The Force

Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
Yoda


(the Sheriff tries on part of his Halloween costume/ Julie Cook / 2019)

Master Yoda or is that Master Sheriff?

Master Sheriff notes that the Force is strong in this one, the Mayor…
And he should know…

Here we have the Mayor trying out her Halloween costume…her favorite latest Disney
character…Vamperina.
Vamperina and her family have moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.
The Mayor loves to sing along with the Ghoul Girls…
However, the Mayor is not a fan of the bat wing hat.


(The Mayor just wants to be outside)

Master Sheriff is always ready with a smile…

Next Thursday will be the Sheriff’s first time to trick or treat as his sister is one up on him.
The following day, All Saints Day, the Sheriff will have his long-awaited and dreaded surgery.
As any surgery with any child is dreaded.

James will finally be circumcised along with any additional work in order to realign the urethra,
helping to prevent the reoccurring kidney reflux.
He has been on antibiotics since birth.
It is time to be free of medicines, infections, and fevers—
and the added worry for his parents!!!

Our prayers are to the One True Force—the Great Healer, Jehovah-Rapha

The Mayor almost didn’t make it…to her party

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca


(a subpar Mayor struggles through illness to be the belle at the ball..or is that prettiest
pumpkin in the patch?? / Julie Cook / 2018

Well, Poppie and Moppie came up Monday to take care of a croopie baby…
but croopie turned ugly real fast when we had to race to the Urgent care last night,
Tuesday night, with an escalating fever and the signature seal-like cough…

Turns out the croop is RSV, or Respiratory syncytial virus, which for adults is more
like a viral cold-like illness…
but in an 8-month old infant can suddenly become quite serious very quickly…


(a miserable crying Mayor recieving albuterol treatments)

The wheezing, cough congestion and gasping for breath lead to a required
but much hated breathing treatment.

This entire situation was not well received by The Mayor who has simply been feeling
like crap…but she was quite the trooper…despite wailing throughout the treatment,
she managed to sit very still.

The treatment was successful in that she did feel some better and actually slept a tad more
then the night prior (all her aides were most grateful)–
The doctors even sent us home with the machine and a prescription for the meds that
go into the machine.

Aides Poppie and Moppie had to administer another treatment in the morning…
of which I think was harder on Poppie as he is the Mayor biggest push over assistant…
with her dad coming in a fast second.

But like all typical politicians, the Mayor rose to the occasion…
she was ready in the nick of time to don her mayorial Halloween garb in order to meet
her neighborhood constituents as she sat on the front porch in Moppie’s lap while mom
handed out candy…opting to be a Pumpkin in order to show her support to the
gourd and squash family.


(Moppie with The Mayor / this particular year it was too hot to wear the black leggings
that came with the outfit)

Now there are some out there in the far left media who might perceive the candy
handouts as some sort of bribe or even some sort of discriminatory treatment against
the sugar intolerant…
But the Mayor insists her actions were all in good fun…

I’ll be here in the Atlanta Woobooville office for the remainder of the week until
a certain mayor can quit coughing like a seal…

And by the way… we are not nor have we ever attempted to be insensitive to any member
of the pinniped family…nor do we show any sort of incorrectness to those who happen
to bark like seals…
This Mayor works very hard to be steadfast and fair especially to seals, pumpkins
and the younger neighborhood constituents who all showed up in a fine array of attire.

I think Batman was a particular favorite.
But the dad that came dressed in full Native American Indian Cheif regalia
was a bit much…something about all of those feathers…

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.

Jeremiahs 17:14

a continuation of beginnings and comings

See me safe up: for in my coming down,
I can shift for myself.

Thomas More

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(the frozen demise of the mint / Julie Cook / 2017)

Despite our having just journeyed through the season known for all things of anticipation…
that sacred time of observing Advent, which then culminates with the wondrous arrival
of the illuminating Nativity…
we actually, in this silent and slumberous time of deep winter,
continue finding ourselves waiting and watching.

Found in the Latin word adventus, which is the translation of the Greek word parousia,
we find a word and meaning that has traditionally been used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ.
Not so much denoting a single and initial birth, but rather embracing the anticipation of
a second birth…a sort of re-coming…

Yet, as William Stringfellow observes,
“we live now, in the Untied States, in a culture so profoundly pagan that Advent
(or any other Christian “season”)*
is no longer really noticed, much less observed.
The commercial acceleration of seasons,
whereby the promotion of Christmas begins even before there is an opportunity to enjoy
Halloween, is superficially, a reason for the vanishment of Advent.
But a more significant cause is that the churches have become so utterly secularized
that they no longer remember the topic of Advent.
*(parentheses mine)

And so it seems that our secular and worldly selves have given way from our
continuation of waiting and watching to rather the glossing over of a key
observational time within our faith.
We have allowed, as it appears we have preferred, to move away from that which should
still be our focus, yielding rather, to the superficial luster of the fleeting.

For it seems that the notion of Advent, or any other of the “seasons” of the church,
has fallen way to the more glamorous secular association of what should actually be the truly
innate spiritual rhythms of our beings.

Yet as unrelenting and ever-faithful,
we now find ourselves transitioning from the anticipation found in Advent and the Nativity
to Epiphany, leading way to Ash Wednesday and the heaviness of the somber Lenten season…
as it too shall give way to the unending promise of Hope…

We enter, once again into a time of waiting and watching…
waiting not so much for the first birth with its earth shattering life that was cut
tragically short by a brutal yet necessary death…
but rather we, the dwindling yet tenacious faithful, both wait and watch
not for an ending associated with death but rather for the continuation of what is to come…

Life anew and everlasting…

As we find ourselves listening to once again, as well as claiming, those prophetic words of that
lone figure who cried out to the masses so long ago…
as his words continue to resonate in our hearts…

MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'”
Matthew 3:3

This time of year….

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.

William Shakespeare

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Scottish saying

Halloween Pumpkins, Witch, Devil, and Black Cat
(vintage halloween card)

What is it about this time of year…
This time of year when we seem to crave the supernatural?
Is it in our nature to lean-in, ever so closely,
to those ancient tales of the “other side”?

Halloween,
what once was an evening relegated to the innocence of the imaginations of children,
has grown to become the second largest commercial “holiday” following Christmas.
No longer is All Hallow’s Eve a single night for young children to don costumes…
all the while as they canvass their neighborhoods, singing trick or treat,
as they amass a small mountain of candy…

Adults have gotten deep into the act.
With Halloween merry making and party going exceeding that of New Years Eve…
For it has now become a month long event….

Yet aside from candy and costumes, which innocently afford one the opportunity to play
dress up as some alter ego,
Halloween has become, more or less, a spiritual excuse.
An open invitation allowing ourselves to taste a bit of a spiritual realm…
But the trouble…
for that is what it becomes, a trouble…
lies in the choice of realms…

Bemused, you may wonder if there is a problem with this yearly interest,
of which borders on obsession,
in this revelry of the realm of the spirits…

And I fear that…yes, perhaps there is.

For you see, we are indeed spiritual beings…
with spirituality being hardwired into our DNA—
And history has proven that it is not necessarily always a need
for a monotheistic God that we seek,
but some sort of spirituality none the less.

Hollywood has long jumped on the bandwagon of our desire to examine spiritual realms,
while at the same time allowing us to exert that odd need to be frightened.
Spook and Horror movies, as well as those tales of witchcraft,
demon possession and specters, have long topped box offices
as we have an almost sick obsession with such.

It is as if cultures worldwide use Halloween as some sort of green light,
a go ahead in affording ourselves permission to dabble in the art of
fortune telling, tarot cards, palm readers, seances, Ouija boards,
paranormal hunting…the supernatural.
All coupled with jaunts to places that are supposedly haunted, creepy and even perhaps dangerous…
and lest we forget the trips to the myriads of haunted / horror houses
which open throughout the month.

Even Disney and Six Flags have each gotten into the act…

So we tell ourselves that that makes it all perfectly safe and harmless.

And yes Halloween, and the thought of spirits,
does indeed course through the blood of humankind….
With those roots traveling far back to Celtic Europe, the ancient Pagan Middle Eastern Kingdoms,
ancient tribes of the Americas, Asia and even Africa—
as every race of people has had that aspect of the supernatural and mystical tied
to their very beginnings.

So maybe we’ve just deem it as all innocent fun as we explore this need of the mystical.

Perhaps we merely convince ourselves that it’s simply wired
deep within the ancient core of our brains…
this odd desire to be scared and frightened…
all the while as we parle into a realm different from our own…

Maybe it’s just something we simply enjoy…

“So what,” we grouse, if it morphs into something else…
something other…
“I’m not scared, I don’t believe in that
hocus locus business…it’s just harmless fun…”

Yet there is just something troubling about it all…
Something actually quite unsettling…
Something actually very dangerous..

For in the naiveté of opening seemingly harmless doors,
we enter into an on-going battle…
an ancient battle for which we are simply not prepared to fight…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:12-13

Mise en place

“Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.” Charles M. Schulz

DSCN7198
(one batch of the boxes of fall decorations / Julie Cook / 2014)

Is that what all this is about? Ill fated attempts at making our lives, our homes, more interesting than they are??

Actually this is more of a tale about a boat load of crap, uh, I mean, gourds, pumpkins, colorful leaves, acorns, straw, nuts, etc. . .anything and everything to do with Fall, Autumn, the season of Harvest. . . or whatever you may wish to call the 3rd season of the calendar.

I like to call it my favorite time of year–and no, that is not Christmas as Christmas is just another word for consumerism chaos but that’s for another day.

The Thermometer is currently registering 90ᵒ–it’s not yet noon. The news is telling me it feels more like 96ᵒ as our high today will be 95ᵒ, meaning it will feel like 110ᵒ –give or take–but I’m sure it will be more like give, with the humidity ringing in around 87% currently–higher later–ugh—-and whereas this is Labor day weekend, Summer’s grand final hoorah, I, for one, choose to look ahead—as to something, say, a little more comfortable and inviting. As in I don’t wish to remain naked when venturing out of doors because I am tired of my clothes sticking to my body —picture flies stuck to fly tape and that’s me with my clothes.

Nothing is flattering about this time of year. Hair, no matter how hard a woman may attempt taming her coiffure–and trust me, I try awfully damn hard–digressing, it will either wilt, explode with puffiness or revert back to its natural wavy state the minute it is introduced to the out of doors.
Humidity + hair = disaster.
And of course any and all freshly applied makeup will soon be oozing down a sweaty oh I forgot, we women of the South do not sweat—we glisten— glisteny faces which are responding to the 87% humidity.

A friend of mine in Texas, sweet Natalie, replying to a blog post, told me how she sings daily praises to the man whoever invented air-conditioning. I must second that praise. Which brings me to an interesting observation— the Italians do not like air-conditioning. They fear it produces “bad air” which equates to respiratory maladies—things like the croop, pneumonia, Legionnaire’s Disease. . . you name it and they think it will pour out of an air conditioning unit waiting to strike down any and all, exposed to such air, with immediate illness and death.

The Italians are fretful when it comes to health. They take great precautions to stay well. So this is why, if you ever go on Holiday to Italy say in July or August. . . why you would do this I am uncertain as anyone can tell you that these are the two months you do not wish to visit Italy as the entire country shuts down and heads to the shore or high up in the alps seeking respite form the heat and the malaria (I’m telling you, über health conscious). . .I know this as I have made such a fatal mistake, but again, I digress. . .you will suddenly go into apoplexy upon entering your hotel room, say in Rome, when you find your windows wide open with nary a breeze and nary an AC unit in sight and it’s 100ᵒ out with 97% humidity.

Which brings me full circle back around to my picture of all of the Fall crap, uh, decorations sitting in the middle of the floor on a soon to be 98ᵒ day.
Rather than venturing outside today to enjoy the sun soaked (hot as hell day) Labor Day weekend, I’m preferring to say inside like anyone with any sense. . .yet my husband is currently attempting to plow his deer land on a hot tractor in the middle of nowhere in 102ᵒ, which in my opinion is asinine, but again I digress. . .I am opting to decorate my house with a more Fall-like theme—of which I am hoping will have a psychological effect, making me feel much cooler than I am in my tank top, shorts and bare feet. Surely twig pumpkins, fake squirrels, dried nuts, a bunch of gourds and colorful faux leaves will make me feel cooler, almost chilly, right??

Which brings my thoughts, as I schlepp this crap , these boxes of decorations down from the 150ᵒ inferno, aka attic and up the steps from the dungeon, aka, basement, as to why it is, why in the heck, do we, I, feel the need to decorate, seasonally, in the first place?! It must go back to some paganesque ancient druid need hiding in our / my roots. Lest we forget, I am indeed adopted and as I fear, there must some druids hiding in my background someplace—and no offense to any druids currently reading this —I’m just saying.

Perhaps it is our consumer driven economy and lifestyle. . .
The stores are, as I type, filling their shelves with boxes of fake colorful leaves, fallesque wreathes, cute fake little squirrels, dried gourds, indian corn, acorns, dried straws and sticks that we buy by the boat loads in order to “decorate” our homes and even workplaces—we set the mood so to speak. In my case, the mood to cool!!

And let’s not talk about how next month we will be riding the Halloween bandwagon. What was once a fun little excuse for young children to dress-up, going door to door trick or treating for candy has morphed into a really scary time which calls on us to lock up our cats–lest some cult out there decides to have a little sacrifice session, as we scan and have our children’s candy bags x-rayed at local hospitals for any signs of sickos who sadisticly and maliciously may have put razor blades in apples or cyanid in Reeses cups, to those who protest trick or treat all together because it is no longer politically correct as all the witches and satanist out there take offense (no offense witches and satanists), or the fundamentalists who fear it will turn our children literally into withes and satanists, which has all actually lead to this little “holiday” being the largest and biggest sales event excuse out there for adults to throw a party—hence why that diva of domesticity, who will remain nameless as I don’t want to get sued, is set to sell a myriad of magazines giving her, at the ripe old age of 73, an excuse to dress up in elaborate costume hawking her blood red punch and eyeball deviled egg recipes. . .yes, we’ve lost our collective minds. . .

Which brings me back to the boat load of crap , decorations sitting on the floor and of my having to now “put away” Summer, making way for Fall. . .and could someone please remind me as to why I waste, spend my time doing this. . .

Oh yeah, that’s right, because it’s 103ᵒ outside in the shade and I want to psyche myself into thinking I’m feeling cooler, much cooler—like Fall cooler—not that the Fall cool temperatures will arrive here, before, say Thanksgiving. . .which means it’ll just be time to schlepp out all the turkey and Thanksgiving crap decorations down from the attic and up from the basement. . .as the never ending saga of decorations and decorating, putting crap in its place, never ends. . .

The tale of the demitasse….

DSCN2524

….otherwise known as the folly of youth.

“Pleeeaaassse” (in your head you are hearing the pleading of an 11 year old young girl)

“NO! for the last time!” (in your head your are hearing what she thinks is the ending
of an argument by a 40 something year old mother)

“I don’t understand why not (you are hearing very whiney pouty from the 11 year old). It’s not like you ever use them. They’re just sitting in that chest. You won’t miss just one. I’ll take the real tarnished one. I’m going to make my own, you won’t even have to buy me one. Everyone else has one but me. . .”

It was 1970ish, I was in the 6th grade, antique spoon rings were in—I didn’t have one, I was out—or so I had rationalized in my youthful mind.

It wasn’t like mother ever really entertained. We may have used that silver service once or twice a year–Thanksgiving and Christmas–that was it. Mother hosted her bridge group once a month.. .seven ladies plus mother and not a single demitasse set user among them—nuts–always pistachios, something sweet and whiskey sours. . .but not nary a demitasse cup, saucer nor accompanying tiny little silver spoon intended for the stirring of the little coffees. Nope, these bridge ladies were hard core, not the demitasse set type of refined little old ladies of yore.

No sirree, she wouldn’t miss one little ol spoon—it was all I was asking for, just one. I’d find some sort of wire cutters, snip off the bowl part of the spoon, file down any rough edges— we’ve got sand paper right?— then twist the shaft part around making it into a ring. Piece of cake. Then I too would enter into the world of the “haves”, who were the trendy ones of the 6th grade, verses the “have nots” of which I currently sadly counted myself as one.

I had small fingers right? If she wouldn’t let me have a demitasse spoon, then that cute little salt spoon might work even better. Who wants to sprinkle their salt from some little fancy cup using a tiny little spoon?! What’s wrong with using a shaker?! Wasn’t Mother always having a fit to immediately wash the silver that had come into contact with salt anyway due to corrosion? A tiny little salt spoon would be even better and better yet, no one would miss it.

But that request, plead, demand, was also met with a resounding no. What was the big deal?

How about the time I wanted to be a ghost for halloween and wanted to use my pillow case, cutting out eyeholes. Mother nixed that idea as well. I certainly didn’t understand the big deal. Cut the holes, wear it that night for trick or treating, putting it back on my pillow when it was bed time— voila, easy instant costume! I certainly would’t mind holes in my pillow case. . .I’d be asleep, it wasn’t like I had to look at them.

Or what about the time it snowed and iced. We didn’t have a sled. I didn’t want to use that piece of old cardboard. It would get all soggy. What was wrong with the cookie sheet?! I could use it all day. It would be fine. My bottom would stay nice and dry (yeah right). I’d bring it home once we’d finished “sledding” and sliding, wash it, ignoring the dings, bends and dents— it would be like new. It’s not like anyone ever saw it in the oven.

Necessity was the mother of invention in my small brain. I thought I was being good to be so resourceful, using what we had laying around the house. How truly economical of me, not to mention thoughtful—I was saving trips to the store as well as money!

Sadly however I must report that I never got that spoon ring—homemade or store bought. I was never a ghost for halloween. All the superman capes were old towel rags not the good bath towels I begged to use, and we eventually bought a real sled so the cookie sheets stayed in the kitchen for all the cookies mother wasn’t baking. Did I ever tell you she wasn’t big on cooking—hence the rationale for the use as sleds.

All of these memories have come flooding back throughout my adult life, at one point or another, most notably when I’ve had to tell my son “no” to certain rationalizations of his own youthful mind of invention. Yet it is especially during this time of year, during the holidays, when I find myself pulling out mother’s silver, in order to use it for Thanksgiving, that I lovingly spy the demitasse spoons.

I always open the chest, peering inside to mother’s silver.. . the beautiful pieces she received in 1953 when she got married. Back then, young brides received silver as wedding gifts, as well as pretty fancy china sets. People entertained a great deal. It was a more formal time. Sadly for better or worse, we’ve gotten away from giving such extravagant gifts as those things have escalated in price and value. Girls today tend to be a bit more practical and economical.

Even in the early 80’s, when I got married, girls were not getting the type of presents my mother’s generation received. I “inherited” mother’s silver after she died, as well as her fine china, as I had not received either when I married. Every generation is different I suppose.

I still think the little demitasse and tiny salt spoons are as cute as they can be— even though I’ve never had cause to use them. I’m rather partial to an antique turkey and hen set as my Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers. And sadly or happily, our Christmas’ fete has become a bit more casual over the years, transitioning to a brunch verses the fancy white linen dinner variety celebration.

For better or for worse Mother, even though you are no longer here in this life for me to say this to you face to face as I do, however, believe you can hear me. . .”you were right!”—it would not have been wise for me to take your sterling silver spoon to cut it up to make a ring that was oh so trendy at the time—I did live to survive my lacking of 1970’s trendy bling.

You were right to tell me “No” that I could not cut up my pillow case. I buy those things today myself and by gosh nobody is cutting up mine! And no matter whether you used them as regularly as I thought you should have, using one’s cookie sheets/ baking pans as snow sleds is an equally poor idea.

I will fully admit that throughout my young life I clung to the immortal words of Anatole France, that I too “preferred the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.”
However it is now, in this wizened time I call my life, I can honestly say that Mother was always right. And just so you know, “because I said so” is a perfectly fine explanation!

Now where is that silver polish, those little demitasse spoons need a good shine.. .