Nostalgia

“how sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet”
― Robert Browning

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****this is the post I wanted to share Sunday morning—the morning following our big day.
It was a time of tremendous emotion.
A week long adventure of adrenaline, very little sleep, and a time of relishing in the love of dear family and friends.
Between poor wifi connections, exhaustion and a lack of solitude, time passed too quickly, never allowing for the finishing a private reflection. . .

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Underneath an ethereal blanket of gossamer grey,
snippets of time– those of one’s past, present and future– wildly and suddenly collide into one. . .
All the while, the heady scent of gardenia swirls sweetly on a southern breeze

He looks first at mom and then over to dad, who’s hearts now tug to and fro-
as his two parents helplessly, yet joyously, watch their little boy oddly fade from their sight.
A dam bursts forth as a flood of tender memories poignantly mix with the reality of time,
gently welcoming this transition of age.

There is a single violin’s rhythmic vibration, lifting upward to a Heavenly Host.
when a girl dressed in white, smiling with delight, offers her love, her life, her all—
The proud young man, whose conviction is firm, in turn promises this girl his world
All as a choir of united hearts gently whisper Amen

Celebratory joy mingles with glistening tears as Commitment is mysteriously at work.
Heads reverently bow as an obligatory hush settles over those gathered close by.
With Life’s transforming grace, serenely dancing under a tightly woven canopy of ancient oaks and moss, a single promised bond, tightly binds willing hearts,
while weaving two lives into one,

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

The sum of things to be known is inexhaustible, and however long we read, we shall never come to the end of our story-book.”
(Introductory lecture as professor of Latin at University College, London, 3 October 1892)”
― A.E. Housman

“Stories are meant to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”
― Finley Peter Dunne

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Not to say I made any bad decisions during my mini hiatus but boy, do I have some stories to tell. . .
I’ve been trying to put up a post since, I don’t know, what’s today??? I just walked in the door, the suitcases, bags and boxes now litter my house from the car to the bedroom.
I’m bleary eyed and slap happy–not to mention broke as a convict.

There’s a chair
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There were dinners, talks, smokers, drinkers, bushes, ghosts, walks, trolleys, parks, noise, horse races, bets, heat, humidity, cars, vows, a kiss, dances, toasts, prayers, food–good and bad, oysters for some, bushes again, rickshaws, torn dresses, carriages, a river, history, pirates, ice-cream, storms, rain, bills, friends, family, happiness, irritability, sleeplessness, youth, age, humor, security only once, an ill husband, shopping, viewing, hotels, rooms, flowers, crowns, keeping calm, Winston, tuxes, fraternities, sororities, principals, superintendents, students, teachers, preaches, locals, strangers, visitors, blisters, sunburn, laughter, tears, antiques—and just no time right now to go into to any detail. . .

I’ll get us all caught up ASAP–I promise, but first I need to figure out about the chair. . .

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And I need one of these right about now—not the dish towel but the drink!!!!!!!

The Duration

The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.
Corrie Ten Boom
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(a lovely flower in Wright’s Square / Savannah, Ga / Julie Cook / 2014)

As our car pulled up to the hotel valet parking, with my aunt and I both shrieking for joy for having made the 4.5 hour journey in one piece, we noted that the guys who were waiting to help us unload the car, looking a bit like deer in headlights–as in “what in the heck has just pulled up to the curb” sort of fretful look.

It was either due to the fact that two crazy woman were hooting and hollering as they pulled up to the valet desk, or that a small SUV just pulled up with a giant Winston Churchill riding shotgun, or that a year’s worth of bags were staring them in the face, as the car was stuffed to the gills.

In our giddy as well as weary excitement, we explained that half the stuff could just stay in the car as we wouldn’t need it until Friday. They seemed relived.
I kind of think Winston had them a tad intimidated.

They loaded all the luggage, dresses, bags, pillows, picnic baskets, etc on the cart and pushed it in as we lagged behind.
The greeting by the front desk staff was warm and cordial—of course it was, this is still the South you know. Our rooms weren’t ready but no worries, hitting the pavement in search of an antique store or two would be a marvelous diversion in 91 degree heat.

Once the rooms were good to go, we made our way back to the hotel and schlepped our crap up the elevator. My room was facing the oh so busy main Savannah East Bay drag—in a nutshell—loud and raucous. Not being one who can sleep in the best of conditions, we headed back down to the lobby to inquire if there was perhaps a quieter room available, but if not, I’d just suck it up and deal with it.

The young lady behind the desk was as gracious and kind as she could be and actually moved me up 3 more floors–a prime view, still over the busy street but up enough as to muffle some of the sound. Pushing the luggage cart, maneuvering it through doors, in and out of elevators with me pulling and my aunt pushing was a comedy of errors—but we managed to unload, reload, move, and unload again with minimal disaster.

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As it appears I have arrived for the duration, it must be noted that not all of that is mine.
My husband is coming down tomorrow night. I went ahead and brought down his bag. The bride asked if I’d bring down her dress for the rehearsal dinner. My aunt’s bag was along for the ride–yet the eyes of those in the lobby who were surveying our cart, spoke volumes. . .”they must be moving in” was the same smug stare from every face.

May it also be noted, you can’t take a wedding on the road and show up with some little over night bag.
Miracles are packed in those bags.
Straightening irons, brushes, makeup, baubles, party clothes, pretty shoes, perfume, the organization manual–aka–cookie’s notebook.

And so now, as I sit alone in this big ol room, sans husband and two cats, wondering what do to with myself. . .I think I’ll count the cars which are zooming past on the street below in order to fall fast asleep, as there are more errands and preparations looming tomorrow. All as the countdown continues.

One car, two motorcycles, three loud pedestrians, four street musicians. . .
(***and just so you know, it is now morning and the passing vehicles throughout the night do not, I repeat, do not make for slumbering assistance–nor the 5 AM constant din of traffic pouring into this major eastern seaport town—ode to puffy eyes)

Time to assemble the troops

“Every soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.”
Bernard Law Montgomery

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Not exactly the troops you had imagined?
This is the assembling of S&P Battalion–as in the salt and pepper shakers for the tables.
Oh, did I not tell you, the rehearsal dinner is at Churchill’s, Number 10 Downing?
Hence why Winston is driving down with me today.
Hence the Union Jack
Hence the Pimms Cup
Hence the army of the Queen’s Guard on the tables. . .

And as I prepare to go into what seems to be a battle of coordination, strategizing and organizing, this small battle will have but a minuscule influence to the situation of the Whole—as in the union of two becoming one.

This is a but a small step in the life long commitment taken on by two young individuals.
It will be a mission filled with triumphs as well as setbacks.. .
Joys countered with sorrows.
Success met by failure.
Heartache breached by wonderment–

It will be a rocky path littered with obstacles yet the bond that is forged in the furnace of life of a journey taken by two, makes for the sweetest life one can hope for.

There will be work.
There will be tears.
There will be tests.
The will be seemingly insurmountable trials.
and there will be
Tenderness
Support
Comfort
Caring
Union
Hope
Joy
Peace
and there will be
Love . . .

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

Just get me to the church on time. . .

Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.
Gee, I really love you and we’re, gonna get married.
Goin’ to the chapel of love.

the Crystals

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(The fountain in Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2012)

Picture this. . .
This lovely fountain, in just 5 short days, all gussied up with a happy couple standing in front of it.
An assembled group of 100 friends and family, dodging Georgia’s infamous noseeums.
Oh, you’ve never heard of a nosseum? They’re in the dictionary. They’re on the internet. They are vicious, wicked and invisible.
They are a notorious southern hot weather pain in the a$%!!!!

A lovely southern Saturday morning–already hot with heavy humidity (what’s the South without humidity? It’s what keeps us from wrinkling)
Sprinkled with a constant threat of thunderstorms.
And there I’ll be, with my hand out, waiting for someone to slap a mint julep in it.

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It’s finally time I take this show on the road.
After a three year long engagement. . .
After a year long, hit it hard, organizing marathon of a road trip wedding. . .
After months of running my a%$ off on an elliptical— and lest we not forget my discovery of my behind, post exterior, derrière, bum, being not exactly symmetrical. . . and may we all recall my husband’s brilliant solution of duct tape—let’s not go there shall we.
All the while as visions of robbing fort Knox, to help pay for this little fete, are dancing in my head.. .
Yep, it’s definitely time to get this show on the road–as in literally, we need to get on the road, we need to get on the road as in NOW!!!!!!!

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Posts this week may be sporadic.
Posts may be non existent.
Posts may make no sense. . .
–or–
Being the the consummate educator that I am, I may not even miss a beat—at this point, it’s anyone’s guess and depends on the number of juleps people throw my way…medicinal purposes you know, as in nerve tonics. . .
But the show is definitely hitting the road very shortly. . .

But first there are trips to the airport, still figuring out if Dad is up to joining this traveling show, a gazillon things need to be packed in my car, including the Prime minister. . .
You’re taking Winston Churchill? you ask. . .
Wouldn’t you take Winston Churchill?
It’s a long story, but at this point, I think if Winston could stave off the Nazis from invading the great island nation of my ancestors, he can certainly give aid, offer comfort plus render a clear and level head to me and “the cause” this week!!
Unless he gets into the juleps. . .

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I’ll be blazing the trail down the lonely undeveloped, sans any rest areas, I-16, cutting a diagonal line clear across this state, heading for the city of this great state’s inception. You know we’re named for King George and I’m headed to the land of General Oglethorpe, as my peeps will be following along throughout the course of the week.
Kind of like fire ants, traveling along in an erratic line, on a mission, to God knows where.

So with all of this nervous rambling and chatter aside, may it now be known and most official– it’s less than a week to D day and I’ve got to get a move on!!—as in NOW!

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Stay tuned.
Say prayers–not so much for me as I’ve got this, but for Brenton and Abby— as they finally see the culmination of lots of time, blood, sweat and tears coming to fruition—all on a beautiful Saturday in June, during a tender ceremony, and may God’s grace shine forever upon their union . . . and may we all remember. . .

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I could use one of those right about now. . .

Show me how you drink and I will tell you who you are.
~Emile Peynaud

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(a beautiful photo of a Cookie’s Cup / Julie Cook / 2014)

Ok, the official count down is underway!
Wedding Alert!!
June 7th!!!!!!!
Lots of “To Do’s” are crossed off the hefty list—yet oddly, as quickly as I check off one “To Do” item, seems as if 5 more are added. Hummmm

And money–let’s just not talk about that. . .
Still praying to grab hold of a Leprechaun cause robbing a bank is just not in my DNA.

By this time next week, I’ll be taking this show on the road . . .but before I can head towards the
Historic Georgia Coast, there are many miles to go here before there’s any thought of sleeping, resting or anything leisure.

And did you know that Springtime in Georgia lasts all of two weeks?
What does that have to do with wedding preparations you ask. . .
Well, it makes for hot work, and since the wedding is further south, an even hotter event.

Just about two weeks, sometime between late March, early April is when we have Spring.
After that little lull known as Spring, when our entire world turns yellow, look out, ’cause it’s full throttle Summer from here on out—as in sometime toward late October even possibly November!!
Summer is more like half the year here in Georgia.
If you like mid 90’s or better, and if you love not being able to breathe the air because the humidity is so thick you could wear it—then I’ve got a place for you!!

Heat, humidity and hazy days (the weather men call it hazy, I call it pollution but I digress)—that’s Georgia!!

So on those days that my nerves need soothing and my body needs refreshing, there is nothing better
than a “Cookie’s Cup.”
“A what?” you ask. . .
A Cookie’s Cup. . .as in my take on the quintessentially British summer cocktail cooler, The Pimm’s Cup.

If you’d like to try your hand at a Cookie’s cup, here’s what you’ll need:
–one bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 (a gin based, essentially British, herbal liqueur)
–One cucumber
“WHAT?!”
trust me. . .
–some strawberries
–crushed ice
–some Gin (I’m excited about Hendricks Gin these days–made in Scotland–a small batch gin, sleeper beverage coming in under the radar, below that infamous smoked peat beverage the Scots seems to love so much–who wants to drink smoked peat bogs??!! I digress)
–either some ginger ale, lime aid or some other lemon / lime flavored drink

–slice and seed a cucumber, or better yet, use a seedless one– then cut into sliced rounds or seeded chunks—I used about 6 little chunks (it’s a British thing, they put them in the original Pimm’s Cup, the big Wimbledon cocktail–and since the Hendricks gin uses cucumbers in their distilling, I figure it kind of all goes hand in hand)
–slice one to two large strawberries (they just look so pretty floating in a crystal glass don’t you think?)
–fill a pretty glass half way with crushed ice
–add the cucumber and strawberries
–add 1.5 oz of Pimm’s
–add 1 oz of Gin (if it’s been a really bad day, throw in an extra once of Gin for good measure)
–top off with lime aid or ginger ale
–Garnish with a mint sprig or slice of lime.

It’s not a sweet sort of drink but very quaffable–a light and easy aperitif. But if you need to sweeten it up a tad–add about a Tbl or two of simple syrup or Agave nectar— but remember the Agave is sweeter than sugar so you don’t need to use as much. The British love to make pitchers of Pimm’s, which in a pretty glass pitcher, can look most inviting. This is light, not a heavy alcoholic drink–and if you wanted it even lighter on the alcoholic side, you could do away with adding the Gin and stick primarily with the Pimm’s.

This is a nice sipping beverage on a hot afternoon when you’ve just looked at your check book and suddenly find yourself thinking of how you could do a better job of robbing a bank than the crooks you see on the evening news—
Bottoms up my friends. . .

I think I’m the one on the right

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
― Charles H. Spurgeon

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ”
― C.S. Lewis

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(lovely relief masks found under an ancient bridge crossing over the Seine in Paris as seen from a bateau / Paris, France / 2011)

Ok so you would most likely assume that if a person had a life sized one of these standing about in one’s home, there would be a certain sense of well being, an understood knowledge that all was indeed quiet on the western as well as the eastern, the northern and the southern fronts and that everything would be under control right?

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And yet there is a prevailing sense that something big is coming.
Like it or not, it is indeed coming.
As in 26 days, less than a month, as in you’ve been hearing about, plotting and planning about this now for nearly 3 years. . .and yet, the foreboding sense of something huge and monumental coming, as in like it or not–it’s coming, is proving palpable.

Maybe it is assumed that everyone is hunkered down, ready and waiting.
All eyes are focused, ever so keenly scanning the horizon for the slightest bit of movement, fingers steady and poised on all sorts of triggers.
Preparedness is key!
Organization is paramount!
A stiff upper lip a necessity. . .

Andy yet. . .

You may recall that,one day last week, I had asked for prayers for my son who is suffering from complications from kidney stones. We thought he were going to have surgery this Tuesday–as in tomorrow– but it seems the doctors are opting for more tests Tuesday–as in tomorrow. There have been ultrasounds, blood work, a CT scan and now some sort of scope thingy is scheduled—for Tuesday–as in tomorrow.

For some reason, the fact that I keep reminding all living and breathing personnel residing in this particular doctor’s office that we have a wedding on June 7th—does not seem to deliver the same overwhelming sense of panic that it does for anyone but me and perhaps the bride to be, and maybe my son.

So, as of now, we’re on for a scope only Tuesday, as in tomorrow. The supposed surgery which was mentioned, the one that I think I heard as having something of a 2 week recovery time of such, as in there is this little thing such as a wedding taking place in less than a month, a wedding that has been in the making now for 3 years, as in it’s happening in historic Savannah, as in the famous park, as in this had to be set in stone over a year ago, as in come hell or high water we WILL all be present and accounted for, as in one would think a bride and groom would want to feel 100% on their wedding day, as in is this not becoming a bit of a hinderance to one’s health, as in maybe should I have gone into medicine since I seem to be the only one to have a better sense of time and priorities—or is that just a mother thing???

At any rate, I will hold onto my panic a bit longer, sharing it with this medical office as often as possible and will continue asking for prayers as I believe that prayer does indeed availeth much. . .
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16

And since we’re now talking about confessing. . .
Remember my voila moment from the other day?
The construction of my wonderful purple martin house?
The one I worked so hard putting together so that the birds wouldn’t think of me as a slum lord?
Remember the picture of the bluebird sitting on top of the collapsing old house I was wanting to replace?

Well . . .

It’s a bit of a long story.
One I really don’t think I’m emotionally sound yet to fully discuss but let’s just say that
A. My husband who thought he would be sweet and go out yesterday morning to remove the old one and replace it with the new one discovered that I may not have assemble it exactly correctly. . .

I know this comes as a great shock, but surprisingly, it seems that maybe I did not line up a couple of arrows correctly. Of which meant the pole wouldn’t fit up inside the house.

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Once the blasted thing is assembled, you can’t undo what you did—being plastic and having called for plastic bolts–there’s no unbolting plastic pushed in, as in not going anywhere, bolts. He had to rig some sort of brace. . .

B. Then there was the issue of the bluebird.

Bluebird you ask?
Remember the one sitting on top of the old house in the picture from the other day?
May I just say that my husband now feels really really badly, and I am really really sad.
There was a bit of a tragedy yesterday while he was taking down the old house—of which I’m still too traumatized to speak of—
Just remember the story of how I told you that there are the occasional usurpers who attempt taking ownership of the martin house—

You would think that with 5 bluebird boxes in the yard, a bluebird would never consider usurping a martin house. . .a martin house on a 25 foot wobbly pole perched precariously in the middle of a field?!

I don’t want to talk about it. It was an accident. In his excitement of bringing down the old and putting up the bootleg new, he never saw that they fell out. . .
I’m really sad—as is Mrs Bluebird. And it was mother’s day of all day’s—lets just say there were tears, a little screaming, a lot of feeling really badly, and the proverbial best laid plans—once again, run amuck. . .

So with all of this drama whirling about in and out of my world—may we all take pause this morning, breathing in deeply these immortal words . . .

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