Sunday, June 10, 2018

I Come with My Own "Warning"

Warning, a poem written by the late Jenny Joseph is not only an ode to anti-conformity, but it is also the praise of the strength that many women have but do not show due to the social restraints put on them by a conformist society. Joseph's words remind me of all of the words my grandmother raised me on. Could it be that both women were born during the same year that they had a lot of the same ideals? Perhaps Grandma had read Joseph's poetry and that inspired her way of living, but I do not think that is a true statement. Beyond both women's poetry, they both had a strength that resonated through their lives.

Warning reminds me how to continue to live my life in the manner that I had been taught to live. I will always remember Grandma telling me to not worry so much about what others thought, and because of that, I have found myself embracing anti-conformity throughout my entire life. Furthermore, I have passed that lifestyle down to my children as well.

I am not saying shun the rules of society all together, for chaos is never the answer to anything. I am, however, saying do not allow society to dictate who you are supposed to be. Do not only think outside of the box, but be so dynamic in your thinking that you break the box wide open. Do not only dance to the beat of a different drummer, but continue to dance feverishly when the drummers have gone silent. Our choices are ours alone, and we should live each and every single day as if there is no other. Take risks and truly be yourself. Have fun and enjoy life. It is when we allow others to define us that we find our own complete and utter misery. So, to Jenny and Grandma, I will continue to run my stick along the public railings, and I may stop long enough to create a new beat on my own drum. I will not wait until I am an old woman.

Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph
05.07.1932-01.08.2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

New Friends in Anson




Asiatic Lily Study

I received some beautiful Asiatic Lilies from my boss at work last week and have been enjoying watching them bloom. I decided to break out my camera and take several photos.
















Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Cookies

Who would have thought that one simple moment would cause me to break down so easily? Certainly, not me, but it did happen. Throughout the twenty three years that we have been together, DJ has never asked for or gone after the little blue tin full of butter cookies that he did while grocery shopping the other day. And, I have to ask myself why on this day, this year, did he decide that he wanted to grab that little blue tin and place it in the cart? He certainly could not have gauged my reaction to seeing the tin, nor could he have expected the gesture to flood my mind with the sweet memories that brought tears to my eyes. Now, I have cried over cookies in a grocery store before, but that is a different story about pregnancy and Grasshoppers. Maybe, I will tell you that story some day.

Looking down in the basket at that little blue tin, a realization struck. I will never have another Christmas with her. Many little blue tins like this little blue tin spent their lifetimes in a closet holding buttons to place on clothing, beads to make jewelry, receipts for important purchases, and crayons broken by children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Those little blue tins sat on a kitchen counter, anxious to be opened by anyone that crossed the threshold into the warm kitchen and home filled with love. The sweet taste of butter and sugar awaiting to be chosen by the people that she loved more than anyone in the world, her family.

Sweet memories of an entire family gathered in a home completely crowded, full of laughter, and the spirit of Christmas filling the air struck my mind so quickly, that I could not contain the emotion. Flashes of a beautiful aunt with an infectious laugh, always happy and always proud, taken far before her time. Flashes of my father's freckled fingers, nimbly reaching down into that tin to grab the cookies with the little chocolate bits. I think I get my love of chocolate from him. Flashes of small children running to the counter and snatching a cookie and shoving it in their mouths before anyone could stop them. So much love and so much warmth could be found in every Christmas in her home, and every Christmas, that little blue tin of cookies sat on that counter and waited for all of us.

Christmas does not seem to be anywhere close to the same as it did when those little blue tins sat on her counter, and that chapter in my life has come to a close. So, today, it is time for me to create my own chapter and try to make my Christmases special in their own little way. Although my heart is heavy with the loss of so many people that I love, I will always remember that I carry them all with me, and they will always influence how I chose to celebrate my Christmas this year and all of the years to come, with love, laughter, and the spirit of Christmas.