Sunday, August 31, 2008

57- TWICE TOLD ADVICE YOUR MOTHER SHARED WITH YOU!.....

1) Swallowing your chewng gum when a kid? Did she tell you that the gum would stick around
seven (7) years inside if you swallowed it? Not true. Uh, "disappears" after just a short time. I
think that she was trying to use what I call 'slychology'.
2) "Don't chew gum while going to bed!" That one is true, as I found out. Woke up one school morn
and discovered a glob of Juicy Fruit in my hair. Went to school that day with an unusual
haircut...never forgot that lession...know what I mean?
3) "Don't play with matches, or you'll pee your bed!" That 'slychology' WORKED.
4) Best way to cure continuous bed wetting? This one was told to my mother by an elderly neighbor on Steffey Street (yes, street named after my Great Uncle Sam). She vowed that eating a cooked mouse, yuck, would do the trick for my bro! And no, thank something, the 'old wives' tale' was never utilized in my neighborhood and into my home. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

56- THE DEFINITIVE FINE ART OF PREPARING AND DEVOURING JUST ONE DELICIOUS, BUT MESSY, S'MORE!

These campfire and home delights, easy to make and difficult to consume without a sticky mess on the fingers and around one's mouth, have undoubtedly become America's 'SWEETheart'! Maybe that's why August 10th was declared the 'National S'mores Day!'
The very first mention, I believe, of the term was in the "Official S'more Recipe in Tramping and Trailing With Girl Scouts" way back in 1927. Let's see, that was over 80 years ago.
Today, we can find recipes for 'Baked Alaska Peanut S'mores', 'Double Chocolate' ones, ''Frozen S'mores', 'Poundcake' ones, 'Mexican S'mores', 'S'mores Biscuits', 'Bread Puddin'' ones and on and on. BUT, most of us simply like the original, old-fashioned recipe of two whole grahams, a Hershey's bar and two toasted marshmallows. What we don't agree on is how, and if we know how, to toast the marshmallow!
I was 'taught' at Camp Bethel during the summers near Fincastle, Virginia. Search for a small, slender branch and used my handy penknife to sharpen the end. I selected two nice, plump 'mallows, NOT the tiny ones used for hot cocoa, and inserted. Oh, be sure that the camp counselors have a campfire going on. Stand close to, but not over the edge of the campfire and slowly turn the 'mallows until the almost moment that they erupt into, uh, flame. If one or both hits the dust? Try, try again. Back off a bit and be ever so careful to pull, with fingers, each almost charred 'mallow off the stick onto one half of the graham that has an entire, no almonds, Hershey's on the bottom. Do the same for the 'mallow on the other one. Make sure that the two charred delights are centered equally on the chocolate bar. Lastly, use your sticky fingers to lower the second graham onto the perfect S'more.
Take a second or three and check it out, all over. Ready? Squeeze together to form a squishy, gooey 'wich! The last step is to figure out how to bite it...and then do it. If you're one of those "I don't wanna get my fingers and mouth messy" kinda persons, you should have gone to the opera instead of camp! REMEMER...all of this action going on is around a campfire and persons around you are using only two hands to hold all of those ingredients! Got it? WAIT, suppose you have it all together, and it falls on the ground? Remember the 5-second rule that every kid knows? I do....
Toasting those plump, puffy white critters? Seems that everyone has their own 'spacial' style of accomplishing that assignment. Whatever way YOU choose to toast is bestest. I like mine charred a bit. I even know a few aficionados who first like to blacken a 'mallow, pull off the results, devour and toast what's left again. Hey, go for it, watever your "it" may be..........squire

Friday, August 29, 2008

55- MURPHY!.........Lois Murphy...My friend!

I, for some time, knew my friend as Murphy at school. I just knew that if she needed support or a funny comment at any time, or she for me, we both would be there, no matter what. This guy was never one of those 'know it all' educators who looked back at staff support but stood with, especially with Murphy.
Whenever I pulled one of my funny moments, she loved to laugh with me out loud. Whenever she needed to vent, she simply knew that I would stop and listen and help if needed.
The best times occurred after school when I would see her at a convenience store near school. "Murphy!...we've got to stop meeting this way!" And she would laugh and laugh...and I would admire my friend. Memories are secure in my memory bank!
Hey, Murphy...I know you're up there.....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

54- "GHOST FARMS".....

That's what this avid researcher, native Virginia admirer and photographer calls them, but others may call them abandoned farmhouses. I've photographed hundreds of the old farms and farmhouses from the Eastern Shore, to the tobacco barns of the Southside, to the Piedmont around C-Ville, to the far western mountains before Grundy to my fave Shenandoah Valley.
My absolute fave one, out of the many captured on film, was in Rockbridge County, Va. in the middle of the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridges...sat on a slight rise of a hill with one huge spent tree trunk in what was once a vibrant front yard. A trace of a road that wound its way up to the front door porch was barely evident. A grazing herd of Angus moved slowly in a pattern across the field.
And, as I explored each one, my memory bank tries to imagine what the family was like when children ran around in the trimmed yard and chickens scratched around vibrant farmyards full of cows and piglets and a goat or three.
American country society will make no more of these homeplaces as each one closes up for good. If you've ever lived on a farm, spent a night on a farm or even visited an old-fashioned Virginia farm, savor your memories.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

53- HAUNTINGS and CAMPFIRE TALES...ONCE TOLD AT NIGHT ONLY!

Coming to an old abandoned house near you...if you dare! ...the portrait's eyes that followed the owner everywhere she went in her old plantation home on the north bank of the James River...the wallpaper upstairs in one bedroom that came alive after the grandfather clock would strike 12 midnight...and more galore.....

1) An elderly couple who lived way out in the country in the Valley once invited me to their very old farmhouse for supper
because they knew I was interested in ghost stories. The entire evening their little dog
quietly sat to the side in the new kitchen. "Let me show you something, Ron," he said
after dinner. He scooped up his fave little buddy, walked into the living room of the old
section of his home and set the dog down. The little pooch immediately scrambled back
into the safety of the new area and kitchen. "He seems to be terrified of being in
that area, looks around in fright and trembles. An old local history book reads about
how a daughter, fed up with being kept a spinster, murdered her parents in
the living room!"

2) As a teen, three of us chums liked to trout fish in the rugged North River Gorge in Augusta County (the Valley) during the summer. We camped out. I decided, one morning early, to head way up the Gorge to the far end. Good choice...found a long stretch of unfished stream and a beaver dam that turned into my swimming pool in the hot afternoon. My googles had been packed, and exploring the stream bottom and up to the dam was a new adventure. As the sun began to lower a bit, I realized that a long walk back to the tent in a meadow it would be, so, headed back, having to cross the same stream three times in the process. The first crossing was uneventful, and the moutain trail still had some light. As I approached the 2nd crossing, a strange feeling brought up some shivers, as I turned around to where I had just passed. Something was low and slinking...and a long tail swishing back and forth. The wide shallow stream crossing was rushed a bit. As I sloshed along the remaining stretch of trail, in my sandals, I turned and noticed, in the approaching darkness, the same large feline figure rose up and began to move into the last crossing of shallow water. I wheeled around in mid-stream and abruptly fell into the chilly stream and instantly floated downstream, holding on to my stringer of trout, the limit, my knapsack and trusty rod and reel. As I floated, my legs touched a large boulder and caused me to stop long enough to rise up, soaking but intact.
No, I didn't tell my chums about the stalking critter along the trail and stream, back at the tent...don't think they would have believed me.

3) This guy was only six and stood waiting for the school bus in the dark early morning hour when a commotion developed and grew in size not far away at an old barn behind the large brick house down the lane from the school bus stop. Men ran from different directions to that old barn. This little boy, with other children, made their way down the lane behind the tall men, and tried to ease through to see what was happening. As I nudged deeper, everyone became strangely quiet, and I could then hear the twisting of a rope back and forth. Finally, inside the barn, my eyes adjusted enough to see....
For this little child, no one knew for years that the scene inside the barn had haunted him for years from what the adult and adults had done.

4) The eyes...those eyes painted in an 18th C. portrait seem to always follow someone in the room...could be that a person's soul knows much more than the stare.

Monday, August 25, 2008

52- OLD ADAGE...FROM A ROMANIAN FRIEND!

"Many people will walk in and out of your life...but only true friends leave footprints in
your heart...."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

51- "PONDERABLES" I...

They were created, in my Socratic-style classes, to start the class off, every day...everyone had an opportunity to think and reply, with respect...everyone was to be respected no matter what their opinion was. Most considered the 'ponderables' up on the green board to the left the one method they remembered first by the end of the semester...thanks!
So, #1 'ponderable' today: looking back to all of the 'squire's way' blogs so far, or just for now. "We know that persons have memories, create memories BY the human's mind, but do houses or places, aside from any human touch, have memories that were created by the place or house? Think intently about that, casting aside any human touch or influence. Could an old abandoned farmhouse, with NO humans whatsoever, have created or do create memories totally and entiring within themselves??? THEY, the house, is haunted?...or, it, the house, is 'good' and positive totally within and by itself?
YOU have a difficult thinking assignment, a deep thinking one...go for it!"

50- OK...WHAT IS IT? II....

Moo juice? It's sweet milk...a term that my grandmother used on her farm...meant milk straight from a cow, not 'messed' with...wasn't actually 'sweet'. Years ago, farm folk often liked buttermilk (a bit sour) and sour cream and clabber. What we drink today has been pasturized. Remember once, visiting on her farm in Rockingham Couny in the Valley, when her cows ate some wild onions...down in her old farmhouse cellar, as she strained the warm, frothy milk, I tasted a cup straight from the cows, with a bit of oniony flavor...ugh! And would also watch her milk, by hand, up in the ancient barn stalls. Every once in a spell, she would aim the teat towards one of the barn kittens, aim and squirt! The kitten would jump and then eagerly lap away to clean its fur. Was funny to see a handful of them lapping away in the stall, and then wait for another squirt!
OK, does chocolate milk come from brown cows?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

49- HIDDEN NOTES LONG, LONG AGO....!

As a sociologist who is in like with customs and tales, found one recently about handwritten notes stuffed and hidden away in secret places in old cabinets and writine desks...and especially in crevices in walls and eaves upstairs in 19th century houses and publick ordinaries or taverns. 20th century farmhouses and two-story homes in small towns across America are beginning to be discovered with notes and letters hidden about. The custom seemed to have been a very private one for decades and decades. Notes were hidden away describing strange occurrances that may have occurred, like a ghostly figure. Most often, someone had met an untimely demise and family members or new owners over the years quietly kept the stories hidden, often describing in detail down on paper what they saw and felt. Maybe they felt, without conferring with others in a wide area and time, that people back then simply would not believe their story, being so far out of the ordinary and often strange.
There was a neat TV movie a handful of years ago, with a writing desk and its hidden storage areas. Two, from different centuries, were able to leave letters to each other in the desk's secret slot. At this point, I cannot conjure up the title but will. Ring a bell for a reader here?
Some of you remember the film "The Lake House" in 2006, Kate (Sandra Bullock as a doctor) and Alex (Keanu Reeves as an architect) begin to exchange letters, developing a romance, BUT the times do not allow them to actually meet, with trying to figure out how to unravel the mystery to do just that. And do they, uh, meet? By the way, the notes were transported via a...a mailbox out front. And the dog involved in the plot seemed to sense whenever the mailbox contained a note!
Soon...hauntings and campfire tales, oh no, that could get downright scary, based on real stories and tales. Do YOU have a tale to tell? Have YOU ever heard a tale that made YOU shiver with a bit of fright up and down your bod? Will share the time something followed me behind on a trail in a gorge while trout fishing...long twitching tail...oh yes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

48- OK...WHAT IS IT? II.....

"A streamline kitty with a fluid drive...?" Ok, what is it?...(skunk).

47- ADVENTURES!.....

One of the little secrets to a more exciting life is something called an ADVENTURE! Just thinkin' about exploring a farm, with an old abandoned farmhouse and an ancient barn on Saturday, excites my mind. Taking along my Nikons is a must. Let's see, fave shorts, red Mystic Pizza shirt and those trusty sandals will be ready, especially thinking about it all day. See...livens up the mind and the weekend...and that's gooooood!
If you haven't done it, select a notebook with class (he-he)and label it ADVENTURES, with two columns. One column is for 'accomplishment' adventures, and the other column is for actually 'doing 'em' adventures.
I set out to uncover every standing old train depot in my native Virginia, go there and photograph. Now done! Climb and photograph every lighthouse in my State...done!
Attend college and graduate...done!...plus far beyond. Learn to creatively write well and be published...done! Walk across a looong country swinging bridge...done! Live with an Amish family for a week..done. Learn to ice skate...yes. Learn to roller skate...done. Compose and film a film...yes! Be named the 'most influencial teacher' by students...yes. Swim across the James River...uh, not yet. Seek out and film a Sasquatch in our Northwest...not yet. Figure out why cows run towards me when I'm in a field photographing...??? Learn to and build scaled models of local historic buildings and barns...done! Intelligently understand what makes women tick...trying. Spend the night in a haunted castle in Scotland...coming!
There are more, but I wanted you to 'get the picture'...now, why don't you begin your ADVENTURES notebook. When you accomplish one, mark carefully through it...and keep adding more over time! Whoops, might have to purchase another notebook for an Adventures II!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

46- ICY BELLE....STINGY HOLLOW!....

The neatest person's name ever found, for me, was Icy Bell Liptrap. Was searching through a phone book up in the Valley once for unusual names to use in a mag article and wound up going to met the eightysomething spinster. What an honor!
Once upon a time found a Peachy Pittman, a Flossie Fern and a Felita F. Flickinger.
One of my secrets in writing is to carry a few small yellow legal pads in the car while traveling out and about my native Virginia, collecting NEAT names of all kinds as I look for adventures, especially old road names and location names. Have hundreds of them listed. Some are:
Big Lickinghole Creek...Nannie Frannie Pimento...Blind Preacher Rd....Devil 3 Jump Rd...Greasy Ridge...J. Leroy Charity...Molasses Run Creek...Merry Cat Rd...Mt. Eccentric...Owl Trap Farm...Polecat Creek Meadow...Summerduck...Turkey Egg Rd...Turkey Trot Rd...Toe Ink...Clyde S. Horney...Whiskey Creek...White Goose Farm...Otis P. Corncobb...Buzzard Hollow...Oliver Buttsburger...Honey Flats...Sucky Lawrence...Mouse House...Toad Road...Bearfence Mt...Gospel Chicken House Church...Hip Pocket National Bank...Gobbler's Knob...Crissy Crump...Thistlethrow Ridge...Apple Pie Ridge Rd...Hard Scrabble Mt...Blue Tick Hound...John W. Cowheard...Old Grain Rd...Barleigh Lane...Thatchmore Cottage...and Stingy Hollow.
I love discovering and uncovering those new old names and places, especially my fave Icy Bell Liptrap and Stingy Hollow up in the Shenandoah Valley!...honest to gosh, there was an Icy Bell and there is a Stingy Hollow. Hey, got a neat name or place?...please share...squire

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

45- MAKE A GOOD DAY!....Have a Nice Day?

Next time someone uses that tired cliche of "have a nice day...."? Why don't you politely explain to them that "I will MAKE a good day, thank you!", meaning that you are in control of YOUR own life.

44- VOTE FOR WHICH ONE ON NOVEMBER 4th?.....

America started out with our unique system of voting by secret ballot, and it IS working! When each one of us goes into that booth to vote, NO ONE can tell us who to vote for except YOU. I like and respect that system, being an into-it American government teach alumni. Therefore, my choice for the next American Prez is my personal business and will not influence, publicly, that decision. YOU listen and ponder and make YOUR decision, please, based on ALL of the empirical data at YOUR fingertips, not based on the quick opinion of another person! I, by the way, have already pondered for some time and know which one to mark for our next Prez. If you ask me one to one, will be happy to share but not in a public forum, like here.
Also, if someone asks me how I feel about abortion in a public forum? Will not reply...again, that decision is my personal business and opinion. The poser is too personal for most Americans and passion will enter the debate, not reason. Also, one choice for any subject, like abortion, does not equal up to an entire personna of a person because most persons are miltible thinkers. Don't dare to "judge" my total person by how I feel about ONE subject! Made the mistake once, in another part of Virginia, by runnig for a City Council! People kept asking me what church I attended and not about the important issues for that town. Most persons are multiply thinkers, thank something!
But ask me if I like pizza in public? You're darn right, with thin crust and fresh 'rooms. Which ice cream flavor would I vote for?....plain and purely CHOCOLATE!! And whether the State of Kansas should secede from the Union?....thought we settled actions like that back in 1865!
Anyway, I like driving across Kansas, America, to get to Montana!!
For the record, am PROUD to have voted in every presidential election since registering to vote at 18!!!!!
For the record, also, I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, originally like the Mennonites. My sense of fairness and duty comes from there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

43- AND THE FIRST "DREAMERS and ACHIEVERS AWARD!!" I....

Taylor Swift...she's had a dream and a mission for some time in her 18 years of singing her declared 'Country' music. I've seen her early videos, out on stages, learning that singing craft for a number of years. And let's add another quality---taking a bold chance, for the first time EVER, of completing her unique popular song, "Should've Said No", at this year's ACM Awards in a steady downpour of RAIN ON STAGE!! BRAVO for originality and bravery, Taylor Swift.
The RAIN on stage during the 2nd half of her song surr-prised thousands in the ACM Awards theatre, and they all stood to honor her at the song's conclusion.
If you go to YouTube and type in Taylor Swift and "Should've Said No", you can watch her sing it...and you decide.
Taylor is deserving of my first "Dreamers and Achievers Award!".....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

42- SUPPER...OR DINNER?

"The squire's way" is a social commentary! So, in your family, or dining solo, do you have supper or dinner?
Every day in class we had a series of 'Ponderables' up on the board to the left, and I cannot think of a single person who didn't like what we did with them. From every angle, they were designed to start the class off with a chance for anyone to sound off, share an opinion about anything!
A) A mortar and pestle...maybe it's time to reintroduce an old-fashioned kitchen tool back into the kitchen. Herbs, when fresh, create a tantalizing aroma when rubbed around the bottom and sides of the mortar to be introduced into a recipe or salad, especially with the bright, colorful ones. Notice the next time you check the cupboard for a modern dried herb, for smells and color???
Dillweed...what an aroma when fresh and mixed about a mortar and added to a salad or potato salad. Pesto...oh mi ga! The biggest decison of your entire day, though, is what kind of mortar...glass, marble, wood or stone...try stone.
B) BLUE food? Any veggie or fruit that is blue, since we cannot mess around with Nature to create a true blue rose or flower, has got to be OK? Blue Indian corn! Peru is sending us purple Peruvian potatoes. We have wild and cultured blueberries that contain exciting anti-oxidants for our health at our supper...or dinner tables. Heard about 'Blue Laws' back in our American society in the the 1960s? In Virginia we couldn't go to a movie on Sunday or even buy certain items then, too...not OK.
C) Do families or couples have at least one meal a day together away from the maddening crowds today? Is there a social customary time for dinner or supper every day? Wille and Carl, paternal grandparents, always sat down together on or about 5:30 pm. Beans of some kind were a standard fare every evening and a small glass of wine. She was quite particular about not allowing anyone outside of the home to know about the vino, thinking that narrowminded persons would claim that, well....
D) So, what is it?...supper or dinner? Please share YOUR comments below, thanks.
E) Coming....more fears and phobias, oh my!

Friday, August 15, 2008

41- WELL...WHAT IS AN AMERICAN? III....

I thought about this for some time, No. III. My answer this time is brief but chocked full of meaning, for all of the persons I have ever known, met or want to meet across small town America and even in our large cities. I believe, am honestly convinced that a good American is the person who keeps on keeping on, sometimes worried about debts, or family and personal problems and gets up the next morning and tackles their life for another day...and another day...and another day, believing in old-fashioned hope, faith and knowing inside what a wise, elderly mountain lady once told me when I drove to the top of a Blue Ridge Mountain near Pulaski, Virginia to interview her for a magazine article: "Inch by inch, everything's a cinch!"
She lived in a cabin by herself and a few cats. "Sometimes I hear a critter jump up on my roof late at night and do some heavy prowlin', up to no good! I just settle back a bit in my bed, fetch my cats up close to me. I'll whack 'em good with my walkin' stick if'n they come near me and them cats...and go back to sleep."
Well, when you add all of these decent folk up, millions and millions of them throughout America, you will continue to believe that our country is safe for another day...month...year....decade. Known what I mean?
By the way, the mountain lady was talking about a mountain lion up on her roof! She was eightysomething and wore a neat country-style bonnet while working outside in her garden on top that mountain. Her necessary house was down the path a piece. Her cats followed her, in a line, down that path each visit. And her son checked on his mother once a week, took her to church down in the valley every Sunday. She REFUSED, though, to live down in the valley, too, not wanting to be a burden on others. This avid historian fell in like with her!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

40- BESTEST SCENES IN FILM...AND TV?

Have always, even as a child, liked to watch films, especially late at night during the summer. A few years back, took a summer grad class at Mary Baldwin College in filmmaking that expanded even more so the desire to actually create a film from start to finish, included working in the production studio on the hill at MBC, with two others. We spent a good week on that film....was 8 minutes in length!!

My choices so far:
1) "Bridges of Madison County"---in the very last scene, in the rain, she looked over and saw
Clint's truck at the light...her hand eased over to open her husband's truck door and go
to Clint...Clint's truck seemed to pause a long time with the green light...and then, in the rain,
the truck drove off...forever.
2) "Fried Green Tomatoes"---at the very end of this film, Evelyn found Ninny sitting on her
suitcase, in front of her torndown homesite and said: "Evelyn, know what I think is the most
important thing in life?....Friends...."
3) "Milk Money"---near the end, again: "There's a place you can touch a woman that will drive
her crazy...her heart!"
4) "Witness"---ha, at the ending...John Book is leaving to go back to his "world" of being a cop...
Rachel knows that she must stay as an Amish on the farm...no words are spoken...she stands at
her farmhouse door and watches John Book, ready to leave in his little VW...he looks at her from across the
yard, back and forth--flirting--with Rachel shyly looking back from the edge of her front door...brilliant direction and acting, without words!
5) "The Color Purple"---the scene at the dinner table when Whoppi finally gets up enough nerve to tell her 'husband' to, uh, go to hell....
6) "The Notebook"---I simply liked the entire well written story and acting, period!
7) "Song of the South"---it's that kind of film a kid sees when young and never forgets!...the real characters mix with the cartoonism plus the songs that I can still sing!...and anyway, Uncle Remus was my first hero. "...ho, ho, ho...now children, Uncle Remus goona tell you a story about that Tar Baby....." Entered a State storytelling championship once, in Charlottesville, and earned a First and declared a champion Virginia storyteller! Owe it all to Uncle Remus!!
8) All of the Indiana Jones films!...ADVENTURES, know what I mean? Indy was a prof who would put on his old fedora hat and go off adventuring...my kinda life, like yeah!
9) Clint 'the man' Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" series. He stood for justice where 'the end justifies the means' kind of justice...hey, it's a film! Al Pacino's "And Justice For All" needs to be squeezed in with this one, too.
10) "The Travel Channel"...anything with Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain.
11) "The Haunting"...b&w film based on the book, "The Haunting of Hill House"...the only film that I can think of that actually mucho scared me, with shivers!...three who have experienced 'ghosts' in the past are invited to spend the week in Hill House!..wait until you witness the scenes late at night when the house comes alive.....
12) "M*A*S*H*"...the TV series....especially the many scenes in 'the swamp' (tent) of the 4077 M*A*S*H!
13) OK, I've added "Pirates of the Carribean" for pure swashbuckling and just plain fun and ADVENTURE!! Hey, does the devilish pirate win over the girl in the end?
14) "Alien"...darn, forgot that this film did some mighty good scaring...right? Wait until whatever is alive in the errant spacecraft...well, wait....
15) "Dances With Wolves"...the entire epic-kinda film, plus 'Two Socks' the wolf!...the evolution of one man, Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner), takes plenty of time to reveal...and DON'T look when Costner reveals his tush! Oh, has a good romance theme later!
16) "THE GOONIES!"...yeah!...and what was the ice cream flavor mention in this film when 'Sloth' tells 'Chunk' downstairs in the freezer?...(can you say Rocky, uh, Road?)
17) "The Devil Wears Prada"...a 'chick flick' but a good one. Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) is excellent in character...Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) always has that prominent lipstick on but needs more depth as a character...you decide!...I simply respect Streep's acting, for years.
18) "Mystic Pizza"...first film with that "Pretty Woman" actress!...scene where she dumps the barrel of fish into the rich guy's little sports car is priceless...as a matter of fact, all three (3) young stars in Mystic, Connecticut have a character story and tell it well.

...and your faves, as always?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

39- SO...WHAT IS LOVE? IV.....

The rain was steady all morning, never letting up for a moment. After the hearing to decide, by a solitary all-knowing judge, whether the child would live with and be raised 95% of her young life with one parent or another, the small hearing participants rushed through the downpour to the parking lot and respective cars. There was no way for anyone that morning to escape the drenching.
As the two cars pulled out into traffic, his car being behind, the little daughter turned around from in the back of her front car and noticed him through the pouring rain. She climbed up in the back and pressed her face up against the back window, sobbing with every ounce of her young being, continuing to stare at him behind in the other car.
She raised both hands towards him, from car to car, with the relentless rain between them, as if to be begging him to rescue her from the 'impartial' judge's decision. As her car pulled off from the light, speeding up, her face disappeared in the rain.
It was twelve years later, almost to the day of that rainy morning's date, that someone knocked quietly on his door. When he opened the door, late, a young woman was standing there, smiling, "Do you remember me? I remember everything about you...."
And that's what I believe, with a different approach, love is.....!

Monday, August 11, 2008

38- "GAMBARU!".....

'GAMBARU' is a Japanese word meaning "never give up!"
I have, for some time, respected and admired NBC's Ann Curry. You now see her in the mornings on the Today Show and other indepth reports. When I was fortunate enough to view an interview on her life earlier this year, I was even more encouraged that Ann Curry has worked her way through the ranks to the top. "Don't diminish the quality of hard work!" "Have faith in myself...."
And when, as she worked, really worked on reports and reporting, and when others said that she couldn't achieve, she would often reply, "Oh yeah, watch me!!"
Yeah, she's my kind of...person!
So, whenever a pissant ever suggests that the 'squire' cannot achieve anything?...my reply is, "Oh yeah, watch me!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

37- MAKIN' APPLE CIDER in an OLD-FASHIONED PRESS!

Want something?...go to the grocery market or mega-box store in our society, but there are enough of us Americans who have learned from grandparents or older books how to make what we need and want, or least try...and enjoying the process!
My paternal grandfather, Carl, built his own cider press, among a wide variety of other needs on his small farm on Buttermilk Spring Road, and the family always enjoyed, for years, homemade cider and vinegar, both good for the body. Over time, the press was relegated to his barn, and that's where I, as a pre-teen discovered the gem!
With his permission and knowledge of making cider, my two chums and I set off to an orchard down the country road to acquire feedbag sacks of October apples and load on our bikes. Loaded down with apples we headed back to the barn and press, ready to cut up the fruit and begin a new adventure one Saturday afternoon.
Apples were sliced into quarters, after scrubbing the press, and dropped into the slatted hopper. We took turns turning the wheel that ground the apples, that in turn accumulated in the round hopper for squeezing with a press that was made from a sold piece of wood. And, withing a minute or three, the golden nectar began to trickle down the runway to a clean gallon jug with a large funnel attached.
Success! We eventually squeezed up four gallons of our very first batch of homemade apple cider. It didn't look like the kind we were used to buying in the market, but who cared. My grandfather said that it was 'cloudy' because it had lots of healthy pulp in it. Pulp has always been "in" for me!
That Saturday afternoon we filled our Dixie cups with our efforts, over and over, thinking that the brew might give us a buzz...NOT!
Over the years this researcher and avid historian has been invited to experience and photograph many country cultural folk happenings out and about my native Virginia: fall butchering, sausage grinding and ponhoss makin'...crossing a swinging bridge in Highland County...molassess making...climbing an abandoned lighthouse in the Bay...canning veggies and fruits...chasing McCorkle's wandering bull to bring 'em back to the barn...the birth of a foal in a pasture...Saturday church suppers in Augusta County on a late summer's day...spring socials for a Golden Anniversary...spelling bees (I didn't win)...gathering guinea eggs along a country fence line...sipping a freshly squeezed limeade at an old-fashioned soda fountain in the back of the Williamsburg Drugstore that doesn't exist anymore...quilt making out on the front porch of an Amish farmhouse...box supper "blind" auctions, with me winning the bid on my sister's box supper!...candle dipping...exploring old abandoned farmhouses from long ago...the Chicken House Gospel Revivals in Louisa County, Va...community lawn parties in Rockingam County, always on a Saturday afternoon...and weekend morning country auctions, looking for very old real picture penny pastcards!
Cultural society, methinks, is moving too fast and in a direction that enough of us want to slow...pressing apple cider helps!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

36- CHOCOLATE MILK!...CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM!...DARK DOVE!...OH MY!

Remember those summer days, as a child, and being in like with REAL chocolate milk?...a glass of icy cold chocolate milk, 'moo juice'? And how about Kool-Aid? You DID, and I DID, have a fave flavor or color...what was your fave flavor? Anything red was mine.
Can you believe that Kool-Aid was invented in 1927?
And did I forget just plain rich chocolate ice cream? Oh...mi...ga! What about that delicious EXTREME DARK Dove chocolate candy, with those neat 'Promises'? Yeah, it's like visions of eye candy when you close your eyes.....

Are you into the XXIXth Summer Olympics?...how about that Michael Phelps?...he even likes, uh, loves his mom and tells the world that he does!

35- A LOCAL URBAN LEGEND?

Scotland, for some time, has its urban legend securely entrenched with the Loch Ness 'Nessie'. Champ is said to live in Lake Champlain, and our nearby Chesapeake Bay has Chessie. But back up in the hidden, difficult to get to, fingers, coves of Lake Matoaka in the W&M Woods, some say that an unusual creature holds residence. The only time, however, that 'Poca' has ever been seen or heard is very late, after midnight, on a full moon night. A long, narrow undulating form, with its head slightly out of the dark water, is said to move from cove to cove, rarely ever going straight across the Lake. Frogs cease their deep croaking courting sounds in the spring. Canada geese and ducks, at times, will hurriedly leave the shelter of the Lake and not return until safer daylight hours the next morning. No sightings or sounds have taken place during the day. And no pics. Is there a 'Poca' in Williamsburg? Tales, urban legends, abound out and about Virginia and our Tidewater. Most feel that they are just that, a tale.
This author and sociologist feels strongly that there is, farther out West, a Sasquatch...BIGFOOT!...maybe even BIGFOOT families or BIGfeet! By the way, Big Foot is a native American term meaning "wild man"... Betcha don't know what the TWO terms from the Himalayan Mountains are? Well?

Friday, August 8, 2008

34- THE FINE ART OF BODY LANGUAGE...102!

OK, the most honest part of your body is...? As an introduction, be careful when you watch one or three of the "experts" on national TV programs who have a habit of leading you to believe that body language is so simple to learn the basics and supposedly think you will understand immediately "signs' to interpret as if they, "experts", have all of the correct answers.
Sorry! They don't have all of the necessary answers that you need to think that you are an expert. What they do have are hasty generalizations. Every person is different! How can one say that if a person crosses their arms or legs that it MEANS that every time that they are crossing you out, being negative? I cross my legs when they are tired...I cross my arms at times because it is comfortable...period!
If a person does not look "you in the eye"? Some persons have a habit of thinking and visualizing when in a good conversation. To accuse someone of not being honest if they don't always stare you in the eyes, is fallacious. Drumming on a table when talking...maybe a person thinks better simpy by drumming on a table!
Those 'experts" paid a tidy sum on TV are often themselves acting out what THEY think is an answer, often a hasty generalization. Remember, not every one can be neatly placed into a slot like others.
And what ARE some secrets to understanding body language of those around you? Practice being a keen observer...a really keen observer of persons just around you. Your intelligent eyes, coupled with your learned practical smarts, will help you to quicker in learning the fine art of body language...really.
You will learn to anticipate, "see" when someone likes you...when someone is jerking you around. At the libraries, where I often go to research and ask for information at the main desk, I can sense, from experience, when the person behind the counter is not really interested in helping me but getting back to their computer. And I can sense right away when the service manager at my car dealership, Hudgin's Chevrolet, today, was genuinely interested in making sure that my car was repaired correctly...he was.
Speaking softly and slowly often hints that the person you're attracted to and are close to appreciates you for more than just a common flirt. If you have the opportunity, pause and observe two persons dining. There are more and more outdoor dining areas in the summer in my historic town of Williamsburg. Two diners, if in sync, will begin to MIRROR each other's actions, like picking up a glass at the same time...hand motions in sync.
I created, researched and taught, for some time, body language classes around Virginia and simply practiced observing. Sooooo, if you want to learn to understand body language well, observe. Your knowledge will greatly improve your life at work and with friends and family.
"Ma'am, when you went the extra mile today and bagged my groceries at Ukrop's with a double bag, your body language told me that you were someone who cared, internally, about whatever you do!"
Don't forget...you simply cannot place each and every person into a neat slot and learn based on groups of others. Each person is an individual. Hey, the art of body language is just that...an art! OBSERVE!!
And what is the most honest part of your body?....your feet! Most feel that feet cannot hide any emotions...as a matter of face, most feel that feet are actually not attractive...disagree?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

33- "GOOD SMELLS"...MEMORIES II....

Whiffs and sniffs!
"Grandma...how do you always know when your cake and cookies and bread are ready to come out of the oven?" Spending a week or so on the old Cline farm in Rockingham County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was pure adventure for me as a kid. My grandma had one of those old-fashioned wood stoves that required a high skill of scientific smarts straight from simply experience and not book learning. "The smell...I can smell when a cake is done."
Yeast rolls...preparing them, kneading the dough, the rising of the bread and the baking are still locked into my memory bank. Gosh, what I wouldn't give for some of her cookies or rolls hot from that wood oven...hmmmm. An approaching summer thunderstorm and after the storm smells. Cabbage boiling away and homemade spaghetti sauce simmering, too.
Ancient barns have smells that are disappearing all too fast, because the old barns are disapperaring all too fast. I have explored and photographed hundreds of the old barns throughout my native Virginia.
My grandmother's cellar...down on the farm. For years she stored canned everything down in the cellar on shelves with sagging boards. I always volunteered first to go outside, no inside steps, to the cellar door to 'fetch' a jar of peached...tomatoes...green beans and even canned side meat. BUT, never in the evening. Was too gosh darn scary down there, and I never knew what could be lurking around a corner.
Mothballs...older country folk seemed to like those mothballs.
My grandfather Steffey's (Carl) Rum River Cured-Crook cigars. He would puff them down near the end as he rocked in his fave rocking chair next to Willie in the dining room.
Building a new wood frame house! That old custom is slowly going out of vogue, with those wood smells. Fresh mint growing in a spring...even better yet, pulling some of that fresh mint to use in a pitcher of freshly brewed tea, iced a bit.
BROWNIES, yeah! Horses in a stable. A new book, never opened before.
Suntan lotion with that little girl and her dog on the front! An energetic kitten. A sparkling, clean kitchen like my grandmother's (Willie). Digging in a flower garden's good earth.
Pizza baking in an old brick oven...ever tried 'white' pizza?
Freshly washed clothing that has been hanging on an outside clotheline....
My fave? Think it has to be that mint growing in a spring across my great-grandfather John Marshall Steffy's homesite on Buttermilk Spring Road in the Valley.
And your faves?

Monday, August 4, 2008

32- SOCIAL GENDER DIFFERENCES I?.....

THE best Socratic discussions ever in my sosh! classes were the posers we explored on social gender differences. To set the record right up front, we ARE NOT making fun of nor degrading one gender over another...simply neat social differences we've observed.
1) Females usually go to the bathroom with someone else!...guys do not ask another guy to go
to the br with them!...why?...your Socratic part of our discussion is to come up with the
theories on your own, please.
2) Guys never say that another guy is 'sweet'....females often describe a guy as being 'sweet' in
nature...why?
3) Girls and women use the expression "Ah...." often when they experience a neat
happening or feeling...a daughter shares a widdle hug with a mom or dad...."Ahhhhh....".
A sunset is totally magnificent at the beach....."Ahhhhh....."
4) Girls and women share a moment hug often and do not think of anything more...
if two guys were to share a moment hug, it probably would never happen to begin with or
would be hesitant.
5) Nostalgia...momentos...females internalized inside, connect a "spacial" moment or something
saved that triggers inside of them a warm memory...right?
6) The female gender doesn't forget!...it seems that this gender, more than the guys, does not disconnect as easily with hurtful feelings or experiences....?
7) Guys think more in terms of physicalities...females react more to senses, holding a hand...a soft brush of one's hand across a face...a cuddle...a special whispered word...thoughts.
8) The male gender can name all of the national football teams and their nicknames...the female
gender can recall all of her close friends back in college or senor year in high school.
9) A female just knows when another female is gettin' too close to her 'spacial' person!!...a guy relishes that attention and usually doesn't see what is going on.....
10) A female knows how to reassure when that "spacial" person needs reassurance, like standing closer, brushing aside the other person's errant shock of hair or slipping her fingers in between the other's. Hey, observe how two persons hold hand...interlocking fingers seeems to connect with the senses...try it!...oh yeah.

And what happened with this terrific method of teaching Sociology after a number of years? A principal pulled one of his many dirty tricks, to get even for my candidly speaking out in public, and sent an e-mail, not in person, for us, sosh! classes, not to use that method again! It feels sooo good to be totally in control as an author, now.

SOCIAL GENDER DIFFERENCES II for another day.....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

31- I THINK I'M FALLING IN LIKE.....

When you really think closer on the expression of "I'm falling in love...", that titillation is usually only superficial for a short time. In sosh! classes we concluded that the important interaction between two persons takes time to get to know each other, past the 'honeymoon' period where one or both do not "see" the faults that are or may become irritating.
It is possible to fall in love at first or second sight but not probable. Sure, we can even 'fall in lust'. Take it slow, very slow if both want to make it last and 'spacial'...fall in like with that 'spacial' person before you 'fall in love'. Just may last. As a matter of fact, couples have often shared their revelations of becoming friends before becoming 'spacial'.
Hmmm, and how does one know the difference between 'in like' and 'in love'? Sounds funny, but YOU will, especially females...really. Sorry, guys, but MOST girls and women seem to understand 'love' and 'feelings' much more internalized than, uh, guys.
Yeah, this guy, by the way, likes being in like.......
The next social commentary, soon, is about the basic social differences between the genders. Could be the reason why we seem to have mucho communication problems in our society, and I'm not talking about the physical differences. Go to the beach to see those.

Friday, August 1, 2008

30- JELLI-BUTTON(tm)...BELLY BUTTON....NAVEL...?

No matter what you say, we all have one, whatever you name that little button in the middle. And most kids have a nickname for it!
Another point...do you have an 'inee' or an 'outee'? Since the '60s, swimwear and shorts have added a new dimension to the revelation of revealing navels. Check out the beaches, swimming pools and water parks. Flat tummies, I believe, appear to hold more records for attractive belly buttons. Do you ever take a glance at other buttons when at the beach or pool?
My Town of BlueButtercups(tm) has a fave little character--Jelli-Button(tm)--with the cutest little button and a splash of red.
"Ma'am, do you have a neat belly button?"
"Sir...do you think women's navels are sexy?"
One child was overheard calling his navel the 'beep-beep button'. A teacher revealed recently that her fave name was 'lint collector'. A clerk, at a drugstore, confessed to using a lint brush before she went swimming. By the way, do stores sell widdle lint brushes?
I confess...I'm glad that the '60s are history, and that we can admire Jelli-Buttons(tm) respectfully, no matter what anyone says or thinks, period!
"Ma'am, do you have a special nickname for your navel?"
This author, along with a whole crew of others, feels that the human body IS "beautiful" in many ways and NOT degrading as a few would have us believe. Share, please, any fave nicknames that you have or know of for the unique belly button...thanks.
As a sociologist, was just told by my 2nd cuz that the current name by many younger females for the bit of 'roll' over the b. button is a "mushroom".