Saturday, March 23, 2019

Another Day Of Reminders

Things were going along normally this morning. Pancakes were made and eaten, Boppy was working in the garden and Vergil and Jessie and the boys were planning on coming out so that Vergil could help Mr. Moon with the laundry room project. Owen and I walked to the post office and he talked about the memories he had of being a little guy and making that walk when he stayed with me. Everything was cool.
The Weatherfords showed up and August was thrilled that his big-boy cousin Owen was here. He adores Owen and I'm sure he admires him tremendously as someone who is strong and can read and who is helpful and kind. And yet, is still a kid. Someone to look up to and yet, is relatable.

Mr. Moon was just about to finish up in the garden when he got a phone call from the neighbor of our friend who has been ill. Our friend had called an ambulance for help and they couldn't get in the gate. Mr. Moon has keys to that gate and he and Vergil sped off.
Turns out that our friend had a stroke in the night and it took him from six in the morning until around eleven to make his way to his phone and dial 911.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Our friend is a Luddite. That's all there is to it. He did recently get a cell phone but it gets no reception in his house which is in the woods nearby here. Mr. Moon is kicking himself for not getting him a couple of cordless phones to keep around the house. He feels terrible about this although of course, it's not his fault. He's being such a good friend, going to doctors' appointments with him, taking him to pick up his medications, checking on him.
Anyway, Vergil drove my husband home and he showered and changed clothes and went on into town to go to the hospital. He is still there. It has been determined that, as I said, he had a stroke. Strangely, it did not affect his mental capabilities at all, nor his facial muscles. I guess it depends on where the blood block in the brain comes when a stroke occurs. The last I heard, the neurologist was with them and I'm sure I'll get the report later.
This is all so hard.
And that is probably the understatement of the year.

Meanwhile, somehow everyone got fed here. Leftovers were heated and eaten, cheese toasts were made and enjoyed. Vergil went on to do some of the preliminary stuff for the installation of the new washer (which, by the way, we haven't even bought yet), even crawling under the house which is not fun at all. Trust me. I've done it myself.

And the boys and Jessie and I all went outside and had adventures, first in the bamboo jungle and then on the railroad tracks.

This is part of the tree that came down during Hurricane Michael. The part that didn't land in our yard. It's on the railroad property and I wanted to take this picture to give perspective on just how monstrous it was. And please remember- that was only part of the ancient oak.

I still can't believe it's gone. Or at least, not living anymore.

Oh, the fun of walking on the railroad track! We found bones and iron spikes and many, many rocks. Treasures were brought home. 

Eventually Vergil crawled out from underneath the house and the whole pack of them loaded up and went back to town. It was suddenly so quiet here. I truly enjoyed Owen's visit and I think he enjoyed being the only kid. Last night we ate our tacos while watching a show that he certainly has never watched before and which I thought he'd probably be terribly bored with- The Great British Baking Show which Mr. Moon and I are slightly addicted to. Surprisingly though, he got into it and was quickly taken with the various personalities and who was good at baking what. When it was over he said that it was so sad that someone had to leave and how different the show was because no one was mad or arguing. I loved that. He is a gentle boy and so kind. He is very good with younger children and helped August with some puzzles and picked up Levon when he needed picking up. 
"Levon is so cute," he told me. 
"He is a handsome lad, isn't he?" I said. 
He's also patient with the little ones and not afraid to show his affection. Yesterday I saw him give Maggie a quick kiss as she passed by him. She didn't even notice but I did. And of course the love in that gesture is something she has known since birth and will always have with her. 
After Owen had his shower last night and got in bed, he wanted stories and I read him the books he picked out which are the ones he's always loved. He laughed when I told him that August picks out the exact same books to hear before bed when he spends the night. 
So all of that was good. Owen's visit and the visit with Jessie and Vergil and their boys, even as we all felt a bit shell shocked that our friend was in such a frightening situation. 

After they left I tidied up and then went out to the garden and finished the little bit of weeding that Mr. Moon didn't get done and got the tomato plants and peppers and eggplants into the ground. They probably aren't where he would have planted them but he was determined that they should be planted today. The sprinklers are on which causes the pipes in this old house to creak a rhythmic groaning song. Before I turned the water on I picked our supper's salad greens. I have no idea if my husband will be home to eat it. Eventually. Eventually he will be. 

It seems like each day lately brings some reminder of how very mortal we all are and makes me want to hold tighter than ever to this man I pledged my troth with so many years ago and makes me realize how much I want to love my children and grandchildren and friends with everything I have within me while I can. I think that one of the things I most disdain about religion is how it focuses on what will happen after we die. That we must suffer now in order to know eternal joy. The promises that we will be with our family again after death seem so flat and ridiculous to me. For one thing- there are plenty of people in my family of birth that I'd just as soon avoid for eternity. And to put off joy and whatever love we can make and take now for some ridiculous theoretical life everlasting seems to me to be the most dangerous and sad of philosophies. 
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, I suppose. 

And in that spirit, another thing I did was to pick some of the very last camellia blooms and set them in the old copper vase that was my grandmother's and which I have had since I was a young woman. 

As I picked each one I was in full knowledge that I will not be doing this again until spring and summer and fall have once again passed and it felt almost ceremonial, this plucking and bringing in of such soft pink beauty to enjoy for as long as I can, for as many times a day as I pass by them. 

I just got a text from Mr. Moon. 
"Trying to get his first meal of the day."
I answered, "Jesus. They can scan your brain but they can't feed you."
"Yep," he answered back. 

Oh, we live in a crazy world. Of course a brain scan is important if you've had a stroke. Immensely important. 
But so is food. 

I'm going to go cook our supper now. And I am going to enjoy every moment of the cooking and then of the eating thereof because this is it. Right here, right now. Because that's truly all we have as far as I can determine. And if we do that properly, it is enough and more than enough. It is, in fact, a sort of heaven. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, March 22, 2019

Every Day Is Part Of Our Legacy

How's that for a nice blue sky? And can you see the mulberries? I can't believe how fast that tree has grown. I know I planted it less than five years ago and it reaches way up into the sky. The birds will probably get most of the berries and the squirrels will get a goodly few as well. I know the chickens love them. When I bought the tree the guy at the nursery tried to convince me that I needed two of them for proper fertilization. I didn't think that was true. It would appear that I was right.

We're getting roses and roses and roses. See all the buds? I have no idea what variety that is and it really has nothing much to recommend it other than the fact that it is certainly hardy. Some heirloom. 

Today was a go-to-town day. I took two loads of laundry over to Jessie's to wash in her new washing machine. We put a load in and then took off to meet Hank and Rachel, Lily, Lauren, Owen, Gibson, Maggie, and Boppy for lunch at Japanica. Lily decided that it would be fun for us to do the hibachi lunch. The kids have been on spring break and this would be lunch and entertainment all at the same time. It was fairly successful. I probably laughed more than the kids did although Gibson kept saying, "I know this trick!" which I thought was hysterical. This wasn't his first hibachi rodeo. 

(Photo by Rachel.)

August did not like it when the chef did the fake soy sauce squeeze on him and when he lit the whole grill on fire, Maggie got very upset. 

It was pretty dramatic. 

Rachel and Hank were amused. 

It's all so corny but it's cheaper than Disney World for sure. 

After lunch I went back to Jessie's house and did another load of laundry and did a puzzle with August and then we read a book about pirates which was pretty good and I got to use my pirate voice. Levon played with his tractors and trucks and bulldozers. When the clothes were done I ran the errands I needed to do and finally got to the Publix part of it all where I got stuff to make tacos. Owen is spending the night and he really wanted crab legs but he reckoned that tacos would do. 
I picked him up on the way home and of course it hurt Maggie's feelings terribly that she wasn't coming too. Gibson was already engaged for the evening with his other grandmother and the family of Darling Lenore. And we haven't had our Owen over by himself for quite awhile. 
He helped me bring in groceries and gather eggs. He pulled some carrots and kicked a bamboo and now he's making soup with some of the shoot he kicked and then cut up as well as a few carrots. 

I tried and tried to tell him that the bamboo was not going to be edible but he is persisting. It's been cooking for about an hour now and it's still not tender. 
Oh well. 
He's a sweet boy and I sure do love him. Can you believe how grown up he is? His wrists are probably thicker than mine. He's my first grandbaby, the one who named me. I often feel almost an obsessive need to pass on things to him. Stories and advice for instance. I told him today that if he uses a lid on a pot the liquid will not escape as fast and that the heat will stay in and it will cook on a lower temperature. 
And then I said, "That's a little cooking lesson for you. Some things you can learn from someone teaching you and some things you just have to learn for yourself."
This is one of the few things I do know for a fact and one day Owen will know that too, as we all eventually learn. This may sound morbid but I truly do wonder what my grandchildren will remember about me when I'm gone. I suppose there is a part of me which is vain enough to think that as long as I am remembered I will be a part of their lives. In a perfect world they would remember me as a wise and affectionate and slightly insane old lady whom they never doubted loved them with every ounce of her being even though she was vastly imperfect and sometimes silly. 
Mostly though, just the part about loving them. 
One of my favorite book endings is what Larry McMurtry wrote in his novel, The Evening Star, which is the last of the series of books he wrote about Aurora Greenway which began with Terms of Endearment. As the book progresses, Aurora gets older and eventually has a stroke but one of the things she can still do is to play music on a little CD player for one of her great-grandchildren who was a baby. The book ends with that boy all grown up and going to a concert where one of the pieces his grandmother had played for him was performed and for some reason he cannot figure out, he becomes completely overwhelmed. The piece was Brahm's Requiem. 

"Suddenly, in the midst of the Requiem, to Henry's surprise and Sid's total amazement, Henry put his face in his hands and began to cry. His chest was heaving- he was overcome. Before he knew it, the music had taken him to another place- to an old place in his memory, to a place so old that he could not really even find the memory, or put a picture to it, or a face. He just had the emptying sense that he had once had someone or something very important: something or someone he would never have again. 
Walking home in the summer evening, Sid had not totally recovered from her amazement, nor Henry from the memory that had not quite been a memory. He was there- or mostly there- walking with Sid on Columbus Ave. But some of him was in another place- some of him was absent. Sid knew it too- she held his arm and looked at him differently. 
"Boy," she said. "You were really upset."

I love Larry McMurtry. I just do. And I think that ending to the book is perfect. And it describes what I would like my grandchildren to feel when something triggers them which releases some memory of me. Not an emotion you could describe as "upset" but something so very deep. That sense that they had once had someone or something very important. 

Of course for my grands it'll probably be more along the lines of hearing Honky Tonk Woman or Keith Richard's beginning guitar rift for Satisfaction. 

That's all right. 

I better go make some tacos. Owen can mash the avocados for the guacamole and chop the cilantro. And by the way, he tried his bamboo shoots and declared that they tasted like "Nature's poop." 
"Well," I said, "I'm sure you learned something and that's what matters."

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ah Well

How many of you remember Mercurochrome? It was like iodine's slightly gentler little sister. If you put iodine on a cut it would burn so bad you had to scream. No control over that scream. Apply iodine to an open wound and scream. But Mercurochrome (which is now banned because it contains, uh, mercury) didn't hurt quite as bad. If you were a wussy, you still might scream when it was applied to your boo-boo but if you were a brave little soldier, you could perhaps merely whimper a bit.
I was a clumsy child and uncoordinated. It took me over a year to learn to ride a bicycle. My grandmother finally hired a neighbor girl to teach me. That's how bad it was. And even after I learned I was constantly falling over and off of it. I also fell on the playground at school A LOT. And in those days, they didn't worry about the precious little children and their safety. Our playground was a mixture of dirt and dirt with rocks and oh yes, we could jump rope or play jacks on the cement lid of the septic tank and no, I am not kidding you.
So. I constantly had skinned knees. And well, sometimes, cut knees. And out would come the Mercurochrome and I would apply it myself with that little glass wand that came in the bottle which fit so cleverly into the lid. I guess sterility was not exactly a cherished concept in those days. And it always stung even if it didn't burn with the power of a thousand suns.

But all of this is not what I came here to talk about today.
No. Not really.
It just occurred to me a little while ago that some days are akin to being constantly doused with iodine while others are more like many applications of the gentler Mercurochrome.
Today was one of those.
I woke up with no energy and felt completely guilty about not taking a walk, not getting out in the garden to really get things done there, not pulling up weeds or trimming back palms or whatever. I just didn't feel like it. I felt wimpy and yes, wussy. And sort of whimpery.
Mr. Moon stayed home to work on my laundry room although he wanted to first get the tomatoes planted which would involve tilling the garden which he said would take about an hour and guess what? It's 6:30 at night and he's still weeding that garden by hand and the tomatoes are not in the ground and the laundry room hasn't been touched. Of course he did take a "break" to accompany our friend to the doctor and go to a few places in town but still- I can't complain because that garden needed attention and the plants do need to be planted. I'm just going to have to be patient about the laundry room and that's that.
So anyway, when Mr. Moon is here my desire to at least appear to be productive increases by tenfold because I am not an enlightened person who truly believes that she has worth even if she doesn't suffer while accomplishing something and so I tried this morning. I did kick some bamboo because look at this.

Do you see all those sprouts? That's from one day. There was no sign of them yesterday.  
So I kicked bamboo and took stuff to the trash place and planted a few herbs in pots and then I decided to get started making August another dress because that's sort of productive but doesn't take a lot of energy. I've been working on it all day and it's not finished and it's going to be too big and who knows? By next year he may not want to wear dresses at all. 
So that's that part of my day. 
And guess what? I'm a terrible chicken mama because I should have gotten rid of those eggs so that the mamas would have gotten off their nests but no, I just kept putting it off and yesterday we discovered that in the night some critter had come and eaten all of the eggs AND Viv/Vera, too. 
Feel guilty much, Ms. Mary Moon? 
Why yes, yes I do. 
Dearie is still alive and doesn't seem overly traumatized but she probably is. 

I finished listening to Michelle Obama's Becoming today while I was sewing and stuff. It is one hell of a fabulous book and I recommend it with all of my heart. But speaking of my heart, it made that particular organ ache because her descriptions of her husband and the amazing things they did while he was in office and how hard he worked and studied and how much he cared and how much they sacrificed as a couple, as a family, brought me to tears over and over and I think about Trump and the many hours he spends watching Fox news and Tweeting and I just wonder who in the hell is running this country because IT AIN'T HIM! 

So. Guilt and weepiness and more guilt and more weepiness and I haven't even talked about a lot of stuff which I am not going to talk about because there's no purpose. 

It's just been a Mercurochrome sort of day. And now I better get in there and make our supper. Despite the recent tragedies in the poultry world, the chickens are calm and placid, getting their last pecking and scratching in before bedtime. It amuses me to watch them as they range closer and closer to the hen house as it gets closer to bed time. They are as fond of routine as I am. 
I've downloaded another book to listen to and one of the reasons I chose it was because one of the reviewers on Goodreads gave it a poor rating because it had too much stuff about chickens in it. 

One more thing. 

Even the blooming wisteria is making me sad because I have seen exactly one bee courting those flowers. The bees used to visit the blooms in such numbers that standing underneath them was like listening to a symphony of buzzing. 

We're doomed. 
Forget iodine and fuck Mercurochrome. Those remedies will not do it. And I have no idea what will but I guess we'll just keep lurching forward as best we can until we can't anymore. 

Hope I was able to cheer you up a little.

Love...The Extremely Wimpy And Whimpering Ms. Moon

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Special Day Indeed

It has been a truly perfect first day of spring with cool temperatures and a blue sky sporting white fluffy clouds as if they were accessories. I took that picture on my little walk. Wisteria has taken over a tree in front of an old house. Here's another shot.

It's Gibson's birthday today. He turned seven. I thought about him and his birth all day as I walked and then as I got in the garden and weeded and planted my cucumber seeds. What a beautiful day that was. What a lovely birth! I wrote about it HERE, the day he arrived. 

What a beautiful little thing he was. He's still mighty cute. 
Lily and Jason had a small party tonight at their house for the birthday boy and it was, of course, wild and chaotic. Kids everywhere. Wiley Cash was there and he and Maggie got into an argument. 
"Hey Grandma," said Wiley to me. 
"She's MY Mermer!" said Maggie.
"She's my grandma," said Wiley. 
"NO! She's my Mermer!" said Maggie. 
This went on for quite awhile. They finally got over it, agreeing to disagree, I suppose. 


Gibson was beside himself with joy. Maggie took all her clothes off because she likes to be naked. Then she realized it wasn't going to be her birthday tonight and began to sob. 
And Mermer and Boppy took their leave. 

We drove home with that giant golden moon leading our way. It was too beautiful for us to even need to talk. The moon said everything. 

Happy birthday, Gibson!
Happy spring equinox, y'all. 
Happy golden moon, planet Earth. 
Nothing more to say. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

One Thing Does Lead To Another

So Mr. Moon and I met up at the credit union where his office is today to go shopping for a washing machine. I had to wait for him for awhile and as I did that, I got totally cornered by a lovely lady who would NOT stop talking and every other word out of her mouth was about her god whom she calls Dad.
As in a prayer of hers which goes, "Dad! You are the greatest artist of all!"
Dad has a plan for all of us. We can't alway see it but there is one.
In between the god talk there was a lot of talk about her life and the things she loves. Which was cool but my GOD (haha) she never quit talking.
Anyway, we finally got going and went straight to the place where we bought our refrigerator which is locally owned and has been in the same family since the first appliance was invented, I guess. The sales woman whom we bought not only the refrigerator from but also the dishwasher, feels like family now. She showed us various machines and here's something that's very weird- the new stackable machines have gotten so large that I would literally have to stand on a step ladder to operate the dryer. Yes, they do make smaller ones but they have smaller capacity tubs and I'm a woman who likes to be able to wash a rug when she's in the mood. You know what I mean? Hell, Mr. Moon's jeans require a large capacity washer.
So. What to do?
We went to lunch to discuss it and then we went next door to the nursery and bought some plants for the garden including tomatoes and eggplant and a few peppers and some herbs. We hadn't made a decision on the washer yet and I needed to get Gibson a birthday present as he turns seven tomorrow and so I googled, "Where can I buy toys near me?" only of course I wrote, "Whete can I buy toys near me?" which google pointed out and corrected for me. Google is so thoughtful. And by damn, but wasn't there a toy store right across the road? I mean, DIRECTLY across the road. So I went over there and it was a small toy store but it had such good stuff in it and I got Gibson two different presents and when I paid for them the woman said, "Would you like me to wrap them for you?" and I said, "How much does that cost?" and she said, "Oh, it's free," and I said, "Can I have your babies because I love you."
No, no. I did not say that last thing. But I did say, "Yes! Thank you! You have made my day so much better!"
And she had.
And Mr. Moon called me and he was back at the appliance place which was right next door to where we'd had lunch and bought the plants and he wanted to look at the washing machines again and so I joined him and we talked about it some more and we came up with an idea that is so stellar.
For the past fifteen years my laundry "room" has been a teeny, tiny little area off the kitchen where the stackable washer and dryer are as well as a small counter/cabinet where I put the folded clothes because I fold things right out of the dryer because that's how I do it. The washing products also sit on that counter and yes, there is the cabinet underneath but that's where I store other things including paper towels and so forth. The hot water heater is in that small space as well and so are the three recycle receptacles so it is very cramped, to say the least.
Now I don't really complain about this because it makes me so happy just to have a washer and dryer in my very own house but there is a room in the house that we call the mud room that would make a fine laundry room and we've talked for a long time about doing that.
Some day.
But it occurred to us today that we might as well do it now so that we can get the washer that we want and I won't have to use a step ladder as we won't have to stack the washer and dryer.
As I speak Mr. Moon is figuring out how to run an appropriately sized electric line into that room to plug the dryer in and there's already a plumbing situation in there we could use for the washer which is what gave us the idea in the first place.
Y'all! Can you imagine? A laundry room? With space to fold clothes? With a few designated shelves to hold my detergent and bleach and Oxy-Clean?
What?! What?!
Ooh boy. I'd be in high cotton with all of that.
I'd show you a picture of what my laundry "room" looks like now but when I view it objectively it looks like an attempt at a laundry room in a trailer that meth is being cooked in.
And no, I'm not exaggerating.
Mr. Moon has decided that we should redo the flooring in the room we'll be moving the laundry area into so of course this is all going to take some time but I am going to be patient. I do actually like the linoleum that is in there now because it's really old and sort of cool but it is also cracked and coming up in some places and I can see the value in replacing it.

So. There you go. I'm pretty darn excited and maybe, eventually, possibly, one day we can make what is now the laundry area into a pantry of sorts but I'm not going to rush that idea. One thing at a time.

I still haven't done anything about the eggs that Dearie and Viv/Vera are sitting on. It has to have been three weeks now. Maybe tomorrow I'll do it. It just seems so cruel to take those eggs away but it's also cruel to leave those hens sitting on what are probably rotting eggs. I have to say that since the roosters have been dispatched it is a completely different scene around here. There is peace in the valley and Liberace appears to rule with a calm and regal talon, not bothering the ladies overmuch with his needs. I am getting plenty of eggs although neither of the Americaunas are laying and I have to wonder if they, too, are laying somewhere hidden and have deep and instinctual plans to sit on those eggs. Or, they may just be recovering from their rooster-ravaged wounds.
I have no real idea but I do miss seeing those pretty green eggs in the egg bowl in the kitchen.

So remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about how if you start messing with doilies you'll be putting up crown molding before you know it? Since I started writing this I've helped Mr. Moon move two pieces of fairly major furniture, one of which will probably motivate us to move back into our old bedroom although that will take two men and a boy because our mattress is so damn heavy. I refuse, however, to put up crown molding.

I better go make supper.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Full Day, To Say The Least

And so it begins. The bamboo, unbeknownst to me has begun to sprout. For those of you who are relatively new here, what this means is that for the next few weeks I have to go out and find every sprouting bamboo I can find and kick them all over or else my entire yard will be a bamboo jungle which sounds sort of cool but trust me- is not. In five years you wouldn't be able to hack your way through it with a machete.
I have decided that my yard is the poster child for invasive species, all planted, I am certain, innocently enough by former owners of the house.
I discovered that particular shoot right after I'd come home from the grocery store and while my bags were still on the counter waiting to be emptied, I began kicking. As I kicked I despaired, feeling as if my life is out of control and that I cannot possibly keep up with it.
From preventing bamboo overtaking the place to pulling other invasives to weeding and planting and tending the garden to clearing out areas of the yard that have been left too long without attention, to dealing with the housework, the grocery shopping, the cooking, the laundry- all of the endless chores that need doing- I am overwhelmed.
And then I discovered that the washing machine is broken.
But, the wisteria is purpling up.

And the tung tree is in full bloom. 

I am sorry that these pictures are not better. It has been overcast today, and cooler and I am not complaining about that but the sky has not made for great photos. 

I complain too much. The fact of the matter is, I have the house and the yard that I always so desperately wanted and if they have come with a lot of work involved, that is merely part of the bargain. If I want fresh vegetables I need to pull up my big girl panties and get out there and tend to things. 

I weeded the carrots today and the approximately three leeks which came up and are still alive. Jack helped me by laying in the kale and watching me carefully. The beans I planted last week are up and doing nicely, the arugula too. I hope to goodness it survives the coming heat because store lettuces and salad greens leave me completely unimpressed. I have got to get my ass to a nursery and buy tomato plants and I've also got to plant some squash and cucumbers and Owen specifically asked if I'd plant more corn this year. I would love to make him happy. I would love to be able to get out the canning kettle and make pickles this year. I would love to have fresh squash and I'd give my pinky toe for some delicious, ripe, homegrown tomatoes this year. 
Well, maybe not really but you know what I mean. 

So anyway, I am feeling overwhelmed by it all, the yard, the garden, the house, the washing machine being out of order, the anxiety which has seeped back in to fill up all the spaces that I thought I'd banished it from with my wonderful weekend. I talked to Lis today. We rehashed a few things from the party and she is slowly trying to pull things together. Today she and a friend who is still there dealt with the dessert table which was absolutely filled and over-filled with, well, desserts. And muffins. And so forth. She said the dishwasher is running and that soon she will start to go through the refrigerator to see what it holds. I'm afraid it's going to be like an archeological dig where there are layers upon layers of things to discover. People would come to the party with a food item and say, "This needs to be refrigerated," and we'd about die. It would have been easier for someone to build a refrigerator from q-tips and car parts than it would have been to fit so much as a stick of butter into that thing, much less one more large Gladware container of salad. Hell, we lost an entire damn shepherd's pie although we eventually did find it. I won't even mention the tiramisu that was carefully placed in an ice chest and almost forgotten. But thankfully, was not as it was homemade with love and all of the best ingredients. 

It's been an up and down day here in Lloyd as I've coasted on the sweetness of the weekend and crashed on the rocks of reality. Our friend who was in the hospital received what may have been some halfway good news from a doctor today which raised our spirits and then, because life is cruel and unfair and horrible sometimes, I discovered that one of Hank's best friends died suddenly and tragically young from a heart attack. My boy has had to suffer way too many deaths of friends. It's also the birthday of a another one of his beloved friends and tribe member who died quite a few years ago in a car wreck. I talked for a long time on the phone with my ex-husband and we discussed some of our own longtime beloveds who have passed on. We shared some sad stories and some funny ones. It was good to talk to him. We still make each other laugh and that's a beautiful thing. I am so grateful that we get along and like each other. Hell, we're bonded for life due to the children we had together and we have a shared history. We went to the same high school, we spent some formative years together, to say the least. And he IS a funny guy. And as a bonus- his wife is awesome. 

And that's been my day. Ups and downs and kickings and cursings and hopes and sorrows and waterings and cleanings and flowers and weeds and memories and laughter and tears, too. 
Still no baby chicks and no, I did not deal with that issue today but I'm going to have to. I'm afraid those two hens are going to sit on those eggs until the Rapture if I don't take them away. 
Sometimes it is absolutely not in our best interests to persevere even when circumstances tell us we are on a fool's errands. 
Turns out, sometimes we are and it's best just to walk away, go eat a good meal, drink deeply of sweet water, take a dust bath, rejoin the flock and live to lay another day. 
Eggs, that is. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, March 17, 2019

August's Fiddle Debut

And let me tell you that the man accompanying him is an amazing musician.
Jack Williams. 

Dress by MerMer Moon.
Just thought I'd add that.

How It Went

Oh, y'all. I had the best damn time I've had in years and years and once again I have Lis to thank and Lon, too. They got me off my ass and into their world and it was a whole lot of magic. I spent most of time in that tiny kitchen and how we managed to get enough food out of it to feed at least a hundred people three meals a day is nothing short of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.
Frankly, it's impossible.
Truthfully, we did it. And it was wonderful.

And while that was happening, music was happening everywhere. 

When I first met Lis and Lon, they lived in St. Augustine and I would visit them and their people, their friends and loved ones, enfolded me in a way I've not known before or since. There seemed to be no hurdles to jump, no tests to take, no nothing to prove. 
Here I was, I was Mary, I was the friend of Lis and Lon, I was loved. And I fell in love with so many of those folks in return. I look back now and I think about how I really did become a small part of that community. I would go over to folk festivals and help in the hospitality tent, making sure the artists had food to eat and things to drink. I worked side-by-side with Lis and when she was onstage, which she always was at one time or another, I watched with as much pride as a mother, a sister, a star-struck fan.
I just was. 
Hell, I still am. 

But I haven't seen so many of these people for a long, long time. Lon and Lis moved from St. Augustine to their little home deep in the heart of a different part of Florida on a lake surrounded by woods and water but I used to visit them fairly frequently and I'd go into town with them when they played and I'd still see some of those people and then I'd see them again when I'd go to the parties they had every two years or so. 
And then came the time of greater and greater anxiety and I just didn't make it to all of the parties and honestly, I hadn't seen some of these beautiful folks for years. 

But this year I had to go. I just did. And I swear, it was one of the hardest things I've done in a long time but I kept thinking about how Lon and Lis have come and helped with every one of my kids' weddings since they've known me. I mean BIG help. Make-the-wedding-cake help. Help-decorate help. Give-me-moral-support help. Wash-dishes help. Build-a-bridal-bower help. And I also thought about how Lis kicked my ass into going to Cuba with her and how that was truly a life-changing event and how much fun we'd had and how amazing it was. 
And I knew there was no excuse big enough to keep me from going. 
Plus, Jessie and Vergil were going with their boys and these St. Aug people had known Jessie since she was about five years old. And she'd brought Vergil with her to this gathering when they got serious and he'd proved his mettle with his mandolin and his harp-playing and he got everyone's approval with the way he so obviously loved Jessie, the fairy goddaughter of Lon and Lis. 
So. Had to go. 
Did it. 

When I got there on Thursday they were all still in prep mode. The men were doing tree trimming and setting up the fire pit and the parking areas and camping areas and they'd just finished building an outdoor shower for the campers. The fancy, schmancy bathrooms with AC had been put in place. And the women were getting all the food ready and when I pulled in, the first person I saw was one of those people I hadn't seen in forever and he leaned in the window of my car and hugged me and kissed me and said, "It's so good to see you again," and it was all okay. Better than okay. And THEN, I found Lon and Lis and I was just about in heaven. 

The whole weekend was like that. 
"Hello, hello. It's so good to see you. How are you?" 
And you can't imagine how many times I was told how beautiful Jessie and her family were. 

Some pictures. 

Three beautiful men whom I love. My husband, Lon, and Doc, as he is called. He plays music with the Williamsons and has forever, and oh yeah, he's a veterinarian. He always brings fish he caught and fries it up. The best. I made some of my almost world-famous tartar sauce to go with it. I told him the day after the fish lunch that I'd hardly gotten a bite because it got eaten up so fast. He fried some more that very day and sent me a plate to the kitchen. 

Our fire-tender, T.J. The man can build a fire. He kept it going all weekend with the help of a fascinating woman I met for the first time. She's a sailor and lives on the St. John's river in a house off the grid and wears vintage Levi's that have no damn spandex in 'em at all. 

Levon trying to chop wood with his shovel the way his Boppy was chopping with an axe. His technique is flawless. 

August, whom we found in the kitchen helping Lis make the traditional birthday cake. The weekend that this party falls on is always the one closest to St. Patrick's Day and there are at least three birthdays of guys in the group and Lis always makes a cake. How she found time to make a cake, I do not know but not only did she make one, she let August help her until I coaxed him away with the promise of a few books. It was so much fun to be there with my grandkids. Everyone was so kind to them and there were other children too. Boppy helped out, taking August to the fancy potties, giving him a bath, watching him so that Jessie and Vergil could have a little more freedom. I felt so proud to be the grandmother of two such beautiful boys. Everyone was so kind to them. 

I got to spend time in the kitchen with a woman I've known forever but didn't really know that well and now I feel as if we are bonded in a new and very sweet way. I also shared kitchen-space with a guy who always comes to these parties early to help and I have such an easy relationship with him. I told him, "Harvey, it's not everyone that you can say FUCK YOU! to who will take it as the endearment it's meant to be." He laughed his beautiful laugh as he made his mama's Georgia baked beans while I mixed up angel biscuit dough. A prince of a man. I got to see and spend a little time with the woman who comments here as Lulumarie whom our family calls, The Nicest Woman In The World! And she is. She had brought Lis a little ceramic bluebird on a wire to stick in a plant in her garden and she let August do the honors of putting it in just the right place. I got to meet a woman who's been a back-up singer for almost any artist you can think of and whose stories were amazing. And of course I got to see folks that I haven't seen in forever which was absolutely splendid. I also got to see my darling Liz Sparks (aka Liz of the west) and spend some time with her. She helped Vergil put up the tent while Jessie got the kids fed and she cooked eggs the next morning on a grill on the fire. I got to see and talk to people I've known since I was nineteen years old and had just moved to Tallahassee with the amniotic fluid still running forth from my ears and the crazy running from my soul. They took me in as they took in so many people and I will love them always. 

And I got to spend time with Lon and Lis. 
I can't even really talk about how much I love them. It's just too damn big. 

And Lord, I cooked. I cooked black beans and I made that tarter sauce and pickled red onions and I threw together a cole slaw under Lis's directions. I got asked fifty times if I was making "those" biscuits. I did make those biscuits. I must have mixed up five or six batches of the angel biscuit dough to rest in Lis's giant bowl. When she pulled it out for me she said, "I don't think I've used this since the last time you made biscuits here," and I said, "OH! My baby!" and I gathered it in my arms and it nestled there for a few seconds before I set it on the counter.
Here it is, filled with the dough this morning, August ready to help me roll it out and cut it and bake it. 

What a joy that was! 

This morning, when the biscuits were ready and sitting on the table outside next to butter and cane syrup and honey and the sausage that Lon's sister and brother-in-law had sent over made from one of the cows they've raised on grass and goodness and which Lon had grilled, and so much fruit and muffins and even tiramisu, Lis gathered us all together to hold hands and she thanked us all and I seriously doubt there was a dry eye to be found among us. 
And after all of THAT (and about forty pots of coffee) she called August to help her put the candles on the birthday cake. 

Of course he has had a lot of practice doing that. 
And the candles were lit and a more beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday" has never been heard while the three birthday men stood together and then blew out their candles while Levon helped from across the table because that boy knows how to blow out a candle. 

Leaving was about the hardest thing I've ever done. I almost cried like a child. 
"I don't want to leave!" I wailed. 
And the universe laughed and laughed. 

But I tell you what, I'm going to sleep good tonight. I seriously worked hard, cooking and washing dishes and walking back and forth from the kitchen to the recording studio where we were staying and where things were stashed in the refrigerator there. But it was such a joy. 

Before we left I cleaned up the biscuit project and made four loaves of soda bread to cook later when the corned beef and cabbage got made. I wished I had something else I needed to do so that I could stay a little longer. But we needed to get back. Mr. Moon wanted to check on our friend who has been in the hospital but who's home now and we'd left the animals with lots of food but no supervision. And of course we're home now. All unpacked and all of the animals are fine and as a true, sweet bonus, Miss Pansy has returned from her self-induced exile caused by roosters. Dearie and Viv/Vera are still sitting on eggs and I think that Viv/Vera's at least are probably not going to hatch. I'll deal with that tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, I'm still floating around in the ether somewhere with all the love and magic. I've unpacked and washed the sheets on our bed and remade it. I've picked greens for salad and am about to go cook our tiny two -person dinner. 
My regular life is about to resume but I'd sort of love to drive back to Gatorbone and help Lis clean up. I can't even imagine how tired she and Lon must be. 

Well. That's the report. 

There's far more I could tell but that'll certainly do. 

I've missed y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon