Monday, January 31, 2011

Emily's Cotillion

Again, pictures speak a thousand words...the coming of age, the love of good mothers, the faithfulness of a father from behind the scenes, cooperation and unspoken pride from the whole family and the secret joy of a girl's first dance...


It is my honor to share these special moments with my children and grandchildren, a sweetness that makes this stage in my life a crown of glory.  

This day should be marked and remembered.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blast from the Past

I came across this today and it made me laugh...thought I'd share the laughter. :)

By the way, while at Grayton Beach, I kept chocolate candy in the coffee can and hard candy in the sugar canister. You were supposed to ask if you wanted coffee with sugar. (It was our secret code so the parents wouldn't know how much sugar I was giving  the grandchildren.)  Oh the joys of being a Grandma. ;)
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fondue and Fellowship

What a great evening, leisurely sitting around the kitchen table, cooking chicken, shrimp and tenderloin in a fondue pot and catching up on all the news. That's just what we did tonight with the SSC family! Since they were traveling over the holidays, we have had little time to visit lately. It was so good to sit awhile and just be together.

Morgan has decided to attend Woodward for school next year. Her grades are excellent and she is still climbing 3-4 days a week. Ford aced all his finals exams and is becoming a good driver (and I might add growing like a weed!)  Shannon and Molly are looking fit and are enjoying watching their children succeed.

Every precious minute was a matter of fact, we have found over the years that our children and their families are always delightful dinner guests!  To all of you...COME ANYTIME!
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Some Island Scraps" by Kate

Some island scraps: 

One afternoon, three little girls poke their noses in my door – Morly, with the broad, half-Spanish face; Chelsia, in cornrows; and Leah, barely five, with swinging bottlecurls. Earlier in the week I had given them a set of colored pencils; now each clutched her share, three or four apiece, nibs chipped and splintered. I had made them promise not to try and sharpen them themselves – this to girls who have already learned to chip coconuts with a little machete.
Their fraternal counterparts come around at evening – Shenon, Shelmar and Dennis, the eldest at thirteen, still called Cranky by the others for a slight wobble in his walk. They’ve all taken their shoes off, but loiter coolly in the doorframe with their dinner plates heaped with lobster tails until I invite them in. It’s a charade of manners; when I’ve closed my door for the night, they rap sharply on the windows, giggle furiously and disappear into the banana tree shadows like goblins.

Trolling a line from Elvis’ little fishing boat under a steel-gray sky. He sits facing me, hand on the tiller; his gray-stubbled face looks drawn and serious. The sea is high, too high for fishing, and the motor is burning dollar after dollar of island-priced gasoline. We’ve been out for two hours in deep water searching for kingfish and come up with nothing but the occasional bare hook. Sidney, gold-toothed, perches next to me, squinting up at the sky from under his camouflage hat. “Big squall,” he intones. Sure enough, the clouds are thickening over the sunset. It’s just the three of us and one surly tourist, who paid fifty dollars to be in this boat with tangled line and a cold rain beginning to patter. A wave crashes into the skiff; Elvis bails with half an old plastic jug; a powerful tug nearly tears the rod out of my hands – “She got a fish!”yelps Sidney – “Reel it in quick! Dat right, play wit it…” I turn the crank, pull the pole, feel the strength of the fish’s resistance as it bolts under the prow. Will it be a kingfish? Jack, with the huge unblinking eye? When I finally heave its thrashing body into the boat, it’s a barracuda, longer than my arm and glinting silver with dark stripes, saw-edge teeth gnashing.  I remember how a pair of these fish watched me last time I swam, appearing suddenly and close, hovering motionless with menacing lower jaw protruding. I think of the fisherman whose fingers are mangled with scars from a barra bite – all of us in the boat are watching our toes. I think of dense, white barracuda flesh, thick as beefsteak, sizzling in the pan. I feel evenly matched to this fish. And when I walk up the dock at sunset with my fingers hooked under his gills, parading my prize, the little boys applaud – Kennedy, Dennis, Rambo and Roger, who catch barracuda off the pier at night when they swarm under the lamp at the end of the dock, with nothing but bits of wire and string.

(Photos also by Kate...I also hope to see these Island Scraps in a book some day.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Business and Pleasure

After a brief stay at the Opryland Hotel (business meetings with the Board of Governors of the GA Bar; Terrence and I enjoyed a dinner/visit with my mom, siblings and a new friend/aupair, Felly and the child she takes care of.

Terrence with my brother-in-law, Louis and brother, Hugh.

Sister-in-law Natali, Mom, sister, Judy and me.

Posted by Picasa Victoria and Felly.

Terr left for home after lunch on Sunday while I've had a lovely few days here at Mom's house.  Visiting, cooking, eating, shopping, working on the fish tank; among other things, have filled my days.  Today Judy had Mom and me as patients at her dental office. After getting our teeth cleaned we all went to lunch together.  Joining us was another patient/family member, that hung around after her appointment and waited for us, my sweet Aunt Geraldine!

I have a few things I want to do tomorrow then I will head home to the one who waits for me... 
Thank you God for the life I lead!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adventures in Nicaragua, by Kate

      My mother calls it a charley horse –buckled arch, toes weirdly extended, crescendo of pain. I was hovering ten meters over a seemingly endless swath of murky turtlegrass about a mile offshore, and the cramp removal technique I learned in my open water course wasn’t cutting the mustard. My secondhand fins were longer than I was used to – fantastic for speed, where each kick jets you forward like the high gears of a bicycle, but demanding more of my ankles than maybe I was ready for. That, and the fins were significantly overlarge, a fact I was attempting to compensate for with a thick pair of wool socks. My spasming feet suggested this was an inadequate solution.

I hovered at the surface and took off a fin, massaged my insole until the contorted toes relaxed. Tested an on-the-spot hypothesis that swimming one-finned would result in circles (affirmative). Replaced the fin, kicked slowly and gently as I felt the discomfort immediately return. Grimaced. Looked back at the distant shore, then forward to where the waves were breaking over the reef, and decided I had come too far to turn back.

A gleam of silver jacks arrived over the barren expanse of sea grass like an escort service. Eight or ten of them, each one the length of my arm with large, intelligent eyes, they schooled around me, curious. I submerged my snorkel and hovered underwater with them; without the disruptive plume of bubbles that SCUBA gear necessitates, they seemed unafraid to investigate me, and got so close that I could have reached out and stroked their silver flanks. I followed them out to where the coral began.

The reef rose toward me at a slow incline as I swam farther out, until I could see the waves cresting where they broke over the reef just below the surface. Here coral appeared in technicolor, shocking reds and oranges usually obscured by meters of water. Tiny fish darted in and out of the coral labyrinth like fairies – one half purple and half yellow, another like a night sky alight with iridescent stars. Squirrelfish hovered uncertainly with big nervous eyes, and a needlefish threaded though the reef’s cavities, nosing delicately at a spiny black urchin wedged in a crevice. I sucked in my stomach and used my arms to swim forward as the coral – some of it stinging and all of it sharp – passed just inches below me.

And then it was gone – a wall of coral dropped down into a blue abyss. Startled, I looked out into a dim, urban landscape, coral skyscrapers and shadowy overhangs divided by highways of white sand far below; fish wove in and out of coral towers, whose caves and concavities gaped like windows and doorways. I was a suicide jumper, perched on the brink of the reef. The cramps in my feet were gone. I kicked once, and sailed out over the edge.

A huge pair of dark wings opened under me. I sputtered and gasped as a spotted eagle ray, ten feet across, emerged from a coral cave in the wall just below; her wings unfurled in profound slowness, menacing tail trailing silently. Heart thudding against my sternum, I sucked in a few quick breaths and plunged down alongside her.

Her giant face was birdlike and strange, beaked and angular, with a human eye that watched me. Her pace didn’t quicken as I approached – if anything she slowed, observing the gangly creature whose awkward flight shadowed her infinitely graceful one. We swam down and down, holding each other’s gaze until my lungs were near to bursting. As I kicked frantically toward the surface – it was such a long way up! – she became small and indistinct, disappearing into the obscure blue.

     Shafts of light illuminated orange ripples of fire coral and branches of elkhorn, and the radiant pathways gleamed white between the high walls of reef. I explored the caves and tunnels of the sunken city, where shimmering schools of sprats enveloped me; I dove deep to follow giant rainbow parrotfish, to lie down beside a sleeping nurse shark. Each time I kicked toward the surface to gasp a breath, barracuda hovered menacingly, glinting silver and gunmetal. Once came close, inspecting the flash of my ring in the sunlight, and showed his brutish teeth.

It was a long swim back, over a blank canvas of sand that seemed to stretch on forever. Finally I dragged myself up onto the beach, salty and sunbaked, sore-ankled and full of wonder.

From Mother:  I can't begin to see or understand what my daughter is experiencing in the far away land of Little Corn Island, but from her writings I want to learn.  I took the liberty of looking up, adding pictures and trying to understand what it must be like to be in a world of such new and exciting beauty.  I posted the video because of the sounds the water must have made while Kate was following the parrotfish.  You must be very aware of yourself in the silence of the sea.

A diver may not immediately know what a sprat is as it surrounds her in the water, nor any other underwater plant life and fish that come into view...Kate is studying, looking up, asking questions and learning about what she sees.  That's a good thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A picture speaks a thousand words....

For your enjoyment and to my credit, hee hee...enjoy!

I Love Snow!

I love snow. I like the softness of it. I like the way it makes everything quiet. I like the way it makes me think of Daddy. I liked the way it made him smile... 

It never failed that my father would make a snow day special.  I'm not sure I realized that as a child but it became clear as an adult when he would make a long distance call to tell me that the snow had started to fall.

Snow men, trips to play in the snow with friends, snowball fights, hot chocolate and every kind of snow cream that the ingredients in the kitchen would let him think up!

I inherited his excitement and amazement of the beauty.  Terr and I took a midnight snow walk last night and I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. just watching it fall.  That's when it's the the best; while it's falling.  Never go to sleep while it's falling.
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Sunday, January 02, 2011

New look for Chatterbox

Surprise! After 544 posts I'm working on a new look for Chatterbox...haven't quite gotten there yet but I'll be refining changes and hopefully make it look somewhat better. How do you like it so far?