Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Story-- Reposted by Request

The beginning of the Christmas season brings back a sweet nostalgia for the days when the air trembled with magic and I really, truly did listen for reindeer on the roof. 

 I think I was probably five or six and I was at my maternal grandparents’ house.  It was a few weeks before Christmas and the decorations were up and stockings hung. (Rather spoiled only grandchildren, my brother and I had stockings both at home and at Ba and Hudy’s as we called these much-loved grandparents.)

Ba was in the kitchen, making cookies just like a proper grandmother. As I have always remembered it, no one else was in the house that day except for Annie, the taciturn cleaning lady.

I was ‘helping’ Ba and lamenting the fact that all her implements and pans were too big for me. “I wish I could have some little cooking things just my size,” I said.

Just then, again, as I remember it, a door slammed somewhere in the house. 

“Run see what that was,” said Ba, and off I went to investigate.

And in the living room, on the hearth, right under where my stocking hung, was a set of little pots and pans – just my size.
Amazed and delighted, I ran to show them to Ba. 

"I guess Santa must have heard you wishing and decided to make an early delivery," was all she said.

Years and years later, I asked Ba how she managed this surprise and she claimed not to know what I was talking about.

It’s just as well.  I like to believe in magic.  May there be some in your holiday season!
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Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Most Private Person

My brother died yesterday. He had been in declining health due to cancer for some time and had refused to pursue treatment. He was such a private person that I really don't want to say more, except that this is one of those those moments when, uncomfortable as it is to say about someone you love, death was a mercy.

He was blessed with a close friend who did all she could for him, difficult though that became. I am so thankful for her love and caring. -- and for his son, who came from California to Alabama to be with him at the end.

Into the light, Skip...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

After viewing the all the seasons of Midsomer Murders (twice-- don't judge,) we found ourselves in need of similar light, comforting entertainment. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, set in Australia in the Twenties, is filling the bill nicely.

I'd read and blogged about some of the books featuring the redoubtable Phryne and am pleased to find that the television series is as delightful as the books. Actually, more so because of the sets and the clothes -- oh, especially the clothes.

And the hats! I've never been a hat person, except for the utilitarian straw hat I wear in the garden. But these face framing cloches are gorgeous.

Of course, it helps to have the stylish bob, the cheekbones, and the perfectly made up face -- not something that's going to happen for me. Still, I can admire the look.

The series is very much an adult Nancy Drew -- Phryne doesn't have a sporty roadster but she does have an elegant Hispano-Suiza. And, like Nancy, she has several sidekicks she can call on to aid her is solving mysteries-- but unlike Nancy, Phryne doesn't have a steady boyfriend. Nope, Phryne has a series of exotic lovers.

And like Nancy, Phryne is fearless and capable -- she carries a gold revolver, she flies a plane, she speaks French (having been an ambulance driver in France during WWI and later an artist's model in Paris,) and Mandarin Chinese. 

We're not far into the series yet -- undoubtedly more talents will be revealed.

Highly recommended for escape viewing.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frozen Motion

Well, almost frozen. There was a bit of melting going on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Selling the Broom

A re-post -- Christmas prep has a stranglehold on me just now.

Some years ago, John was talking with a local store owner -- a man who also owned a great deal of property in the little community around the store. The store had belonged to his daddy before him, the man said, and it was due to his daddy's good business sense that the family was so well off.

And he did it all by selling a broom.

It was during the Depression, when it was common practice for a farmer to buy on credit and settle up, as best he could, when the crops were sold. Folks would come in to the store and make their few purchases -- salt, baking powder, coffee, maybe some wheat flour -- and the storekeeper would total them up and put the total in his books.

And there was always a charge for a broom.

This was the scam. The enterprising storekeeper kept a broom leaning up against the counter. He always added it into the total. Usually the shopper just signed the tab or made his mark without noticing the extra sum on the ticket. On the rare occasion that it was noticed, the shopkeeper merely said, "Oh, sorry, I thought you wanted that," and scratched off the charge.

"I don't know how many time Daddy must of sold that broom," the son told John, chuckling at the memory. "But I'll tell you one thing -- when he died, we found a shoebox stuffed full of deeds."

Because, of course, when the farmer's crop failed, as they sometime did, the next step was to offer his farm as security against the ever-growing debt he had to the village store-keeper.

I wonder how many brooms it took to bankrupt a farmer.

And I wonder how the son could think it was a funny story.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017