Saturday, May 31, 2003

Johnny Horton
When I was about ten, Mom joined "Record of the Month Club" to expand her collection of classical records and to expose her five young'uns to some culture. When she missed sending in the selection card, we received some interesting records. I was introduced to folk music with a Peter, Paul and Mary album, but nothing influenced our family like "The Greatest Hits of Johnny Horton." This album must have been played a gazillion times by my three younger brothers, and the fate of the alligator in "The Battle of New Orleans" always made them giggle.

A few years ago, we discovered that all five of us children had bought the cassette and introduced these songs to our children. It's a favorite for road trip singalongs. Three generations of Bishops know the words to North to Alaska, Sink the Bismarck, Ol Jim Bridger, and, of course, we know to hold our fire... to send the bloody British...where a rabbit wouldn't go.

This morning, while watching my great-niece (2 years old) and great-nephew (3 months old), I held them spell bound with a couple of Johnny Horton songs. She just looked at me with her mouth open and he laughed and laughed. Welcome, fourth generation, to a music tradition.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Family Stories
Mom, my sister, my niece and I spent most of yesterday putting together a family scrapbook. Out of the hundreds of photos Mom brought home, we focused only on pre-1950 photos. I had grand ambitions that we would label and place these into a scrapbook, since we had the supplies, the source of the stories (Mom), and four bright women to work on it all day. Muhaahahahahaha

We spent over an hour on the first photo, a picture of my mother's childhood home. My sister would make a great journalist; she pried Mom with questions, probed for stories, and found the color. Mom soon got into the swing of storytelling. After an hour, I was able to move them on to the next photo. Meanwhile, my niece wrote of the house story. When Mom read the final result, she was stunned, "This makes it sound so historic and important."

It's hard to believe anything you lived is historic. But I can just see my children and grandchildren enjoying this glimpse into their history 30 years from now.

The big question is who gets the scrapbook...or how can we duplicate it for five children, 12 grandchildren and 6 (so far) great grandchildren?

Friday, May 16, 2003

Container Gardening
At last, I had time today to spend in the garden. While I have land enough to create more garden beds, I have fun designing mini-gardens in my pots for the deck, probably because their lifespan is short and it is easy to modify design mistakes. The raw materials were my collection of pots (including a new large bright blue pot) plus the plants I started in the patio greenhouse I received for Christmas complemented by unusual annuals I've been buying at the nurseries and perennials from my beds. I made my own potting soil in the wheelbarrow, laid the pots out in a row, surrounded myself with my plants, then made a cup of tea and stared at it all. When the muse hit, I started potting. I'll know how well I did in about a month.

Dinner al fresco
We ate under the stars on the patio tonight amid the incipient beauty of my pots, lit by fifteen candles scattered around the deck. The boys were enthralled by the mood, which was only slightly lessened by the sweatshirts and hats we had to wear.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Annual Perennial Party
Another successful party and plant exchange last Saturday, especially since the thunderstorms ceased for four hours. I get a kick out of first-timers, who are always stunned by the number of quality plants they get to take home. I'm making poor progress, though, in getting my acquisitions in the ground, between the rain and running the boys.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Middle School
I thought I would only have to live through middle school once since I don't believe in reincarnation. I didn't count on experiencing middle school again, vicariously, through my sons. Rick borrowed a bag of chips on Friday from a friend who is a good kid, but the brains of 13-year-old boys do not function fully (and there is medical research to back that statement). His friend is charging Rick 46,800% interest which will triple if he does not pay back the dollar tomorrow. Oh well, it gave me a chance to review principal, interest and time with Rick. We decided a penny interest would be sufficient, if not generous. If the other boy won't accept it, Rick is suppose to have the boy's parents call us. I'm sure the young man will not report this to his parents. On the other hand, the boy's father is a banker.
The last trees to get their leaves in the spring (and the first to lose them in the fall) are the black walnuts. I noticed tonight that their leaves were just opening. The white oaks are slow also. Both trees provide a canopy of deep shade, so the understory plants are taking advantage of the sunlight right now and are bursting with blooms.

Monday, May 12, 2003

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
no culture comparable to that of the garden ...
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Morels, Asparagus, Trilliums and Mayapples
I decided to walk Samson, our yellow lab, through our woods instead around the neighborhood. And guess what I found? Now I know what we will have for dinner.
Deja Vu all over again
For those who know me well, you will know why this strikes a chord. Read the entries from May 10 and 11. Andrew Sullivan was wrong in one aspect; this type of behavior is not addressed in the corporate world either.
Mother's Day Cards
One son wrote:
"You are sweet as sugar. I look at you in the morning and you shine like the sun. There is no one better. Thank You. Happy Mother's Day. I love you. P.S. Wishing you a heartful of Mothers that are happy on sunny Sundays or even stormy days. You make me say I love you always."

And his twin wrote:
"I love you all the time. I like how kind you are to me and Ricky. You are the Best Mom a person could have."

Eat your heart out Hallmark. Your cards don't even come close! I'm not sure what "a heartful of Mothers" means but I suspect his heart was full of mother love and this was how it came out. I am so blessed, not just by my sons, but by my husband who arranged the cardwriting endeavor.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Last night Ricky and I went to Campus Life's "Bid on a Kid" fundraising auction. Rick really got into the spirit of bidding at his first auction. My right arm is sore as he excitedly punched me to outbid everyone for every kid. It's just a good thing the auctioneer ignored Rick's frantic waving. Even when I had the winning bid, he was pummeling me to outbid myself as the auctioneer valiantly tried to get another $25 for the three strapping teenage boys who will do 4-5 hours of lawn work. Yeh! Now I can start planning a large landscaping project! My initial thought was to have them clean the fence row and mulch the perimeter trees we planted in the meadow. But why not have them build a stone wall? Or create a path through the woods? Or dig up five new garden beds? Or create that french drain we got a bid for? Or tear up half the asphalt in the driveway? I"ll be thinking about this one!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Mother's Day Present
Late last night, Mom sent me an e-mail, which included the following paragraph:

I have discovered how to outfox the deer who eat my daylilies. I put a little stale perfume in the bottom of my sprinkling can, fill it with water, and sprinkle that foul smell all over everything the deer eat. They don't even come into my yard anymore. But sooner or later, I will run out of old cologne and then what will I do? I would love to see my daylilies bloom again.

I want to please my mother this Sunday because I love and respect her so much. What better gift than all my old cologne? To make sure she knows that this is a thoughtful. loving gift, I will beautifully wrap it. Know where I can get some daylily wrapping paper?