Stuff I Learned This Week

Silver linings, beautiful life lessons, deep thoughts, and discovering John Lennon did not coin the quote below makes up the stuff I learned this week.

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”

—Allen Saunders

Double-Fantasy-John-Lennon

American writer, journalist and cartoonist Allen Saunders is the author of the line “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”

This gem first appeared in a 1957 issue of the Reader’s Digest, and is mistakenly attributed to John Lennon who included the line in the lyrics of “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

Heat and humidity go with life in Louisiana like gumbo and filé- thick and hot.

In the dead of a Louisiana summer you tend to run the central HVAC system in overtime.

Junk, funk and general debris can get into the evaporator coil inside the indoor unit causing the drain line to clog up.

If the water can’t drain properly, it can’t drain properly which means it puddles, flows, and drenches the carpet and padding.

stained-carpet

You would know ours did just that late this past Friday night.

Dave the Builder/HVAC specialist is presently recuperating from a surgical procedure, leaving him unable to perform his unclog the drain HVAC magic.

My determination to DIY the issue while avoiding the dreaded double time charge for a weekend emergency plumbing/HVAC call left me defeated in deep water until Monday afternoon when the plumbers showed up and fixed the problem in less than fifteen minutes.

On a side note, the plumbers did observe Covid-19 guidelines by wearing masks and gloves.

carpet-cleaner

I’ve extracted water, cleaned carpet, sprayed a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water over the soaked areas to prevent mildew growth, plugged in and unplugged the 3 speed portable blower (love, love, love this little godsend of a tool), and cursed enough to send my soul to hell several times over.

3-speed-blower

To say it’s been a witch of a mess is an understatement, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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In between waiting on carpet to dry and paying close attention to the local, state, and world news of late (speaking of a mess), I treated myself to a glass of peach iced tea and a movie.

The-Enchanted-Cottage

The Enchanted Cottage starring Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young is a  love story set within a beautiful life lesson where a house (in this case a cottage) is central to the story.

TCM has the film available on their Watch Now option – link here.

A synopsis:

Filmed in black and white, the story revolves around a a cottage born out of the ruins of the main house of a countryside estate razed by a fire. Legend goes the original owner remodeled the wing to rent out as a honeymoon hideaway.

Current owner widow Abigail Minnett seeks a housekeeper for the cottage, and this is where Laura Pennington enters the picture.

Homely in appearance and in her world all alone, Laura is searching to belong and falls under the spell the cottage cast.

To this day Mrs. Minnett remains deeply saddened and affected by the death of her husband during World War I.

The-Enchanted-Cottage-movie

Feeling an instant kinship with Laura, she hires her, informing her she will work in the capacity of housekeeper for the engaged couple who have rented the cottage for a three month honeymoon stay.

Soon the couple, Oliver Bradford and fiancée Beatrice Alexander, arrive where Beatrice’s disappointed with the cottage’s simplicity.

Where Oliver sees quaint and cozy and Beatrice sees simplicity, Laura sees the beauty and the allure in the enchanted cottage, voicing her enthusiastic infatuation with the surroundings.

War, duty, and a severe injury to his face and arm stands between Oliver and Beatrice’s nuptials.  One year later after the accident, a telegram from a dejected Oliver arrives stating his intention to rent the cottage for an indefinite period of time.

He does not mention the accident, injuries, or even that the wedding has been called off.  Mrs. Minnett and Laura prepare the cottage expecting to greet the newlyweds, and quite shocked when Oliver arrives alone to the cottage, his face horribly disfigured and his arm disabled from an airplane crash.

Olive has grown angry, bitter, and consumed by self-pity however, he does favorably respond to Laura’s compassion and common sense.

Through the example and words of blind pianist John Hillgrove, the brother of the town’s doctor who lives next door to the estate, Oliver accepts his physical disabilities.

Enchanted-Cottage-1945

Growing closer to Laura with a renewed sense of life finds Oliver and Laura in a period of happiness.  Three weeks later, Oliver receives in a letter an ultimatum from his rather overbearing mother: move home or she will move in with him.

Wanting nothing to do with either option, Oliver hastily proposes to Laura and she says yes.

Soon after their wedding, Oliver and Laura invite John  Hillgrove to the cottage where they share with him they have experienced a physical transformation.

John-Hillgrove-Enchanted-Cottage

Laura reveals both she and Oliver believed their marriage a farce until a development on their wedding night.

As she began to voice her devotion to Oliver, the room suddenly filled with enchanted music and she saw Oliver as he was before the accident.

Oliver-Laura-The-Enchanted-Cottage

Oliver comes to quickly realize he is truly in love with Laura, seeing his new wife now as a beautiful woman.

Their mutual illusion is soon destroyed by the arrival of Oliver’s mother and stepfather.  Insensitive and clueless in nature, Oliver’s mother and stepfather see only the imperfections in Laura’s and Oliver’s physical appearances, strongly voicing their feelings shattering the love is blind illusion.

Mrs. Minnett speaks up to console the newlyweds by stating the obvious- their true and unblemished love sees past flaws and imperfections, and in doing so gives them a beauty restored by love and a gift of sight unlike any other.

Loves conquers all, folks.

The-Enchanted-Cottage-window

Sadly, our beloved neighbor passed away last week from Covid-19.

The entire family, fully vaccinated, contracted breakthrough Covid-19 with two recovering and Mr. Don sadly falling victim to this horrific virus.

Keeping the tradition of bringing-sending food when someone dies is rooted in comfort, love, caring, and the purpose of trying to make life somewhat easier in the face of extremely uneasy periods.

This treasured note of thanks and written in neighborly love makes me both sad and happy.

stuff I learned this week

♥♥♥

Thank you, friends, for allowing me to share, show and tell you about the stuff I learned this week.

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15 Years Later: Never Forget 9/11

9/11/2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks waged against our nation on September 11, 2001.

9/11 will forever be a day steeped in raw emotions.

Sheer disbelief.

Shock.

Fear of the unknown and sorrow of the now known.

We watched and listened as graphic carnage and deliberate decimation unfolded before our eyes in real time with no filter, no delay button, no censorship.

I wandered aloud “my God, is this our new normal?”

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The Sept. 14, 2001, cover of TIME

I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday, but I will forever remember every detail, every phone call, and every emotion I experienced that fateful September Tuesday morning in 2001.

I bet you do too.

9/11 flag

9/11 will forever remain the day our nation felt a collective numbness out of shock and sorrow for the innocent and the innocence killed in the terrorist attacks.

Gladys Knight’s beautiful version of “The Way We Were” and the haunting lyric “Try to remember the kind of September When life was slow and oh, so mellow” never fails to turn my thoughts to the morning of September 11, 2001.

What’s too painful to remember we should never choose to forget.

Never Forget 9/11.

“In time, perhaps, we will mark the memory of September the 11th in stone and metal — something we can show children as yet unborn to help them understand what happened on this minute and on this day.

But for those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we’ll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46th minute of the eighth hour of the 11th day. We will remember where we were and how we felt. We will remember the dead and what we owe them. We will remember what we lost and what we found.

And in our time, we will honor the memory of the 11th day by doing our duty as citizens of this great country, freedom’s home and freedoms defender.”

-George W. Bush

The World Will Always Remember 9/11

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National September 11 Memorial South Pool

Evil acts tested the stamina, fortitude and resilience of our nation, her citizens, the brave men and women of our military, police, fire and medical departments and city, state and national officials.

We are a changed world.

We may carry and live with the scars, but one thing is certain- The United States of America will never be broken.

Bumped, and perhaps even bruised, but never, ever broken.

We mustn’t allow that to ever happen.

Together we are better.

pentagon-memorial

We are the United States of America.

We differ from one another on many points, views and opinions, but when all is said and done, we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Strong.

United.

Free.

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Flight 93 National Memorial

Through trying times and the best of times, Dave and I never lose sight of our freedoms and how proud we are to be Americans. May God Bless this great nation we call the home, The United States of America.

The Southern Dinner Table Part 2

We’re moving on up and over a few states to the country road, rolling hills and mountains of East Tennessee for the Southern Dinner Table Part 2.

see-rock-cityTake me home, country roads and See Rock City signs!

Southern in style with only the slightest hint of hillbilly coming through, the delicious differences that set the Southern dinner table in Tennessee style defined the spirit of what coming together for a meal is really all about.

Up first in the Texas vs. Tennessee Southern dinner table comparison taste tests is bread.  In the thoughts and palettes of my Texas and Tennessee family there was and is no room for discussion.

When in Texas, fresh soft white bread places in a bread and butter saucer graced the dinner and supper table.

When in Tennessee, cornbread is considered the bread of life.

White-Lily-flour-meal

A hot black skillet swimming in Crisco seasoned the cornbread batter made from White Lily meal.

The thought process among the ladies that cook cornbread from scratch is that White Lily flour adds extra lovin’ for the oven, and guarantees the perfect golden crisp crust on the bottom, top, and edges.

buttermilk-cornbread-skillet

Home grown tomatoes either fried or topped with a thin layer of mayonnaise and a thick dusting of fine black pepper claimed the title of table staple.

green-tomatoes

Fresh vegetables were more the rule than the exception.

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In the Texas kitchens, grease, and plenty of it, played an intricate role in the flavor quotient.

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The Care and Keeping of Bacon Grease

There was never any misunderstanding of the theory of the Tennessee Southern dinner table.

The recipe to make it work was one part the way it used to be done mixed with one part the way it used to be done.  In other words, forget about teaching these old dogs a new trick.

The ladies of Fountain City, Northwood, Oakwood and central Louisiana stood in an unairconditioned kitchen cooking from mid-morning until late afternoon.  My paternal grandmother and her sisters believed cooking was meant to be an all day event.

Louisianians are also known for our epic all day into all night cooking marathons.

Slow and low- just the way Southern flavor intended.

Grace

Practicality suited this anything but pretentious crowd, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A framed copy of Eric Enstom’s Grace appropriately hung on the breakfast nook wall, the one memento I requested to have “one day.”  Wafer thin china plates perfectly matched to equally thin iced tea glasses completed the last step before calling the men into the kitchen dining area for dinner.

Wait.

What?

That’s right.  The women and girls moved into the living room where we sat patiently in the air conditioning waiting for the men to eat dinner.

An archaic practice at first impression, this was the way it was done in my grandmother’s home, her mother’s home, and her mother’s mother’s home.

Why?

Size and space, or lack thereof.

The kitchens in the homes of my Tennessee family members were small spaces of utilitarian works.

Kitchen design and decor of the north, south, east, and west has come a long way, baby.

Grits and biscuits may be a Southern thing, but lack of space is a universal thing.

Tennessee-kitchen-yellow

I don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies.

What I do know from first hand experience and delicious feedback is there is a shared conclusion among the converted faithful who have witnessed, experienced, and savored the mechanics of the Southern dinner table that it is truly a unique case study of common threads running deep through blended traditions.

“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are.”

~Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Love your style!