Monday, May 08, 2023

Early Morning Tea and Favorites

Last night Charlotte and I hit the sack by 10:00, tired after a day soaking up a little sun around the pool, making brownies, and watching scary movies. We fell asleep within a few minutes, but I woke up a little before 4am with a cough. Not wanting to disturb Charlotte, I slipped out of bed and went out to make a cup of tea to soothe my throat.

As I was making the tea, I turned and there stood Charlotte. I apologized for waking her, but she assured me she was fine and asked for some tea for herself (with two lemons - I think she only likes tea for the lemons). 

"Let's take our tea to the bedroom and talk," she suggested. So that's what we did. We sat up in bed with our tea and decided to play the "favorites" game. 

Favorite movie? Too hard. Be more specific. Favorite musical? Me: Mary Poppins (also my overall favorite movie) C: Wicked (not a movie musical, but I let it pass). Scary movie? Me: Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte or Halloween. C: Scream (yeah, I let her watch Scream and Scream 2 - she's my horror movie compatriot - not much scares her). And on and on through various movie genres.

We both agreed that Wilma Flintstone was our favorite cartoon character, by the way. 

After going through our favorite vacations (summer + winter), favorite teachers, and down a list of other topics, we finished our tea, getting drowsier and drowsier. Within the hour, we were all favorited out and just wanted to get back to sleep. 

Lights out. Love you, sweet girl. And off to sleep for a few more hours. 

Tea and early morning favorites - how memories are made. 

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Will There Be An Easter? Not Without The Ukulele.

When dear Harry Pritchett was rector of All Saints' back in the 80s and 90s, the 9 o'clock Easter morning service was a sight to behold. It was truly a child-focused extravaganza. Children were encouraged to bring flowers to flower the funny little chicken wire cross that was stationed in front of the choir section, as well as their mite boxes that they'd been putting pennies in throughout Lent. 

All the children in the parish - even the toddlers from the nursery (thank you, nursery workers for shepherding them) - were invited to bring their flowers and mite boxes up to the altar to numerous verses of "Welcome, Happy Morning," while clergy frantically stuffed the crushed and funny flowers into the chicken wire cross as the kids filed up. I'm sure the clergy hated that part, but too bad. The scene was hilarious and festive. 

It was a most wonderful Easter parade, as all the children in their little suits and fluffy dresses and bonnets crowded up to the front. It was a chance to see all the kiddos in their finery. A great gathering of All Saints' youngsters crowded up in front of the altar and settled in for what was to come. 

So there's Harry wearing his white bucks under all the Easter robes. He says a few words to the kids, asking them questions about the meaning of Easter. And then - out comes the ukulele, and the children and the whole congregation knows what's coming next. 

Now, Harry wrote a song years ago that I've heard sung not only at All Saints' but around the church called "God is a Surprise." And that's where the ukulele comes in -  to accompany his rendition of "Surprise."

        Moses tended sheep upon a mountain
        He hardly noticed when
        A burning bush said (and here Harry would pause, look back at the kids, and they would shout)
        Set my people free and take them to my land.
        'That couldn't be my God,' he said.
        'He'd have a better plan."

        (Then the whole congregation would join in the chorus)
        Surprise, surprise, God is a surprise!
        Right before your eyes,
        It's baffling to the wise.
        Surprise, surprise, God is a surprise!
        Open up your eyes and see!

The song goes on for a few more verses, gets to the crucifixion, and the Sunday "surprise" and ends with:

        Seek our God in hope, moving as he goes
        With justice, grace, and love in anything that grows.
        In anything at all he suddenly may be,
        'cause everything is his, you know, especially you and me.

        Well, surprise, surprise, God is a surprise!
        Right before your eyes,
        It's baffling to the wise.
        Surprise, surprise, God is a surprise!
        Open up your eyes and see!
Then Harry would shout, "Broadway ending!"

        Open up your eyes! And! See!

Lots of clapping and laughter ensued, as poor Ray Chenault would start up "He Is Risen" to play the kids off the altar and back to their parents or the nursery. Yeah, it took about seven or eight verses of that one, too. It was joyous and beautiful and funny and chaotic and loving and crazy and sweet. Alas, I have no photos or recordings of those wild and woolly Easter morning services, which breaks my heart. 

But getting back to that ukulele.

When Kate was four years old, Allison Pritchett asked to have her come over for a visit one afternoon. Allison was impatient for grandchildren, so until her three children married and gave her some real grands (which they did, by the way), Kate was sort of her stand-in grandchild. Anyway, it happened to be Maundy Thursday, which is neither here nor there, except that at some point, Harry comes tearing though the door, asking "Have you seen my ukulele? It's not at the office, and I have to find it for Easter!"

Well, as Allison told it to me, 4-year-old Kate's eyes got big, and she said, "Oh! Will there be an Easter?" 

No, child. No Easter without Harry's ukulele. (kidding)

Fortunately for all, Harry found the instrument before Sunday, so Easter came, indeed. Because God and Harry are full of surprises. 

I miss that service. I miss all the parish children gathering at the altar. I miss singing forty-eleven verses of "Welcome Happy Morning" and "He is Risen." I miss those crushed little flowers in chicken wire and the falling-apart mite boxes. 

And I really miss that ukulele. Happy Easter, y'all. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Oh, the Noise Noise Noise Noise!

Most people pray for world peace. Finding a cure for cancer. An end to anything having to do with the Kardashians. And while I pray for those things, too, top of my list right now is a world free of leaf blowers. 

Want/need to sleep in? Forget it. Even if there is no visible debris - leaf or otherwise - within your eyesight, leaf blower wielders spend just enough time blowing around invisible leaves under you window for as long as it will take for you to give up on your morning's rest.

Think you can escape it at work? Sorry, no. A battalion of leaf blowers stand ready to shatter the few peaceful moments it takes for you to get from your car to inside the building.

I'm completely flummoxed by the need for these things. Here's what I've observed:

  • Leaf blowers only work between 5am and 9am.
  • It takes 30 times longer to blow whatever it is being blown into a pile with a leaf blower than it does using a rake.
  • Leaf blowers emit 5000 decibels when in use (okay, really between 80-112 dB, but still), ensuring deafness within a few minutes for the worker not wearing noise-cancelling earphones and causing nerve-traumatizing, teeth-grinding migraines to anyone within 1/2 a mile away (my estimate).
  • They stink.
Peace on earth? How about peace under my 4th floor window? How about peace on my walk between the parking lot and the office door? 

Solution: Buy a rake, or what we used to call a yard broom. The job will be finished in 1/25th of the time it takes to wrangle those leaves, twigs, and other debris into a neat pile with a blower. You'll get exercise. You'll save money on noise-cancelling earphones and stinky gas/electricity.

I stand by my belief that making leaf blowers extinct will add to joy and peace on earth. (Reminder: buy a rake.)

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Next Up: 2023

Lots of positive things have happened since 2019, and I have photos, videos, and journal ramblings to prove it. But I have to say that the last three years have taken a toll. I have a weariness in my bones and spirit caused by a combination of a global pandemic and bat-shit crazy Trump and his followers. And COVID was the lesser of those two things. At least Joe Biden's president and we Georgians re-elected Raphael Warnock to the senate. Glimmers of hope.

So, onward to 2023. I really enjoy my part-time work at Atlanta History Center. I enjoy the variety of work in an interesting environment. The grandkids are doing great. Liam is healthier than he's been since September 2021, and he continues to excel at school and hockey. Charlotte is energetic and positive, doing wonderful things in choir and handbells, Girl Scouts, and dance. Kate and Greg have a business that's booming. Positive vibes to hang on to. 

My point is that, for me, the past three years and the beat-down of the previous president's term have taken more of a toll on me than I admit. I make no resolutions for the new year, but I will strive to continue to heal within and without. Shoot, I'm 71, so I don't have a ton of time left. I want to make the best of it. 

Next up: 2023. Go git 'em!