Searching for the world’s pennies at a Minnesota lake
Whether my parents saw the 1936 film, Pennies From Heaven, is impossible to say. During their courtship, the closest movie theater lay ten miles away, in another town. Though not far by today’s standards, it made catching a new release difficult: especially for a couple living without a car.
After marrying and moving to a larger city, they began taking in a movie from time to time, but those nights were rare. Sixty cents — the cost of two movie tickets and two ice cream cones after the show — could have purchased ten pounds of sugar or a pound-and-a-half of coffee, so even occasional splurges were given some thought.
Still, if they didn’t see the film, they knew and liked the Academy Award nominated song of the same name, written by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. A positive, upbeat tune meant to cheer Depression-weary listeners, it seemed to do just that. Even after the end of WWII, its popularity endured. My mother sang along when it played on the radio; my father sang it to me when he pushed me in my swing, or sought to cheer me on a rainy day.
Lovely though the flower of the deep-rooted sedge may be, the plant often becomes invasive. When that happens, it deserves to be dispatched, but its very attractiveness can lead to a certain dithering among those who encounter it on their property. At such times, a variation on the advice offered by Peg Bracken, household management maven of the 1960s, proves helpful. “When in doubt, throw it out,” she liked to say. In the case of the unwelcome sedge, “When in doubt, dig it out,” would work just as well.
Like all good aphorisms, Bracken’s has endured over time and seems infinitely adaptable, even beyond the realm of plant management. I’ve grown fond of my own variation for writing: “When in doubt, leave it out.” It’s not only good editing advice, it’s far less harsh than, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” (more…)
In the beginning, I learned to call it “helping.” Helping wasn’t a burden, a demand, or an imposition. Helping was something people did naturally, and being allowed to help around the house was considered a perfectly acceptable way for children to enter the mysterious world of grown-ups.
Trailing behind my mother with a dust cloth, or venturing into the yard to carry bundles of sticks for my father garnered smiles of approval. I enjoyed approval, and so I looked for opportunities: cutting flowers to make the house pretty, or picking up my toys. I collected windfall apples in a bucket; pulled low-hanging cherries from trees; set the table and dried the silverware; folded the wash cloths; put newspapers in their box. (more…)
South Shore Harbor Marina ~ League City, Texas
bubbling and eager
water ascends to the sky
The metallic drone of cicadas; desiccated and drooping crops; fish sinking toward cooler water even as rising temperatures slow life’s pace for body and mind: such is the arrival of midsummer on the Texas coast.
It’s a season suited for lighter fare, and so I’m offering a small series of images matched with poetry: tokens of a season I love.
Both the photo and haiku are mine.