Book A Day #13 – Makes Me Laugh

A couple of years ago, a good friend from college came to visit. We spent a pleasant week doing a few touristy things, cooking, hanging out around the house, talking about reading, writing, and movies…in other words, a damn near perfect visit. Over the course of her stay, she mentioned the book in question. I told her that I might have heard of it, but I had never read it. She was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, and vowed that I must read it posthaste. Once she got back home, she actually ordered and sent me a copy, which I received in good time and immediately started to read.

Oh, my Lord. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I laughed while I was reading this book. Now, you have to understand, both my friend and I are from the South, raised by Southern parents and went to an iconic Southern college, so this book resonates like nobody’s business. But trust me, even if you never set foot in the South, I guarantee you a good few dozen belly laughs in this book. And in the spirit of my friend’s generosity, if you really want to read it, and can’t find it, e-mail me and I’ll get you a copy. Yes, I want to share this book that much!

lady

Book A Day #11 – Secondhand Bookstore Gem

We don’t have a lot of used bookstores here in Pueblo and since I’m in the mode of not buying books, I rarely go there. However, a few months ago, I went to Florence, Colorado, with a friend to peruse the many antique stores there. Florence might be the antique capital of southern Colorado. We were at was going to be our last store, having been nearly antiqued-out, when I found a window frame that I wanted to use for an art project that I have had in mind for a while. Happy to have found it, I wandered into one more room that had books. I wasn’t really in the market, but then my eye fell on this, and I knew I HAD to have it:

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I snapped it up for two dollars and when we got home, I sat on the porch and read aloud until my friend and I nearly had to be resuscitated, we were laughing so hard. Now I’m going to have to sit with it again and maybe discover how to set the table if dignitaries ever show up at my door. Hey! You never know…

Book A Day #1 – Favorite Book From Childhood

Now that the official UK Book A Day challenge is over, I thought I would try it. That’s me, always a little bit late with the trends. 🙂 Really, though, I was reading the FB posts of one of my dear friends about her favorite books and the whole idea intrigued me, plus I thought it would be a good way to get me back here to the blog more often. Writing about reading, what could be better? Hopefully, I will be able to keep it up through the entire month.

Kicking off the 31 days (I’ll have to add a day), is a favorite book from childhood. This might sound like an easy thing, but for me, it wasn’t. I don’t remember not knowing how to read, but of course, a lot of those early books probably wouldn’t make it as classics, except for possibly the Billy and Blaze series, and that more for the lovely artwork of C. W. Anderson. I still remember my awe at his incredibly accurate pencil drawings of Billy’s favorite pony.

The artwork was wonderful, but I passed the simplicity of the story content pretty quickly. I wanted more. I wanted my own horse. Looking back over my life, I don’t think I have ever wanted anything more than I wanted a horse when I was about eight years old. So, it was only natural that this absolute craving would lead me to one of my favorite books of all time:

bbeauty

I think it might be this book that generated my love of re-reading a good tale. It seemed that every time I read the story, something different caught my attention. I leared that a book isn’t a static tale; even if the story is the same, each time you read a book, you, the reader, are different and see the story with different eyes.

I no longer own a copy of Black Beauty, but suddenly I feel the urge to break out the library card.

Watery Mornings

On the mornings that I don’t work until 5 a.m., I wake up at nearly that same hour. I like to go outside first thing, while the coffee is brewing, and hand water the pots and hanging baskets along the patio. We have a water wand that I can use, but I prefer a watering can to dip the water out of our (illegally) collected rain water.  There is something so comforting and calming about dipping water. I love that I’m using, in essence, recycled water. I love being that little bit rebellious, collecting free rain despite silly man-made laws that say it’s wrong in our part of the world. I even enjoy carrying the heavy can around and feeling it get lighter with each pot that I water. Of course, it takes longer than using a hose, but in this small time, I also think about so many other women in the world, those who must carry water for everything they need, not just for the pleasure of potted plants, and not just from the barrel by the house to the other side of the patio, but for miles. It’s a sobering thought, one that keeps me grounded and present and grateful for everything I have here.

This year we have herbs (basil, cilantro, rosemary, oregano), veggies (scarlet runner beans, squash, corn, cucumbers, okra),  flowers (dahlias, mandevillia, snap dragons, bleeding hearts, daisies) and even fruit (my little lemon tree with more baby lemons on it than it’s ever had). I love to watch the water cascade down the leaves and into the soil, and listen to the happy sound of the earth soaking in another drink.

For the first time in years, we have enjoyed a true spring. Until I look at a calendar, I forget that spring officially lasts until June 21st, and normally by then we’re headed into days and weeks of hot temperatures and arid, fire-ridden weather. This year, we were blessed with more days in the 60s and 70s, a lot of afternoon thunderstorms and overnight rains, hence full water barrels. Of course, moisture brings mosquitos, but judicious clothing and a little spray takes care of that while I make my morning rounds. There’s always a weed or three to pull (and eat if I’m being ambitious), and time to pause under the various trees to stand or sit (on my bench) and appreicate the fruit that will be coming in the next few months. The front apple tree is laden again, and I’m already pulling off some of the apples, so it won’t be weighed down and crack. The Braeburn tree in the back has fewer, but more than it did last year, and I’m keeping a sharp eye on the cherries, hoping the birds won’t take them before they’re even ripe. I’m determined to get more than one cobbler this season, even if it’s only a pint jar of cherries in brandy and sugar to dole out later in various recipes.

The morning stroll around the garden always settles me. I forget how much I love the space, the plants, the birds and bugs that come and go. I’ve had to give up mornings on the days that I work, and I don’t really like that, so I’m doubly thankful that spring has drawn out, allowing me to savor my most favorite time of day.

A Wonderful Time

I can’t believe it’s been over a week already. Last Friday, I was having lunch with my brother, then heading to the college for our evening re-connect reunion dinner.  I arrived on Thursday, having had a wonderful night with a dear friend in Denver, who took me to dinner and a comedy club for much-needed laughter at nothing in particular. (Best line of the night: “NASCAR–like painting numbers on a ceiling fan!”)  The flight out was non-stop and uneventful. I experienced a first when I arrived at the airport before security was open.  The advantage to that was a very quick line through and an early take off and landing in Atlanta. The weather was gorgeous. I forget how green everything is there, and how lush…that trees and undergrowth will encroach right onto the streets if allowed.

One of my local college friends met me at the top of the arrival escalator with a sign that said “Crone #1” and the party was on! We ate lunch at an airport restaurant while we waiting for three other travelers coming from different points. Apparently, the Universe was happy that we were getting together because three flights that were supposed to be a couple of hours apart all landed within minutes of each other and everyone converged on baggage claim at nearly the same time.  After all belongings were collected, we dodged cars across the arrival lanes to get to our vehicle. As we went, one friend commented, “This just seems so normal!” As, indeed, it did.

The reunion itself was a cookie-cutter of those past and yet to come. Meet up on Friday, college and class things on Saturday (new officers elected, exhortations to give money, does anyone know where these people are, etc.) and then the procession to the Hall where we appreciated and were appreciated by others. This year was a little bit special because it was the 125th birthday of the college (or, as one friend’s daughter exclaimed, “Mom, this is your 125th reunion!” Well, not quite…), and we celebrated with a large cake, singing Happy Birthday and various photos taken with “flat Agnes” the life-size cut out portrait of the college’s namesake.  After that, free time and wandering until we met again at a classmate’s house for a wonderful dinner, and finally on Sunday, more eating (and drinking) at yet another classmate’s home for brunch before we all had to scatter to our various directions and resume our regular lives.

So that was the bare bones of the weekend. What couldn’t be predicted or known; however, is the amazing depth and breadth of the friendships that were formed 35 years ago, sometimes haphazardly, sometimes instantly, in dorm rooms, classrooms and yes, sometimes even locker rooms and restrooms. The women I am proud to call friends live amazing lives. They conquer challenges that would fell superheros. They write, they grow, they heal, they love and laugh, and give back to the world in infinite ways that will continue to live on long after we are all gone.  I am so proud to call all of them my friends, and incredibly humbled that they want to call me the same. No matter what we majored in, regardless of what we do for a living today or how much we might leave behind financially, this is the true legacy of my college…deep, enduring friendships that have carried us all through the best and worst of times, and will continue to do so until each of us has passed into our next adventure.

Thank you, all, for being my fortune.