Posted tagged ‘China’

“Whenever the sun is shining, I feel obligated to play outside!”

May 26, 2016

Yesterday summer dropped by for a visit and decided to stay a while. It was 70˚ here and in the high 80’s away from the coast. It will be the same today.

This morning the doorbell rang at the ungodly hour of eight. Gracie, in her watch dog mode, started barking, leapt off the bed and ran downstairs. Other than the barking, I did the same thing. It was Sebastian, my neighbor and landscaper, who handed me my morning papers from the driveway. He just laughed when I told him he had woken me up in what was literally a rude awakening. Sebastian said he had rung the bell to let me know he and his guys were working on the garden planting the new flowers and herbs and laying down mulch. I was actually glad he had rung the bell as I had other yard work needing a bit of attention. One guy cleaned out the winter headquarters of the spawn of Satan, my outside shower, which had a huge mound of pine cones and pieces of pine cones meant to feed families of spawns over the winter. They also filled Gracie’s chasms. One hole was so big it needed to be walked around instead of jumped across. I swear I could faintly hear Chinese. I think it was Mandarin. Finally they cleaned the debris from the deck and from the deck furniture. Sebastian said the guy would be here tomorrow to stain the deck. I asked him to swear the guy was coming. Sebastian declined.

The noisy morning has given way to a stillness occasionally punctuated by the sounds of birds singing and Gracie snoring. All three animals are here with me, and all of them are sleeping. Fern and Gracie are on the couch and Maddie is on her chair.

Days like today are meant to be enjoyed. The wash I was going to do can wait until tomorrow or even Saturday. There is no rush. I could do a dump run, but that too can be put off until tomorrow. Nothing is a must today except maybe some time on the deck with a cold drink and a book.

 

“People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes”

June 28, 2015

Last night the sky opened and the rain fell and kept falling until just a little while ago. I’m thinking we got an inch or more of rain. During the height of storm the wind was fierce, and the trees were blown about as if it were a hurricane. I have a branch down in the front yard, and my umbrella, despite its 100 pound base, tipped over onto the deck rail. One of my giant clay pots either fell or, more likely, was shoved off the rail and it shattered on the steps. I saw two grey spawns chasing each other on the deck, amorously I suspect, and they might be the broken clay pot culprits. I cleaned the mess and now have dirt under my nails.

I like Sundays, and though they are no longer the same quiet Sundays of my childhood, they do seem more subdued than any other day of the week. The kids aren’t playing in the street and even the dogs are quiet. I remember Sunday dinner as my favorite meal of the week, and I remember all of us eating together at the table. That was unusual as my Dad worked long hours and generally came home late, after we’d already eaten. He was a salesman who worked back then for J. P. Manning Co, a huge tobacco wholesaler in Boston which, among other things, sold cigars and cigarette vending machines. Once I went with my Dad to his office in Boston, but I stayed in the car. All I remember is seeing the name J. P. Manning across the top of a window.

Every dinner on Sunday had a roast as the center piece, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable or two: green beans, peas, yellow waxed beans or string beans, all from cans. My mother bought her set of Sunday dishes from the supermarket, a dish a week. She also bought the accompanying dishes including a gravy boat, a vegetable server which held two vegetables and a platter for the cut slices of meat. The dishes were off-white with what looked like wheat on them as a decoration and were made of melmac. Though the dishes lasted forever, they started to fade over time and were relegated to being every day dishes.

When my mother started serving Sunday dinner on real dishes, it was cause for celebration. My mother was acknowledging we were growing up and could now be trusted with breakable dishes.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”

November 6, 2012

Last night was cold, but this morning the sun has made an appearance making me think Mother Nature is feeling apologetic for the last few days and for the storm expected tomorrow. When I woke up, earlier than usual, the house was cold. The furnace, programmed for leisurely mornings, for sleeping-in mornings, hadn’t yet warmed the house. I put on my slippers and my sweatshirt and we all, the dog, cats and I, went downstairs, and I right away turn up the heat and put on the coffee. When I went outside to get the papers, the air felt brisk.

Voter turnout is always greater on a sunny day.

The first election which caught my attention was in 1960 when John F. Kennedy ran for president. He was a local boy, the senator from Massachusetts, so he was my candidate. I watched the debate. I remember how bad Nixon looked. I remember only one issue from that debate: the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. I think their names have a neat sound so they stuck in my brain all this time as did the drawn maps of their positions relative to China. I remember the wooden pointers both men used. Kennedy and Nixon, of course, disagreed as to their importance. I have no idea about those islands now.

I was proud to wear my Kennedy buttons and still have the three of them. One is of a smiling Kennedy with his name across the top, another just says Kennedy for President. My favorite is a huge white button which says, “If I were twenty-one, I’d vote for Kennedy.”

I remember, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” which was Barry Goldwater’s catch phrase. I thought its portent was scary. His bumper sticker, though, is still a favorite of mine: AuH20=1964. I wonder how many people were flummoxed by what they thought was math.

It seemed to take forever until I was old enough to vote, but, finally, the summer before my senior year in college I turned twenty-one. I voted for the first time in 1968. My choice was ever so easy. Never could I vote for Richard Nixon. Besides, I really did believe Hubert Humphrey would have made a good President.