Saturday, September 25, 2010
I have had more traveling and family time crammed into this hot summer than I have ever in my life I think! From Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Doesn't matter if it was a wedding or a family reunion, doesn't matter how old the people are..10 to 92..or what country they are from..the USA, the Netherlands, Lebanon ..they all love to dance! It was a dancing summer! Best way to keep your mind clear!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I have to say, I've had a tremendous summer...full of happiness and travel...full of family! Even though my working days were reduced down to 3 days from 4 1/2, it afforded me the travel and contemplation time. And that is a good thing to concentrate on when one is a little anxious about the future. Every thing works out for the good, I believe that, and so on this evening under the full moon I will work out a few wishes under the silvery light and burn them to the good ancient moon.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
People have the notion that Indiana can be a boring state... and I suppose after you have lived the high life somewhere in the world beyond with an unlimited budget it could seem that way. But I refuse to let myself creep into that mind set..sometimes you have to look at what is right in front of your face...or more like it..into the faces of your friends and books that you read on the subject of Indiana...or any state or country in which you live.
I have a wonderful collection of books about Indiana and I read them over and over again. Some are not about Indiana at all but written by Indiana authors. And I strongly feel when a book or musician impacts your life you should write a letter or an email to that creator to let them know how much their work meant to you. I do that very thing and it is so rewarding. The internet is a magical means of communication where people actually respond to you almost instantly. The wonderful feeling that you have after you have enjoyed these books spills onto the authors and makes them feel wonderful too. I don't think we show appreciation enough so that has been my mission for the past year and a half.
I just wrote about my friend who wrote "Wind Chimes and Promises" Phyllis Adair and the all day and nite 'lunch' we had.
I just received a postcard announcing a book that my dear friends' daughter and niece Becky Bowles has written and is available now. It is called Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow~the true story of her grandparents, Herb and Dee Sweet and the Acorn Farm Camp. They started America's first day camp right here in Indiana with the unusual talent for stimulating kid's natural curiosity and creativity. A quick call to my friends to order the book through them will be done shortly
I reread for the 12th time a book I bought back in 1983 called "If You Don't Outdie Me"..the legacy of Brown County, Indiana recording the observation encounters between the photojournalist Frank Hohenberger and the local folk culture of that charming rustic county which bred an artist colony. The author is Dillon Bustin and at the time he wrote and compiled the photographs and unpublished diary notes of Hohenberger, he lived in Bloomington,Indiana. I finished reading the book again and felt compelled to look him up via the magical internet, wrote him and he said he was touched by my note and even though he lives in Boston now, he longs to move back to Story, Indiana.
Another prolific Indiana writer is James Alexander Thom. He has written many, many historical national bestseller books and lives about an hour and half from my house in the southern hill country of Indiana. One novel in particular is "Follow the River" based on the true ordeal of Mary Ingles who was kidnapped by Shawnee Indians from her Virginia settlement in 1755, survived the bloody massacre, escaped and walked and crawled a thousand miles following the rushing Ohio river as her guide. This book in particular hits my heart because I have read of my ancestors who were also in this or a similar invasion of the same time frame and didn't survive. Mr. Thom and I currently correspond frequently. His wife Dark Rain, of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band is also an author. I think these authors are truly delighted to hear from their readers..they know the books sell but to hear a handwritten appreciative word~that warms their heart and yours. Unfortunately, I can't write to James Whitcomb Riley or Booth Tarkington or Cole Porter.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The spider is a monster~all spiders are monsters~you've never seen one bigger and it's on your ceiling. You scream! The whole family, including the dog runs up the stairs. You are crouched in a corner. The family stands poised to look at the spider but ducking all the time to avoid it dropping on them. Mom gets a chair~Dad climbs on and asks for a magazine~Mom runs and the dog chases her. She's back~Dad climbs up and Mom hands him the magazine. "No", he says, "not the Playboy!!" Mom runs back out and gets her House Beautiful. You're still crouched in the corner. Your brother is frozen with fear. Mom hands Dad the magazine after she looks through it for a couple minutes~Dad's getting impatient and he is ducking because the spider is moving. Dad looks forceful. He raises his arm! It is truly going to be smashed now with that force. You come out of the corner~you are all standing around Dad on the chair. This is it!! Dad reaches up and barely taps the spider! It comes careening down and Dad starts screaming and swatting his head and chest~he falls off the chair backward onto your bed~the bed crashes~the whole family scatters screaming swatting at their heads and arms~the dog barks incessantly and twirls and starts biting your brother's ankle. The spider disappears.
Dad's sure there's a critter as big as a raccoon in the attic. He buys a gopher trap and makes you place it in the tiny attic space~only you can do it~he can't fit in. Days go by~your job is to check it every day~nothing..just little turds. Dad decides it has moved to the crawl space. The crawl space is 12 inches high under the house and full of spiders. He tells you to go under and place another trap~you pay your friend Travis to do it! Several days have passed and Dad decides to go in. He gets his pistol and he crawls in on his back~he's going to shoot the varmint. Mom finds out! She makes Dad get out of there.
It's 3am. The smoke alarm goes off at the top of the stairs. Your brother sleeps through it. Mom and Dad run up the stairs. Dad can't reach it. Mom gets a chair. Dad climbs on~he barely reaches it~he pushes the reset button...it's still going off. The dog is barking. Your brother still sleeps through it. Dad's getting fussy now. He rips it out of the ceiling~it stops...he hands it to Mom~tells her to hold it. Mom looks at it. It says "RADIOACTIVE". She screams at Dad for making her touch it. Your brother wakes up.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
We have said for nearly 3 years we would get together for lunch~it was said over and over again.
I've written about Phyllis Adair-Ward back in February~she is the author of the world renowned memoir "Wind Chimes and Promises"~her conversation is as flowing and genuine as her writing ability.
Phyllis popped into my office one day this week and said "I came for a hug." "Lunch?" I asked. "How about Friday? she suggested. "Yes! I'll be at your house at 12 noon." Double hug.
Our day started with dainty sandwiches with the delicious trimmings and coffee laced with Grand Marnier~all on the screened porch~her sanctuary. Our chatting never ceased except for her brief jaunt to the kitchen to refill my thin china cup.. She wouldn't let me leave my comfortable chair and I never did. This was the first day all summer with a cool gentle zephyr and it blew our conversations back and forth from topic to topic~writing, reading aloud, art, plays, dreams, past and present husbands, parental antics in nursing homes, the struggle for women's suffrage and racial discrimination in the workplace. We only had one brief interruption the entire day ~ a phone call from her sister-in-law Bea, also a writer and lecturer, better described as dearer than a sister. Bea's personality fills a room and I could tell that from the short lovingly sarcastic retorts coming from Phyllis to Bea. "I'm here on the porch having lunch with my close friend~I'll have to call you back someday". "How can you possibly have fun on that porch without me?" I heard Bea fuss. I knew right away I had to meet Bea someday soon. "When God closes one door another door opens..but it's hell in the hallway"... "Bea'isms"...they were worked into the conversations throughout the day!
Up again she jumped to get us ample servings of rum cake with ice cream and more coffee with Grand Marnier and a little slice of Bea's pineapple pie on the side.
The light changed from bright to dusk to dark and our drink became sparkling cider and our conversations became more personally revealing as close friends choose to do. The words kept flowing, punctuated by the melodious sound of a wind chime somewhere off in the distance.
Next time we will have another uninterrupted day of stories built upon stories and perhaps coffee with Drambuie. A WONDERFUL~EST day!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It's still hot here in the midwestern United States, but wow, you know something I've noticed? Even though it is still summer...alot of "apparitions" are appearing in blogs. I think this is going to be a very "spirited" autumn...I've even started reading all my ghost story books..so soon but somehow I'm ready to be "scared". I feel like putting my Autumn wreath up and my pumpkins out and perhaps thinking about a Halloween party this year. It's been a couple years since we've had one...they are always full-out creepy and over the top...alot of work...so much so that by the end of the night I can barely walk across the yard! Why we think that we have to decorate everything the day before and the day of is beyond ME! If it happens this year there are going to be adjustments made...mentally and time management-wise!! The difficult part is reigning in KennyRogersLookAlike! He's the loveable problem!!!! He is so creative and has so much energy...which usually comes very late in the day and lasts until the wee hours of the morning...my energy now comes in the morning. By the time of the party I am ready to take that bloody hand stuck in the punch bowl and clobber him with it!! I mutter under my breath while I battery up the final of the 50+ animated Frankensteins and draculas and ladle the chili into my spider encrusted bowl about how I can push that gravestone over onto his foot and he mutters under his breath about...well, I don't know what he is muttering about me...my muttering drowns out his.. Then as we pull on the last bit of our costumes the guests arrive and we are On Stage! You'd never know there was evil plotting in our minds 5 minutes before.
One particular Halloween as I plugged in the warming plate for the gruel, the circuit breaker snapped sending the arriving party goers into dungeon darkness and simultaneously the straggly branches in the haunted forest bathroom full of perched black ravens took on a life of its own and tumbled down and tangled up a startled ghoul as he opened the commode lid ...poor guy..Meanwhile KennyRogersLookAlike twirling in his "cool as a red hot poker mode" was in the basement trying to manuever around all our stuff that we haven't seen in 16 years but still might "need" sweatingly closed in on the circuit breaker box. Finally we untangled the ghoul, put the forest back together minus a raven that got flushed down the toilet and settled down to a normal party of hot, thick gruel and opossum tail stew. I think I may want to have the party after all!