Thursday, November 28, 2013


and all that other good stuff!

Alas!  And the photographer plumb forgot, Dear Reader-Viewer, to photograph the food!

I've got a picture of the table, all set up , with the mid-afternoon Thanksgiving Day sun gracing it.  And I've  got the equipment, standing at the ready, so eager to mix up my Scalloped Corn.  (Yes, the
equipment was rarin' to go!)

I've got a visual record  of my son, prepping the gussied-up Brussel Sprouts.

I snapped a photo of five of my six guys.  It doesn't include Tom, and the one cooking him!  (Okay, you see, The Yard Man was working on the turkey, out there in the kitchen, where the pile of pots and pans and bowls and knives and various and sundry other Thanksgiving Day tools of the trade were being dirtied at an alarming rate!)  First Daughter was helping, so she didn't make the photo, either.

All of my actors--the Little One, the Small One, and the Tiny One--were watching the antics of those characters in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

But there's not one photo of the food!
Trust me, Dear Viewer, we had  the whole shebang! Pumpkin pie and pumpkin-cake roll at the very end.  But not one single, solitary photograph to prove it!


(I believe by the time the food was ready to consume, the photographer was scampering around, filling the dishwasher with a pre-load, cleaning off counters, scooping up food scraps, rounding up serving bowls and platters (and spoons), opening the wine, checking on the status of everyone and everything, putting food on the table.   I believe she was AND THANKFULLY  EATING!)



Friday, November 22, 2013


Because eight-point-three out of every ten persons who still remember hearing of the shooting of President John F. Kennedy on the day that it happened were in a high school class at the time, it hardly seems worth saying, Reader Dear, that I was in a high school class when I heard the news.  Spanish, Year Two.  We, the students, were learning about sentence structure from our young ex-marine of a teacher, Mr. Cox.  He had crew-cut hair and a very fit body. 

It was a Friday.  Just like all other Fridays, we'd had fish for lunch, on account of all the Catholic students at Homer L. Ferguson High School (these Catholic students who had been so pleased to see a Catholic elected president.  The very first Catholic U.S. president!)

So, there we were, learning how to speak like Spaniards (Hola, amigo, comment allez vous?) while digesting our seafood.  Suddenly the door of the classroom burst open and my high school English teacher rushed in.  Now, this English teacher was also a young man, but he didn't have his hair in a crew cut.  As a matter of fact, he had no hair. No hair on his head, or his face, or his arms! His eyebrows were penciled in. (Reader Dear, this has nothing to do with the words he delivered, but it's large in my memory, so I tell it. [Alopecia universalis.  It's the likely disease, though I certainly didn't know this fact at the time.]) 

My English teacher exclaimed in a rush of words,"THE PRESIDENT'S BEEN SHOT!!  I'M NOT KIDDING!! THE PRESIDENT'S BEEN SHOT!!"

There were a few gasps, and then stunned silence.   The girl in the desk behind me began to cry. 

Now, Dear Reader, another part of my story involves my parents, vacationing on a sunny beach in Jamaica.* As the president's motorcade rolled through Dallas, quite possibly Mama and Daddy were getting a calypso band serenade.  At any rate, they were not there to greet us when my brother and I and our younger sister arrived home from school that day.  Instead, we were met by the two women whom my parents had arranged to stay with us during their week away (Ruth and Lil were both single and  middle-aged, and they had a home together.  They were neighbors and fellow church members of my parents.)

As fate would have it (and I'm grateful for this tiny part of the hand I was dealt), Ruth and Lil had brought their television set along to our house. Solely due to this, I got to watch as big events in history rapidly unfolded.  

 My adolescent self was stunned along with millions of other viewers when Jack Ruby  stepped up and assassinated the assassin on live TV!

Of course, we were glued to the television all week-end.  We saw the rider-less horse with the backward-facing boots.  The horse-drawn caisson carrying the president's body.  The widowed first lady with her long black veil.  We saw Caroline kissing the casket.  Little John-John saluting.

We saw a grieving nation.


As one who was alive at the time, I can tell you with certainty, Reader Dear, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, United States President, was an earth-shaking event. (I'm not kidding).

*Wow, all the trips and other perks
my father received for the volume of
plumbing fixtures he purchased!

Monday, November 18, 2013


When The Yard Man and I went to my grand-nephew's wedding, we stayed overnight at my sister's house.  "I'm letting you stay in the Ike and Maimie Eisenhower Suite," she told us.  "Or," she added, "you could call it the Ike and Betty Oberholtzer Suite if you wish." *

My sister was an excellent hostess.  She gave us a tour of her shop.  It's the candle-making shop, the wooden-puzzle-creating shop, the cork-trivet-producing shop, the place where she works on all sorts of creative projects!  "I'll give you some of these candles to take home with you," she said.

We also got a tour of the local sights--the marinas with boats from around the world. The dear deer.

We got to see the beautiful marshes and pretty little beaches of Middlesex County, Virginia.

When we left for home, The Yard Man and I carried these scenes with us (in our minds' eyes, yes).  
And in the back seat of the car, my sister's coat quietly made the journey north, too.
But no candles.**
A WEEK AGO (or possibly two),
the United States Postal Service transported two packages (and possibly more).
One of them left my house, destined for Middlesex County, Virginia, and carrying a coat.

The other arrived quite unexpectedly at my door!

"Here are your candles" said the scribbled note from my sis, "and your trick-or-treat candies.***"

*(Back in the years when Shishe and I slept together in a bedroom with a built-in bed, Ike and Mamie lived in the White House.  At the same time, another Ike was my father's right-hand man in his plumbing business.  I'll bet you couldn't guess, Reader Dear, his full name [and that of his wife])

** (We both forgot.)

***"I just went and bought the cheapest candy I could find," said my sis.  "We never get any trick-or-treaters!"

Friday, November 15, 2013


all about timing.

I hadn't slept well.  I kept waking, early this morning, on edge that I might miss a phone call from Lowe's, informing me that a bisque-colored refrigerator was on its way to Apartment number Fifty-three. Just last night a sweet-sounding woman named Marjorie had rung me up to say I could expect a phone call this morning, followed by the bisque-colored fridge.

But the sun came up and time passed.  There was no call.  I scrambled some eggs and made toast for The Yard Man.  But I didn't make coffee.  I'll get my coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, I thought to myself, after I get that fridge. That will be good timing!

But the morning wore on, and I was still waiting.
And waiting.

Finally, mid-morning my little white business phone rang.  "Hi," said the caller.  "This is Lowe's delivery service calling.  We have a refrigerator for you, and we'll be delivering it between twelve and two."

 "WHAT?!" I squawked.  "I arranged my day to suit a morning delivery! Just last night I got a call that verified a morning delivery! I want a morning delivery, as scheduled!  Can't you bring it right now?"

The truck driver made excuses. "There isn't any way I can get there before noon," he said more than once.

"Well," I huffed.  "I was told when I ordered it that it would be morning.  And it's being delivered to an apartment.  I have to be there to switch all my tenant's food to the new one!"

"Do you want to re-schedule?" asked the driver.

I paused and pondered.  Then I said NO in a disgruntled voice.
I hung up the phone and emailed two friends of mine:  

They just called ten minutes ago to say that "We will be delivering your
refrigerator between twelve and two"!!
I yelled at them, but the poor guy said that two people had called in sick, and
furthermore, he was all the way down near the Maryland line as he was calling. 
They could NOT come this a.m.  Did I want to re-schedule?
ALL OF THE ABOVE just to say that I may be a tad late showing up at the mall for our walk
this afternoon.  (Expecting, of course, that they will call me around 1:45 to
say, "Alas, we are running a bit late.  Your fridge won't get there until 2:15")

It wasn't ten minutes later, my little white business phone rang again.
"Hi," said the caller in a sleepy voice.  "This is Chris.  I'm here."
Uh.  Chris?  Uh. Here!?  Reader Dear, my coffee-less brain was scrambling for a few seconds before it started jumping up and down.  "Oh! Hi, Chris!  So you're there at the apartment?"

"Yeah," said Chris.  "I'm home.  I'll be here to get the refrigerator.  You won't have to come over."
"That's great!" I chortled.  But..."They called to say they're not going to get there this morning; it's going to be between twelve and two.  Will you still be there?"

"Yes," he said.  "I'll be here."
"Well, I'll call you," I said, "when they let me know you're next in line."

At seven minutes before two o'clock I had just locked my car and was heading across the parking lot to the mall when I got the call that the bisque-colored refrigerator was due to arrive within the next fifteen minutes at the apartment where Chris was waiting.  I scurried back and unlocked the car, retrieved my tenant's phone number, called him. 

Two o'clock, I was loitering near the door of the Starbucks store, awaiting my friends.  Suddenly someone behind me put the question to me: "Would you like a free cup of coffee?" 

Turns out it was Andrea, a perfect stranger.

Turns out Starbucks had a deal going on, beginning precisely at two o'clock:  Buy One, Get One Free!   In Three Holiday Flavors!  

Turns out Andrea wanted some coffee.  And she wanted to gift someone

The Peppermint Mocha Latte that I got for free was good, but not perfect.
Neither is this tale. (And I have yet to see the bisque-colored fridge.) about perfect timing!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


been equal to the (self-imposed) quipping quota lately. 
Bear with me, Reader Dear, I beg of you.
Quaker oats for breakfast, quinoa for dinner--
I am questioning my quixotic and-or querulous nature,
and questing after something that will quickly quell this quest for a quirky and quotable quip!*

*Yes. I have a few qualms that the above
does not make sense.
But will anyone have a quibble?

Monday, November 4, 2013


Dear Reader Dear:  The more I find to eat up my time, the less time I have to explain and elaborate and expound upon the things that eat up my time!

So I'll have to be brief.  Now that one of the four most colorful seasons has arrived here in the mid-east-coast region of the country, a chunk of time-gobbling has been done outdoors.

There was the walk on the newly-opened Rails-to-Trails strolling avenue.

Of course, even with gobs of time, I wouldn't be able to explain why a century ago rail lines were built beside a river that is relatively near this river (which flows relatively near where I live). Or why they are no longer in use.  Or how it came about that this walking-slash-biking trail was constructed. But, hey! I can tell you that the two-mile section I covered on foot the other Sunday afternoon was delightful!

And then, of course, I already told you about the southern (outdoor) wedding.  But I failed to show you the stately southern pines!  The southern boat docks!

The little southern flower girl!

And the southern food, oh my!
(I ate these puppies with gusto!*)
And a crab cake prepared with crabs that used to swim in a southern river!
Home again, I walked to the park with my Little Actor, northern guns ablazin' (as well as the trees!)



There's so much more I could say if I had the time,
Reader Dear.
But I can't, of course.
Because that's the thing.