Combo Plate

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Something good, linked via “and” with something else good, becomes twice as nice.
Love and marriage, bacon and eggs, buttons and bows, Mickey and Minnie.
A lot of my favorite things double their pleasantness when I join them.
I started a list of some favorite combos, old and new. (The new haven’t replaced the old. Just joined them to make an even more superior combo.)

Favorite Combos by the Prude

Quote and the reason
New: “I have made this letter longer than usual only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Blaise Pascal)
And I am always in a frenzy of word-cutting to get my manuscripts pared down to the required length.
Old: “Be not the first by whom the new is tried nor the last by whom the old is laid aside” (My father quoting his father quoting someone else.)
And it kept me from being trendy, gave me a horror of group-think, and helped me fight an inborn tendency to stodginess.

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Dad, trying a new combo of his own

Beverage and concurrent activity while imbibing
New: Bulletproof coffee and watching local news
Old (very old. 1970’s old) Diet Dr. Pepper and sunbathing

Author and character
New: Patricia Wentworth and Miss Maud Silver
Old: Josephine Tey and Inspector Grant

Color combination
New: Sage and red
Old: Sunshine yellow and cobalt blue

Sacred song and place to sing it
New: “Merciful God”* and a worship service with my brothers and sisters
Old: “How Great Thou Art”** and a country road, walking, as a melancholy teen. Feeling all nature-y.

Word & its association
New: Hiraeth—A nameless longing and homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was. And the longing for a Home that we’ve never seen.
Old: Serendipity—A happy accident. And my dad explaining the meaning.

Entertainment and simultaneous drudgery task
New: Old B&W Falcon or Charlie Chan detective movies and ironing.
Old: “A Christmas Carol” (1938 or 1951 versions) at midnight and wrapping Christmas gifts.

Flowers
New: Any color and any other color as long as it results in a riot of color
Old:  Wild chicory and Queen Anne’s LaceSONY DSC

Scents
New: Balsam and Cedar
Old: Pumpkin and Spice

Flavor
New: Dark chocolate caramel and sea salt
Old: Clotted cream and jam

Food
New: Naked cheese curds and ranch dip (Wisconsin is basically bathed in ranch dip)
Old: Chili and cold white milk

Poem and location to read/recite it
New: “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
and sitting on the patio just after sunset when it is still light enough to read. With feet propped up on the sandbox.SONY DSC
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Old: “Irish Peasant Song” by Louise Imogen Guiney and walking along country roads being melancholy. (no car as a teenager meant my pensive self was resigned to moody trudges along country roads.)

Version 2

This is it. The road I walked along as a melancholy teen, reciting poetry and singing hymns. Sort of the opposite of Betty and Veronica

I try to knead and spin, but my life is low the while/ Oh, I long to be alone, and walk abroad a mile;/ Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all/ 
Why from me that’s young should the wild tears fall?



The shower-sodden earth, the earth-colored streams/  
They breathe on me awake, and moan to me in dreams/ 
And yonder ivy fondling the broke castle-wall/ 
It pulls upon my heart till the wild tears fall.

The cabin-door looks down a furze-lighted hill/ 
And far as Leighlin Cross the fields are green and still/  
But once I hear the blackbird in Leighlin hedges call/  
The foolishness is on me, and the wild tears fall!

There you go. Some of my favorite combo plates. Got any others you can share?

*Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend

**Carl Boberg

Grand Old Flag

 

SONY DSCIt’s almost Flag Day folks! I’m gettin’ my stars and stripes on this Thursday, June 14, and you know why?
Because it’s also Granny’s Preschool day and I couldn’t think of another topic.

Truly, I love my country and what my flag stands for. But I don’t usually spend much time thinking about Flag Day. Saving that burst of red, white and blue for 4th of July, don’t you know.

But since small people expect me to teach them something on Thursday—or at least I like to pretend they sit at my feet thirsting after knowledge—I’ve done some research on Old Glory. It really is a Grand Old Flag.

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First:
I don’t care what anyone says. I’m choosing to believe Betsy Ross stitched the flag after a visit from George Washington. If you try to reason with me about this I’ll turn on the song “Boys the Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” and sing along at full throttle.*

Second:
Why the song “Boys the Old Flag Never Touched the Ground”?
Thank you for asking. It has SUCH A COOL STORY.
William Carney, slave born, soldier in the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, was the first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor.
During the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863, under heavy fire, the color guard for Carney’s regiment was killed. Carney caught up the flag.images-2
On hands and knees, under heavy fire and with multiple serious injuries, Sgt. Carney crawled back to his regiment, making certain that the flag never touched the ground.

If you want to know more about this lovely and honorable man please look him up. He is worth your time.
Sgt. William Carney is my new love, (almost but not quite displacing Elihu Washburne). He also puts me to shame. That kind of respect for the flag and what it is meant to represent? I fall so far short.

Third:
Martin Van Buren was the first president born under the flag we know as the Stars and Stripes. Please don’t tell me what what an ineffective president he was.

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-His name was Martin. So was my dad’s.
-He was Dutch. Prick me and I bleed tulips and windmill cookies.
-His hometown is Kinderhook, New York. How can you not love a town called Kinderhook? And all its native sons and daughters?

Fourth:
The idea of Flag Day was birthed by a Wisconsin schoolteacher. I am a Wisconsin schoolteacher! (emeritus)

Fifth:
(because don’t you sort of like the idea that the U.S. isn’t quite like any place else on earth?)
We are the only country that officially pledges allegiance to the flag. Our national anthem is in homage to it, Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” honors it, we have laws protecting it and societies that tell us how to handle it. No other country does any of the aforementioned. Oh yeah. Our flag is our brand.

Sixth:                                                                                                                                                     The current pattern incorporating the 50 stars on the blue field was designed as a class project by a high schooler. He got a B-minus.

There’s so much more to learn about the flag of the United States of America.
At Granny’s Preschool we’ll probably recite the Pledge of Allegiance, do a stars and stripes craft, hear the apocryphal story of Betsy Ross and eat red, white and blue food.
But I hope that my grandchildren will begin to grasp the meaning of the flag. They’ll learn that not everything done in its name is decent or honorable or right, and many people don’t so much wave it as wield it. But what it stands for now is what it was always supposed to stand for. Liberty and justice for all.
I hope these little ones grow up willing to contend for all the good and true things Old Glory represents.

SONY DSC*This is an idle and empty threat. I can’t find any recording of “Boys the Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” and therefore can’t sing it at any volume. Although I could recite the lyrics at the top of my voice…

Succumbing to the Epidemic

 

SuccumbIt had to happen. You comment on Facebook. Or tweet or post on your blog. You hit “Send” or “Publish.” You reread what you just wrote.
“Don’t let the mosquito’s carry you away!”

There, for all the world to see, is a misplaced apostrophe. You took a common garden-variety plural noun—more than one mosquito. (Not that there is any such thing. They travel in battalions.) You made it into a possessive. (Don’t let the mosquito’s WHAT carry you away? Their tiny legs?)

I know, I know. We have the option to edit. But aren’t you worried that this is just the first symptom of a more serious underlying ailment?

Like Apostrophe Plague?

Lice

Why did we think we could avoid infection? Apostrophes cover the earth like lice or fleas.

At the grocery store.
BANANA’S FOR SALE

On billboards
THE BEST LAWYER’S MONEY CAN BUY

In Advertisements
TATTOO’S AND PIERCING’S

On menus
TODAYS ENTREE’S
(this one is doubly potent)

On garage sale notices
LOT’S OF GOOD DEALS

Books and social media posts and poorly edited articles swarm with apostrophes that are where they shouldn’t be.

How did I think I could avoid being stung? A tiny apostrophe bacterium works its way from my eyes and worms into my brain. And I break out in misplaced apostrophe.

Do you want to know how bad it has gotten? On my fourth example above, above TODAYS ENTREE’S,
I put an apostrophe before the “s.” In menus!
Is there any hope?

Maybe I just have a weak constitution. Maybe I’m more susceptible to various punctuation plagues.
I suffer from a chronic case of Comma Elimination. My editor added several hundred commas to my latest manuscript. I missed inserting them after introductory phrases.
Well my excuse is that my comma-typing center finger was permanently affected by this plague. No really.
A side effect—or possibly a stand-alone affliction—has resulted in several instances of writing the word “to” (meaning “toward,”) when I meant to write “too,” (meaning also or excessively). This type of horrific mistake makes me feel that Mr. Hyde has taken over my reasonably well-educated Dr. Jekyll writing persona.

Maybe it isn’t too late for me. Vaccinations of Jane Austen, perhaps.
A diet high in grammar workbooks and booster shots of peer critiques administered regularly.
Add going cold turkey on apostrophes for a time and I may be able to kick this thing.

Once I get my strength back maybe that center finger on my right hand will regain function and be able to hit the comma key.

However only time will tell.

Well. Shoot.

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Well shoot. Shoot, shoot shoot. I wasn’t going to be here today. I was going to have cancelled my WordPress subscription before it automatically renewed. I was going to pen a gracious farewell letter, telling you that with the million (to the nth power) blogs out there, don’t for goodness sake waste time on this one.

Because honestly, some/most people who stop in here do it out of duty. No. Really. They love me and want to support me. So when my sisters/sisters-in-Christ/cousins/really nice people see I have a new post up, they stop in.

Hopefully they like what they read. But The Tuesday Prude won’t change the world. Believe me. I tried. Yet the world is still full of saggy pants and rude words and  apostrophes scattered hither and thither in singular plurals, isn’t it?

I was going to end my letter with a smiling and still gracious suggestion that the time you would have taken reading The Prude could be better spent picking daisies, watching little children laugh, practicing bird calls and taking selfies.

But here I am.
And you know why?
Because I forgot to cancel WordPress.

And now I’m feeling guilty. I post once or twice in almost never, but I’m paying for each word I don’t press here at The Tuesday Prude.

The journey of a 52-weeks automatically-renewed subscription begins with a single post.
My plan is to write something every week. Just to justify the money that was automatically deducted from my checking account by WordPress.

There will be fluff. There will be criticisms against sloppy dress, an excess of publicly-displayed skin, egregious grammar errors and unpleasant behavior.

There will be conscience appeasement too. I’m a Christian. One of those people who is supposed to bubble over with love for Christ and fellow humankind. I should want to share the Good News with everyone I meet.
Instead my tongue twists into a knot a sailor would envy and I can’t think of a word of witness.

So maybe that journey will start here too. Maybe if I get my love for my Savior and my awe at grace and my gratitude for mercy on cyber paper, my tongue will eventually follow.

We’ll see. I’ve stalled out on plenty of journeys, be they weight loss or exercise programs or cleaning schedules or devotion time.
In other words, this might be the start of a string of posts.
Or next Tuesday might pop out of nowhere and I’ll tell myself “There’s always next week.”

Either way, don’t take time from a beautiful life to read my blog just from a sense of duty. But if you can wait on that selfie, stop by. Might as well. The post is already paid for.

Wallowing in blood

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Here is what happens Sunday during a sermon on how fallen sinners can approach a Holy God:
I wonder if the stuff in the crock pot will be done when I got home.
I get a grip and concentrate on the sermon. Until my meandering brain wonders why X isn’t in church and maybe X doesn’t like our church anymore or maybe Y had said something to hurt X’s feelings or maybe Y hadn’t said anything to X at all and that was why X wasn’t there and then I turn my head a bit and there X and Y are both sitting.
Paying attention to the sermon.

Imagine that.

 

Please join me over at Heart”wings” this morning to hear about the realization that hit me as my brain continued to leak in various directions.

http://www.heartwingsblog.com/2018/05/wallowing-in-blood/

The Granny with the Magic House

 

IMG_0632It’s unsettlingly easy to make me feel guilty and inadequate. But all these blog posts and articles and encouragements to clear out your clutter before your kids have to—not making a dent on my conscience or behavior.

First, do you know how many years I cleaned up my kids’ clutter? Come to think of it, some of their stuff is still sitting at my house, mingled with my stuff, probably spontaneously generating more stuff.

Second, when I am gone (and I’ll be honest. I’d like to postpone that day till I am ancient and doddering and my kids are saying “We love Mom so much, but she’s ready to go to a better place). Where was I? Oh yes. When I’m gone, I like to think my boys will be going through my stuff and finding treasures. Treasures to remind them of their childhood. Mementos of how greatly they were loved. They’ll see all the saved drawings and “I love yuo mom” [sic] cards and little gifts made of pipe cleaners and cardboard. I want them to understand that to me, each was an expression of boundless love via small hands.

I hope they find mysterious items they can only speculate about. Is it old? Part of our heritage? Something precious? Isn’t this like a treasure hunt?

(I wish there was a stash somewhere of my grandparent’s stuff—especially the little bits of living belonging to the three of them I never knew. To see what they loved, what they thought was important. To see a bit of the history that is a part of me. What delight I’d find in that!)

Finally, I want to be the granny with the magic house. The house with unexpected delights in closets and corners and on bookshelves and the basement. I want there to be things they don’t have to worry about handling with care because Granny saved these things for just such a time as this. And there should be the fragile, lovely stuff to marvel at and cherish, to only touch with a grandparent nearby. There should be stuff with stories, stories that link them with people they’ve never meant and places that no longer exist.

I want them to be able to touch their heritage. I want them to see paraphernalia that connects them to past generations, read books their great-grandparents read, admire jewelry that was admired a century ago. I never want them to run out of clutter and accumulations to explore at Granny’s house, so they always feel there is more to discover. More mystery, more excitement, more objects to handle and marvel at and speculate on. Magical bits and bobs that transport them across time and oceans could be just around the corner, maybe on that top shelf or the bottom drawer or in the dark and dusty crawl space.

Some of my stuff ends up in the trash every time I go through it. But my acid test isn’t very strong:
-Is this stuff safe for the grandkids to play with? Even if it is a one-and-done pleasure, it just won a reprieve.
-Does this stuff elicit an immediate emotional connection? Does it link me to a place or person or event? As long as my brain encourages my feelings to respond, this stuff stays.
-Then there’s the stuff I hold dear only because of its inherent beauty, Does it evoke wonder? Bring me delight? Because it may delight my loved ones too, I’ll hang onto it. We’ve got the room.

Stuff is just stuff. But it can serve a purpose. That stuff can be a visible reminder of love and loved ones, of creative expression and events and people and places that faded into oblivion. Yet when the stuff hits our hands and our retinas it wakens something in the heart and brain.

My kids and grandkids may one day regret my propensity to hang onto stuff. Even so, I hope they take a final look on the way to the trash can and say, “She sure did love us though, didn’t she?”

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I blame the mourning dove

 

mourning-dove-1980911_1920Have I mentioned that two of my predominant characteristics are sloth and short-mindedness?
The first is just a more dramatic way of saying I’m lazy.
The second means I can’t see the end of my nose from my face. In other words I can’t anticipate outcomes. I could never play chess or any other game of strategy. I can’t plan my murder mysteries past the next page, which makes for many painful writing sessions.

It snowed here over night. A lot.
I feed birds.
The connection between the above is that I’m too lazy to maintain bird feeders, and I don’t care if squirrels or the occasional possum snacks at the feed on my patio. The grandchildren and I enjoy tossing the food out the back door and watching the birds on the patio eat lunch.

The sloth-bird seed-snow connection occurred when I was too lazy this morning to shovel off the patio. I just swept a clear spot however far I could reach from the patio door.

The mourning dove-shortmindedness connection comes in because a mourning dove was on the stoop outside the door looking in wistfully.
I could almost hear him say “Please, mum, could we have some more? Ours is all covered up.”
(Another feature of my nature is assigning anthropomorphic qualities to everything. I’ve been known to apologize to inanimate objects after tripping over them. Wouldn’t want the footstool to have hurt feelings.)

So slothful me swept off the back stoop and 18 inches of patio. (I was, to give myself a little grace, in my robe, and it was barely light out yet.)
Short-minded and imaginative me rewarded the mourning dove by sprinkling food on the stoop, where he could enjoy a little mid-morning snack since he had been so polite.

Then I heard the thunk. Sure enough, a plump little junco had been going for the food on the stoop and flew right into the patio door. He got blown back into the snow and sat there. And sat there. And shivered. In spite of my prayers and begging forgiveness because I should have anticipated this, he continued to sit.

So I put on gloves and opened the patio door to pick him up. What was I going to do with him?
Good question. Short-minded, remember?
Maybe I planned to put him on near the garage service door where the snow had melted because of lousy insulation.
But it was what we like to call a moot point.
He flew away.
Rejoicing, I ran for the shovel (being fully dressed now) and cleared a fair portion of the patio and tossed out fresh seed and swept any remaining temptation from the stoop.

And I promised to never again be so lazy or short-minded.

That’s when the mourning dove gave me a knowing wink.

 

Photo credit: edbo23 at Pixabay