Thursday, April 30, 2009


I had a nice visit with Mother and Pitty Pat today. Dudley was very well-behaved; he didn't stick his nose in their faces and try to kiss them, as he usually does. (Might be because I gave him a Dingo bone; that kept him busy roaming here and there, looking for a place to hide it!)

We talked about all sorts of things; what's going on in Carlisle County (and how great it is that they now have a museum), politics (???), the flu pandemic (scary!), and music. Fifties music, in particular.

Pitty and I consider ourselves lucky to have been teenagers when Elvis, Fats, Little Richard, Jerry Lee, The Platters and numerous other rock & rollers burst on the scene. We loved them all. But we agreed there is one song which most reflects that teenage excitement, that anticipation, that "waiting-for-something-to-happen" feeling you get only once in a lifetime.

"Each time I heard that song, a feeling of euphoria swept over me," I said, "His voice seemed to be echoing everything I was thinking and feeling and what I would be thinking and feeling in the future!"

"Yes, everything," Pitty said, a faraway look in her eyes, "But I never hear it anymore"

"Me, either."

I found it on YouTube tonight:  Gone.  And as I listen to Ferlin Husky's soulful voice, I'm back in the fifties in Carlisle County, experiencing those innocent, carefree days again. And glad, so glad, that Pitty Pat and I experienced it all together.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun-Filled Days

Chase at three

* * *

Although he is a fine young man today, and I love spending time with him as a grown-up, sometimes I wish I could go back and re-live those fun-filled days with my grandson when he was a little boy. That's him above, holding a Polaroid picture I had just taken of him. He was usually laughing and tearing around the house at break-neck speed, but he was quiet and serious that day. We were watching Charlotte's Web.

"Granda," he said, "I wish Charwott didn't die."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Maw Maw's Front Porch

I love front porches. But they seem to have been replaced by redwood decks with hot tubs; patios with fancy furniture, gigantic grills. And fully-equipped outdoor kitchens.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the amenities we have today. But I miss things of yesteryear.
Like my grandmother's porch.
Maw Maw Wilson's porch ran all the way across the front of her house. Two swings hung at each end; one was Maw Maw's, the other Uncle Bob's. Maw Maw never sat in Uncle Bob's, and Uncle Bob never sat in Maw Maw's. (Although Charlie Reeves, their farmhand, occasionally sat in Uncle Bob's.)
When no one else was around, Pitty and I sometimes sneaked out and jumped into Uncle Bob's, swinging as high as it would go, giggling all the while. (Don't know why we thought we had to be secretive about it. Maybe we thought we were sitting in a "man's" swing, or something like that!)
On both sides of the porch sat several ancient rockers with sagging seats. When I sat down, I had to brace myself with my elbows. The woven bottoms sagged lower each year, and it became a game to me: Would this be the day I crashed to the floor?
I never did.
When I was a tot, I spent a lot of time on the porch with Paw Paw Wilson, often crawling onto his lap, grabbing the brim of his hat with both hands and pulling it down as far as it would go. After admiring his eyebrow-less face for a few minutes, I pulled it from his head, laid it on my lap, and pounded it with my fist until it was squashed as flat as a pancake. Then I punched it back into shape and sat it on his white head.
I did this over and over, never tiring of my game. Apparently, neither did Paw Paw. He never complained.
I was too short to reach the screen-door handle, so Paw Paw decided I needed one of my own. He had Maw Maw find him a bald thread-spool, and I stood watching as he hammered it on the door. It was just my height. He gets up, hammer in hand, and smiles. "Now you can open the door yourself, Gaily!"
Paw Paw died when I was three. And from there on in, I thought of him each time I approached the steps to the porch. Almost thirty years later, when Maw Maw died, the spool was still there.
Maw Maw and Uncle Bob usually discussed the crops, when they were sitting in their respective swings. Or the weather. But when we were alone with Maw Maw, she often told us about happenings of long ago: traveling with her family, when she was five, in a covered wagon all the way to Texas and back; her trip to the World's Fair in New York City in 1939; stories about her midwifery, trips in her Model-T to Tennessee to visit her father, whose stepsons made moonshine (of which she strongly disapproved). And the sad story of Doyce, her 26-year-old son and my uncle, who was killed on the railroad tracks near Laketon before I was born.
I loved big family dinners at Maw Maw's house. Especially during the summer, because all of the adults usually ended up on the front porch. I was supposed to be playing in the yard with my siblings, but I always lurked here and there, listening to the adults. A thrill coursed through my body as I hid among the rosebushes. Particularly when Uncle Leo visited from New York City. He talked fast, unlike the soft, thick drawl of the voices I had heard all my life. He was familiar, yet alien, like the handsome, quick-talking actors at Milwain's: "I bought some more land on Manhattan Island," he says, "There's a lot of money to be made there!"
Pitty and I often spent hours in the swing, looking at Maw Maw's photo album of Uncle Leo's 1935 wedding. Aunt Victoria wore a fitted satin gown and a long veil and train circling her dress and ending in a swirling cream-colored puddle around her feet. Her bouquet of white lilies was the largest I had ever seen. Uncle Leo wore tails and a top hat. "When I get married," I say, "I'm going to have a big wedding just like theirs." "Me, too," says Pitty Pat.
After church and sunday school, we often had dinner with Maw Maw. And after the dishes were done, she generally took a nap on her big Victorian lounge. It faced the porch window, so Pitty and I sat in the swing, staring through the window at her sleeping face, wishing she would wake up. (Once we even prayed she would wake up, because she had promised us a trip to the pond.)
We had to walk through her peach and apple orchards and all the way across another field through horse weeds and cow dung to get to the pond. We loved to swim and fish there, and one time Uncle Bob caught a fifty-pound catfish.
But that's another story.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have a blessed Easter, dear friends.

Our Lord has written the promise
of the resurrection, not in books alone,
but in every leaf in spring-time.
~Martin Luther~

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mille Lune Mille Onde

I admit it. I am a romantic. I enjoy candlelight dinners, walks in the moonlight on sandy beaches, movies like The Way We Were. And heart-wrenching songs about love and loss.

I first heard Andrea Bocelli's Mille Lune Mille Onde on a Barilla pasta commercial. And although I could not understand a word he was saying, I knew he was singing about love.

It took some searching, but I finally found it. Hope you romantics out there enjoy it as much as I.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BIG News

I know I have been remiss in posting, but I've been busy writing and revising. I've also been going through a stack of National Enquirers (thanks to Mother!). There's not space enough to tell you everything, so I'll limit it to only the big news.
Friends are trying to fix Joanna Woodward up with Maurice Tempelsman (Jackie Onassis' former companion). At first, Joanne was hesitant. And I can't say I blame her. After all, she was married to one of Hollywood's most handsome and talented actors for fifty years. Paul Newman would be a hard act to follow.
"Me? Go out on a date at my age?" Joanne said, "I'm seventy-nine years old!"
After a while, friends were able to wear down her resistance, so she's now thinking seriously about going out with the former diamond merchant.
They live within blocks of each other, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, so it would be convenient. Perhaps they could walk their dogs together in Central Park, or breakfast each morning at her apartment or his. He would also come in handy in helping manage her money. Maurice parlayed Jackie's $100 million into $200 million, so maybe he would be willing to do the same for Joanne. I understand Paul left her millions.
Rumor has it Barbara Walters is retiring after fifty years in the business. She is telling close pals she's hanging up her microphone when her contract expires.
"I've been at this for fifty years," Barbara said, "I don't want to be eighty and working the phones to land an interview with one of the nobodies who pass for celebrities today."
I hear you, Barbara!

Mary Tyler Moore has written another book Growing Up Again, in which she shares many memories of her TV career and her long battle with diabetes.
She also writes about the time she saw way too much of her sitcom co-star, Ed Asner (who played her boss, Lou Grant, on her show). She opened the door of what she thought was her dressing room to find Ed stepping out of the shower, no towel in sight. She was so startled that she knocked over a lamp backing out of the room.
"I feel obligated to say his enormous talent is not limited to just the screen," she writes.
I think Ed has read Mary's book. He looks rather proud, don't you think?

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley