Melanzana, aubergine, mad apple–it’s all eggplant to me

“How can people say they don’t eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name? I don’t understand.”
Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)

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First the flower, then the emerging fruit and finally the fully grown black beauty.
Eggplants making their way in the garden.

And yes, eggplant, as it is commonly referred to here in the US, is indeed a fruit and not a vegetable–matter of fact, it’s actually considered a berry.
Who knew?
Another little known fact is that eggplants contain nicotine, but the levels are so negligible that those smokers out there don’t need to get all excited.

Because I am Sophia Loren’s love child—oh you didn’t know that?
Don’t worry, Sophia Loren doesn’t know it either, but don’t tell my college roommates that.
They were convinced. Has to do with all that adoption business and a love of all things Italian but I digress as usual.
I thought at an early age I needed to add the eggplant to my palate.

And those giant purple things found in the grocery store can be a bit intimidating to the home cook. I mean really, what does one do with a giant purple globule of a veg. . . eh, fruit?!

Yes there is the standard quasi Italian eggplant parmesan, and the French melange of ratatouille, but I live in the South remember—we fry everything, including eggplant.

I wonder why that is.
I’ve never really stopped long enough to research why we southerners find it important to fry almost anything and everything. Didn’t I once read that Elvis’s favorite food was to fry a bacon, peanut-butter and banana sandwich? And now there’s tell of fried oreo cookies, and fried ice-cream and fried cheesecake—but the standard bearers are of course fried chicken, fired okra and fried green tomatoes. . .well, there’s just not much anything better than any of those nor anything much more Southern—except for maybe fried eggplant.

Here’s a couple of shots from a previous frying episode

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Here’s a quick tutorial to serving fried eggplant.

I always peel my eggplant—the skin can often taste bitter and does not break down well when fired, making for unpleasant eating. I find that store bought eggplant’s skin is more bitter and tough than my garden fresh variety, but it just makes for easier eating to peel it away.

Slice the eggplant into thin rounds.
The pictures here are of the large more global shaped eggplant verses the more sledder Japanese eggplant pictured earlier in the post–either one works splendidly.

There are even white eggplants–which seem to fit the whole name thing much better than the purple specimens.
I grew white ones once.
My husband likened them to looking more like dinosaur eggs than a delectable vegetable / fruit and was a bit put off—hence my now standard bearer purple variety.

First, I soak my eggplant in buttermilk.

Often folks will salt the rounds, layering them in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes, as this helps to remove the bitterness in the seeds (I wonder if that’s where the nicotine is hiding, hence the bitterness. . .)
I find that the soak in buttermilk is sufficient to render excess moisture and any lurking bitterness–soak about 30 minutes.

Prepare a plate or shallow pan with a mix of cornmeal, a little flour, salt, pepper, and any other spice addition that may float your boat–making for a nice dredging mixture.

Prepare a skillet with about a 1/2 inch of canola oil and heat over med heat until a pinch of flour dropped in sizzles or for the more exact among us—between 275 and 325 degrees.

Remove a round at a time out of its soaking liquid, allowing it to drip free of excess buttermilk— then dredge the eggplant round in the cornmeal mix, coating throughly on both sides.

Place coated rounds in the pan making certain not to overcrowd or overlap.

Fry on one side till a nice golden brown then flip to finish the other side.

Remove the cooked rounds to a wire rack to drain.

Fry remaining rounds then lightly salt, dust with grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately. You may serve with a dipping sauce of choice—a spicy remoulade, or fresh tomato salsa is nice, but my husband prefers a horseradish sauce for a little kick.

Enjoy!!
Mangia!

Raise the signal flags, the enemy advances

To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”
― Sun Tzu

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There I was mindlessly staring out the basement window, sweat rolling down my brow into my eyes, giving new meaning to salt solution, Bono blasting out of my iPhone– “I’m not invisible”– when suddenly at 11:00 (as in off to my left oh so slightly) something of a raw sienna tone is indeed no longer invisible.

The enemy has emerged from the thicket, just over the barbed wire fence.
Oh the stealthy one. . .
Grabbing the music blaring iPhone, I try to get a picture while precariously balancing whilst still working the elliptical.

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“Back on the ol elliptical eh?” You ask in that condescending tone.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I am—during the two week wedding hiatus, there were miles and miles of brisk heat consumed walking but not the consistent fat burn of my basement nemesis. You saw me in that dress–You and I both know that there is still much work to be done–and oh, by the way, Publix has brought in a new butter.

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A new butter” you muse.
“How can there be “new” butter?
Prèsident–a french butter made in Normandy—with real flakes of tasty sea salt—ummmm.
Fleur de sel, the caviar of salt, is only found in the salt flats of Normandy—which has been harvested for centuries.
Chefs love to finish a dish with a light sprinkle of the flour de sel.

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“But I thought Normandy was only good for D Day celebrations and that apple brandy of theirs. . .” you ask quizzically.
Ahhh yes. . . Calvados.
Nothing like a sweet potato soufflé spiked with a good dose of Calvados.
But no, they do more than war memorials and apples—they do salt and they do butter.
Does it get any better than that???

Oh dear Lord, the thought of butter has sent me spiraling off track.

So there I was sweating like a pig, watching this 4 legged enemy at the far end of the yard, opposite my garden, aka, the deer salad bowl, advance. I careened my neck out about as far as I could, as my legs in tandem seemed to excelerate, just so I could see a portion of the garden to my extreme right. Was this doe sent in as a distraction while the others made haste to the tender beans?

I continued watching this doe nibbling on the blackberry bush.
And as suddenly as she appeared out of the brush—one blink, or one sweat blob in the ol eye, and she was gone. . .for now. . .

Fast forward to twilight.
We decided to go check the garden after supper.

Just as we stepped out the back door, I heard it.
SHUUU SHUUUU
The unmistakable snorting sound a deer makes as a warning.
As fast as I looked up to scan the area, there they were. . .two white tails hopping and darting
away, back into the dense venation at the edge of the woods.

Oh they are testing me to be sure.
I may need to go cut more Irish Spring.
Maybe another scare crow?
And those deer b gone granules…hummmm
Why do I fret so and work as I do. . .
All for this–the first basket load of goodies.

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Stayed tuned–the battle wages on. . .

The Contradiction of a Conundrum

“Only the man who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly, and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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(pinnacle of the Gordon memorial, Wright Square / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

None of us will leave this world unscathed or scarless.
Even the most decent among us will know the pain and heaviness of life’s burdens.
Some of us seem to have more than our fair share of woefulness–
leading us all to realize that Life is indeed unfair.

And yet we live in a world full of the contradiction of a conundrum . . .

“Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:m27-30)

We are told that we who are weary and worn out by the heaviness of our lives, may lay our burdens down, that we may finally find rest. . .
And yet on the flip side. . .
We are told that we must take up our cross, a heavy seemingly burdensome cross–knowing that to do so equates to death.

The conundrum.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
(Matthew 16:24-26)

Yet as ironically and obviously straightforward as it truly is, as Pastor Bonhoeffer explains, this contradiction, this conundrum of our lives, is perhaps as simply simple as our totally yielding with effortless submission verses the hard headed stubborn resistance of self that we so tirelessly cling to.

It is as easy as exhaling. Completely letting go of our stubborn self and of all that entails.
It is in that blessed exhaling where the rest is waiting.

Once again, as with much of life, it’s merely a matter of choice. . .
But what a choice it is.

Evening sky

In the evening of life we shall be judged on love, and not one of us is going to come off very well, and were it not for my absolute faith in the loving forgiveness of my Lord I could not call on him to come.
Madeleine L’Engle

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(a mid June evening sky in Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

Sweetly calm gentle evening sky;
A hush falls over the land.

Oppressive heat thankfully dissipates
as now soothing evening air eases weary minds

Gone for today is life’s hustle and bustle,
serenely replaced by an unseen artist’s muted tones

A heavy head leans against the window’s glass
while inquisitive eyes watch Peace lazily pass by

The road seemingly stretches endlessly onward
carrying way-ward travelers safely home

Rest now found in an evening sky
as serenity covers the earth

This means war!!!!

“Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.”
― Martin Luther

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Do you have any idea as to what this picture is all about?
You think it’s just some sort of stem don’t you?
You are partially correct, it is a stem–sans all its leaves.
And you should know that this is not just any sort of stem!
This is one of almost 50 plants just like it.
Rows upon rows of “topped off” plants.
Topped off you ask?
Yes, as in eaten off.
As in all of my green, wax, bush, french beans have been pillaged.
Pillaged you ask?
As in decimated.
As in eaten to the nubs.

Do you remember this little fellow? I took this shot back in the fall.
“Oh how pretty”
“Oh how majestic”
I had mused as I watched the bucks and does come and go in our yard.
Little did I know of the impending treachery. . .
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Well it now seems as if this little buck has called all his friends.
The antlers are long gone and this is the time of year that food is at its peak.
Food?
Yes, my food.
As in my garden.
UGH!!!!

I try to keep this garden of ours as organic as possible. The strongest stuff I use on pests is the poison I sprinkle on those d@m%ed fire ant mounds which ring the garden like the infamous ring of fire—quite fitting indeed.
Oh how I hate those evil little biting devils. . .

But after my rows of beans, my pepper plants now minus their tops, an entire cucumber plant MIA, crushed stalks of young corn and even branchy vines from my tomatoes all mysteriously disappearing—daily . . .
I’m mad.
Really mad.
Fighting mad.

Do you remember George C. Scott’s role as General George S. Paton?
Remember that opening fiery profanity laced monologue?
That man didn’t play.
Just ask the Germans.
And thank God for the Allies he didn’t mince words. . .
Well, by George S. Patton, it is now time for the big guns!!
As in, this means war!!!

Recently an old-timer (that’s what my husband calls the elderly men who have spent their lives working in the fields) came into my husband’s store recently and shared with him a tried and true little secret weapon that he swore by to ward off deer from ones garden. . .Irish Spring.

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What you say?
As in Irish Spring, green, highly fragrant, soap??!!
Yep.
Supposedly the deer don’t like the smell.
We bought boxes of the soap and have cut slivers, much like Hansel and Grettle leaving little crumbs, surrounding the entire perimeter of the garden, plus up and down each and every row.
All the while I whistled the little sailor ditty from those iconic Irish Spring commercials.

Next, I went for the old standard pie pans.
Shock and awe.
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Clinking, clanging and banging in the breeze. We tied 15 pans all around the garden. They’re hung in tress, from the tomato cages, and even from the bean poles.

And then there was the non poisonous pest granules which are spread on the ground, not the plants. It has an irritating effect on the nostrils of varmints large and small.
Hummmmm.
Yeah, and I’ve got some swamp land for sale. . .the jury is still out on the granules.

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But— there is a secret weapon.
I don’t know his name yet.
But he is two faced.
He’s doubly mean
And he’s doubly bad.
Plus he smells.
Smells you ask?
Yes.
Stinks to high heaven.
As in he’s been doused with perfume.

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I figured a good dousing of perfume might signal that a human just may be lurking in and around the beans.
Fingers crossed.
My only other recourse. . . send my husband out all night with a spot light.
Somehow I don’t think he’d be too keen on that thought. . .
I’ll keep you posted. . .

Happy Father’s Day to the men in my life

“A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self. Every attempt to live as if he were alone is a denial of the fact that he is actually responsible. He cannot escape the responsibility, which is his because he is a father. This reality refutes the fictitious notion that the isolated individual is the agent of all ethical behavior. It is not the isolated individual but the responsible person who is the proper agent to be considered in ethical reflection.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

To my husband–on the momentous occasion of our son’s wedding. It seems as if it was just yesterday that it was you who was teaching Brenton how to tie a tie. . .
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To my dad, aka Pops—without who, so much in our lives would never have been. . .
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(Dad in Savannah at Brenton’s Rehearsal dinner)

And to my Godpoppa, who without his ever constant vigil of love and direction and lots of redirection–without which I may have never have been. . .
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(The Very Rev. David B. Collins, dean emeritus of the Cathedral of St Philip, at Brenton’s rehearsal dinner)

Thank you to the men in my life and a rousing HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads out there!!!

Vigilance

“The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”
John Philpot Curran

The preservation of peace and the guaranteeing of man’s basic freedoms and rights require courage and eternal vigilance: courage to speak and act – and if necessary, to suffer and die – for truth and justice; eternal vigilance, that the least transgression of international morality shall not go undetected and unremedied.
Haile Selassie

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(sparrow / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

As I turn on the news each evening or peruse the electronic news feeds, I am constantly reminded, by the headlines of the day, of the perilous balance of liberties and freedoms–the same liberties and freedoms that we have grown blindly accustomed to. The freedoms that the Western World always seems to take for granted.

Our liberties, of which we merely assume are enjoyed around the world, those that are threatened on a daily basis, as the simple freedom of living is put to the test across the globe.
The freedom to worship.
The freedom to vote.
The freedom to choose an education—or not
The freedom to work as one wishes.
The freedom to live where one chooses.
The freedom to shop as one desires.
The freedom to dress as one pleases.
The freedom to travel openly.

All of which we take for granted—assuming to be our God given right.
We take as a given of simply being. . .
But oh how tenuous is the balance which the world hangs between. . .that of tyranny, oppression and death.

I do not propose that we of the “free world” are to be the police of the remainder of this world, nor are we to necessarily impose our form of belief upon others. . .but oh how I wish that those in this world, who continue to impose violence upon woman and children, those who impose death upon their fellow countrymen, those who wish death upon the innocents, or those who live to destroy our way of life, could / would understand that thuggery, death, violence, coercion, manipulation, torture, are not the answer.

May we be mindful to remain vigilant rather than rest in our complacency. . .

weighing one’s options

“Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.”
Immanuel Kant

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(The statue of the bird girl, which use to reside in Bonaventure Cemetery but was moved following the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, for safety reasons, to the Telfair Museum –Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

When all the world seems to scurry off, heading in one direction as lemmings racing to the sea. . .
When everyone around you points skyward, just as henny penny, waiting for the sky to fall. . .
When all around you moan and groan, just as Eeore would lament, “oh no, we’ll never make it” . . .
When false prophets clamor that the end is near. . .
Take heart.

Choices made.
Decisions to follow are easy.
Decisions to stay behind are hard.
A crowd races down the street,
Shouting, yelling as everyone pushes and shoves.

Turn around.
Stop where you are.
Is this who you really are?

You must weigh who you are,
who you wish to be.
Does is matter who they see you to be
or does it matter who you see?

A scale tips and the balance is broken.
A time will come when it does matter.
A choice will have to be made and the question will be,
which do you choose?

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.

(Isaiah 40:3)

The Queen Mum speaks

“Your work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.”
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.”
― Joseph Conrad

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Oh, you were expecting someone else weren’t you?

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Hoping you’re not too terribly disappointed in the selection of queens, I did however, want to share with you the words spoken from this particular queen mother—words which were used to pay homage to the transition of her son, the heir apparent, as well as welcoming words to the addition of his bride into our lives . . .

Obviously this version, the written version, is sans the emotion. The tears, the raw moments which where marked by a mother who would find herself choking up when she had otherwise been the proverbial rock. There is also something very moving, as well as overwhelming, when you find yourself standing before a gathered group of nearly one hundred folks—family friends, who have journeyed near and far in order to be with your family for a celebration.
A very humbling moment indeed.

This is a copy of the “toast” I offered on behalf of Brenton’s dad, Gregory (he just gets too emotional at such moments–remember, I am the rock), and myself as we brought our magical evening to a close. I think I echo the words of most parents out there who find themselves in the position of offering their child, who has suddenly grown up, to another person and family–while, in turn, welcoming another individual and family into their family.
It’s all a matter of transition. . .

And as this special day of ours fell on the 70th anniversary of D Day—-I took the opportunity, before beginning my little “talk”, by offering a brief history lesson—which was geared especially to all the young people gathered in, of all places, a restaurant named Churchill’s in a banquet room known as Number Ten Downing, who I think all need a good dose of reminding of such a monumentally perilous and heroic moment in the history of the free world. . .leave it to the teacher in me. . .

As most of you who know me, know that I express myself best through the written word, tonight shall prove no differently.

Again, Gregory and I would like to thank each of you for making the journey here to Savannah this weekend. We would also like to thank you for making this journey with us a parents—Each and every one of you has had a hand in helping to raise these two very precious individuals who are seated here in this room this evening. Had it not been for all of you and of the role you’ve played in the lives of both Brenton and Abby, this joyous weekend, possibly, may not have ever taken place.

As a teacher, I was always keenly aware of the importance of the role I had in helping to raise children other than my own. It was a role I took very seriously for over 30 years of my life. It is for that very reason that Gregory and I are both so truly grateful to all of you here with us this evening.

I am also keenly aware of those individuals who had a hand, either directly or indirectly, in and with the lives of Brenton and Abby— who are no longer physically with us —in particular Abby’s dad Chris, as well as for my mom Mary Ann and my Uncle Paul.

I don’t know if this was true for any you parents or not, but I believe that when we, as new parents, first hold our freshly delivered baby in our arms, we immediately begin planning.
Planning an illustrious future.
We immediately begin planning when our child will walk.
We plan what sports he or she will play.
We plan their academic success, we plan what college they’ll attend and chances are, we plan their career choice…

We also, no doubt, immediately begin planning, or at least imagining, their wedding.
Who will they meet?
Who will they fall in love with?
Will they have to endure broken hearts?
Will they be happy?

Life and parenthood is truly all about planning.
Planning for ourselves as well as planning for our children.

But as any parent in this room will testify—all that planning can just be thrown out the window because no child will ever live according to the plans or the schedules of any well-intentioned or well-organized parent.

Yet nevertheless, plan I did.

I cannot speak to the parents who have raised multiple children, as Brenton is our only child.
And it should be noted that there is a lot of pressure on only children. They fortunately or unfortunately receive all, and I mean all, of their parent’s love, attention, and planning.

Follow all of that with telling folks your mom’s a teacher and you may multiply that planning and attention by at least a million.

From the time Brenton was born, it was happily always the three of us. We went everywhere and did everything together as a family. The first time Gregory and I ever went away on a weekend trip together, Brenton was a junior high school. I won’t talk about the destroyed freezer, the burn marks on the patio, or the exceeded limit to the “guests” at the house that weekend but just know that the three of us were pretty much a team for most of Brenton’s life.

And in the back of my mind, I always imagined who would one day come into our lives to make our team of 3 a complete team of 4.

So not only was I always planning and imagining, I was always praying.
Praying that God would bring the right girl, one day, into Brenton’s life.

I think He’s certainly answered that prayer.

Not being one who can speak to quick proposals, as my mother would have been the first to tell you, I couldn’t say a word when after only a brief courtship, Brenton told his dad and I that he had found “the one” and wanted to propose to Abby.

The flip side to a quick proposal has been the length of the engagement. Of which I think their friends have begun teasing them, but of which I have found to be a blessing as they have had ample time in the sorting out process.

I like to think that if they’ve made it this far– through the trials of growing together as a couple, having shared joint custody of their beloved Alice, their very sweet black lab, as well as having struggled with schooling, job searches, finding a new home and discovering who they are as both individuals as well as a couple,
then maybe, they are indeed ready for a life as two verses life as one.

We have been truly blessed welcoming Abby to our team of three, as she completes the missing piece of the puzzle, making our family a complete team of four.
The daughter we do not have.

I would like to conclude with a reading taken from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the young German pastor who lost his life at the Flossenbürg Death Camp in 1945. This excerpt is taken from his Letters and Papers from Prison

Marriage for God
“Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7)
In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive.
Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as your are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.
From the first day of your wedding till the last the rule must be: “Welcome one another. . .for the glory of God.”
That is God’s word for your marriage. Thank God for it; thank God for leading you thus far; ask God to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be “for the praise of God’s glory”

AMEN.

To Brenton and Abby

snapshots of time as we kept calm and carried on

But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.
Benjamin Disraeli

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Here are just a few images from the big event of the weekend that I’d like to share. There was a professional photographer but these are pictures that either I took or are the images captured by family and friends. There are sweet moments, as well as moments of humor—yet some of the more humorous moments were unfortunately not captured on film.

You know the type of moments. . . those spontaneous life events which make for the stuff of family legends–the ones that often grow exponentially with the passage of time—those stories that can only happen when a group, such as the one we witnessed, gathers together—-such as:

those who rallied together at a local pub for the viewing of the Belmont race. When one’s aunt ventures up to strangers hoping to “get in on a piece of the action” by offering cash to an infamous looking bucket. . .
—or the near fiery incident of the lit cigarette a cousin dropped down into the unreachable black hole between the seat and console of her mother’s very nice and very expensive luxury car–with the only imagined option of recourse for extinguishing the near disaster. . . douse it by pouring a diet coke down between the seats.
—Or of the 88 year old aunt who unfortunately discovered, during the midsts of the Rehearsal Dinner, that her earlier consumption of dirty martinis and fried oysters simply do not mix–sending her in a quick search of a terrace bush as she was ushered back to her hotel room by her resigned children.
—or of the hired rickshaw driver who peddled Dad and my step mom the 4 blocks to the Dinner.. .

So many stories, all of which now make for the stuff of legends with a family clan.
As so many different people gather together, both young and old, with a single purpose in mind, which in our case was the celebration of the uniting of two young people, memories are immediately formed— which begin the building of a new legacy for a newly formed couple who are now beginning the stories of their own new “lifetime” together. . .

There was the Rehearsal Dinner, with 70 friends and family members ready to celebrate in true Anglican fashion. . .
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Then, there was the big day! 120 dearly beloved individuals gathered in a beautiful southern setting stepped in history and charm.

The story of our journey, as with any family, is long and convoluted. Our small family of three has come a very long way in order to have gotten to this particular day. After Brenton was born, we did everything together as a family—taking him with us everywhere. As his dad was often gone long hours due to work, and with us having lived in the middle of nowhere for much of his childhood, with long rides spent in the car traveling to school, church, shopping, etc—a tight bond was truly formed.

However on this particular Saturday in June, a close knit team of 3, was soon to become a newly formed team of 4. . .

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. . .As a beautiful girl awaited her special moment. . .

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A mother and father make the joyous journey down an oak lined aisle
(and may I just say that humidity and soft water do not make for “good hair”!!! Oh it “works” and looks fine here back home, but nooooo, not in hot and humid Savannah. It simply wore as a disaster on one’s head!)

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A jubilant couple turns to take the retreat back up the aisle as a newly united force. . .

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And of course there were my peeps (aka cousins, dad, step-mom and aunt)

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and then there was my partner in crime –aka aunt Martha–the one sans the kidney—remember that crisis??

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Newlyweds drive off in a carriage—of course they do— who doesn’t want to drive off into the sunset in a horse drawn carriage in one of the most historic and picturesque cities in this country?! By this point in the day, I had to have a pedicab fetch me, once it was all said and done–Do you have any idea what heels do to feet that have grown accustomed to going either bare foot or merely adorned with Chacos? Not a pretty site. And lets not talk about the pedicab ripping the back end of my very nice dress shall we—ugh

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And when all was finally said and done—all that remained was me, the Prime Minister (aka Winston), and a Chair—more on the chair later, and the bill of a lifetime. . .

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Oh, and now there is a week spent with “The Mouse”

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