a life well lived

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fireflies & Peace Ice Cream 06/30/00

I wonder why it is some people call them fireflies and others call them lightning bugs?  Is it regional, like soda and  pop, or sack and bag?

In any case, the three of us ate out on the back porch tonight and I was impressed with how many fireflies were putting in an appearance.  We got into a discussion about the increased numbers being due to rehearsals for their big 4th of July extravaganza, put on for the viewing pleasure of the local wildlife. It was fun thinking about a magnificent "light" show, put on in some mystical woodland glen.  It makes quite an interesting picture to spin in the mind.  What a sight!

Looking downstairs from my perch just outside the computer studio as Faithful Scribe transcribes this, I have a bird's eye view of the summer tree in the living room.  In the current setting, the little white lights look like fireflies.  I never thought of that before.  One of these days, I must tell you about our summer beauty!

We've been talking about the 4th of July when I was little, back in Baltimore.  What I mostly remember are the sounds - the effervescent fizzy sound of a sparkler, the loud BOOM! of the small but powerful yellow fireworks my brother Al liked so much, the noises drifting to our house from throughout the neighborhood of fire crackers going off and lots of laughter and sounds of merriment.

Aside from the firecrackers, I don't have a lot of memories of those days in Baltimore.  I wonder why that is?  I do remember, for the first time in I cannot tell you how long, that we had a small barn out at the gend of our property and we would eat our supper in its cool comfort, much much nicer that the hot house.  Have you ever been in Baltimore in the summer?  Hot and humid, very hot and humid.  Sticky.

One thing could always be counted on to cool us down - home-made ice cream.  Oh, that was heavenly.  Back then, we made it in a big wooden tub.  My father would pour in the fresh cream and let us kids take a whack at churning it.  He would set a smaller tub into a larger tub, with ice and salt packed between the two.  Papa would let us take a hand, moving the handle around in a circular motion, around and around, which moved the paddle, which was in the cream and worked its magic.  We kids would take turns churning it around, until it got too thick for us, then Papa would take over and finish off the job.  When it was too hard to move another inch, he would slowly, ever so slowly,  lift the paddle out.  Oh, that was the very best moment of all, when we got to lick the paddle.  What happiness.  Then Papa would put the metal lid on top of the small tub and we would pack in more ice and rock salt around and over it and cover the whole thing with burlap.

July 4th would probably be too early for it, but my favorite ice cream was peach.  The peaches came off of that same Bella Georgia peach tree that I managed to rescue when just a little mite.  We'd peel the beautifully ripe peaches and cut them up and add them to the cream.  That ranks, for me, as angel's food!  When they were in season, the Reynolds household had peach ice cream every Sunday!

I think I will go downstairs and see if there is any ice cream in the freezer!

Thinking of you all as we head into the 4th of July home stretch, and of so many loved ones in loftier realms who I am sure are enjoying some peach ice cream at this very minute.    

 Love - Grammie Kay

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Laughing stars 06/29/00

Today is Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 100th birthday.  He died many years sort of it, last seen in 1944 flying a Free French reconnaisance plane over the Mediterranean, a German fighter plane in hot pursuit. 

No one really knows for sure what happened, his body was never found, which seems a poetic fate for the author of The Little Prince.

Lots and lots of people know Saint-Exupery's most famous quote, the gift of wisdom the fox gave the Little Prince when they parted - "One sees clearly only with the heart.  What is essential is invisible to the eye."

I would like to share a less famous piece, near the end of the book, the
Little Prince speaking to the Aviator:

People have stars, but they aren't the same.  For travelers, stars are guides.  For other people, they are nothing but tiny lights.  And for still  others, for scholars, they're a problem.  For my businessman, they were gold.   But all these stars are silent stars.  You, though, you'll have stars like nobody else.

What do you mean?

When you look up at the sky, since I will be living on one of them, since
I'll be laughing on one of them, for you it will be as if all the stars are
laughing.  You'll have stars that can laugh!

And he laughed again.

And when you're consoled (everyone eventually is consoled), you'll be glad that you've known me.  You'll always be my friend.  You'll feel like laughing with me.  And you'll open your window sometimes just for the fun of it...  And your friends will be amazed to see you laughing up at the sky...

*    *    *    *   *   *

I love that passage for itself and because it makes me think of my father.  In his final illness, he would look at us (I was 19 and Betty was 17), smile that gentle smile that hovered under his beard, and say, "Soon, I will be hanging out the stars."  

Because of my father, the stars laugh for me even to this day.  When I am hanging out the stars with Pete, I hope they will laugh for you.

Good night, my friends.  Am off to bed - Katharine Reynolds Lockhart

Saturday, June 28, 2014

a very full day 06/28/00

I am a tired lass, a very tired lass.  It has been a full day.

Had a visit this morning from my son, Peter.  It was wonderful - we have not  seen each other since Whitney's wedding in April, so had lots to catch up on - and at the same time stressful. 

It is unfortunate that I usually get quite stressed around my children.  I do not know why that it, but there it is.  What I have to watch out for is my "KRL Death Spiral" - I feel tense in what I think should be a totally happy moment, I get upset at myself for feeling tense and tell myself it is sheer nonsense and everything is really fine, completely ignoring how I actually feel, which only intensifies the tension, and so on and so forth.  It seems so easy to keep forgetting that important things cannot be worked around, they must be worked through.

Do I get tense around Elsa?  I did up to about two years ago, and still do, a bit.  Imagine living with someone who tensed up around you.  Took a lot of work by both of us - and endless patience on John's part - but now we are better at genuinely connecting.  Still a lot of work to do, but at least we are on our way.

One of my bestest buddies is Dr. John Beight, my orthopedic surgeon.  I think I have mentioned before that he is dashing fellow in looks and manner.  He has been wonderful to me.  I had an appointment with him this afternoon to check out my poor old shoulder. 

He asked how I was.  I gave him my standard answer - "I take two pain pills a day.  My spirits are good.  I have a good appetite.  I live with a loving daughter and a loving son-in-law.  Who could ask for more?  It can't get much better than this." 

He gave a slow little smile and said, "You're young."  Surprised, I replied, laughing, “Oh no!  I am old!”  He looked at me, very seriously, and repeated, “No, Mrs. Lockhart, you’re young.”   

Later, as I was getting ready to head out to the waiting room where John was biding his time, Dr. Beight looked at me very seriously and said, "Your son-in-law is a wonderful man.  I saw the way he helped you."  I whole-heartedly agreed!  Then he shook my hand - he has beautiful hands.  I thanked him very much and he graciously replied, "My pleasure" and sounded like he meant it. 

I am so lucky to have association with such a good doctor and gracious man.  What I appreciate most about Dr. Beight is that he is

unusually modest.  He seems totally unconscious of the fact that he is a very handsome man.  He is natural.

When I headed out to meet John, I felt much, much better than when I came in, in part from the cortisone shot in my shoulder but in larger part to the effect of Dr. Beight.

Hope you all are well.  This weary woman is heading to bed. 

Love – Grammie Kay

Friday, June 27, 2014

G'day, Norm!

It was so good to see Norm Heldon.  It has been five long years since my last - alas, truly my last - visit to Australia.  This afternoon, he was really and truly sitting there, in my beloved rocker in my very own living room.

My friendship with Norm started on my first trip to Australia, way back in 1975.  He was the master gardener responsible for keeping the gardens at the Hurstville church in tip-top shape, which meant that he was often just two doors down from where Mike & Kerry ended up.    

His wife, Ruth, played the organ.   She was a good friend.  When she was not well enough to go to a celebration involving her dearly beloved grandchildren, she asked me to go with Norm in her place.  It was a honor I will remember forever.  I miss her still.

Norm is the quintessential Australian - friendly, outgoing and with a strong desire to help.  He would lend a hand to anyone who needs it.  A man that it is an honor to call friend.

It was great fun sitting there, gabbing away with Norm, his brother Syd and sister-in-law Lib.  Great fun to hear about his travels.   

What I will remember most will be the two brothers talking about when they were growing up, especially their description of the marvelous garden their parents kept.  Blackberries and raspberries, apple and pear trees, all sorts of vegetables.   

It was so much fun to slip back in time with the two of them, who seemed  liked more like boys that the older gents they are.

This is Norm's last day in the USA.  Tomorrow, he heads home after a very active visit.  He went all over the place - Bryn Athyn, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Canada and probably quite a few places I forget.  Boy, to have the energy to fit in all he did.  What a man!

It was a good day, a very g'day indeed.   

Love - KRL