Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hokay, ze organ, she ’ave, ’ow you say, arrived at my ’ome.

An’, eef I do say so myself, she is, ’ow you say, lookin’ good.

She no sound too shabby either.

I am on a natural high today. I ’ave no need of, ’ow you say, illicit drugs or artificial stimulants of any kind.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I’m having an organ transplant

...and I’m really excited about it.

In my case, this is the organ:

...and it’s being transplanted from Milton, Georgia, to our digs in Canton, Georgia, a distance of fourteen miles.

Did I mention that it’s free?

I kid you not.

Actually, this is not the specific instrument -- this photograph was taken by a man named Jeff Schuler in, I presume, the privacy of his own home and uploaded to Flickr several years ago -- but it is the same model, I think, as the one we will be getting.

My new old friends, Ashley N. and Jesse M., an engaged couple, were first-time visitors to the church this past Sunday and we happened to sit at the same table in the fellowship hall during the monthly covered-dish lunch following the church service [Editor’s note. First-time visitors to our church are not required to bring covered-dish lunches with them. There was more than enough food for our visitors. --RWP]. As we got acquainted, Ashley suddenly asked, “Do you know anyone who wants an organ? It’s free.”

And the rest is, if not quite history yet, now in the works. Mrs. RWP and I went to see and listen to the instrument Monday afternoon, and we liked it. So, voila!, as they say in Paree, ze organ, she ees ours.

Now all we have to do is find someone who will move it from its current home to its new home for something less than an arm and a leg.

And until it is safely ensconced in its new home, I must continue to remind myself not to count, ’ow you say, ze chickens before zey are ’atched.

Photo by Kim Pardi, 2005, on flickr, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

From the archives (November 1, 2010): When October goes

Barry Manilow has never been my favorite singer, and I have heard him when he was in better voice, but there’s something about this particular clip that reaches way down inside me and turns me inside out.

When October Goes (4:50)

I get the almost-a-cliché metaphor about a person’s lifespan (“Oh, it’s a long, long time from May to December, and the days grow short when you reach September” and so forth), and the leaves have turned red and gold and many of them have already fallen, and flocks of geese are in the air making their way south, and my mother died in the month of October in 1957, so this time of year always makes me a bit melancholy, but still...Barry Manilow?

There’s a little quiver in his voice -- and, yes, it may even be fabricated for effect -- and he’s a little “pitchy” (translation: out of tune) in places, but when he sings this song he somehow seems on the verge of losing his composure altogether. Maybe that’s what I’m responding to viscerally, I don’t know, the fact that we’re all in this thing together and we’re all putting on some sort of act and we’re all always dangerously close to losing control and letting everybody see how we really feel, and we certainly wouldn’t want to let that happen. Would we?

But still...

Barry Manilow?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

No comment

Our Neighborhood Watch Captain, Bob Anderson, forwarded the following e-mail to every homeowner in our subdivision today.

Advisory: Cherokee Sheriff's Office Warns of Thefts From Vehicles

The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is urging citizens not to leave valuables, specifically purses, in their vehicles while parked in public parking places. On Monday there were five separate incidents in which suspects broke the window out of parked cars and took purses from inside the vehicle. Four of the locations were pre-schools and one was at a Veterinarian’s office. Four of the locations were in Cherokee County and one was within the city limits of Holly Springs. Hickory Flat United Methodist Church, Mt. Zion Church, The Goddard School, Bridgemill Veterinary, and Primrose daycare were the locations of the thefts.

Investigators believe the same suspects are responsible for all the thefts. It is also believed the suspect is able to break the window, steal the items and leave the area within a matter of seconds. We currently have no description of the suspects but it is believed they are driving a silver four-door passenger car [emphasis mine]. Anyone who has any information about these incidents or sees something or someone suspicious in these types of locations are urged to call 911.

Lt. [name withheld]
Cherokee Sheriff’s Office

[Editor’s note. Okay, I’ll comment anyway. There must be ten thousand silver four-door passenger cars in Cherokee County, but somehow I feel guilty by association. We pass two of these places every time we go to the grocery store. I just know that strangers will now be peering into our windows to see whether we are the culprits. Oh, for the days when we could just drive down the road and enjoy the scenery.--RWP]

[Editor’s note 2. I also must comment about the fact that Lt. [name withheld so that Yorkshire Pudding doesn’t get any crazy ideas] says “Anyone are urged....” --RWP]

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photo of the day

Christening of Prince Charles* at Buckingham Palace, London, 1948.

Back row, left to right: Lady Brabourne, Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip), His Majesty George VI, Honourable David-Bowes Lyon (maternal uncle of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret), Earl of Athlone (brother of Queen Mary and spouse of Princess Alice), Princess Margaret (sister of Princess Elizabeth).

Front row, left to right: Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (mother of Lord Louis Mountbatten), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), Prince Charles, Her Majesty Queen Mary (mother of George VI, great-grandmother of Prince Charles).

Notably absent from this photo is the wife of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and maternal grandmother of Prince Charles).

*full name: Prince Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor-Mountbatten (1948- )

You were expecting maybe a different photo?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Carry me back to Plano, Texas

...dat’s whar de cotton an’ de corn an’ taters grow.

No, wait, that was Old Virginny.

Speaking of old, my stepbrother and his wife drove into town from Texas one day last week. It was the first time we have seen each other in eight years. They had decided to take an autumn vacation and drive around the southeastern U.S. for a few weeks and we were their first stop. Well, their second, really, because they spent their first night in Meridian, Mississippi.

On Friday, as much of the family as we could get together on short notice went out for dinner at a very nice restaurant in Kennesaw.

On Saturday, we went up to Big Canoe in the mountains to spend some time with my oldest son’s family. We went to a place called Burt’s Pumpkin Patch in Dawsonville where people were pushing around wheelbarrows full of pumpkins and gourds and Indian corn and butternut squash and acorn squash and lots of other things. We also went to Amicalola Falls, the highest waterfall in Georgia at 729 feet (222 m). We had planned a picnic and a trip to some apple orchards in Ellijay as well, but Mother Nature decided to give our area some much-needed rain, so we cut short the gadding about and returned to Big Canoe for the afternoon.

On Sunday, our visitors departed for their next stop, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They also plan to visit North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park/Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading across Kentucky and Tennessee back to good old Big D.

Here is part of Amicalola Falls:

and here is part of Burt’s Pumpkin Patch:

I hope it is not another eight years until we see them again.

Until then, we’ll just have to be satisfied with singing “Big D, Little a, Double L, A, S” along with Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews at Carnegie Hall (5:45)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sometimes it pays to have good peripheral vision

Here is a lovely vocal offertory featuring a young woman named Courtney Cumberland, who sang it at Due West United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, on October 6, 2013. The piece is “Pie Jesu” from John Rutter’s work, Requiem.

“Pie Jesu” at Due West Methodist Church, Marietta, GA, October 6, 2013

Here is a translation from the Latin:

Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest,
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest, everlasting, everlasting rest

I do not know Courtney Cumberland or the man playing the piano. However, I do know the man playing the soprano saxophone at the right edge of the screen. Sometimes you get a glimpse of his profile.
He is my son.

Now you can go back and watch that video again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembrance of things past (part the second)

It occurs to me that I already wrote part the second three and a half years ago. It was called “My dog has fleas, and other remembrances.”

You may read it now if you like.

As a result of that post, a friend from my school days, Fred Stone, contacted me and we began an e-mail correspondence. Eventually, Fred and his wife Judy came to Georgia to gather genealogical data about some of Fred’s ancestors in a cemetery about an hour from my home, and they spent a couple of days with Mrs. RWP and me along with their five-year-old great-grandson. It was a lovely visit, and Fred presented me with a book on the history of Mansfield that has been published by the Mansfield Historical Society. Judy presented us with a lovely handmade quilt to give to our granddaughter. Judy is Fred's third wife, and it so happens that his first two wives were also named Judy. Because of this interesting fact, Fred named his boat Judy, Judy, Judy and even though his fellow boating enthusiasts probably thought Fred was channeling Cary Grant when he named his boat, he wasn't. Fred’s first wife Judy was the niece of Sally Huffman, an old friend of our family. Judy didn’t call her aunt Aunt Sally, however. She called her Aunt Sister and so did all of Aunt Sally’s Sister’s other nieces and nephews. This was not the most unusual thing people did in that family, however. They also had another aunt named Gertrude whom they all called Pete. In 1961, Gertrude/Pete sent me a carrot cake through the mail when I was in U.S. Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, which made me the most popular guy in the barracks for about half a day.

As a result of that same post, I was also contacted by Bart Bull, an American writer who had gained a bit of notoriety with some of his magazine articles. Bart had moved to Paris and was using the name Boule Bartier there. Bart’s/Boule’s mission in life, at least as far as corresponding with me was concerned, was to prove that John Howard Griffin, a neighbor of mine in Texas and author of the book Black Like Me, was not the formerly blind person he had claimed to be. Bart contacted me after recognizing the name Foy Curry in my post as one of the persons who made the news in the 1956 Mansfield School Desegregation Incident. Why he was reading my post in the first place remains a mystery to me, unless he was sitting around Googling the word Mansfield one afternoon when he could have been out strolling on the Rue de Madeleine.

I don’t know why I’m telling you about Fred and Judy and Judy and Judy (actually I didn’t tell you one single thing about the second Judy) and Aunt Sister and Pete and Bart Bull, so I will close for now.

If you want to mail me a carrot cake, please send it to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The authorities there will, I’m sure, forward it to me without delay and I’m confident that I will get it eventually.

If you want to contact me concerning the 1956 Mansfield School Desegregation Incident, please find another hobby.

If you have a problem with the continuity or lack thereof in this post, you can always go read someone else’s blog instead.

Thus ends the updated version of The Story Of My Life (part the second).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Remembrance of things past (part the first)

It occurs to me that I keep showing you odd bits of stuff like that film of San Francisco in 1906 but never tell you much about myself.

Today I will tell you much a little about myself.

Of average height and average weight, I am a 72-year-old man who spent the last week in September in a hospital where a great deal of poking and prodding and sticking with needles and photographing of my innards and receiving a couple of pints of blood and a few other things too horrible to think about took place. And that was just at the admissions desk.

I was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, (it’s the smallest state in the union, and it’s in New England) because I wanted to be near my mother, and she happened to be there at the time.

We lived in a third-floor apartment of a house at 61 Larch Street and my pediatrician was a Dr. Kachichian. I attended the Pawtucket Day Nursery while my mother, who had received a teaching certificate from West Chester State College in Pennsylvania, worked at the Coats & Clark Thread Factory. My teachers were Miss Irma Chisholm and Mrs. Yvonne Schack. A Portuguese woman in the neighborhood would sometimes take care of me as well and give me apple pie and pastrami for breakfast.

One day at recess, while two children were playing on a seesaw, one jumped off and the other, a black boy named Peter, fell and hurt himself. His arm was bleeding, and I noticed that his blood was red just like mine. I decided on the spot that people are alike on the inside and it is only on the outside that we are different.

When I was about four or five, a man wearing a white sailor uniform began visiting my mother occasionally. My mother called him “Ted” and so did I. Eventually he moved in permanently and my mother told me to call him “Daddy” from then on.

I went to Hancock Street Elementary School to Mrs. Mullins’s kindergarten class, but after four days she took me to first grade. Apparently Pawtucket Day Nursery had done its job well, because I was answering all the questions and telling all the other children the answers. My teacher in first grade was Miss Edith Wildegoose.

(Here I am in the spring of 1947 as a student in Miss Edith Wildegoose’s first grade class. I was six.)

In August 1947 we moved from Rhode Island to Fort Worth, Texas,
on a train. It took three days. We arrived on one of the hottest days in the history of Fort Worth, Texas, and walked several blocks from the Texas & Pacific Railroad Station to the Majestic Hotel, which was inaptly named, carrying our luggage. One day, while leaving the hotel to get something to eat, I saw a hotel employee whose skin was so black it was almost blue, who had the whitest teeth and the whitest jacket I had ever seen, sweeping little black things off the sidewalk into little piles in the gutter and setting them on fire. The little black things turned out to be live crickets, and the smell was beyond awful. I was scarred for life in that instant.

A few days later we moved to a boarding house in the Arlington Heights section of Fort Worth. Mrs. Cash, who owned the boarding house, spent her days telling everyone who would listen that her close relative, actress Faye Emerson, was married to Elliott Roosevelt, the son of the President. The phrase “six degrees of separation” had not yet been invented, and actor Kevin Bacon was not born until 1958, but Mrs. Cash was eager for all to know that she was associated with the rich and famous.

My parents eventually rented a small post-war bungalow on a horseshoe-shaped street (2332 Chandler Drive East, on the other end of the horseshoe from Chandler Drive West) and I was enrolled into Mrs. Wolfe’s second-grade class at Oakhurst Elementary School.

I was not to experience urban life for long. In the spring of 1948, we moved again to a three-acre plot two miles from a little town that boasted a one-block-long business district with a traffic signal at both ends. I was to live there for the next ten years.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The good old days may not have been all that good

{Editor’s note. This post is an oldie but goodie from my archives. It appeared on this blog in slightly different form on April 7, 2010. --RWP]

According to an e-mail I received, this nearly-nine-minutes-long film was made in San Francisco, California, just four days before the great earthquake and devastating fire of 1906 that destroyed most of the city. Apparently someone attached a camera to the front of a cable car. Sound was added much later, but if the film is genuine it is truly an amazing “slice of life” from more than one hundred years ago.

Kick back and enjoy a cable car ride in San Francisco in 1906 (8:49).

Somewhere, this man is singing:

(Photo of Tony Bennett by Dwight McCann, originally uploaded to Wikipedia in October 2006, used in accordance with Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Game on

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789, states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first amendment did not take into account Barack Obama.

The current occupant of the White House has issued executive orders with abandon that ignore the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Congress. In the current government shutdown, he seems to many to be trying to inflict as much pain and inconvenience on ordinary citizens of the United States as possible to further his political agenda.

Close the Statue of Liberty, check. Close Independence Hall in Philadelphia, check. Close the World War II Memorial on the mall in Washington, D.C., check. Close military grocery stores but keep military golf courses open, check.

Someone also disclosed that religious services on military installations would not be allowed for the duration of the shutdown.

“Oh, yeah?” said the collective citizenry, through their elected representatives.

The House of Representatives yesterday, by a vote of 400 to 1, approved a resolution to allow religious services on military installations during the government shutdown.

I am particularly pleased that the resolution was introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.), himself a U.S. Air Force chaplain and Iraq war veteran.

Matters of the budget are one thing. Matters of religious liberty are something else entirely.

On this issue, We the People 1, Barack Obama 0.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I think I may be getting a little bit snarky in my old age

Exhibit 1: The 20-something granddaughter of some old friends of mine posted the following on Facebook: “Jared and I cannot decide whether to a) spend a day in Cinque Terre or b) half day in Florence and half day in Pisa. Any suggestions? The traditionalist in me says I have to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the copy of Michaelangelo’s David, but then I googled Cinque Terre. I should have decided by now, but it’s so hard when I want to do everything!” and while their young friends were making suggestions I posted the following: “I believe this is what is called a first-world problem....”

Exhibit 2: The 20-something daughter of some old friends of mine posted the following on Facebook: “anybody who works in the [name of city] area wanna bring me some chocolate? i’m sleepy and it’s so slow at work! need something to keep me awake!” and while her young friends were trying to pinpoint exactly where she was so that they could bring her some chocolate I posted the following: “Give a girl a chocolate and she’ll have chocolate for a day. Teach a girl to bring her own chocolates and she’ll have chocolates for a lifetime. I'm just sayin’....”

It occurs to me that a) we probably do not need a third exhibit and b) if I insist on hanging out on Facebook I should hang out with people my own age.

I started to call this post “Facebook makes me snarky; Blogger makes me constipated” but I decided that Elephant’s Child would say that is too much information. Then I thought of calling it “I don't give a tweet” but I decided that Snowbrush and Yorkshire Pudding would engage in some word substitution and try to make me say something I wasn’t saying at all.

Perhaps I have just come up with that third exhibit.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4th

On October 4, 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties.

On October 4, 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.

On October 4, 1957, James R. Hoffa was elected president of the union known as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

On October 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.

On October 4, 1957, my world came to an end.

On October 5, 1957, my life went on.

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” --Isaiah 53:3-4

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don’t blame me, it’s all Yorkshire Pudding’s fault

You remember Yorkshire Pudding, or Lord Yorkshire Pudding as he likes to be called, of Pudding Towers, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, in the United Kingdom, don’t you? That Yorkshire Pudding. He had to go and publish a list of the ten most-read posts in the history of his eight-year-old blog. Then Carol in Cairns in Far North Queensland down in Australia asked me for a list of my own personal top ten favorite posts from my own blog -- not quite the same thing, but equally scary to contemplate.

The problem is that I don’t have a top ten favorites list of my own posts, and trying to come up with one would require me to read all 1,260-something posts I have written since September 28, 2007 (because my memory may be good, but it ain’t that good, for crying out loud).

What I can do is ask Ye Olde Blogger to provide me with the sort of information that Ye Olde Yorkshire Pudding came up with and then pass it along to Ye Olde Carol and all Ye Olde wonderful people sitting out there in the dark you.

It beats racking my brain to come up with yet another brand-new, fascinating post, especially when my hemoglobin levels are supposed to be going up, not down.

Perhaps this one will have a fascination all its own. And in the far-off future the anthropologists -- if there still are anthropologists -- will have a field day slogging through all this stuff.

I don’t know how Yorkie got ten. Blogger will show me only five.

The five most-read posts of all time (well, the past six years) on this blog are:

1. And now, for a complete change of pace (Sep. 13, 2010)
2. A B C D goldfish? L M N O goldfish! (Jan. 20, 2011)
3. I always loved The Waltons (Jan. 30, 2009)
4. Lazy Day (May 8, 2012)
5. Flannery O'Connor writes of peacocks (May 9, 2008)

My five most-read posts of the past month include three that were written within the past month -- I won’t show you those because they're all right over there in the sidebar -- plus the “A B C D golfish” one, plus this one that wasn’t in the earlier list:

It looks even more like Cair Paravel from this angle (June 29, 2008)

And the five most-recently accessed posts on this blog -- like while I was typing that sentence -- are:

1. Fast away the old year passes, fa ra ra ra ra, etc. (Dec. 27, 2011)
2. Guillermo y Catalina (July 22, 2013)
3. Great job, T.J.! (July 4, 2008)
4. And they said it wouldn't last (Sept. 25, 2008)
5. From the archives (April 10, 2008) (July 3, 2013)

It seems to me that there is absolutely no rhyme nor reason to what readers of blogs are looking for.

But Carol and anyone else who wants to, knock yourselves out pouring through the links in this post!

<b> Mundane is also a word</b>

My blogger friend Rachel Phillips is currently in the midst of a series of posts (three so far) about a trip she took with her friends Liz...