Posted tagged ‘sparklers’

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

August 24, 2015

We have yet to shake the dark and damp of the last few days. It almost feels as if we are living in a weather limbo. It doesn’t rain and the sun doesn’t shine. Today though feels a bit cooler than yesterday. The weather in the paper says maybe showers tonight and maybe showers tomorrow.

Last night’s movie was What’s Up Doc. My friends hadn’t seen it in years, and they laughed all the way through. It was a perfect choice for our weather moods, for the dark days we have been suffering through. The deck was still damp as we had no sun to dry it yesterday, but the table and chairs had been under the umbrella and were dry. There was no breeze and the air was heavy. We had bugs, a rarity on my deck, so we lit punks to keep away the bugs. We all had memories of those punk sticks from our childhoods when we’d spin one in the air and pretend it was a sparkler. I love the smell of punks. There is nothing else like it so my nose easily triggers punk memories from way back. We could even buy them at the white store. They were kept in a large glass jar. Last night we put a few sticks in the deck boxes, and they worked: no bugs.

Some volunteers used mosquito coils in Ghana to keep away bugs. The coils were spiral-shaped and were mounted on a small piece of thin metal so they were suspended in the air. Most of them were green. They too had a distinctive smell to repel mosquitos, and I know I’d recognize that smell if my nose ever got even the tiniest whiff. The coils burned for a long time so you had to be careful where you put them as they could cause fires. Some volunteers without screens used them inside. None of us gave any thought as to whether or not they were harmful. Come to find out the burning of one mosquito coil releases the same amount of particulate matter as burning 75-137 cigarettes. At least we didn’t get bitten!

“It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.”

June 22, 2015

The sun is in and out this morning trying to decide what to do. The air is still damp and a bit humid. Right now the sky is dark but the sun is peeking through. Rain is predicted for this afternoon so I’m thinking the sun will disappear for good a bit later.

It is officially summer, and it’s barbecue time. Bring out the ribs, the burgers and the chicken wings then add some sweet summer corn. My home-grown tomatoes are getting bigger on the vine and before too long they’ll be red ripe. July 4th is opening night at the movies. I have three possibilities on the ballot: Independence Day, Jaws and 1776. I’m leaning toward Jaws as it is celebrating its 40th birthday. “We need a bigger boat,” says it all. I have decorations and sparklers and I’m working on the menu. Red, white and blue will carry the day!

Memory is an odd thing. I have vivid memories of my childhood, but I sometimes hunt high and low for where I put my glasses. Some singular moments stand out from all the others, and I don’t know why. They aren’t particularly important moments, but they stay prominent regardless. One memory is silly. I was on the plane to Ghana and we stopped in Madrid. When we got back on the plane, my seatbelt was caught between the seat and the wall so I couldn’t use it. I pretended I was belted when the stewardess went around checking seatbelts. I don’t know why I just didn’t ask for help.

I sat in the back of the room when I was in the sixth grade, but in the front of the room when I was in the eighth. Neither really matters, but I still remember how the rooms looked from each perspective. I remember the candy counter at the movie theater. My favorite nickel bar of candy was a Welch’s Fudge Bar. They aren’t around anymore. My second favorite was a Skybar. You can still buy one of those. The fudge square was my favorite, probably still is. I remember how funny my feet felt in shoes after ice skating. My bologna sandwiches were misshapen because I had to cut pieces from a roll of bologna and some pieces were thick while others were too thin.

I can still close my eyes and see and describe places as they were. I don’t think of it as a trip down memory lane but rather as an adventure back in time.

“May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! “

July 4, 2013

July 4th was always exciting when I was growing up. The next town over had one of the great parades which seemed to last forever filled as it was with bands and floats. We’d go to a house right on the parade route which had a huge porch where we’d all hang out to watch the parade. The table inside was covered with foods like potato salad and hot dogs and burgers and watermelon. Popsicles were in the freezer. It was eat when you’re hungry. At night came the fireworks. We never went that often, but I could see them from my house when they colored the sky high in the air. When I was older and a member of a drill team, I marched in that parade. When we’d get to the white house with the porch, the whole crowd of people would yell my name. I was both embarrassed and pleased. When I was older, my friends and I would go to the fireworks. We’d bring a blanket and some food and stake out a spot right near the water over which the fireworks would burst. We couldn’t help ourselves. The oohs and ahs came out of our mouths almost every time fireworks burst overhead and filled the sky with colors and patterns.

I remember the decorated carriage and bicycle contests held in the morning, before the parade. My sister won the year she was a hula girl. Her  doll carriage was frilled with colored crepe paper looking like a hula skirt.

One year I saw Big Bother Bob Emery at the bandstand near the lake. He was on television every day when I was a little kid. I remember we’d toast President Eisenhower with milk as Hail to the Chief played. Big Brother was a TV icon to me. He’d play his uke and sing The Grass Is Always Greener.

I remember sparklers and how excited we were to have our own fireworks. I’d hold the sparkler as close to the bottom as I could when my father lit the top. I remember how sometimes a spark would land on my hand or arm and how it burned just a little. We’d spin the sparklers and make our own light show. The sparklers made a hissing sound when they burned. We’d each get one at a time and then we could back for more until the boxes were empty.

July 4th seemed to last forever, well into the night, well beyond my usual bedtime.

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

October 10, 2011

This has been the most leisurely of all mornings. I woke up late, read every bit of both papers, had three cups of coffee perfectly brewed to my taste (I’m a does the amount look right coffee grounds sort when loading) and spent some time outside in the sun. When I came back inside so did Gracie, and right now all the animals are napping in here as I write. The dog gets the couch; Fern is on the new chair while Maddie has the cushion at the back of the couch near the window. It is a remarkable day, a beautiful day, a bit of magic pulled out of her hat by Mother Nature.

My sister in Colorado had her first snow of the season last week. She had to clear off her car before she could go to work. I tried but couldn’t conjure an image of the snow and her car. My mind is still filled with sun and flowers. My garden now has its fall bloomers adding color and beauty to my little world. I love to stand there and look and marvel.

The wedding was wonderful. I knew there would be some quirky surprises because Bethany and Brian love fun and laughter. It started with the place card settings which were odd as they were oblong plastic frames, but there was an explanation. The frames were to hold a picture. Bethany and Brian had a photo booth placed in the hall next to where we had dinner. It was similar to the kind you used to find at bus or train stations where you put in a quarter and got a strip of  black and white pictures. My friends and I always crammed ourselves into a booth and made funny faces at the camera. Outside this booth were boxes holding props like sombreros and clown hats. I chose a plastic fireman’s hat and the sombrero. When I went inside the booth, I wore hat after hat until all the shots were taken. When I got outside the booth, I was handed a strip of four color shots of me which fit perfectly in the place card frame. The last shot was me making a funny face, sort of a homage to the old days. The booth man explained that Bethany and Brian would get a copy of every strip as momentos of their wedding and the strangeness of their guests. When the reception was over and the couple was leaving, we all stood outside with sparklers lighting the night giving Bethany and Brian a bit of magic to take with them. It was a wonderful evening filled with fun, laughter and good friends.