here I was, walking through one of my favorite unique stores in Orlando, Adjectives Unhinged, when tucked almost from sight, I spied the perfect platform from which I could “let it flow”. Sounds slightly familiar. Well, it was almost perfect. If you could see beyond the red velvet cake mahogany stain, it had the bones and style of something beautiful with three wide drawers neatly placed on either side.  It screamed “Take me home! Make me over! ” How could I resist?

Trying to be environmentally correct, I began using

At work

A little elbow grease…

a low VOC water based remover but this stain wasn’t melting off like icing. I had to bring out the big guns. After some diligent scraping, the remover revealed the rich grain long hidden by the mahogany stain. Unfortunately, the desktop still retained too much red for my taste so I selected a gel stain from  General Finishes called Java. After applying it, I could understand why.

leg detail

Show a little leg!

I’m sure the most of the DIY’ers out there have heard of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Adjectives Unhinged carries all her colors and although I hadn’t tried the product before, I was drawn to Duck Egg Blue.

Duck Egg Blue isn’t really blue but a soft mixture of grey and blue. It really complemented the darker wood of the desk top. Chalk Paint is an interesting product which I don’t think I would use for every project but in this particular case, the results far exceeded what I could have ever hoped for. Her dark wax added depth to the lower portion and it was easy to manipulate. If I added a little too much dark wax, the clear wax buffed away the mistake. Pretty nifty.  For those of you who have used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, what are your favorite colors?

juis suis fine

J’ai fini!

This will occupy a spot in front of a large picture window overlooking a green pasture. Beyond the fence line is a field regularly occupied with cows and their calves. I can almost feel the juices percolating. Time to finish editing that mystery thriller since I no longer have any excuses to procrastinate.

Oh, I would be very remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my loyal crew who stuck with me throughout the process.  They may not give advice but they sure made the journey worthwhile. Besides,  Oscar (the overly relaxed soul on the left) now has a place to sleep  other than draping himself over my keyboard. Charlie can sleep safely underneath.

The Critics

The “Crew”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostly Memories of Thanksgiving Past

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A writing prompt group I belong to threw out a suggestion about the aromas we remember from previous Thanksgivings. Perhaps it was from the fumes of paint stripper as I worked on a new writing desk that made me grab onto the subject and take time to ponder my response. After doing so, other memories from decades past bubbled to the surface and a face came into focus of one I hadn’t really thought of for a long, long time…perhaps too long.

As l remember, her salt and pepper hair was always pulled back in tightly pinned bun. After all, she lived on a farm and wearing one’s hair down just wasn’t done. It wasn’t practical and if my grandmother was anything, she was definitely practical. Every black and white Polaroid showed a taciturn woman, a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles perched on a less than feminine  nose, wearing a plain, cotton house dress typical of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that ended mid-calf and covered a thick pair of stockings rolled to just below her knees. The only words to describe the shoes she always wore are black, blocky and durable. I believe they were called “Cuban” shoes but definitely capable of trudging through the muck typical of a working farm. To complete the ensemble, Grandmother always wore a top to bottom apron, a virtual necessity of that era, which covered a range of duties from holding freshly laid eggs to protecting her frock from flour during bread making. Most importantly, the apron covered her ample bosom.

Legend has it, my grandmother’s ample girth and bosum hid untold treasures which was later confirmed by my older sister many years later. As the story goes, there lived a woman on the outskirts of town who, to put it delicately, serviced interested gentlemen in the county. Perhaps she was beginning to feel the time had come to pack up and move along but whatever the reason, she came to the decision to sell her forty acre parcel. My grandmother was a shrewd business woman who knew a good investment when she saw one. They decided to meet and while their two attorneys were hashing out details in the parlor, my grandmother and the woman came to a mutual and satisfactory conclusion, sealing the deal with a handshake in the kitchen over a glass of buttermilk. Then my grandmother reached into her bosum and pulled out the agreed upon sum of cash. I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m sure her bosum was safer than the bank.

Truth is my grandmother had been widowed far too early in her marriage: a difficult and frightening situation in a town of about 150. By all accounts she remained stoic and faced the adversity the only way she knew how; with determination, pragmatism and a no-nonsense view of the world. That particular era seemed to be in short supply of warm and fuzzy emotions so I’m sure it couldn’t have been all roses for my father yet he possessed a delightful prankish sense of humor.  Looking closely once again at an old photograph of her, I swear I could finally see a little mischievousness in her eyes too. Perhaps there was more to this woman I always remembered as flinty and slightly distant.

As I continued sanding and stripping, a particular memory slowly came inching back. A visit to my Grandmother’s farm was the closest thing to bliss in my youth. There were pigs and dairy cows along with a stern warning to stay clear of both. She had three devoted Chows, two of which never left her side while the third, a teddy bear with a thick black coat joined me on my adventures. An abundance of bullfrogs and crawdads filled the creek that sliced through the pasture. She always seemed to have a new litter of barn kittens darting out and about the barn sheds. When the mood struck, I would leap on my pony with two lead ropes attached to the halter and ride into town for a cream soda at Pearl’s mercantile. I usually ended up tossing feed to the chickens and the two turkeys in the backyard. On this visit, however, the turkeys were conspicuously absent.

My mother called me in to wash up and a mixture of heavenly aromas hit me as I walked up the back stairs. It wasn’t until I saw my grandmother stand up in front of the cookstove that I mentioned the missing turkeys. Wiping her hands in her apron she didn’t immediately respond but did manage to block the opening. My mother shot my father a guarded look which I didn’t catch but before he could spill the beans about the truth of our guest of honor, my grandmother spoke up, explaining turkeys often wandered off for days at a time. “I’m sure they’ll return by the time you come for your next visit.” I must have taken her explanation at face value for nothing more was said.  She gave my shoulder a little squeeze before shooing me off into the living room to play Chinese Checkers.

Sitting down for Thanksgiving supper at a table covered with a vast array of the most delicious looking vegetables about twenty minutes later, a plate with a slab of ham was placed in front of me. In fact, everyone was served ham. If anyone had thought to question the menu, she must have silenced them with a warning gaze over my head. Maybe she didn’t approach every situation with knife edged bluntness. Perhaps time, age and life had taught her a little levity and holding on to childhood innocence a bit longer to be more important. As the memory came inching back, I’m certain of it.

I look at those old family photographs differently, especially those of my grandmother.  Yep. There was much more to that lady than she let on.

Hope everyone’s memories from holidays past bring a slow smile to your lips. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!