Thursday, August 30, 2012

....SO HERE I AM, with the letter. I'm talking, Reader Dear, about that letter that is forty-eight and half years old. The one I unearthed from my attic on Tuesday.
("Daddy and mother are treating me fine, even though I'm a big boy of 21. I like plastering for Daddy and he pays me well," wrote my cousin Harold all those years ago. And there was more, you know--all that talk of a girlfriend [I only shared a tiny portion, Reader Dear] Oh, my, was that boy in love!)

Okay, now, Dear Reader, hold onto your hat! Here's a sudden quirk of fate!

Out of that whole big box of papery antiques I found, it was only the check and the letter I shared with you. (To be honest, I didn't look at every brittle piece of old paper; I'd still be slumped over the box if that were the case!) I didn't show you any old deeds, or the cute little electric bills from the forties. You didn't see the plumbing invoice, either, Viewer Dear, typed up on the very day my parents looked at their newborn twins and exclaimed, "One week old! Will we ever sleep again?!"

Oops, I don't want to get off-track. The whole point is, Reader Dear, that I chose THAT LETTER to share with you THAT DAY out of so many options (Keep it in mind if you wish to be impressed; if you're not one to marvel at coincidence, then just forget it!)


I cleaned my attic that day. And I found the letter that day (after all those long years in the box).
I blogged about the letter that day.

Then I called a sister of mine. "I want to send this letter to Harold and Christine. They ARE still married, aren't they? Don't they live in New Mexico? Do you have their address?"
"He's my friend on Facebook," she said, "but my computer's not working. I don't have the address, but I know they're in Albuquerque."
"Oh, Facebook!" I said. "Yes, I can look there. But I never see anything posted from him."

I looked on Facebook.

(Suspense should be building)
...THIS, Dear Reader, is what I saw:

Harold: Today Christine and I celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary! I am so proud to have her as my beloved wife! I worked hard to get her (even begging on my knees), and she is still precious. Thanks be to God. Now on with plans for our 50th...
I don't know about you,
Reader Dear, but I'm grinning from ear to ear!
What are the odds?*
*I love a happy ending!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012



YESTERDAY I SPENT SOME serious time in the attic. My goal: Expurgation! The entire day I was on a rampage to clean out not only the attic, but any area of the house in which there were items no longer needed for daily life. What was made clear to me, Dear Reader, is that I have come from a long line of pack rats! Indeed, I was not only reading my father's high school report cards, I was also cleaning up the leather of my grandfather's school satchel, and perusing the account books of a great-grandfather!

I was rummaging in the attic, sweat dripping from my face. I was removing dust-covered lids of aged boxes and making small groaning sounds upon the discovery of each new (ahem, though very old) container filled with letters. It was not with exclamations of joy I was throwing off boxtops to find revealed not just papers, but toys and trinkets stashed away from generations past. Dolls. Stuffed animals. Yearbooks. Scrapbooks. Autograph books. Books. Books. Books. A tin box filled with curls. (Reader Dear, I will not sit in judgement if you're doing that eye-rolling thing).

There's no way I can escape all blame for the stacked-up condition of the attic (and various and sundry closets of this house in which my yard man and I have resided now for...lo, these many years), but heaven help's so hard to throw away anything that's been stashed for nearly a century, even if merely a cancelled check!

I can't even toss in the trash this letter dated nearly a half-century ago, sent to my grandparents by an older cousin of mine. "I (want to) come see you with my new girlfriend...I asked her for a date on Nov. 20--and she was delighted!We liked each other from the first time we met--the first week of school last September," he writes. "We dated every week until early in February when I asked her to go steady. Now we are together quite often!....I took Christine home with me for my birthday on Feb. 15. My parents and little sisters really enjoyed having her there." My goodness, Dear Reader, my grandmother saved this letter for fifteen years, following which my mother saved this letter for twenty-nine years, following which...

(to be cont'd.)

Monday, August 27, 2012


WAAAHHHH! LAST CONCERT of the summer! (Well, you know, Reader Dear, how accustomed I am to traipsing over to the park every Sunday evening. You should know good and well how good and well I enjoy toting the lawn chairs out onto the grassy expanse and waiting for friends to show up, and the band to strike up (Last night that Twizzler Guy, he came sauntering by (on account of how it's the final concert, and he always puts in an appearance at the final concert, passing out free twizzlers [on account of how they make those red candy whips right here in the county, Reader Dear!]!)

And Monsignor Man-in-the-Moon, he likes to attend these musical events, as well (and often gives glowing reports). He's been showing up earlier and earlier each week; now, at this grand finale, he's swimming across the sky with a mournful look in his eye.

I just know he's going to miss these concerts, too.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


WHAT I'VE GOT, DEAR READER, IS an unpleasant case of ennui. It has tied my hands and bound and gagged me with meticulous knots. Never let it be said, however, I'm not thinking of you, Reader Dear! Lest you be blown away by the dust bowl storms of my arid lack of inspiration, I'm posting a struggle I witnessed today on my kitchen porch.

At first glance, it looked like a baby hummingbird jumping and whirling there in the spider web, making such a valiant effort to break free. Then I realized (or so I think) that it was a rather large locust. (If you can advise me otherwise, oh I beg of you, please do!)

(Because I had a phone to my ear while filming, the video clip is vertically challenged. [In other words, I held my camera up on end, tsk tsk] If you will simply crane your head severely to the left, Viewer Dear, things will be put to right [Alas, not for the poor locust, however, who later succumbed].)

It was a sight, Dear Viewer, that made me thank my lucky stars that I was the critter saying, "Oh, you poor thing! Here I thought it was me that was stuck!" (and not vice versa).

Oh, yes, indeed, it's all in one's perspective.

Monday, August 20, 2012


READER DEAR, HERE'S AN OLLA PODRIDA*... because, well, just because time keeps moving at a record clip! If there's any way for me to keep up, stumbling along as fast as I can with my rags and my tags, it has to be in a hodge-podge like this.
The Yard Man and I dropped our Asheville daughter off at the airport with an apple, half a bag of jelly beans, and wearing a sweatshirt that the woman who was hugging her and saying, "Oh, we're going to miss you!" used to wear to high school about a million years ago!
(Didn't I say, Reader Dear, that time is streaking by...?!)

During the past month I have eaten:
Green tomatoes
Yellow watermelon
Purple carrots
White beets
Blue tomatoes
It's enough to make me think that SOMEONE (and I'm not naming any names, Reader Dear) must have jumbled up the numbers in the paint-by-number set!


Meanwhile, all the cantaloupes I've been eating have been plain old cantaloupe-colored ones--lush, local, juicy, fantastic cantaloupes I've been eating like candy.


I got a call from an old friend who inquired of me: "Can we spend the night at your house on Saturday night? We're coming to the area for a family reunion of MY family. To sweeten the deal for Shirley (She's his wife, Reader Dear), I promised her we could stay with you if you'll have us."
Talk about a sweet deal!
"I'm bringing sticky buns for breakfast,"* said Shirley, when she got on the line.

Those baked delicacies were just about the swoon-worthiest I've ever eaten; but then! To top them off**, The Yard Man and I got a morning-long visit with our dear friends! Sweet! (Oh, my, it was such a fine treat!)

*Orange-filled buns, sort of like cinnamon buns but with grated orange peel. Ooooohhh. Mmmmm.
**They were also topped off with orange icing. "Take all you want," said Shirley. She'd made a great big jarful.

*Dear, was an OOPS.
Time travel has not been invented yet, and this post belongs squarely back in the summery past. Just where in that past I can't say for sure.  I'd say two years or more. Possibly four. Sorry for my misstep into the yore.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


TOGETHERNESS was unraveling. By Sunday, my two tiny actors had gone home, taking all of their support staff with them. But our Asheville daughter was still waking up each day at the home of the yard man and me, and giving us excuses to go on excursions! That's how it happened, we headed out to a spot that a day like this past Sunday seemed custom-made for enjoying. A few months ago you heard all about this tree-and-flower-strewn marvel, Reader Dear, and how I've got an affinity for this place; there's a society of garden-gazers here (and I fit right in when I have a camera to my face!)

Here, Viewer Dear, are
Six (Out of 52 Possible) Reasons*
Why it's a Camera-totin' Place:

2. 3.




*Only six of the 52 reasons I can show you, Dear Viewer!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


DURING THIS TIME OF togetherness, my two tiny actors each rather spontaneously picked up the role of landscaper. They both seem to have a natural affinity! Next thing on the agenda, I'm thinking (when they have finished working the soil in my little herb bed) should be the trimming and pruning of shrubbery.

Perhaps, too, they could branch out--learn to paint (the fence is sorely in need of it), power-wash, maybe do some roof repairs, re-pave the driveway.

(Of course, I do realize that acting can be a full-time career [especially with a slightly-obsessed director-producer running around making movies, and calling "Action!" every time one happens to turn one's adorable face her way!])

Friday, August 10, 2012

THE SMALL ACTOR AND myself set off on a train ride! Through the open meadows we went, and it was a very pleasant day for such a ride, on such an uncrowded train, with such excellent sights along the way as a whole family of ducks!

While Small Actor's cousin, the Little Actor, could not quite muster the courage to set out into the wild unknown on this train, there were other distinct perks dished up by this visit to Oregon Dairy Store!


Thursday, August 9, 2012


FOLLOWING CLOSELY ON THE heels of one family arrival,
there's another! The Small Actor and his support staff have joined
the hip-hip-hooray (a.k.a the three of four days of family togetherness)!

I'm afraid, Dear Viewer, that I'll soon have a
super abundance of movies and no time to get them
hustled into small-screen theaters across the land!

(It's quite possible this producer will be busy filming for the next few days, and serving up food,
and running thither and yon with tiny actors [am I to be so fortunate]!)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


THE YARD MAN and I picked her up at the airport in Philadelphia yesterday, scurrying around from arrival gate C to arrival gate B, and befuddled by the clever sharing of flights by two separate airlines. Fortunately for us, we didn't have to wonder or wander too long (thank our lucky flight pattern for cell phones!) before spotting her there--our daughter flying in from Asheville.
So now I can tentatively say: We'll have a terrific time of togetherness.
(I'll let you know, Reader Dear, if it's otherwise!)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


THE EXPLORATION OF small towns in the Pocono Mountains may be as simple as riding in a car with two sisters-in-law in a big circuitous route leading from mountain to mountain and up one hilly street and down another.

It may involve pestering the sis-in-law who is driving the car, "Stop! I'd like to ask that guy on the sidewalk there what they do in this town for fun!"

If the driver stubbornly refuses (on numerous occasions) to bring the car to a stop and allow one to get out of the car with one's burst of curiosity, nor even so much as slows for an inquiry through an open window, Reader Dear, it could very well result in a severely restricted exploration of very small towns in the Pocono Mountains!*

*(Ergo: severely truncated blog post)


Sunday, August 5, 2012



And my goodness, Viewer Dear, there were just so many natural wonders of the (Poconos) world to see and hear! Along with the other dear family members gathered here, I hiked through dense wooded areas, dabbled my feet in cold water at the foot of a waterfall, climbed over rocks at a boulder field (field of boulders, Reader Dear, just a field of boulders) and "explored" small towns in the mountains:

Perhaps the most outstanding wonder of all is how this family can manage to sit out on the expansive deck of the cabin, while the frantic cicadas are loudly making their bellies buzz, and follow the conversation while all the humans talk at once!

It's a modern marvel!
(Or perhaps a very ancient one, how am I to know...)

(And I'll still be talking Pocono wonders tomorrow, Reader Dear, if you care to hear more [or even (and I hesitate to say this, but it's ever so true, Dear Reader) if you don't!]).

Friday, August 3, 2012


in order to sit around with family members (twenty-four extended ones, Reader Dear)!

We went to a spot where meals are an easy, casual affair;
in addition to which, there's an easy chance of spotting a casual bear!

(And not only that, dear Dear Viewer, there's a fairly good chance of seeing...
[oops, to be cont'd)


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


HAPPY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS pop up everywhere in late summer! It's just that time of year, I suppose--nine months after...uh...Columbus Day!

At one time I studied Greek with today's birthday person, Iudi being her Greek name. And she arranged this lovely little birthday excursion to celebrate not only the birthday, but the friendships, and the tiny little tourist spot called Mt. Gretna (where they have, Reader Dear, an actual "Fairy Garden" that is accessible to anyone and everyone; just walk right in and pour oneself some imaginary tea and eat some imaginary crumpets [and revel in the British feel of it all, and especially with the Olympics bringing London to our screens...twenty-four seven!]).

Reader Dear, we did have an actual for-real birthday meal at Mt. Gretna, but only after flagrantly flouting the law of the land!!

(It just so happened, Reader Dear, that our dear birthday person wanted to rid herself of an adorable little pest, and so we TRANSPORTED BY VEHICLE a WILD ANIMAL! [Of course, we stopped to release DeeDee (Iudi herself did not care to name this small creature, therefore the task fell to me [perhaps the only truly humane creature in the car, Reader Dear!] back into the wild territory known as "far enough away from Iudi's house!")

Dear Reader, a good time was had by all!*
Happy Birthday, my dear friend Iudi!

*(Though it's quite possible DeeDee had the
most miserable day of her life!)