Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Category: Just for Fun

Homecoming on the grounds….

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Too bad you couldn’t hear me working on the mouth-watering, deeply poetic account below. I was laughing my head off–even though the menu is pretty much a killer! One of my favorite memories from the 1950s….

Homecoming this Sunday on the grounds
of the Montgomery Presbyterian Church
Come One, Come All!
Sunday, 12:30 to 5:00 pm
All Ages Welcome!

Beneath aging water oaks
Long wooden tables covered with oilcloth
and butcher paper groan with food
Children race shrieking with joy

Ladies arrange and surreptitiously rearrange
table settings to favor their own delicacies
properly positioned for easy access
and maximum compliments

Piles of coated, crispy southern fried chicken
Bowls of homegrown boiled corn on the cob cut in 2-inch portions
Mounds of southern white potato salad swimming
in mayo, relish, cut-up hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper

Molded bright green and orange jello ‘salads’
defy description
laced with canned mixed fruit, grated carrots and raisins,
small-curd cottage cheese and pineapple bits or
My Mom’s strawberry jello salad
with real strawberries and rhubarb!

Platters of thick-sliced juicy homegrown tomatoes
Hunks of sugary-sweet southern-style cornbread
Pots of honey-bee honey and real butter

Obligatory cut green beans drowning
in canned cream-of-something soup topped
with crispy brown onion fries

Boiled collards and turnip greens swimming
in chunks of fatty ham and Tobasco laced broth

Plates of beguiling, deviled eggs dusted with red paprika
Baskets of buttery white rolls and salty potato chips
Nary a boiled carrot to be seen

Lemon chiffon pie, sweet potato pie
and banana pudding with soggy vanilla wafer edges
Cheesecake in graham-cracker crusts
topped with canned cherries
smothered in red glop

Pecan pies and German chocolate cakes
Chocolate chip cookies, decorated sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies
Moon Pies and Tootsie Rolls

Hot coffee with caffeine and real cream
Sweetened iced tea with lemon slices
Water and funeral home fans for the faint of heart

Yet more glorious still—
Pit-cooked, falling-apart whole barbecued pork
prepared and reverently tended overnight by real men
on the grounds of hog heaven

***

I was 8 years old when we moved to the Deep South. I loved nothing as much as potluck dinners. This annual event, however, outdid all the others.

I never could get enough of that sweet-potato pie. What about you? What’s your favorite potluck dish?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 January 2016, reposted 22 May 2022
Luscious image of classic deviled eggs from vintagecooking.com

Farewell, Scotland! | Dear Readers 2

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Edinburgh Castle, high above the city

This week D and I have been looking at photos/slides taken in 2015 during our 50th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland.  It was fabulous! We flew out of Philadelphia on September 1 and spent nearly 2 ½ weeks in Scotland. Here’s one of my Scotland posts. A tiny peek into a stunning trip. Don’t miss the panorama below, taken from Edinburgh Castle. Click to enlarge (2 times if needed). 

For the record,

  • D drove us safely over 650 miles on the ‘wrong’ side of the road without any scrapes or bruises. Every now and then he had just a bit of what he called ‘terror on the road.’ Especially on the narrow, winding back roads we enjoyed for most the trip.
  • We have over 2000 photos to help us remember this fabulous trip.
  • We left our pedometers (Fitbits) at home, which is most unfortunate since we climbed up and down the equivalent of at least one mountain each, and walked over 100 miles each in cities, towns and forests.
  • We ate breakfast most days like royalty (thanks to our Bed & Breakfast master chefs!), learned to depend on TESCO and The Cooperative Stores found all over Scotland, and enjoyed more versions of yummy carrot-red lentil soup than I knew existed in this world. Usually served with an enormous, thick slice of heavenly bread.

We spent time in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Stirling, Glasgow, Oban (Isle of Mull and Iona), Grantown-on-Spey (Cairngorms National Park), Huntly (George MacDonald’s home), and Aberdeenshire (Castle Fraser).

Most amazing and somewhat strange was being together and doing only what we chose to do on any given day. The weather was mild, sometimes chilly damp and windy, but overall stunningly beautiful.

Here are several more photos from the first day of our trip. Enjoy!

First, a panorama looking down from the Edinburgh Castle to the City. Click on the photo to get a closer look. Can you see the ferris wheel?

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Here’s a flag of Scotland whipping around in the wind above the Castle. Note the wind-worn edge.

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Now we’re down on the street, walking away from the Castle.

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This colorful window garden caught my eye–one of several in a small, quiet courtyard just off the busy street.

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This magnificent organ was in the church where John Knox once preached. No, I didn’t get to hear it being played–one reason I have to go back some day!

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Finally, here’s a little street beauty from a residential area just below the Castle.

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I hope you all had at least one or two happy adventures during the last few weeks. If not, here’s hoping you survived whatever other adventures came your way.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 September 2015, lightly edited and reposted 11 May 2022
Photo credit: DAFraser, September 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland

Snooteville, Tennessee 1981

So make that Nashville, Tennessee, 1981. I’m not sure what inspired us to pose in this magnificent manner. That’s daughter Sherry on the left, son Scott in the middle, and I wish I didn’t know who that woman is on the right! By this time, I’d finished my course work at Vanderbilt, and was probably getting ready for comprehensive exams.

In any case, this photo cracks me up every time I see it!

The lovely framed temple rubbing on the wall was a gift from D’s mother. She brought it back from a tour of duty (as military librarian) during the VietNam War. The empty shell on the fireplace shelf was one of our great finds while visiting beaches on the East Coast.

I wonder what look D had on his face when he snapped this one! I don’t think it was planned. We were probably worn out from having to pose with smiles on our faces….or something like that! In any case, I love this photo.

Hoping this day brings moments of happiness in your life, no matter how they happen to find you!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 May 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser, Nashville, Tennessee, 1981 

Cooper’s Hawk | Photo

Yesterday morning I was watching the back yard while I ate breakfast. Suddenly, there she was, sitting on a large old flowerpot next to our garage. She looked like a statue, except for her head and eyes that kept turning from side to side, craftily scanning the yard for food. Maybe a lazy squirrel or a small bird for breakfast? Yummy. But…we went out to get in our car and she decided to find another hunting ground for now.

You can see and read more about Cooper’s Hawks here. We’ve also seen them in snowy mid-winter, flying through bare trees after a tasty bird.

In case you’re wondering, the yellow post in the foreground warns us if we get the car too close to the brick wall.

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 March 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser, 18 March 2022

The looking-glass

This morning I looked into my bathroom mirror and got a fright. Who is this woman? Do I know her?

Well…of course I know her. Still, there’s something about mirrors that feels like betrayal. They’re so honest!

So I washed my hair and washed my face and, for at least a few minutes, felt quite lovely, thank you.

Here’s a poem I wrote in December 2016. I’ve had it on my mind for about a week, so now it’s your turn to have it on your mind–for at least the minute it takes to read it!

Her bespoke face
betrayed no provenance
no signature or style
save those life etched within each line
each scar and curve of chin and cheek

No sign of props placed here and there
to hold it all in space
no awkward look or heavy paint
to dazzle or illuminate
Just a canvas standing there
with pleasant eyes of burning depth
and mouth with upturned corners

Quite suddenly she smiled at me
and said hello-how-are-you?
One of a kind I see — said I —
with hat tipped to my Maker

Given today’s upheavals here and abroad, I pray each of us will find a bit of peace and hope to share with neighbors and strangers alike. Thank you for stopping by.
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 February 2022
Image found at pingfind.com

Good News and three choice photos

Good News! I am not a candidate for the health challenge no one wants to face: hypogammaglobulinemia.

So I’m back to floor exercises to help ease pain in my legs and feet, walking, playing the piano, writing, resting as needed, and eating mostly vegan food on behalf of my heart and kidneys. Peripheral neuropathy and osteoarthritis in my lower spine are more than enough for now. That, plus the reality that the end of my life keeps approaching, one day and night after another.

Just for fun, above and below are three recent photos of Christmas cheer and Smudge. D took the photo at the top; I took the rest with my iPad. Am I besotted with Smudge? Yes, indeed! Especially when he’s behaving well.

Checking out the Costco box

Drowsy on our heated waterbed

Cheers to each of you!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 February 2022
Top photo taken by DAFraser; photos of Smudge taken by ERFraser

A Christmas Card for You | Longwood 2017

In 2017, D and I took an eagerly anticipated day off to visit Longwood Gardens. The theme for 2017 was a French Christmas. Classy and elegant. The conservatory pond photo above makes the statement boldly and creatively. Thousands of cranberries and green apples are floating in the pond. The light buff floaters in the center foreground are walnuts painted gold!

Directly behind the pond,  three wreaths hang just outside the conservatory’s formal parlor. Here’s the central wreath, followed by a photo of the Christmas tree in the parlor. The wreath contains cranberries, green apples, small shiny ornamental balls and sprayed bronze leaves.

Turning around, we headed into the central Conservatory atrium decorated with poinsettia trees and plants, plus a few grapefruit trees in the center, heavy with their own decorations.

Then we checked out the Children’s Garden. Below is a clever tribute to French style sitting atop a gargoyle-like spitting fountain! It’s paired here with an elegant French-inspired Christmas tree ornament.

In the Palm Room we found a lovely orchid Christmas tree with tiny white lights, clear beaded ornaments and shiny silver globes reflecting their surroundings. Then we headed for the children’s trees, decorated by children from area schools. The example below is particularly exuberant, a spectacular contrast to the more sedate yet glamorous orchid tree.

Finally, would you believe a succulent Christmas tree? The second photo shows some detail. An amazing feat of design and innovative construction.

For all my wonderful followers and visitors, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a New Year of personal peace, growth, and contentment. Plus time to reconnect with real people for whom small things make all the difference.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 December 2017, edited and reposted 14 December 2021
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, December 2017

Ghouls and Fools 2021

Behold my four ghouls
Some greater than others
Designed to affright
disgust or delight

Traditional Irish Jack-‘o-Lantern (above) inhabits
the Museum of Country Life in Ireland

Modern carving of a Cornish Jack-‘o-Lantern
made from a turnip

Modern carving of a North American
Jack-o’-Lantern pumpkin
designed, hand carved and photographed
by my delightfully irrepressible Sister #3, Diane
who died of ALS in February 2006

Happy Halloween, Everybody!

2020 Comment: This old 2017 post is already getting looks, so here it is! The original title was Ghoulish Gallery. The changed title (Ghouls and Fools) is an obscure, slightly hidden archaic reference to our current State of Affairs only two weeks away from the 2020 Election.

2021 Comment: I can’t imagine Halloween without these beauties, and without you! Thanks for stopping by!

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 October 2017, reposted 21 October 2020 and 30 October 2021
Halloween witch image found at pinterest.com
Images of Cornish and Irish Jack-‘o-Lanterns found at Wickipedia
Photo of Jack-‘o-Lantern pumpkin taken by Diane Renich Kelley

Knackered Friday?

One of my all-time favorite posts! I know it isn’t Friday, but it’s coming!!!

Are you knackered? This great word comes from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia and beyond. Here are several visual definitions included for the benefit of all who are too knackered to read on.

First, a photo of Smudge (above), taken several days after he was rescued dripping wet, voracious and exhausted, by our granddaughters and their mother. Knackered. As in all tuckered out.

Here are four other helpful overviews, thanks to Google,
beginning with my personal favorite:

And three more, in case you need further insight:

Me either!

Here’s to an unknackered weekend!
With sincere apologies to my many friends
who know far more and better
than I do about knackered.

Dare I ask: Are you knackered? Feel free to share your experiences!
Or not.

***

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 April 2017, reposted 7 October 2021
Photo/Image credits:
Megan Naugle Fraser, Smudge, taken 11 August 2013
Knackered Mom: doodlemum.files.wordpress.com
Knackered Dog: memesuper.com
Knackered Cat: tumblr.com
Knackered Relaxing Oat Bath Milk: fieldandstyle.com

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Knackered

Late Summer at Longwood Gardens 2021 | Photos

The sun was out; the sky was blue; there was a lovely breeze in the air; humidity was low; and school was back in session! The perfect recipe for a not-too-crowded visit to Longwood Gardens. Plus, it was our one-day-early 56th wedding anniversary! All photos were taken by David.

Below is the central pond in Longwood’s famous water lily garden. Since there’s no easy way to capture the whole show, I’ve picked out some favorites, including one young platter still unfolding/unrolling its brand new pad. A small water ferry for a princess!

The corner pond below borders the conservatory hallway just next to an indoor desert garden display. The photos below highlight gorgeous leaves and one spectacular snow-white water lily.

We could have spent the entire day in the water lily garden. However, the sun, our determination to see the flower walk, and my yearning to walk through the meadow yet again kept us going. Besides, we were hungry for lunch. So when we walked back through the conservatory, here’s what we saw hanging from the rafters and lining the path to food and more late-summer beauty.

Finally, here’s what we saw when we sat down to eat our Happy Anniversary lunch at Longwood Gardens Café:

David’s lovely salad bowl

My cup of vegetarian chili full of surprises beginning with hot pepper.
Need I say more? 

We had a beautiful day roaming here and there. I’m hoping to post some of my favorite flower walk and meadow photos. But not today.

Thanks for stopping by!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 September 2021
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, 10 September 2021

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