Things Change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShortly after we married, the hubby and I bought a house in a small town that is smack dab in the middle of Houston.  At the time, the neighborhood had grown old.  Houses were mostly bungalows with a smattering of two story homes, most of which needed updating.  The majority of lots were 50×100.  

Along the way something happened.  Houston grew and grew making close in property more and more valuable.  That meant that in our little town old houses gave way to bulldozers

West Uand were replaced with big new ones.

Surprisingly, the house we lived in for 20 years stayed standing, but last week that changed.  Like all the others around it, it came down.

P3021528In a matter of minutes it was rubble, and the hubby and I had moments of nostalgia as we looked at the home that held so many memories.  The two of us had totally remodeled the house over a five year period.  We did all the work except for the sheetrock and floor tile in the space we added.  Looking back, we marvel at the energy we had and remember how proud we were of each step forward.

P3021524The house may be gone, but what didn’t come down is the sweetgum tree we planted the first year we had the house, and we laughed as we remembered its story.  It was to be a birthday surprise, but it was spoiled by the assistant who answered the phone when I called the hubby.  “Oh,” she said, “he’s not here.  He went to get your tree.”  When he came home with it, I tried to act surprised, but laughter overcame me and I had to tell him he had been foiled.

By the time we had kids, the tree had grown enough for it to become the climbing tree for every kid on the block. I can see them now and hear their young voices as they nestled in the limbs.  You know, things change, but the memories we hold dear stay with us.

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Wait, There’s More!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor sure there is more to this New Year’s Eve table other than it being created around the centerpiece of holly trees and finials that has inspired  each of my December tables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, this one begins with the china that is one of the few things I have that belonged to my mother.  It is not likely what I would have picked, but it is dear to me because of the memories it evokes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t remember ever having seen her use the little salt cellars.  I found them in a cabinet after she died and have no idea of their origin, but I held on to them without thinking about how their gold trim was a perfect complement to the china.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Fostoria glasses were also Mother’s, and the soup spoons came from my  mother-in-law’s kitchen.  From her I have even fewer things than from my mother, but she left me with a heart full of love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wine glasses have a story starting with the one in the middle. Years ago I was with my parents in an antique shop in North Carolina where they were then living.  For whatever reason the glasses caught my eye and when Daddy saw me holding one and turning it this way and that he said, “Sis, if you like those, why don’t we get them?”  Done, and so began my collection of mismatched etched stemware.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the napkin rings hold their own story and remind me of the time when a daughter and I were to meet in London and go on to the Cotswolds.  At the last minute, her trip was cancelled thanks to an unexpected business decision, but I went on since my ticket was nonrefundable.  It turned out to be a wonderful solo adventure, and the napkin rings were a purchase at a small shop in the middle of nowhere filled with handmade items.  That explains the attraction!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, that’s the story of the table, and for me remembering the people and places that each piece represents makes it a great way to end the year.

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Tablescape Thursday

Hearts and Flowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt didn’t take too many years of marriage to realize that if Valentine’s was going to have a romantic dinner it had best be at home.

While the hubby has many wonderful traits, thinking ahead to make dinner reservations for one of the busiest nights of the year isn’t one of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s possible he wouldn’t even remember Valentine’s unless he saw it on the calendar or someone reminded him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen he would call and suggest we go out for dinner.  Good deal I would think, but when the time came we’d go first one place then another only to find out there was no room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a couple of hours of being turned away, we’d go home, both of us a little irritated, for a bowl of cereal or on a good night a grilled cheese sandwich.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow we look back and laugh at those attempts as we enjoy dinner at home.   Sometimes it’s just the two of us, other times we have friends join us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think the other husbands are quite happy to come here as it takes the pressure off them to plan a special night out.  For all of us, it’s an enjoyable evening in a relaxed setting with what is usually pretty good food.

No matter how you acknowledge Valentine’s, I hope it is just right.

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Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Thursday

WalMart…A Different Look

I bring the boys here in the dead of winter when the weather is awful and they’re bored, and I come here when I want to be alone.  My mother and I come here when we want to talk privately, and Bertie and I come here when we feel like seeing people. I come here when the air conditioner goes out in the summer and I buy popcorn and just walk around. Most of the times I can remember that Howard and I were actually getting along he’d ask me if I wanted to go to Wal Mart with him, and we’d look at stuff we wanted to buy and talk about it—wouldn’t it be nice to have a Cuisinart, wouldn’t it be nice to have a sixty four piece sprocket set.  It’s a very romantic place, really.

Funny how words can be so transporting as well as entertaining. They have the power to take you to a different place or make you wonder at what you have overlooked in real life. This paragraph from a book whose title I can’t remember did just that for me.

 imagesNow I have to confess I’m not much of a Walmart shopper, but when I’m in Maine there are limited shopping opportunities.When I’m looking for something specific like material for holiday napkins or embroidery thread or paper towels and toilet paper or….well, you get the picture….I go to Walmart.

Anyway, when I read these words so many images came to mind and I began wondering about people who I’d seen on my few trips to Walmart.  Were they bored or looking for an opportunity to be alone?  Were they escaping an uncomfortable environment or sharing a special moment with a loved one?  Were they wishing for things they didn’t have?  I guess I will never know, but in finding the scrap of paper where I had copied this paragraph, I had to laugh at one of my own memories.

One lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon I asked the hubby if he wanted to go on an adventure.  Where to? he asked.  Walmart I answered.  He looked at me like I’d lost my marbles and then, I suppose to humor me, he said OK.  It was a brand new store, huge, and as it turned out we did have quite an adventure just trying to find our way around and laughing at why we were there.  

Was it a romantic outing?  Maybe. Had we just become Walmart shoppers?  No, because we’ve not been back but the afternoon  gave us a shared memory that we can chuckle about.

Life, isn’t is just full of the funniest things?

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Florence My Way

From the beginning, my intent was to immerse myself in Florence not as a tourist but as an explorer.  I wanted to capture this magnificent city by finding beauty in the ordinary, by wandering streets and paying attention to its sights, sounds, smells and people.  Here is Florence my way.

FlorenceFlorence was walking the same street and seeing it differently each time. 

Florence4It was observing people working in small shops, the market, on the street.

Florence8It was coming across artists sketching 

Florenceor creating street art too beautiful to be no more than temporary.

Florence9Florence was marveling at graffiti, seemingly on every bare surface.

FlorenceIt was appreciating the beauty of Santa Croce any time of the day or night

Florence1and shooting the Duomo over and over without ever capturing its real majesty.

Florence11It was the unexpected surprise of spotting remnants of art created on buildings hundreds of years ago.

FlorenceIt was going from one side of the Arno to another on lovely bridges 

Florenceand stopping to notice that the real beauty of the Ponte Vecchio was the richness of color on its back side.

Florence2It was exploring quirky flea markets

Florence5and one street market after another.

Florence12Florence was noticing people taking photos with selfie sticks.

Florence7 It was being fascinated by doors with character

Florence6and door knockers that could waken the dead.

FlorenceIt was enjoying sidewalk cafes,

Florence gelato again and again and again

Florence3and at the end of a day’s exploring, an aperol and an antipasti plate at home.

FlorenceIt was taking in Florence and all its glory knowing that the experience will fill my heart with memories for years to come.

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The Scoop

Remembering

MLK Memorial-Washington, D.C.

MLK Memorial-Washington, D.C.

There are some events that stay locked in your memory bank.  For me, the death of Martin Luther King is one of them.  

At the time I was a flight attendant for Delta Airlines on a trip returning to Atlanta from the west coast.  Mid trip the pilot came on the PA  saying, “I have sad news today.  We have just received word that Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis. We believe the shot to have been fatal.”  

For a brief moment, there was total silence, the kind that follows shock.  In the following moments, however, there were differing responses, and I remember being saddened and surprised that anyone would express anything other than sensitivity to a senseless killing.  Remember, though, the late 60’s were still sensitive when it came to civil rights, and not all people were appreciative of MLK’s efforts.

As I sit here thinking about that day, I once again feel sadness not just for his loss of life but because in some ways we learned so little from MLK’s nonviolent approach to easing tension between people.

Linda  057As I look again at these words, my hope is for all of us to learn to stand peacefully in difficult times.

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WPC: Gone But Not Forgotten

familyThis time of year I think of my family: Daddy, Mother, my brother.  Each one has passed away, Daddy and my brother too soon, Mother in old age after struggling with pneumonia and dementia.

familyThere is joy and sadness in remembering them, and how I wish I knew more of each one’s story.  Stories don’t always seem too important until it’s too late to capture them and the tellers are gone but not forgotten.

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Weekly Photo Challenge