Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hermanville Squirrel Revival

Easter was just about to get underway at Hermanville United Methodist Church. The preacher, Charles Pope, was robed and ready, and church pianist, Daphne Bruce, was about to begin the prelude. Then, she noticed what looked like wood shavings on the keys of the highest octave. Karen Sanders, the music director, went to find something to clean the offending substance from the keys and signaled to Charles that there was a 
piano emergency.

Suddenly, Daphne gave a squeal and out from under the piano darted a squirrel! Karen soon echoed that squeal as the rodent ran past her sandaled feet doing laps around the piano. Soon, others came over to see what could be done about getting rid of our uninvited guest. Unable to find a way out near the piano, our squirrel ran down the aisle as if his tail was on fire. He ran to a front window, and unable to exit, he headed back towards the piano!

“If that squirrel runs up my pant leg like in the Mississippi Squirrel Revival, I am out the door!” declared Daphne who was shaking like the last leaf on an  Autumn tree. Karen agreed that she would not be far behind. Much to the church’s chagrin, the squirrel ran BACK into the piano. Some of our braver church members opened the piano and there was another squirrel, obviously deceased, laid out over the strings. One of our stalwart gentlemen, Harald, graciously disposed of the poor thing, while we tried to get the other squirrel to come back out.  We had probably scared the poor thing with our squealing and carrying on, so he was not budging.

 It looked as if our squirrel guest was determined to stay for the service, so it was decided that the Easter hymns would be sung a cappella. Karen, gingerly, with one eye always on the piano, made her way to her chair on the platform. Daphne took a seat in the back of the church, far away from the piano. Charles took his position behind the pulpit.

And, without further ado, the Easter 2013 service at Hermanville United Methodist Church was ready to begin.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Birthday

My Daddy and my Father-in-Law had several things in common. One of these was a March 28th birthday. 

After Daddy bought his place on Thompson Lake, the birthday was celebrated there unless the weather was really awful. Daddy had built a pavilion, picnic tables, and a pier. It was the perfect place to have a party.

My father-in-law was on the shy side and did not often attend social gatherings, unless they were hosted and attended by his immediate family. Birthdays at the lake were an exception. I think Mr. Sanders liked the fact that there was no need for a lot of conversation. Many guests were happy just to sit and watch the water, or walk out on the pier and enjoy the fresh air. 

Today will be the first "birthday" without either Dad. I have to admit, it still does not seem quite "real." The lake place has been sold. I am not making the "bunny" cake, crafted from two round layers, decorated with icing, coconut, jelly bean eyes, and licorice whiskers. No hamburgers are cooking on Daddy's grill, tantalizing us with their aroma, as we put fixings on the table. I would be lying if I said that I was not sad today. But, I am thankful for memories of the good times I was able to share with both of my Dads on their special day. 



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dragnet

When I was a child, one of my favorite TV shows was Dragnet. I thought Joe Friday was the coolest thing on legs. I loved his slick monologues and the one-line "zingers" he was able to pull off without batting an eye. Joe Friday never cracked under pressure, never had a hair out of place, and never, ever, lost his cool. 

I also became a fan of his later series, Adam 12, with the adorable Kent McCord and  Emergency!. I particularly found it fascinating that he was on such good terms with ex-wife, torch singer Julie London, that he not only hired her for Emergency!, but her second husband, jazz musician, Bobby Troup, as well.

Watching these three series, I noticed that Jack Webb used many of his actors in all three series, as well as in the 1950's incarnation of Dragnet that I recently found on Netflix and hope to watch soon. Once an actor was on Webb's good list, he or she was set with regular guest roles for years. Sometimes a guest star from Dragnet, would be tapped for a regular or starring role in another Webb series. I admire Webb's loyalty.

My husband and I are re-watching all 98 color episodes of Dragnet. Even after all these years, Joe Friday is still the coolest thing on legs.

And that's a fact.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Progress

Yesterday, I took a shopping trip over to Catherine's Plus Sizes store. I have been recording everything I eat and trying to be more mindful of my food intake over the past couple of months. I have not been weighing, just paying attention to what I put in my mouth and how my clothes feel. And, I have held my own pretty well,  despite the two steroid tapers that made me extremely hungry for a couple of weeks. 

Last time I went to Catherine's in February, I wore a 3X shirt and a 2X pant. I decided to be optimistic and try on 2X blouses with my 2X pants this time. I was shocked to find them both too large! I ended up with a 1X top and a 1X pant! Needless to say, this made me quite happy. 

So, I continue on this path. When I look in my mirror, I honestly don't see much progress. But, according to the tags, I must be making some. I just have to keep it up. 






Saturday, March 16, 2013

Creative Lull

I am in a bit of a creative lull right now, as far as art goes. I just can't seem to get inspired on a regular basis. I have flashes here and there, but nothing steady like in the past. 

I still hesitate to really call myself an "artist." I do OK for someone only in it since 2009. I will never be a Walter Anderson or Wyatt Waters. But, I do enjoy what I do and make enough to (almost!) support my habit and give something to charities. 

Not being able to really see a pencil sketch both limits and frees me. I see lovely flowers painted from detailed sketches. I don't particularly want to do these. But, painting totally freehand flowers does present other challenges. Alas, even the most beautiful flowers are not much inspiration these days.

I don't want to do what everyone else is doing. I don't want to do what is trendy. I want to create my own art, primarily from my own imagination. But, sometimes, that imagination fails me. I am hoping that this is just a result of still grieving, having been ill for several weeks, and just being tired.  I post to groups on Flickr for feedback, but even this can be somewhat stressful as I tend to want to do what "pleases" my peers, instead of following my heart. 

I am sure that inspiration will, once again, return. 

I wish it would get a move on. 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Grace

No one would ever accuse Grace of being a beauty queen. Prematurely gray, with cat eye glasses, a chubby build, and a no-nonsense attitude, she was often the subject of unkind mocking. The kind of cruelty that teenagers are often known for. But, I loved her. She was a combination of teacher, mentor, surrogate mom, and friend to me. 

Grace was the second person to really recognize that I could sing. The first was Barbara Weaver, who heard me singing with the radio, and who promptly marched me into Miss Reno's room to try out for her choir. I liked to sing, but did not realize I had a gift until Grace told me I did. Grace pushed me to sing solos, to try out for honor choirs, and to consider making music my major in college. She taught a music theory class when I was a high school senior.  That class made my first semester of college theory a relative breeze. 

When I graduated with my master's degree in vocal performance, married, and moved back to Vicksburg, I became Grace's substitute teacher. I gave voice lessons after school, helped chaperone choir trips, and began to see a different side of "Miss Reno." As a peer and friend, I saw how much she really cared about her students. She worried about a student in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. The one who came from a "very broken" home. The boy who was so talented, but had no money to go to college. 

After a few hellish years of having to keep large study halls full of extremely difficult kids, Grace retired from public school teaching. She also taught piano and was the choir director for her church, so music continued to be part of her life. Then she got a job that turned out to be perfect for her. 

Grace became a travel agent. I don't remember every seeing her as happy as she was when she was helping someone plan a trip, or better yet, returning from one of her own. She was like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. After her last, difficult years at school, it did my heart good to see her so happy. 

Several months ago, my husband was out taking photographs in Cedar Hill Cemetery for findagrave.com. He happened upon the spot where Grace was buried, but there was no permanent marker there. We made plans to remedy that situation, and Mr. Cockrell at Vicksburg Monument helped us match her stone to the ones of her parents. Simple, but elegant. 

I think Grace would like it. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Cookie Time!

You all know what kind of cookies I am talking about. 

GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! 

Mine were delivered yesterday by my own personal Girl Scout. Right into my sugar starved (one would think!) hands. 

I have done pretty well with my more mindful eating this year. Even on the large dose steroids I have been taking on and off for almost a month, I have still lost a few pounds. But, I gave myself permission to enjoy this "once a year" treat. For me, this is the "guilt-free" eating of a WHOLE sleeve of Thin Mints. I grab the whole sleeve, my Diet Coke (Oh the irony!) and sit down in front of some mindless TV. Then, after gobbling the first two or three, I slowly savor the rest. 

The rest have been portioned out into small amounts and put in the freezer for more sensible consumption later. But, there is nothing quite like that very first taste of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies every year.