Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Great Gift of Memory

Bobby Burns 1759-96
by Archibald Skirving
Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min'?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o' lang syne?

We twa hae rin about the braes,

And pu'd the gowans fine;

But we've wander'd monie a weary fit

Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,

Frae mornin' sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin' auld lang syne.

And here 's a hand, my trusty fiere,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,

And surely I'll be mine;

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne.


This traditional song tells us, rather allows us, to take a moment and look to our past, before we step forward into a new year. The speaker asks: Should we leave it all behind us? Then he answers: Certainly not until we honor the times we have had and friends who have been separated from us. What is it about the turning of the year that insists that our past and its memories are part of the ages--like heaps of ashes? Yesterday, in a still moment, as I waited in a local deli for a take-out order, I noticed a group of young men, obviously builders and craftsmen taking their lunch. One looked very much like my nephew Matthew who also was a builder. It is very nearly impossible to describe the memory flash I experienced, but just for a fleeting instant, I could hear his voice and rich laughter as might have wafted from such a gathering in his lifetime. In my memory was buried, not just his voice, but his big and boyish grin and blue eyes and blond curls. I have to say, it was a comfort to walk out the door thinking he had just checked in on me. So dear readers, on this last day of the year, I'll take a cup of kindness for this great and mysterious gift of memory -- and its endless voices and visions from times gone by -- be they joyous or heartbreaking -- that make each of us who we are.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If on a Winter's Night: Best Gift of 2009!

In my last post, I sent you each my favorite card, and now, unwrap your gift! ( Be sure to go to Full Screen & turn up the volume!) This new offering by Sting was not only the best gift I received -- from the Colonel -- naturally, but it has been my favorite one to give others. I have been playing it since the middle of November and love it more and more.

If you you are a winter soul as I am, this one is for you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Yesterday, The Colonel and I took in the Loveliest Village Christmas Tour sponsored by the Preservation League! There was really only one house that totally qualified as a preservation project. A classic Southern Greek revival featuring original brick oven in the kitchen and large inviting rooms ... all dating back to the 1840's. I loved this house because it showcased the varied interests of the collectors in the family, and this charming statue caught my eye and my imagination. (Here is another cell phone snapshot). I wanted to rush home and watch the Disney film Pinocchio! It may be my all time favorite of the animated films...well at least it was yesterday!
Which one is your
This morning, we are off to another tour in Birmingham!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving you the Dickens...

In my last post featuring a photo of an original copy of A Christmas Carol, I noted in a response to Rebecca that Charles Dickens loved to read this story aloud and had edited the text especially for public readings. I can't believe I missed this short feature yesterday on NPR's "Morning Edition" which addresses this very subject, but thank goodness, the ever attendant Colonel did not. He was telling me all about it this morning over his coffee & my tea! Additionally, he reported that he had read in the Wednesday, December 2nd New York Times of a hand written manuscript of this Dicken's classic which is on display at the Morgan Library & amp; Museum in Manhattan . This historical manuscript has profuse editorial notes revealing the author's writing process concerning such details as converting "a spot of mustard" to a "blot of mustard" -- all are particularly fascinating when one considers he wrote the book in less than six weeks. He was trying to raise some extra funds.
As my students would say, "I feel you, Mr. Dickens!"
Now here is the fun part , dear bloggy readers: The NYT invites us to examine this manuscript online, and submit what we think is the most interesting edit in the work. Declan Keily, curator of literary and historical manuscripts, will read the submissions. He will select the most worthy response, and that reader will be invited to afternoon tea at the Morgan. When you get a chance, take a look, and let me know what you think! Also, can you guess who has finally taught herself how to create text links today for her 50th post? As we say in the South, "Lawdy......who'd 've thaaawt it!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Host with the Most: Our Dear Mr. Toast!

Dear Mr. Toast, your Christmas Tea certainly has brought the spirit of Christmas to each of us and right on time! As a thank you gift, please accept this little treasure from one my recent time travels back to London, 1843. This is a first edition of A Christmas Carol. I absolutely must read this every year and perhaps see a play or a film version as well. If I were one of the Book People in Fahrenheit 451....I would be A Christmas Carol.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.
The Spirits of all three shall strive within me.
I will not shut out the lessons that they teach"

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat