Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Birthday


My Daddy desperately wanted to make his 80th birthday. When asked his age, he would say "I'll be 80 in March (the 28th to be exact) instead of 79." I have to admit that I don't like those newspaper ad things that wish deceased people a "Happy Birthday." With the passing of the Earthly body, there are no more Earthly birthdays. I hope that Daddy is rejoicing in Heaven every day now. 


This is not to say that these days surrounding Daddy's birthday are not hard. I won't be baking a coconut cake with seven minute icing. I won't be trying to find a card that will make him smile. Most difficult of all is that I won't be calling him to sing his own version of Happy Birthday (aka Happy Birf Birf) to you. 

The Dads wishing each other a Happy Birthday last year


But there will be an Earthly celebration for my Father-in-Law tomorrow. He shared my Daddy's birthday and will turn 83 tomorrow. Mr. Sanders has treated me like I was "his" since I married his son 28 years ago. The work of cooking on his birthday meal has helped distract me a bit from dwelling on my Daddy and how much I miss him. 


At least a little. 







Sunday, March 25, 2012

The End

Today marks the end of a tradition for me. I will not be singing the Via Dolorosa at my church. I have been singing this for at least 23 years.

Due to many factors, I have not been able to be in choir much this year. I chose not to do the cantata this year, due to it being the same week as Daddy's birthday, family coming to visit, health issues, and still being mired in settling Daddy's estate.

So, I was not asked to sing the Via Dolorosa this year.

And it makes me sad.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daddy's Cookies





For the first time since last Fall, I am baking oatmeal cookies. These are not just any oatmeal cookies. These were my Daddy's special oatmeal cookies. 


My Daddy used to talk about the oatmeal cookies his mama used to make. Of course, like most cooks of her time, she seldom wrote down recipes, so after she died there was no way of knowing exactly what quantities of what went into her oatmeal cookies. 


Over the years my mom tried to recreate these cookies for him, but they were always "too sweet", "not the right texture", etc. Competing with a memory was tough! 


After mom died, I continued to try oatmeal cookie recipes over the years to see if I could somehow recreate the magic for my Daddy. Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe and refined it to Daddy's specifications. I made a batch and took them to him. He took a bite and I could see by the look on his face that these were the cookies he had been waiting for. 


So, I am making a batch of Daddy's favorite cookies today, and remembering his smiles. 







Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birthday Boy

Saturday, I drove to Baton Rouge for a very special occasion. My cousin Audrey's husband, Pete, was having a birthday party to celebrate the big 8-0. 


When I got to his daughter's house where the party was being held, I was amazed at all the cars parked on the street. I finally found a place to park about 2 blocks away, grabbed my trusty red walker and began trekking to the house. I think half of Baton Rouge was invited to "party with Pete."


I got to hug and visit with a bunch of cousins. I had my picture taken with the birthday boy. Entertainment provided by his children and grandchildren in the form of Hee Haw songs, etc, prepared just for this occasion. And no gathering would be complete without coconut cake. 


After my Daddy's cancer came back, he would always answer that he "would be 80 in March", instead of saying that he was 79. Daddy really wanted to make 80. And I was looking forward to celebrating with him. Daddy's birthday party is being held in Heaven this year. 


But, thanks to getting to celebrate #80 with Pete, not getting to celebrate with Daddy stings a little less. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

"Airport"

Last night, as I was late night channel surfing, I came upon this movie in the middle of one of my favorite scenes. Helen Hayes, the stowaway, was explaining to airport management just how she had been able to "fly free" for years. A few tricks, plus her "sweet old lady" looks had allowed her to travel pretty much wherever and whenever she wanted. Helen Hayes was absolutely masterful in this part. 


And, of course, I could not help but make comparisons to the "old" days of flying vs. the way it is now, post 911. 


Back when I first saw "Airport" at the Joy Theater in Vicksburg, Mississippi, we had just put my dad on a plane to Atlanta. The whole family had been able to go the gate to wait with him and hug him goodbye before he boarded. The toilets cost 10 cents apiece to use. Even the escalator was an exotic treat to ride. People dressed up to fly. Men were in ties and women in neat pantsuits or dresses. 


I had forgotten just how sexy Dean Martin was in a "straight" dramatic role. How cute a young Gary Collins was. How beautiful Jaqueline Bissett (curvacious, not one of these modern, emaciated stars) was in her heyday. 


And it made me long for those days before body scanners, pat downs, luggage searches, and constant suspicion made flying more of a chore to be dreaded than the adventure it once was. 







Thursday, March 08, 2012

My Mailman

It is the end of an era on Porter's Chapel Road. Our wonderful mailman, Donnie, has retired after many years of service. The envy of many of our friends, we often received our mail by noon.

When Donnie would deliver packages to our door, he knew to give me a little extra time to get there. One time, when I was expecting several packages and I had the flu, he would tell me to "feel better" when I opened the door to accept my delivery.

At Christmas, I would leave candy in my mailbox for him. If I happened to catch him while he was getting it, I would be rewarded with a nod and a big smile.

I have not yet met our new postman. He does not bring our mail until mid to late afternoon. That is usually when I am napping. I am sure he will be fine and I will get used to him.

But I still miss Donnie.




Tuesday, March 06, 2012

RIP Robert Sherman

I was saddened today to hear of the death of Robert Sherman, one of the composers (together with brother, Richard) of much of the music of my childhood. Together, they scored "Mary Poppins", "Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang", "The Aristocats", and "Jungle Book" just to name a few of my favorites. 


I can't even begin to imagine a world without 
"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" or "Feed the Birds."  "The Bare Necessities" and "Winnie the Pooh" are two tunes I still hum to this day. And although I was a bit older when this came out, "The Slipper and the Rose" remains one of my favorite versions of the Cinderella story. "Rainbows raced around the room when he danced with me..." What a wonderful way with words!


Rest in peace Mr. Sherman. Your legacy is safe in the hearts of my generation and generations to come. 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Crash

Today is the 34th anniversary of the "bus crash." I


I was attending Hinds Junior College at the time and we boarded a bus very early on a Saturday morning to attend a junior college choral festival at Jones County Junior College. 


Little did we know that the driver of the bus we boarded had been up late shuttling a sports team from a game and had gotten little sleep. We were just outside Laurel, MS, when the bus jerked.  Sitting two seats behind the driver, I looked up to see that he had nodded off. Our choir director reached up and tried to take the wheel, but the driver jerked awake, overcorrected, and sent us over an embankment. 


Miraculously, all survived. Several of us had fractured backs (me included) and there was girl with severe facial lacerations. Others had various bumps, fractures, and bruises, but we were alive. 


I have been in varying degrees of pain since then. And I have never been quite the same. I am the most nervous passenger on the planet. I never quite regained the strength in my arms that I once had. I still don't really like to ride in buses. 


As I walked up to take communion this morning in church, I thought about the "might have beens". And I was thankful once again. 





Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mickey's Girl

Like many girls of my generation, I was a Monkees fan. I was only 7 when "The Monkees" began, but I thought they were the coolest thing on legs. I watched the show on Saturday mornings, had all the albums, and swooned over...


Mickey.


Don't get me wrong. I liked them all. And I thought that Davy was quite adorable. But, Mickey was the one who melted my butter. That curly dark hair and that devilish twinkle in his brown eyes made my little girl heart skip a beat.

Rest in peace, Davy. You will be missed.

But, for the time being, I still have Mickey.