Thursday, May 31, 2012


GREAT GLORIOSA GYPSOPHILIA, Pierre knew a thing or two about flowers!

In the story, Dear Reader, I'm still here at Longwood Gardens, my Yard Man with me.

We're enjoying the flora and the fauna and the fountains and the food (yes, yes, Reader Dear, the first thing we enjoyed was the food!)

And we're enjoying the other folks focusing on the flora and the fauna and the fountains and the food.

Of course, there are a few folks photographing family, as well.

And I mentioned the fauna, did I not?

But these are gardens, after all. By far the main focus is the flowers and trees.
And speaking of the trees--that's what The Yard Man and I are doing, having a little discussion about this fabulous, oh-so-fantastic line of Copper Beech trees.

They are marvelous, we both agree! Were we not inspired to plant our very own Copper Beech tree when we saw these very same majestic trees so long ago?!

"But," says my Yard Man, "they are not mature trees."
And I, "What?!! You can't be serious! These are very, very old!"
He thinks not.
But I'm so sure. "It takes fifty years for a Copper Beech to mature. These have been here much longer than that!"
But no, he is not convinced.
And that's about the time I spot the guy sporting the yellow shirt--an official employee of the gardens!

"Can you answer a question for me," I ask, waving down the young man. "Can you tell me, how old are these trees?"

Ahh, he's not absolutely sure.
But he knows who to ask!
He rides away.
We will have to wait, Reader Dear--you, me, and The Yard Man!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


MEMORIAL DAY! It was nearly hot enough to fry an egg on the porch (and I'm talking about cracking that thing right onto the slate of the porch floor, Reader Dear!) and yet my yard man and I waited until the sun was at its zenith yesterday to go and stroll around the gardens (the really big gardens of our friend Pierre).

While we sat in the shade, praying for a little breeze and waiting for the fountain display, we could close our eyes and imagine we were in India, Russia, China...or Japan. Even Italy (assuming our interpretation of the accents were not too far off the mark). What I'm saying is that there was a very international group of visitors populating the park, prompting me to imagine that the yard man and I were jetting around the globe. (Aha! I thought, Mr. DuPont, in spite of his vast wealth, never had the opportunity to do such a thing [Now you know, Reader Dear, I'm talking about actually jetting around the globe; there's not a doubt he had an imagination, what with these fine and beautiful gardens he left for posterity!])

"Let's find some fountains where we can get close enough to cool off," suggested my yard man.
And we did just that.

That yard man walked over to the lower row of little spiking fountains and leaned in for some splash-able water. OH! Dear Reader, he so nearly lost his balance and got a real soaking, and I so nearly rolled on the ground with laughter, and you so nearly would be ruing the fact that I do not have a video to show you! (Ahem, well, at least it's for certain I'D be ruing!)

So then we continued on to another water extravaganza.
Here, however, we felt the burden of maturity, constrained as we were by the sign declaring No romping in these fountains. Once again my imagination came into play (since I didn't), making me pleasantly cool just by watching (The cool breeze across the fountain may have helped just a tad)!

On the other hand, my imagination concerning this unexpected reptile was not so pleasant!

(What good fortune, that experience was offset by the friendly amphibians we came upon next. They willingly sang for us! [Oingo Boingo's Nothing to Fear, I believe it was. (Because of their accent, Viewer Dear, I can't be sure)]!

For sure, however, I fear there's more to tell, Reader Dear, about
the heat and Pierre and...oh, and the flowers! The trees!

(What I mean to say is: To Be Cont'd)

Sunday, May 27, 2012



HOLIDAY WEEKENDS ARE SO NICELY enhanced by patio meals with extended family.

(How fortunate, the yard man and I have a brother-in-law who hosts these kinds of gourmet togetherness at the drop of a hat [Chef's hat, I do believe!]!)


Saturday, May 26, 2012


SUMMER ARRIVED ABOUT a month early in these parts. This afternoon it bestowed upon the Little Actor the position of King of the Water Hose. His vast domain was the whole of the kitchen porch.  I'm afraid, Dear Reader, that his only subjects were two laughing idiots.

Though they were utterly devoted to His Majesty!

During his reign, and even after his dethroning, one of his subjects was quite sopping wet!
(It so pleased the king)


Friday, May 25, 2012


LAST WEEK I caught that yard man of mine doing
the Eighteen-Leg Two-step with some co-workers.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

THE VERY NEXT DAY, I was back at the park to discover, lo and behold, another first! It looked for all the world as though the man walking down the path ahead of me had a glider plane in his hand.

Sure enough, he did!

Whoop-de-do! I thought. Watching these air flights will be great entertainment while I travel by foot!

Sure enough, it was!

I stopped for a chat with the pilot and he happily shared flight instructions with me, even (gasp) let me fling the plane into the air a few times!

I'm going to have to get me one of these things! I said to myself.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I WAS TAKING A STROLL in my park the other day, and saw a sight I've never seen there before: Gold-diggers!

I soon noticed there was a whole passel of 'em. "It's a good hobby for all of us to do as a family," explained the mother. She had just found a quarter!
"But," she rued, "it's not an old one. Anything before 1964 is good--it's silver!"
(Okay, Reader Dear, I won't quibble. They were silver-diggers!)

Oh, my, it sounded good to me--just wave the magic wand
until it tells you where the treasure is buried. Then dig a little hole.

The suspense!
The discovery!
The excitement!
"I've gotta get me one of these things!"
I exclaimed.

And then. Well.

I began to realize that more than just liking
the idea of gold-digging (er, silver-digging)......
I would really have to DIG IT!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


THIS AFTERNOON I HAD A HANKERIN' to film a Western movie, so I called on my Little Actor to play the horse-ridin' role. Fortunately, he happened to be right in my filming area, and he gladly obliged!

He really seemed to relish learning to know the
horse, getting into character.

After I showed him how to mount and dismount,
he learned the ropes so fast he was soon giving me
instructions! He was having such a high old time
riding the range ("Look at me go!") But he did say
with a sigh, "This is hard work!"

Well, I would suppose, wouldn't you, Viewer Dear,
 acting can't all of it be fun and games.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


LAST NIGHT AS I WENT TO bed, I inquired of my yard man, "Do you like radishes? Why ever did you bring a big bunch of radishes and leave them on the kitchen counter?!"
"They are beets!" he replied.
"Well, they would have to be awfully tiny beets! I think they are radishes!" I responded. Then, just to leave no doubt about the situation, I added: "I don't like radishes!"
"Someone gave them to me," he said. "I thought they were beets."

I'm sorry to say, Reader Dear, I left those radishes to wilt on the counter. But this morning, when I took a closer look, they appeared to be somewhat beet-like. That small clump of radishes even smelled like beets. When I cut into one, there was no more disguise; it was the splitting image of a beet! So I separated those beatific little beets from the lovely wilted beet tops, and I set them to cooking.

When I sliced those gorgeous little geometric gems onto the supper salads, they looked fit for a king!

I was so long away, Reader Dear, that when I spent time back at my park today, it felt like a small vacation in a foreign land! Perhaps that explains my exhilaration when I'd put on my walking shoes, did a few stretches, and set out on the path.  The flower-strewn path!  Birds exclaiming what cheer! (What cheer, indeed!)

I'm hoping it explains, as well, Viewer Dear, my spying on the locals (camera-happy tourist that I was!) That duck couple was on their honeymoon; please don't ask me how I know (I sincerely wish I had the footage to prove it, Dear Viewer [alas, non-viewer, as the case appears to be] but by the time I quite realized what was going on...why that male was...hmm...well, I didn't know it was the male until...oh, my goodness...let's just say I felt guilty already with my long-range lens and my sneaky ways!)

But new life...yes, new life is what it's all about! There were signs of it everywhere at my park. I took so many pictures of new life that the new life began to seem old (well, not really, but it's getting old now, as I try to sort through all the photos!)

So that's all I'm going to show you.
Hard (for me) to believe, but that's it!


Saturday, May 12, 2012


WE HAD FIVE SOCK-FOOTED guests today (the yard man and I), and a few with bare feet. That's what one gets when one's overnight-spending friends are Dutch-born and Dutch-descended and-or considerate Canadians!

Partially due to having these good guests, our fine fortune extended to a breakfast of bacon, asparagus and heaven-scented homemade bread in addition to the bright-yellow scrambled eggs, and the locally just-picked stunning strawberries!

Much later in the day, we met at the home of the famed Little Actor (blood relative of each and every one of us, guests and all, so lucky are we!) Then walking and-or riding in a stroller, we made our way into the city for supper at a Peruvian restaurant.*

Everyone wore shoes.

*Only one of us had the bountiful bowl of soup with the seafood swimming.  (It was delicious, she said.)


Friday, May 11, 2012

IT HASN'T EVEN BEEN A WEEK! Last Saturday night
my yard man and I went out to eat with Al and Priscilla, Dan and Anna. We went to one of those high-holy temples of food where quantity is even more exciting than quality. As buffets go, Dear Reader, this one was perfectly acceptable; there's a chance I would rate it on the higher side of average (based on my admittedly scant experience with smorgasbords). But the whole idea of an All-You-Can-Eat elaborate display of food (or at least what I've always felt to be the point) is eating great gobs of the edibles--appetizer; three kinds of bread; salad with all the fixin's; this-that-and-the-other entree--seafood, steak, chicken, pork; dessert not once but twice! A groan or two, a tiny stifled burp, and then go back for more!

That's why I was surprised when Dan informed me that he and Anna had read the book Eat to Live, and now they were eating only vegetables and fruits, eschewing meats and breads and everything with added sugars. "Wonderful!" I exclaimed. "There goes ninety-five percent of your options!"

"Yes," Dan agreed.

We all went to load up our plates for Round One, and when we met back at our table, he and Anna had dishes filled with salad, and vegetables on the side. Round Two was vegetables, with salad on the side. When we went for dessert, they got fruit.

I tried to emulate their way of eating, but...oh...mmm ...all the sugar-laden options (well, and seafood, I guessed I had to have some seafood)!

After our evening together, we dropped Dan and Anna off at their house. Dan disappeared inside and came back with a copy of Eat to Live."Here," he said. "I've got extras. You need to read this!"


It wasn't even a week ago, Dear Reader! Now every night I'm washing salad greens, chopping vegetables, wracking my brain for little ways to cheat at this food game (and make my yard man happy).

It hasn't even been a week,Reader Dear, and already (I have this feeling) I'm growing rabbit ears!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



I FOLLOWED THE CAR to the fix-it garage where it was towed yesterday. I was well-stocked with reading material and crossword puzzles for my sojourn in the waiting room, little knowing how many other options there'd be for my entertainment!

It was there I met Angelina (pronounced with an "eye" sound, not Angel-ee-na [her mother was often distressed by the frequent mispronunciation, Angelina told me]). She had so many tales to tell--of her sister who is ninety-four and lives alone; of her father who came to this country from (the former) Austro-Hungary to work in the mines; how he died of Black Lung disease (well, his lungs were packed with coal dust [I'm not a doctor, but I'm making the diagnosis; let me know if  you disagree, Reader Dear]); how his marriage was arranged by her grandfather....

Oh, there was so much more! I gobbled up those stories like apple pie on a Sunday afternoon (or perhaps like the chocolate-covered doughnuts brought in by Mary, the woman preceding Angelina in the chair beside me [I could tell you a good bit of her history, too!]).

There were other characters populating my stay, as well, but I haven't the time to tell it all, reader Dear; I spent my whole entire morning in that waiting room!

Fortunately I got to travel to other times and places!
I was almost disappointed when they said, "You're good to go!"

Monday, May 7, 2012


IT'S A HODGE-PODGE, Reader Dear!
Just a hodge-podge. Because first, well, first there was Friday. The first Friday night of the month!

First Friday! It had been so long,
since we strolled the streets
amidst the throng!

A thunderstorm rolled through with nearly perfect timing. It was the grand finale to a lucky-feeling evening!*  (*My twin was born on a Friday; ever since then, it's been my lucky day!)

Next came Saturday, stepping right into line as routinely as Cinco de Mayo follows May the fourth. And we, my yard man and I, had an eat-all-you-can-eat event lined up with some folks we know (They are associates of the yard man [with their wives]; once a year they [the men folk] organize and run a major draft horse sale together; they are Amish [the fellow eaters, not the yard man]). We went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord (a tourist spot of the highest order) for our dinner out; yowza, yowza! What a place to chow down food!

Dear Reader, my mouth was hanging open before I took my first bite at this place!

Have you seen enough, dear Viewer Dear?
It was another
evening, and
the food was


Sunday arrived. All morning I sang "Yesterday's newspapers forecast no rain for today...but yesterday's news is old news, skies are all gray." (Mostly I was singing this in my head, Reader Dear; at church I sang the hymns.)


Monday, Monday, can't trust that day.
Triple A carried my car away.*

*It's a very old car.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


OOPS. I WAS ALL SET TO get the yard man and myself out of Cape May, and then we decided to spend one more night. We found a motel and asked about a room. "We've got one on the ground floor," we were told by the woman at the desk.
Now right away, Reader Dear, I turned up my nose. The ground floor windows looked right out at.....the parking lot! Ugh!
"Do you have anything at all on a higher floor?"
I asked.
"Well," she said..."We've got a Murphy bed on the fourth floor. It's a really tiny room, but it's on the end looking over the ocean."
"Murphy's bed? We can sleep in Murphy's bed?!" I crowed. "Oh, yes! We'll take it!!"
The funny thing is, Dear Reader, they let us sleep in that tiny room with the pull-down bed for twenty dollars less than the bigger room with two big beds, and that cozy little room made me twice as happy!

A thunderstorm rolled through in the middle of the night. The bed was not plush. But it tickled me immensely to sleep in a bed with a personal name. And when I opened my eyes at three a.m., there was the ocean!

(I've slept in a Murphy bed very few times in my life, Reader Dear. [In fact, I don't recall the last time!] How about you?)

The yard man and I, we folded up our Cape May vacation when we folded up that bed!*

*Ate a quick motel breakfast
and hightailed it for home**

**via Philadelphia***
***proving that this time we left Cape May****
****though it would've been great to stay*****
*****at least one more day!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


WE'RE (ALL OF US) HEADING deeper into May, Reader Dear. It's time for me (and me alone) to get the yard man and myself out of Cape May, and back home again!

As we're leaving the town, I'll just tell you this: We spent some time on Saturday afternoon rather unexpectedly .....taking communion. We shared the cup and the bread in two different settings, and both were surprising!

Here's how it happened (as I assume you would wish to know, Reader Dear. There's always the possibility your curiosity does not extend to such lengths, but goodness....why ever would you be reading this blog [never mind this post!], were that the case, Reader Dear?!)

Okay, so, from the winery we went to a little cafe smack dab in the middle of Cape May. We each ordered a salad, the yard man and I, for our very late lunch.

When I glanced around, there on my right was a couple with a bottle of wine. "They serve wine here?!" I exclaimed to the yard man in a questioning voice (and not a loud voice I'll have you know, my dear reader!)

The next thing that transpired---(get ready for the first surprise, Dear Reader) our hostess brought us wine glasses. "The couple beside you is offering you some of their wine!" she explained.

"We got it down the street," the man at the adjoining table told us with a generous smile. "We'd like to share." And then he added, "We've got another bottle, too, that's even better. We'll share that one, too, when we've got it open."

Dear me. Our feeble objections... ("So kind of you! We've just been to a winery....) were completely ignored.
(Of course, it's not like we flapped our arms, or put up much of a fuss. "Today is our anniversary." I told them. And with that, the man's smile grew broader. "Wow," he said.
"Then I'm doubly happy I offered!")Thus we shared the wine.

Well then, immediately after, we strolled across the promenade to the lovely stone church with the steeple and the open door.

Cape May is a tourist town, Reader Dear. This church (historical and filled with lovely ornateness) was open expressly for our perusal, we supposed.

We walked slowly up the middle aisle, noticing the few people scattered about, meditating and possibly praying (it's a little hard to say definitely, Dear Reader, considering the nature of prayer).

At the front of the church, we decided to take a seat, study the fascinating stained-glass windows, take a leisurely look at the very old marble fixtures, the gilt-edged wording on the wall: Holy Mary, Mother of God.

More and more people were interested in this church, it seemed. More and more folks were entering to look around. This is quite a popular tourist attraction, we thought. Eventually worshipers sat down in our pew. My goodness, a real live service was about to take place! (I'm shrugging my shoulders; what can I say? We were massively ignorant of mass). After a somewhat lengthy period of candle-lighting and other lead-ins, the organ music began. "Do you suppose there will actually be singing?" I questioned the man beside me in a whisper.

We were not at all sure, but I can tell you now, Dear Reader, there was singing! There was also the reading of liturgies, a short sermon, and the reading of scripture. In the end, there was also the sharing of wafers by the priest.

And that's how we happened to have Cape May true communion, with wine shared by four, and wafers shared by several hundred.