Sunday, July 29, 2012

Denny P.

Today, it will be my privilege to celebrate the 80th birthday of my precious friend, Denny P. Allman. Or "Father Allman" as some know him.

I met Denny, and his charming wife, Norma, when I was Nimue in "Camelot" back in 1989, if I recall correctly. It was a behemoth of a play and the cast had plenty of time to bond between times when we were needed on stage. Heck, some people had time to get to Daquiri World and back between scenes where they were needed!

I was thin then.

Over the past 23 years, Denny has been one of the best friends I have ever had. He helped me pick up the pieces of my life when I lost my mother in 1990. Denny invited me to come and sing for his church and began the tradition of my singing the "Via Dolorosa" that continues to this day. He cuts mats for my art classes at Vicksburg Senior Center. And he is a world champion hugger!

As is the case with these 80th birthdays, I have a moment or two of tears for my Daddy who did not make this much anticipated milestone. But, again, celebrating with a beloved friend like Denny helps mitigate the sting a bit. 

So Happy Birthday to my beloved Denny P. May it be a day as special as you are!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Letter to Mr. Grant

In light of the passing of Larry Grant this morning, I thought I would post this letter I wrote to him on February 17, 2012. 

Dear Mr. Grant,
Please forgive the typed letter, but I would like for you to be able to read  the thing. This would not be possible if I wrote it myself!
I was so sorry to hear of your cancer diagnosis. Cancer sucks. There is no “nice” way to put it. It just does. 
Even after being out of high school for almost 35 years, I still remember being in your 8th grade band like it was yesterday. You scared my 4 foot 10 inch, 85 pound self, half to death the first time you got really mad. If I recall correctly, that was when you yelled at Jim Cooper and threw things because he used his trumpet as a Halloween noisemaker. Thank goodness I was a clarinet player. You tended to throw things towards the brass players more. ;)  
But, most of all, I remember that you really cared about us. I remember you fighting tears when you told us our classmate Beverly Bell had died. And I remember you taking up for me when I was accused of writing “Yo mama lives in a creek” on Sheila Dunn’s band folder. I would have been waaay too scared to do any such thing, and you knew it. When Sheila’s mom threatened to call my mom, you told her that “you knew Mrs. Nelson, and that you wouldn’t advise it!” I still get tickled every time I think about that. 
Anyway, know that you and “Miss Israel” (Now Mrs. Grant!) are firmly in my thoughts and prayers. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I must admit, I have always agreed with the saying "Bloom where you are planted." I used to get anoyed when people would move to my town from other states and larger cities (usually for employment reasons) and bemoan the fact that they were "stuck" here. 

I know it is not easy starting over in a new place. But I have seen many people bloom in their new places. They join a church or civic organization and do volunteer work. They create new opportunities for themselves. And, if ample opportunities cannot be found in town, they need only to branch out a little ways to find more things to do. Even if their roots can't leave the current situation or place, there is a good chance that their branches can. 

Over the past few years, I have found myself "rootbound" at times. I was not happy in some situations, but could not quite bring myself to take leaps of faith in order to find ways to blossom. I have no desire to leave the city I have called home for the past 44 years, but I needed some change. 

One change was to put past negative experiences behind me and pursue art, first as an experiment, and now as a serious hobby. I had to get out of my "rootbound" mentality and just go for it. Another place where I feel like I am blooming for the first time in several years is music. My "roots" are still with my church, but my branches are reaching out to churches who need music, both in my community and other nearby communities. I feel like a flower that has finally found the sun again.

I am once again beginning to bloom. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Yesterday, Mary came over to "do art" with me using the mixed media techniques we used in the "Forest Floor" workshop I mentioned in a previous post.

As is sometimes the case, I can't remember just exactly when I met Mary. But somehow, she ended up in my Senior Center watercolor class almost 3 years ago. Since then, we have bonded like we have known each other for much longer than that.

We have been together through her cancer and fractured legs, to my health issues and the death of my father. We have celebrated the joys of her grandchildren's accomplishments and my own accomplishments as a developing artist. She even came to my "beginner" art class at the first of the year and helped me out. This entailed dealing with almost 20 people spread out to paint on every available surface. If that is not love, I don't know what is!

So, as she celebrates her birthday tomorrow, I celebrate the circumstances that brought her into my life. Happy Birthday, Mary Irene! And many more.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


When I read the weather forecast for next week, I nearly wept with joy. Temps in the high 80's with realistic chances for rain. Be still my beating heart!

This is quite a gift for July in Mississippi, and I am grateful.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Forest Floor

Last weekend, I took a class at our local Southern Cultural Heritage Center called "Painting the Forest Floor." We were e-mailed a list of materials to bring, but I really had no idea what to expect.

Throughout the week before, I dutifully had my dear husband out looking for interesting leaves, acorns, twigs, etc. My first thought was that we were going to glue these onto something. But, this was not the case at all. We used these things, pressed into modeling paste or something similar, to create texture on our support. Then, after it dried, we used paint to enhance the textures. I chose to use all organic materials in mine, even using twigs to paint the dark lines.

All I can say is "Thank you, Jean Blue!" These are materials I did not know how to use and some that I had never heard of! But they have opened up a whole new fountain of ideas and methods for me to use in my art. These are things I can do even when I can't see well, or when my hands are shaky and uncooperative. Acutally, that can lead to even nicer results.

I still love my watercolor. But I am looking forward to this new world of art that "Painting the Forest Floor" opened up for me.

Mystery Meat

I have recently become reacquainted with a substance I have not voluntarily encountered since my school years.  Mystery Meat  I brought ...