Monday, April 12, 2021

Papa Lees PENNY A RIDE

 


I've written about my grandfather, Harry Lee, quite a few times since I started my blog in 2006.  He was an author with two published books … “More Day to Dawn” the story of Thoreau, “High Company” sketches of courage in WW I and a play about the life of St. Francis which had a very short Broadway run in 1928.

Papa Lee, as we called him, was a very dear man and we 5 Lee sisters adored him. We were his only grandchildren and he would spoil us royally whenever he got the chance. In 1937 his Christmas gift to our family was a handwritten book of poems he titled “Penny-a-ride.” It was filled with simple rhymes such as this:

ONE RED APPLE

When Grandma and my Aunt Jeanette were just like we are, little girls, there was a naughty boy would sneak up close behind and pull their curls.

And once he pulled my Grandma’s curls and ran off down the wagon track where’s all the dust and then he turned and rolled a big red apple back.

And when I asked her why he did and where he did and when and how, my Grandma said, “Go ask him child, that naughty boy's your Grandpa now.”



Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The many talented Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

I recently came across an article about the 1969 Johnny Cash performance at San Quentin prison where he brought the inmates to a standing ovation after singing "A Boy Named Sue". Both Johnny and the song became overnight sensations and it got me to wondering who wrote the song.

Lo and behold it was Shel Silverstein who wrote both the words and the music.  That was a surprise to me. I thought that he was a writer and illustrator of children's books, although I shouldn't use the word "just" because there was nothing ordinary about any of his books.

This example of his book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" proves this:


"There is a place where the sidewalk ends .... and before the street begins  ... and there the 

grass grows soft and white ... and there the sun burns crimson bright ... and there the moon

bird rests from his flight ...to cool in the peppermint wind." 


So, why am I posting about Shel Silverstein ?  He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer and recording artist.  He also won a Grammy and was nominated for an Oscar for the song "I'm checking Out" for the film Postcards from the Edge.

I had no idea that he was so multi-talented and thought that might be of interest to others too.














Friday, April 02, 2021

Iceland ... our Bucket List destination

I, and all of my family, have been looking forward to the day that we can finally celebrate the end of this pandemic.  We've decided that when it does come we will gather at a place that all of us have wanted to visit. We call it our post Covid Bucket List and it looks like Iceland has been picked as number one. 

Ever since we've made our choice it seems like something new crops up almost daily about Iceland and the latest is the Fagradals Mountain volcano that erupted recently.  It had been dormant for over 6,000 years and, of course it drew visitors. (as seen in this photo by Jeremie Richard)


Officals at first said it appeared to be small and was not considered a threat to the capital, Reykjavik, just 25 miles away, but due to the constancy of the lava flow and based on the analysis of the magma they now suspect that the eruption could be a long-hauler.

A scientific study of the freshly-minted basalt by volcanologists suggests that the magma has come from deep within the Earth's mantle over nine miles beneath the surface.  "Magma from a source that deep has not been seen in this region for thousands of years and has the potential to sustain itself for a long time.", they said.

What it says to me is ... "Don't worry you guys from the States.  We are looking forward to your visit and will be putting on a show for years to come!"



Saturday, March 27, 2021

THE BROWNING OF AMERICA



In all my 88 years I have never seen anything to match what our country is going through now. The last 4 years with Trump have really brought the under-belly of our country to the surface. He is the worst president in our history but he certainly knew, and knows, where to find his followers. They all have a common thread that binds them.

The commonality comes to the surface when you utter the words … “the browning of America”. A HUGE majority of white America is made up of men and women who can't contemplate a country where they are not top dog. Of course this is pure racism but millions of whites practice it. They conveniently don't look into their heritage and NEVER give credit to the fact that THEY were not the first humans to grace our land.

We are a country of immigrants and I find it exciting. What a boring place to have just money-hungry and racist whites in charge. It's the acceptance and pride of our varied backgrounds that make our country great!

Right now we are blessed to have President Biden. His administration is finally putting the light on the actual people that make up our country. It is thrilling to have this happen, but Biden's hope for unification is being stymied at every turn by a majority of the disgusting Republicans in the House and Senate. They are not even making sense. They continue to spout Trump's lies and refuse to compromise under any circumstance. I am embarrassed for them and for the country.

I am also petrified that we may not be strong or wise enough to make the needed changes and I pray that it's not too late.



T



Monday, March 22, 2021

A note to my blogger readers...

You may have noticed that I've stayed away from politics for the last 6 times that I've posted a blog entry.  This one will not be political either but I'm coming to the end of my patience so enjoy the silliness while it lasts !

                         ************************************************************************** 

I've always been scared when at great heights. It makes me feel weak all over and, just reading about them can turn my legs to water too!  So you can just imagine how I felt when reading about and viewing the Bailong outdoor elevator in Hunan, China !


There is no doubt that it is impressive and, at 1,070 feet tall, it holds the record for the world's tallest outdoor lift. However, I will forgo the pleasure of hopping aboard and will happily send you off to view this...


while I stay on the FLOOR of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and feast my eyes on the spectacular sand-stone pillars that rise up above me, the tallest reaching heights of more that 3,000 feet.







 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Underground City of Naours, France

The underground city of Naours is one of the largest tunnel networks in northern France, a centuries-old complex of hand dug stone chambers and tunnels.  It is also home to over 3,200 signatures of World War I soldiers on the western front and is believed to be the highest concentration of graffiti from that conflict yet discovered.  


Two thirds of the etchings on the chalky walls are from Australian soldiers and archaeologist Billes Prilaux has been tasked with connecting the signatures on the walls with the names and bio's of them. So far he has identified 370 soldiers with certainty and has another 140 in the process. 
 

Prilaux's findings are the basis for a new museum in that country with the theme "Life Behind the Lines". It is a new chapter of Australian war history and will allow visitors to see the graffiti, biographies and portraits of the soldiers before they are lost forever. 

Meet the archaeologist in this short but fascinating video ...

 



Thursday, March 11, 2021

San Gimignano, Italy 2008

 


In 2008 my oldest son and I were in Italy and one highlight of our trip was a visit to the lovely towered city of San Gimignano. It was my second visit there and, as we hiked our way to the top of the city I hoped against hope that the same musician who I'd photographed 5 years before would be there still. Of course this didn’t happen, but my imagination brought him back to life and I described it all to my son.

It was March of 2008 and as I wended my way to the highest point of San Gimignano I started to hear music. This seemed unlikely in the setting, but it became louder and, as I crested the hill I finally saw the musician.

He resembled a monk but was more likely a performer who hoped to augment his income by an afternoon’s performance. He had somehow managed to tote his harpsichord over the cobblestone paths to this lofty spot.

Now, five years later my son and I sat
 in the same spot where I'd heard that concert. We were the only people there but the memory of the intriguing musician and his medley of Baroque tunes seemed to enhance the magnificent views and the total serenity of it all. As it had then, this became a highlight of our Italian journey.