Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rest in Peace...the Few, the Proud, Our Marines

Dear Abba Father please show us what is causing this sickness in our society.  Multiple news sources report 4 dead Marines in Chattanooga, a police officer in surgery, and a madman shot dead.  Help us, Jesus.

Eternal Father, grant, we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength, and skill 
Their land to serve, thy law fulfill; 
Be thou the shield forevermore
From every peril to the Corps.
Semper Fidelis, rest in peace brave Marines.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tweaking the Front Door Area

Over by the front door, I always have different items staged to go the mailbox or the recyclables or returning cold-pack grocery sacks to the car. I'd end up stacking them on the floor, an elegant look to be sure (eyeroll).

I had an idea while shopping at El Lotto Grande (as Alex at  Living the Small Life calls it) or Big Lots.  A box like this one was selling at a deep discount:

Whenever I am thrift shopping, I always look through the linens for vintage sheets which can be re-invented in all sorts of amazing curtains, tablecloths, and can be easily made in a simple skirt.  With the price of new fabric so high, I try to keep some on hand.

I raided my sheet stash and grabbed some spray paint I had from another project..

This is so much tidier than a bunch of stuff on the floor.  The box also makes for a comfortable extra seat.
I save the flowers Bruce brings from time to time and use them all around the house.  Seems like a sad waste to just throw them away. My front porch is one of my favorite things about this old house, but it is hard to get a good shot at the front door because of the shade it provides.

I've been saving the vintage sheet I used for the top for about 6 years.  With a can of spray paint and a staple gun, I am mighty.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Walton's Mountain

I've always tucked the Walton family, from the iconic 1970's television show, in a special place in my memories.  I still watch old episodes on the Hallmark Channel. Like the Andy Griffith Show, the weekly exploits of  John Boy, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen and the gang comforted me during a chaotic childhood.

The incredibly special thing about The Waltons is that the actors portrayed a real family struggling and growing during the Great Depression in the Virginia Mountains.  The narrator in the television show, who was also the creator and the actual John Boy, was Earl Hamner, Jr.  And he grew up with his many siblings, parents, and grandparents in this house in Schuyler, Virginia which is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.

We thought it would be a great place to explore on July 4.
Located about three hours from my home in Portsmouth, Schuyler is a sleepy, pastoral country hamlet along the Rockfish River.
Speaking of Rockfish (Daddy was always delivering lumber to Rockfish in the television show) here it is, post office and all.
Lumber operations still flourish in Nelson County.
The Walton kids on television were always messing around at the river. Ninety years later, kids were tubing down the mild rapids and jumping off a granite outcropping into the Rockfish.
I watched them from this bridge listing to the sound of the lazy old river, making its way down to the James River as it has for centuries, the cicadas encouraging it on its way, and children delighting in it as it flowed along.

Up the river, we think we found Ike Godsey's General Store from the television series.  Although it has been sadly overtaken by nature, if you look closely at the front roof line,you can see where the old sign hung.  The large porch overhang sheltered the old gas tanks.
Little farms spread out across from the Rockfish.
Schuyler Virginia is a slice of Americana relatively unchanged in 90 years. Schuyler and Rockfish have no McDonalds, no Payless Shoes, no strip malls, no stoplights, and no gangs.  No graffiti, no litter, and no one rude honking a horn.

In fact, as we slowed to take a picture of these barns, a car pulled alongside to make sure that we weren't having car problems.  When we let the driver know we were visiting "The Waltons" she wished us well, waved good bye, and told us that the river was just up the road.

I guess the Waltons don't just exist in my mind, but Walton's Mountain is a real place with real people who choose a different way of life.  I'm so glad they're still there, aren't you?
G'night John Boy, G'night Elizabeth, G'night Grandma,...cue harmonica music.  The end.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Red Sails in the Twilight

I'm a frustrated Manhattanite.  Well,  maybe not frustrated exactly.  I have a constant wistful longing for Manhattan.

I grew up between divorced parents in Connecticut, where my family has deeply-set roots and New York, where my mother and stepfather lived.  I treasure my memories from childhood in the Greater Hartford area, don't get me wrong.

I recall nearly every moment of my childhood there: the screeching of my grandmother's storm door as it opened, the taste of horn rolls from Michael's Bakery, the smell of Sunset Ridge School, and the chill as I put my hands in the icy water of the Coke cooler at Stanley Roman's Grocery on a hot June day.  I would charge it to my grandmother's account along with some animal crackers and think I was a badass.

I lived in Manhattan as an adult and visited frequently as a child.  My grandparents would take me in to see the Christmas Show at Radio City.  I'd go into the City (as New Yorkers call it, for there is only ONE city that matters) to visit museums and go to Yankee games on the A Train.

Mostly I would walk for miles observing and experiencing the hot dog vendors, the store windows, historic architecture like the Chrysler and Flat Iron buildings and, once, the surrealist artist Salvador Dali who had only half a mustache at the time, walking an ocelot on a leash down Central Park South.
It looks like a regular ole kitty, but this is actually a "big cat" also known as the dwarf leopard. I think the cat's name was Babou.

I would also see the actress, Ruth Gordon, out walking nearly every day in my neighborhood.  It came to the point that she would put her cane over her arm and pat mine saying, "Hi Honey, how are ya, how are ya" with a big smile as we passed.  This was a lot better than her character in Rosemary's Baby who scared me witless.

Life took a different path for me and hasn't been too shabby since Bruce whisked me away to live in Hawaii, but that longing for New York continues.  God's Word says that He gives us the desires of our heart. I don't think this means that we get whatever we want, but rather that He puts the desires in there to begin with.

I have an idea of what He is going to do with all this and it is exciting.  However, in the meantime,I was cooking dinner last night and dreamily thinking, "What would I be doing if I lived in New York?"

I'd have gone to a little grocery store (no room for big, huge supermarkets in NYC) such as they have there, like a Fairway, and picked out what I needed for a couple of days.  I'd choose my fruits and vegetables out front.
I'd wheel everything home in one of those personal shopping carts New Yorkers use and then hang behind the apartment's front door in between trips.

And then, and then...I mused while I cut carrots for salad and checked on the baking chicken.  I seized on just the thing, "I'd go to Riverside Park and walk along the water in the twilight," getting a little teary at my lack of Manhattan.

Then it hit me.  I live along a beautiful river, The Elizabeth, and the only reason I don't walk along it in the twilight is lack of planning or lack of gumption or pure laziness or lack of habit...who knows.

I walked along the river last night.  And was treated to this beautiful sight:
It isn't the Hudson, but I think this quite possibly could have been even prettier.  Bloom where you are planted.  I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, too, when I vacation there soon.  And get ready for what God has next.