Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial of Peace

There is a long history of commemorating Memorial Day in my family, on my mother's side, at least. Not in the sense that we celebrate it these days in the US, as the holiday weekend that bookends the beginning of the summer season, as Labor Day bookends the ending of that season. More in the old sense of Memorial Day from when it was called Decoration Day.

My mother used to tell us stories about how Grandpa B, who was a wonderful gardner, would get up early on May 30, the morning of Memorial Day, to gather flowers from his yard, long strands of honeysuckle from the large hedge along the side yard and roses from his many bushes and climbers, and fill the large trunk of his 50's era car.

Grandmother would pack a lunch and the whole family, the grandparents and my mom and her three brothers, would drive out to the Sinking Creek cemetery, where many members of the family were buried, to decorate the graves. First the honeysuckle vines were laid out across the length of the grave, then roses were distributed on top of this field of yellow, white and green. Once each of the family graves got this adornment, the family would sit on a blanket at the edge of the graveyard to have a quiet picnic near their dear departed. My cousin Bill still tells a similar story as related by his father, Uncle Bill, to him.

Flash forward to yesterday in my little Burg here in California where the Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with the Future Farmers Fair and Twilight Parade. This year was the 61st year that this event has been held.

I've lived in this town 25 years. When my kids were little, it was a big event for them. They loved the fair and the fact that it all happened in our neighborhood -- the parade went by one block away and the fair grounds were one block in the other direction. They liked to go down to the fair grounds to see the animals -- pigs, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits and chickens raised by the kids in 4H that are shown and then auctioned. (We avoided pointing out to my soft-hearted daughter that these animals were meant for slaughter.)

There's a"midway" at the little fair grounds at Rec Park where the local service organizations sell hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks, cotton candy and such as fund raisers. They have activities for kids, I remember an "ugliest pet contest" back in the day, and even now the schedule includes "a pet parade, diaper derby, egg toss, sack race and bubble gum blowing contest". They have a DJ in the evening to try to capture the interest of the teens.

I love the fact that, even though this town has had an influx of outlanders who are coming from a decidedly un-4H kind of place, the Future Farmers Fair and parade still happens faithfully every year, rain or shine.

Since my "kids" have flown the coop, my participation consists of marching as an "irregular" member of the local Peace Project -- a group of folks who, among other things, have stood in vigil against the war in Iraq on the plaza in the center of town every Thursday night since that war began.

This year I convinced my neighbor, Miss C here on the right, to join me.

We always have the best band in the parade, which makes the time fly. This was the second year that we had the pleasure of the company of the Hubbub Club marching band. They are snappy dressers as well as good musicians.

This mother and daughter duo on horseback were marching just in front of us, so we had to be on our toes watching out for horse pucks.

I like to think of it as carrying on the family tradition in a different sort of peaceful way.

Hope you have a good weekend with friends and/or family, however you choose to memorialize.


Monday, May 24, 2010


“There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves”
Frank Herbert

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
Thomas Merton

“You have weighed the stars in the balance, and grasped the skies in a span"
G K Chesterton

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”
William Arthur Ward

“We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance.”

Paul Boese

I think that says it all, really.

Sending kisses soft as a baby's cheek.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Everything's Comin Up Roses

It has been a bit of a strange Spring around here, but a good kind of strange. It seems we've had rain at least once a week this year -- and those have been good drenching rains, not little sprinkles. The water district, local gardeners, the trees and I are very happy about the fact that we are 6.4 inches ahead of normal rainfall for the season, which doesn't end until June 30.

Aside from making up for the past couple of near drought years, all this rain has meant a bumper crop of roses around here. And there is no better time to catch them at there dewy best than after a rain such as we had yesterday.

Most of these roses (except for the top right coral beauty) are in my neighbor Ren's yard at the HAtS (House Across the Street). She even gave me a few of her yellows to add to my own floppy pink and sturdy orange roses for this garden flower bouquet.

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
Emma Goldman

Blowing roses your way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Developing a Sense of Humor

Got some Grand Boy time last Sunday. Now that was a Mother's Day gift! from the New Mother/Dear Daughter to me.

Good Friend George was out from Brooklyn for the weekend and he spent the morning getting some hands on time with our now six week old Boy.
My how fast they do grow, non?!

George had been helping out the day before, trying to give the New Parents a few moments of rest to themselves, but the little Corn Tiger started crying for his mom after only about five minutes and would not stop.

Sort of like this, only he's just starting to think about it here.

On Mother's Day George was telling me the story as I was holding the baby and the Corn Tiger started chortling and talking at me (as you can see here).
As if to say "Yeah, Nana, I was really giving George a hard time. Hee Hee."
Well, it did give us all a chuckle.

What with breakfast, laughter, a walk around the neighborhood, a movie+dinner date, a quick jaunt to the airport with George, I'd say it was a mighty fine day for this mother in the city.

Sending love.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Eggs-cellent Gathering

I have belonged to the Scrambled Eggs writers group for around seven years now. It had been going for several years before I joined and has grown over the years to include 10 members. Some portion of the group meets just about every week for a couple of hours on Monday evenings, though some weeks the meeting takes the form of attendance at a poetry reading, or workshop class.

This Monday night we were invited for a soup dinner along with the meeting at PE's little red farmhouse in the country.

The soup was hot, the corn bread was baked, the table was set, and one by one the Eggs rolled in.

For the first time in a long time, we had a full carton: all the Eggs showed up.

We decided we'd better record the moment.

I can't say enough about how encouraging it has been to write with the support of a group of friends who's writing work I admire and who's opinion of my own work I value. We are constantly bringing new forms, writers, publications, places to submit, workshops, each other's attention. We've all stretched, grown and found permission to saunter or ramble or run with our writing within the group and when we are writing in our own little "garrets". Bringing work to share on Mondays, or, sometimes in my case, mailing it in from the road, is one of the things that keeps us putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard.

The Scrambled Eggs, Monday Meeting, May 3, 2010

If you are a writer slogging away without the benefit of a writers group, I highly recommend you find one or start one of your own.

It will bring a comforting light to your writing life.

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