Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Kunitz the Poet

Nearly 100 and still writing, Nobel Laureate Stanley Kunitz is still going strong. Here's a really interesting, brief article which mentions, but does not review, his new book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden.

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Bucolic Funeral

Last weekend, we attended my Granny Ivy's funeral in Attalla County, MS. Jon recorded several candid and posed shots from the picnic (some posted below), which was fun.

Yes. Fun.

The reunion/memorial service took place at Edgefield Baptist Church. Don't bother to Google it. In case the 1.5 mile dirt road leading up to the church doesn't speak for itself, note that attendance last week was 29.

Everyone was there. Granny's brother, Noble Jennings, and his wife Inez. A great-cousin (?), Lousie Jennings Jenkins, Noble's (& Granny's) first cousin, whom he had never met. It was quite an experience to watch the 82 and 84-year olds reminisce about the people they both knew, growing up. Noble is the last of nine. Louise, the last of ten. All their siblings have passed through, as they say down South. (I seem to have internalized some southern speech, not to mention a little inflection.)

(Noble, Louise Jenkins, Me)
The Pot Luck Christian Picnic was fun. It Was. All my cousins were there. I hadn't seen Benny Paul in years. He's the guy with the really bad sunburn, which he earned riding his bike from Houston (Jon didn't like the idea of me riding on it. Maybe next year). Pam, Kevin, and all three girls (Lauren, Emma, and little Margot) drove up from New Orleans. Even Eddie came over from Fort Hood (check out the snazzy, beat-up, leather hat) with his son, David, a student at Texas Tech. Aunt Sue is in the middle of her brood.

(Kevin, Benny, Aunt Sue, Emma, Pam, Margot, Eddie, Lauren, David)
Both Granny's daughters, Aunt Sue and Janie (my mom), attended, in formal black dresses and hats. Despite the heat and humidity, southern women dress for a funeral.

(Janie, Noble, Sue)
Granny would have done the same, expected the most somber colors. In deference to a sweltering heat (actually quite mild for the Mississippi Delta, but compared to DC...) I wore a tan linen outfit, black shirt, and a hat to cover my black hair.

I hardly ever wear a hat, but I wasn't the only one.

(The Five Cousins: Benny, me, my sister Mia, CSM Eddie, Pam)

If you have black hair, you know why. It's not the formality, it's the heat.

Jon, lord bless him, wore his dark suit, as did my dad. Neither wore jackets for long. Dad, BTW, is growing a pony tail. It's impressive already. He jokes he's growing his own toupee.

(someone's car, Armando, me, Jon, Mia, Janie)
The potluck was tasty. KFC chicken, New Orleans French Bread, Sue's homemade potato salad, deviled eggs. I find it ironic that deviled eggs are so popular at church picnics in the South. Pam and I foraged through the entire length of the table for different hostess' eggs. We found seven types! Better than Easter.

After lunch, a short service was held to commemorate Granny Ivy's life. It moved very quickly, it seemed, and we were at her graveside, saying a few last words.

Though she's greatly missed, the whole experience was worthwhile. It was nice to reconnect with family, spend some time with my roots, and remember the woman who made us all possible.

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Message from 1936

Jon has only recently gotten me to start sleeping more normal hours, then I went and accepted a job next week working nights.


I've been so busy working--even while at work--that I haven't had time to blog. I know my five faithful readers might be dissapointed. I'm dissapointed myself, because a lot has been going on for me to write about.

Just haven't made the time.

Problem with process is, unless I "clear the deck" of all the stuff I want to catch up on, I can't move on and write about the now.

So, the rundown:

Went to New Orleans. Had a great time in the loving family home of Cousin Pam. Ate too much. Never enough Jazz. Will be recording the trip soon in my travelogue.

Working hard on the house. We've decided to take the main floor one room at a time, starting with the Dining Room. We have to peel back the paint, which is over wallpaper, which is directly on the plaster. According to the best decorating book I've read, I have standard old paper, which can be stripped, but leaves behind a paper backing.

This gives you some idea of what I'm dealing with. Sometimes, walls do talk.

It says "No 262," we think. Probably the number of the wallpaper. Hmmm.

It's hard work.

Next, we need to get the backing paper off. Spritzing with water works, at first, but the paper is so dry it sucks up the moisture too fast to peel. Of course, the water makes it readhere more firmly, reactivating the glue. The answer is apparently a steam stripper, which will hopefully keep the backing paper moist enough to peel. Next stop, Lowes.

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We're in it now

The other day a friend reminded me that the home renovation Jon and I have been pursuing is going to take a long, long time to complete. Specifically, she said "You're never going to finish."

Well, as Granny used to say, "if you want to get Christina to do something, tell her she can't." (This corrollary often paralleled "if you can get Chrisitna to do anything, she'll do it right.") So I'm grateful to my friend for providing just the motivation I needed.

Our Lead Paint Abatement Contractor started yesterday, in the dining room.

As I've peeled back the paint and wallpaper, levered back our windows, picked at paint samples, I've had the constant thought: "Crap."

Sadly, Chez Grantham will be closed to gaming for the summer. We are under new management, under construction, under a mountain of to do's.

Nothing to it but to do it. Should be an interesting summer.

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