Daddy. Reverend Raymond D. Jones. Brother Ray.
Daddy was the sheriff of Mayberry with a deep Southern drawl and a Bible in his hand. Tall and good looking and enormously likable, he was in possession of both the strength and the patience of a natural leader.
Musical. Charismatic. Genuinely kind. Taught us to plant things, how to dig up baby potatoes, how to sing harmony in the car. The latter is important when what your family does is sing gospel harmony.
Daddy’s teaching methods were transparent but effective. To learn our parts, he started us off with the cowboy songs we loved and transitioned from Tumbling Tumbleweeds to What a Friend We Have In Jesus.
Headed to the radio station in Columbus Georgia, 1945. Sister Fern might not enjoy this photo of her with eyes closed and curls springing loose, but I like it. Sorry, Mother. We’ll make it up to you next Mother’s Day.
Love the show, the presenters, the annual visit to festivities on the other coast. In my opinion this is by far the cleverest award show. The opening number with Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles was worth the price of admission. Here at home there was fun finger food on the coffee table. Chicken, water chestnuts and I don’t know what all in those lettuce wraps. Tiny quiches, baby pizzas and other party bites we crave. Good show. Good viewing partners. Good food. Bring on the next award show.
Moving clothes around for summer. How many blue denim shirts does a person need? Evidently this many. All are years old. They never go to storage. They’re in the closet all seasons. Five are for everyday. The top one’s church denim. Note ruffles and fancy stitching. Denim love means never having to say “enough.”
I started wearing men’s shirts in my teens, adopting the ones Daddy was ready to toss. From then on, a bit of fading and a few worn-thin spots never bothered me. On to vintage stores and thrift shops in every town I head first to the men’s racks to find old denim.
It’s a safe enough addiction/hobby for now. At some magic number in the future, maybe I’ll stop and reconsider, but not today.
Tony Awards are Sunday, June 10th and I wonder which platters will fill the coffee table by late afternoon. We munch our way through awards shows and special events. The person who plans the menus (daughter) is a passionate cook who likes to experiment. She reads every food publication (only a slight exaggeration) and watches Food Network and Cooking Channel, then surprises us with her choices. Anyone wandering by is welcome to fill a plate, even if you don’t stay for the show.
Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, the Super Bowl, all get special bites. These appetizers become Sunday supper. We grazed our way through the Billboard Music Awards recently (picture above) with a menu featuring flatbreads with various toppings and nachos with chunky goodness sprinkled all over. The small bowl held a lime crema for drizzling. (Food Network recipe, Guy Fieri’s, she said.)
My favorites are Jalapeno Bites. They’re snappy little creamy things, cheesy and puffy. I could finish a whole platter myself. They showed up on Mother’s Day and were gone in minutes. (Recipe from Trisha Yearwood.)
The Tonys are special. I never miss a minute. I’ll be in the big red chair ready for grazing.
It’s official. I can no longer tell students from teachers. It’s not just because I’m getting old. (I am but that’s not the point this time.) Everyone’s dressed alike.
Here comes the back-in-the-day part: When we Aging Aquarians were in our teens, we couldn’t wait to be adults, so we copied them. We dressed older as soon as we could. We didn’t hate it.
In the 60’s we whipped around with lightning speed and decided to stay forever young. The rallying cry out of protest movements here in Northern California became, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
Today, fifty seems to be the outside age some acquaintances are comfortable with. Some have already been fifty for quite a while and staying fifty forever doesn’t seem like such a stretch. It might even be medically possible one day.
If wishes came true, there’d be a mountain of lovely, bumpy, green/black California Hass avocados waiting right outside the door, programmed like magic to mature and ripen in sequence. There would never be a whole bunch of avocados bought on sale reaching their peak all at once. When that happens, we have to switch menus quickly because avocados cost so much, losing one to over-ripeness can ruin a person’s mood.
The bad news is: Due to increased Southern California water costs, they are now costlier to grow. California produces 90% of the United States’ avocados. As of 2013, Mexico leads international exports, with other significant production in California, New Zealand, Peru, and South Africa.
The good news: There’s a rumor California may soon be able to grow avocados year round.
Bad news: That cost-of-water thing.
Music this week: Banana Boat Song. Harry Belafonte. The video features dancers. Also Carmen Miranda, who wore more affordable fruits on her head.
Of course I’ll be watching, not so much for the big-ness of it all, but for the small details. I’m watching shows about the roomful of women hand-making lace stitched with historical symbols, two men embroidering all that gold braid onto military uniforms.
Everything is fancy and shiny and one of a kind. The flowers, the cake, the coaches. Nothing’s too small to go unreported. A British T.V. host even read from a document stating military uniforms must be worn by clean-shaven soldiers. Will Harry receive special dispensation for his beard?
My favorite part will be the tiny groomsmen and bridesmaids carrying out their duties. I’m not sure what those duties are besides looking cute and scattering petals. The best part is waiting for one to go rogue. Maybe one will fall out of step, or one will lack focus and stop and stare at the pews, and depending on their ages, one might decide not to go down the aisle at all.
We’ve seen their names. We’ll soon see them all decked out in miniature wedding finery. I hope a couple of them get their feisty on and behave like regular children. I look at a couple of pictures from Pippa’s recent wedding and in my head I see fantasy captions.
On the left, the little girl and boy. “Shut up. No YOU shut up.”
This picture’s been described as Kate reminding Charlotte of her duties. I hear, “We TALKED about this.”
One more. We all know this guy..
Either a comforting – it’s easy – just drop the petals. Or maybe it’s already gone off the rails and she’s saying, we talked about this.
Bless the ordinary days. When I was younger I thought it would be big moments that define life. That didn’t turn out to be true. The one thing I can count on is routine. I love it.
Routine isn’t boring. It allows me to accomplish new things because no matter what happens when I venture into some other territory, I can return to stand (or sit) on the smooth and relatively splinter-free platform of the everyday and maybe even become bolder because of the foundation routine provides.
When I was younger I thought it would be big moments that defined life. That hasn’t turned out to be true. Often when drama’s ahead, I turn around and return as quickly as possible back to the smaller, the more familiar.
Habits are sometimes the only thing I can control for weeks at a time, and I count each choice I get to make a small victory. They give me freedom to feel most myself.
When I venture into new experiences, one of the best parts is knowing the familiar awaits. Sometimes the new thing works out, sometimes not. But there’s always the favorite chair, book, coffee, music, supper, TV show, and work I enjoy to return to.
Music is a vital part of the day. While I type this, I’m listening to guitarist Chris Whiteman, “The Nearness of You.”
Time for pictures of our mothers. Here’s mine. Fern Jones on her wedding day in Arkansas, 1939. No fancy dress. No wedding photographer. A new hat and a boy she loved all her life.