Friday, November 28, 2008

November, 2008 Memories

There are many Novembers I remember, especially the one of my marriage in 1962. But this month's memories are very special:

Maddie's Thanksgiving Program: There is something very patriotic in seeing the 3rd generation don Pilgrim costumes and singing "America the Beautiful." I remember doing that and reading a poem in my second grade program.

The Thomas Thanksgiving Production: When the children spend the night last Monday, they performed their own Thanksgiving program. A big box with a round hole on each side and two large kitchen spoons (oars) became the Mayflower. Pilgrim Ella rowed . Every now and then, she would put her hand to her forehead looking for land and eventually she said, "Land ho!" Indian Sam, in a paper vest decorated with pictographs and a feather head dress, sat in the box and said, "We come for food." Pilgrim Maddie wrote, produced, and narrated wearing a fringed vest made at school. One of my fondest memories!!!

Maddie's lost tooth: this is a big step in the growth process, and it looks like several of the bottom teeth will follow quickly. Of course, Sheryl and Brandon made this event a big one with glitter and cash.

Decorating the tree: The children also helped me decorate my Christmas tree. Flinging red, green and gold beads everywhere, hanging 3 ornaments on one branch often. Looking at the ornaments half-way up the tree, I could tell that they were getting taller. When we had hung the last ornament, they stepped back and said, "Nonnie, isn't this the most beautiful tree ever?" And it is.

Friday, November 21, 2008


"Knotted with love, the quilts sing on." Teresa Paloma Acosta

One of my favorite topics back when I was speaking to teachers in various genres was quilts and books about quilts. I still have in my file many bibliographies and units that I picked up through those years.

While rummaging in my study closet, I suddenly realized how long some of the quilts hanging there had belonged to me. One red, white and blue one was made by Claranell Murray, one of the teachers at Bowie Elementary during the Bicentennial Celebration. She and her students pieced and quilted a full-sized quilt with their names embroidered on it and gave it to Sam.

One quilt is pieces cut out by my grandmother which Sam had a local woman quilt and then he gave it to me on my birthday--a treasure. It covered our bed for many years.

There are two quilts done by Sam's grandmother which are tattered and soiled, but nevertheless treasured.

Then there is one hanging that is a mystery--it is a piece done by Sam's great-grandmother. Not a quilt, but some sort of bedcover which is "embroidered" large dots on a white background--I do not know the name of the type of art it represents--it is probably over 100 years old.

When one considers that many of the aging quilts in our society are now being cut up for purses, coats, decorative items, etc., I believe a wake-up call is in order.

There is nothing quite like sitting or lying under a family heirloom made by the hands of long-ago relatives and feeling the tiny stitiches that took hours to sew, marveling at the infinite tiny pieces those women took the time to cut out and piece together. These quilts have a smell like no other--odors embedded in the quilt: the fried bacon, smoke from the fireplace, and closet mustiness, the smell of old flour sacks and cloth gathered from dresses and work-clothes, heavy with rough fibers. And all of this covered with a smooth cotton batting which was often flour sack as well.

Just looking at the quilts is like seeing a human art form filled with love and skill. And the quilts, because of the material from which they are taken, often tell stories. One woman remarked, " My whole life is bound up in that quilt." I am sure my grandmother were she still alive, could tell me what the gray striped patch came from as well as the checkered cotton square in the middle of the quilt.

I hope my grandchildren preserve the quilts in my closet and that they appreciate the history and the love that went into them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter is Here

Even though we are barely into fall, winter is visiting Nashville this week. I am definitely a fall and winter person.

I love: sitting cozily under a quilt before the fireplace reading a good long book.
the stillness and quietness of a crisp winter night.
rosy-cheeked children rushing in from the cold air peeling coats and mittens.
snow and the beauty and hush it brings to the world.
it when winter's extremes bring a slower pace to life.
the comfort food of winter--hot chocolate, soup, cornbread, etc.
the holidays of winter.

I don't love: being cold.
too many gray days in a row.
nights in which darkness begins at 4:30 p. m.

Thank you God for the diversity and beauty you have given us in your creation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday

Our first meeting was less than auspicious. He was hairless, scrawny, red and screaming. I was tired and tearful.
If the rule of first impressions applied, we would have been only fleeting acquaintances. But he was my new son, and I had take him home.

Things improved, and life with Brandon Scott Thomas became 24/7 joy for his mom and dad. For the last three decades, love has grown beyond any boundary. Neither of us is perfect, but we have been mightly blessed by God in our journey together. I thank God daily for Brandon's ebullient, charismatic personality and for his tender heart and touch.

Thank you, God for all the gifts you have given my son. They have charmed and blessed all who know him. I pray that the rest of his life will be filled to overflowing with love for You, love for his family, and love for others.

Happy Birthday yesterday, Babe--and thank you for the journey.

Love, Mom

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Whew! This has been the busiest week I have had in a long time. My suitcases from this past weekend are still out, I haven't read the paper in three days, and the dishwasher needs emptying so I can have utensils to eat my yummy Sheryl soup with. I don't like that kind of pace--reminds me of life before "retirement".

Our book club discussed To Kill A Mockingbird today--it was our choice of a "classic" this year. It is a book that gets better each time one reads it--Harper was so spot on (I hate that term) with her southern culture, and so wonderful at character development. I must watch the film when things slow down.

I am feeling very virtuous--began Christmas shopping this afternoon--a full five weeks before I usually do. I am aiming for a sane, slower advance to the holiday with packages wrapped soon after they are bought leaving time to watch Christmas specials on TV, enjoy the music and watch all those other people who are dashing around like headless chickens. We shall see.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hello, Texas

Brandon and I took a hurried trip to Texas Friday and Saturday for a family wedding.We enjoyed seeing relatives and being part of the occasion. I enjoyed hearing "Texan" again AND eating wonderful Mexican food at Pappacito's. I do not understand why some of the mexican food places here cannot find the same sauces used in Texas. The enchiladas (cheese) were luscious and the chips and salsa were very crisp and just a little bit tangy--just the way I like it! Good memories.

It was good too for Brandon and me to have the time together--it has been a long time since we had so much talk time. I am very proud of BST--he has grown up to be a good man, pure of heart, soft-hearted, and loving. Thank you God and thank you all our friends who helped us bring him up.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity.

I don't think there is a more hopeful word than opportunity. And that, dear friends, is what we have for the next four years--opportunities to change the motion of this country;opportunities to change the attitude of this country toward immigrants and toward the countries who used to be our allies which we have successfully run off; opportunities to work together to make our country stronger, healthier, more focused on sharing than greed; opportunities to herald bipartisan cooperation and truly make the Congress work; opportunities for the Great Society that LBJ envisioned in which we all are truly equal; and the opportunity to once again lead the world to peace. Can it be done? I pray that it will be.

I believe our next great adventure should be implementing term limits in the Congress.

I have been off line for the last seven days--computer trouble--felt like I lost my left leg!

It is an historic time and one I am glad I lived to see it. The interviews of those who participated in the Civil Rights marches have been poignant and inspiring. I loved Pres. Obama's tale about the 106 year old woman.

Perhaps one of the things which we will see come out of this is an articulate and motivating President.