A Day In The Life

What Fresh Hell Is This?
March 28, 2007, 2:45 am
Filed under: Family

Another post from the past to commemorate my first year of blogging.   After you read the story, you will know which pair of feet in the picture belong to me! 

What Fresh Hell Is This?

First, “What Fresh Hell Is This?” is a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker. She supposedly said the phrase when a ringing phone interrupted her literary thoughts. She liked the phrase so much that she began to answer her phone in that fashion. Great story, but it has nothing to do with my “fresh hell”. I just love the quote.

Years ago my sister was married in a perfectly beautiful ceremony. She married her sweetheart in the town where they both attended college. This meant that her family had to commute to the wedding location. For some reason that I no longer recall, my sister ordered her flowers (yellow roses) from a florist in our hometown. The roses traveled with my parents, my brother and myself to the duplex where my sister and her husband-to-be would reside after their honeymoon. Immediately upon inspection of the flowers, my sister began to wail. Some of the roses already had brown edges. Who cares that one had to use a magnifying glass in order to see the brown edges, it was my sister’s wedding and she wanted everything to be perfect. We calmed the bride-to-be down and set about accomplishing all that needed to be done before the wedding that evening.

Mom, sister and I were to head to the church to arrange the flowers and perform other decorating chores. We walked out on the duplex porch and I, the wedding soloist and maid of honor, misjudged the distance from porch to ground. I fell. Hard. And twisted my ankle so badly that I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. I was half carried, half shoved back into the house by my entire family and placed on the sofa. An ice bag was hastily assembled and I was forced to elevate the quickly swelling and blueish ankle on four or five pillows. My sister tried hard not to cry as my mother murmured prayers that I would be able to stand, much less walk, by the time the wedding was to begin.

Time passed. Chores were accomplished. It was time to head to the church. I was able to stand, walk and, thank goodness, wear the white shoes specifically purchased for the wedding. ( Myself and the two bridesmaids were wearing emerald green dresses with white shoes. ) I got out of the car and was walking into the church when the heel on one of my shoes broke. It wasn’t a nice heel-disconnected-from-shoe break that could be repaired with super glue, a hot glue gun or a nail. It was a three-inch heel broke in half break. Luckily, we were running ahead of schedule so my brother drove back to the duplex to retrieve a pair of black pumps I had for some reason packed in my overnight bag.

We were all spiffied up. Everyone looked beautiful and handsome. Grandparents and mothers were seated. I sang “The Wedding Song”. Perfection. The bride entered. Vows were spoken. Prayers were prayed. Now the bride and groom stared lovingly into each other’s eyes as the sister of the bride ( me ) began to sing “Love Me Tender”. If only I had kept my eyes closed or stared at the back wall of the church. But, no, I had to look at my baby sister and……I began to cry. It wasn’t a nice lady-like misting of the eyes, it was crying. I don’t why I didn’t just give up. I sobbed and blubbered through three verses of “Love Me Tender”. It must have been horrible to have stand and look into her beloved’s eyes with all the caterwauling that was issuing from my throat, but my sister did it.

Finally the reception was over. The newlyweds were on their way to Orlando. The church was cleaned. The brown-edged roses were disposed of. The guests had departed. Mom, Dad, my brother and I discovered that we were starving. We decided to pick up some food before we headed back to the duplex where we would spend the night. My brother motored us to the drive-thru of a fast-food joint. Technology was primitive at this point in time. The drive-thru had one of those hose things that rang a bell inside when the vehicle ran over it. My brother stopped the car before running over the hose thing so we could study the menu. An overly exuberant employee’s voice came over the speaker as we were deciding what to order.

“May I help you?” she asked in a perky voice.

“We haven’t even run over the ding-a-ling yet!” my brother exclaimed.

That was it. Four weary, emotionally drained, hungry people lost their composure. Somehow we managed to order food and drive to my sister’s new home while laughing hysterically. No more “fresh hell” for us. The day was over.


Luckiest Girl In The World
March 27, 2007, 2:45 am
Filed under: Family

I am approaching the end of my first year of blogging and have been trying to decide what, if anything, to post about the experience.   I read through my first couple of month’s archives and realized that I wrote some very nice posts before I had very many readers.  So, to commemorate my first blogging year I am re-posting some of my personal favorites.   If you’ve already read them, I hope you don’t mind seeing them again.  If the posts are new to you, enjoy!

As long as I can remember, I have been able to glance at a patch of grass and spot a four-leafed clover. My dad was amazed that I could find the four-leafs so easily. He told me I was the luckiest girl in the world.

Dad died five years ago on April 29. He was a good and decent man who believed in God and lived his life accordingly. Dad worked hard and supported his family without complaint. Dad loved his wife, his children, the land he lived on, music and a good cup of coffee. He had a crazy sense of humor. His heroes were cowboys.

Dad could get on a horse by vaulting over the horses’ rump and landing in the saddle. He could also hold on to the saddle horn and swing up into the seat without putting his foot in the stirrup.

Dad was a mechanic and at one time he owned a filling station. He was a stickler when it came to maintaining vehicles and he gave me frequent reminders to rotate my tires and check my oil. I could call Dad on the phone, imitate a “funny” sound my car was making and nine times out of ten, he correctly diagnosed the problem. He was strictly a rural driver, but he wasn’t afraid to tackle “big city” traffic. He stopped at the end of merging lanes leading to interstate highways and waited for traffic to clear before he entered. Once on a family vacation, we went back and forth five times over a bridge across the Mississippi before Dad figured out which exit to take to get us through Memphis.

Dad used to entertain us by standing on a footstool in the livingroom and conducting orchestral music that Mom was playing on her stereo. When I was a beginning piano student, he dazzled me with his ability to play “Chopsticks”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “I Dropped My Dolly In The Dirt” on the piano without using written music. Dad and Mom sang duets in church. My favorite was “Ivory Palaces”. My parents never missed a single piano or voice recital that I performed in.

One summer day, Dad and I went fishing. I caught a catfish and as I was taking it off the hook, I ripped my thumb on the catfish barb. My thumb wouldn’t stop bleeding so Dad made a poultice out of some mud and put it on my thumb. I was 32 years old. I hurt my knee in a basketball game when I was a freshman in high school. Dad took me to the emergency room, but there was a man having a heart attack and all the doctors were busy saving his life. After waiting several hours, we decided to leave and make an appointment with our family doctor the next day. It had been raining heavily the entire time we were at the hospital and we couldn’t get home because bridges were either washed out or under water. Dad and I ended up spending the night in our church.

Today as I was crossing the lawn at the high school, I looked down and there it was. A four-leafed clover. I chuckled as I bent over to pluck it and Dad whispered in my ear, “You’re the luckiest girl in the world.” He is so right.

Rest In Peace
March 24, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: Travel

Before I became a teacher, I worked in management for Toys R Us in Virgina and Maryland.   We management minions could not take vacations from October 1 through the end of February because Christmas, of course, was our busiest season.  We began setting up the stores for the holidays in October and immediately following the holiday crush we did store-wide inventories.  For all the years I worked in retail management, I took my vacation the weeks surrounding Easter.  It was the first “major” holiday of the year that I could spend with my family in Arkansas.   Since I had two to three weeks of vacation to play with, I always drove home.  I enjoyed the long drive and I made the most of it by traveling different routes and stopping whenever I saw something that interested me.  The last two years of my Toys R Us employment were spent in Roanoke, Virginia.  I made two trips home to Arkansas from Roanoke and during one of those journeys, I came across a beautiful, old cemetery.  I cannot remember what road I was on or what town I was near.  I do know that I was traveling in early Spring and that the cemetery was somewhere in Virginia.  I wrote “Virginia Cemetery ’89” on the back of the photos that I took.

Virginia Cemetery 2

I was intrigued by the ancient monuments and the towering cedars in the cemetery.  The day was rainy with a lingering fog.  The perfect atmosphere for exploring the final resting place for hundreds of people.  Most of the monuments were so aged I couldn’t read the inscriptions.  I remember the silence and the soft, feathery raindrops as I walked gently on hallowed ground. 


I did both shots in a sepia wash.   Which do you like better, the color or the sepia? 

Virginia Cemetery

Looks desolate and sort of creepy in the sepia, doesn’t it?  Almost like a still shot from a horror film.  The vision of young girl in period dress weeping at the grave of a slain Confederate soldier fades into the mist leaving only the sound of her tormented weeping……or maybe an unnaturally pale man in a black cape steps out from behind the tall monument on the hill……


Rest in peace……

Roll Over Beethoven
March 24, 2007, 11:09 am
Filed under: Music

Music is a universal language.  Music speaks to virtually everyone in some form or fashion.   I want my students to appreciate the music they hear and sing.  They don’t have to like all the various genres and styles, but it is important that they appreciate the intrinsic value of music.  And it is important that they have an understanding of music’s impact on culture, history and societal values.  I expect my students to recognize and appreciate the artistry of Mozart, the Beatles,  Puccini, Led Zeppelin, Handel, Jimmy Hendrix and countless other artists and composers. 

For the most part, I am satisfied with my students’ musical knowledge and with their general respect for music.  Then there are those irksome moments in the life of a music professional.  Case in point:  A student asked me if I had heard “The Garfield Song.”  He went on and on about it being such a great song.  He told me he would bring his CD to school so I could hear “The Garfield Song.”  I was prepared to hear something along the lines of the SpongeBob Squarepants theme song….some catchy little tune written expressly for the Garfield movie.  Imagine my surprise when “The Garfield Song” actually turned out to be James Brown singing “I Feel Good.” 

“That’s not ‘The Garfield Song’,” I exclaimed.  “That’s James Brown.  He’s the Godfather of Soul, for pete’s sake!  That’s a classic!  Garfield has nothing to do with that music!”  My student was somewhat taken aback, but I couldn’t help myself.  

A lesson plan on the music of James Brown is in the works.

Practice Makes Perfect
March 23, 2007, 12:47 am
Filed under: School Buzz

Doremi birds

A fourth grade student brought me an article she “thought I might like to read.”  Before handing me the scrap of newspaper, she told me she wrote her name in the margin so I would remember who gave me the article.   It seemed to be a VERY big deal that her dad let her tear the article out of the newspaper in the first place.  I felt honored!  The article stated, “Some birds sing in their sleep.  Researchers believe that while young birds sleep at night, they may be reviewing the songs they’ve learned from their parents during the day.”  My student rightly believed I would love the article because she has heard me say repeatedly that we will practice our songs until we can sing them in our sleep.  I love it when students apply what they’ve learned in my classes to “real world” situations.  Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling!

Spring Has Arrived!
March 20, 2007, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Seasons

Big forsythia

Spring has definitely arrived in Arkansas.  I am back from my self-imposed blogging vacation and I’m trying out a new blog site at WordPress.  I like a lot of things about WordPress, but I don’t know my way around it very well.  Haven’t decided if I will make this my primary blog site or not.  In the meantime, enjoy this photo of my forsythia and welcome spring!!