Sunday, November 29, 2009

Picture of the Day

Some pics around town yesterday:
Leaving the bank a hawk touched down not 30 feet from us....what beauty right in the middle of town! His feathers didn't ruffle at all when we captured his regal perch on a local birdbath.We then decided to pay a chance visit to a favorite little shop of mine nestled on the back roads of Upper Adams County. Alas, it was closed. However, a bonus opportunity presented itself when we happened upon kindly Mr. Waggoner out for a Saturday afternoon ride.
Of course you know the wheels started turning in that brain of mine. I pulled over, introduced myself and told him how beautiful his horse was. I then asked him how hard it had been to train his sweet pony to drive-her name is "Little Girl" and she was 5.

He said he sent her to a an amish gentleman for a month and she came back ready to go! Hmmmm, Dancer, are you ready?

(On an interesting sidenote, it so turns out, he had purchased the cart from Mr. Hauser,the husband of a dear friend of mine- back in the 1980's.) What a small world!

We are constantly reminded of how our lives are intertwined with so many, aren't we? We are connected with the lives of others in some pretty fascinating ways.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anne Frank, Charles Laughton, and some personal insights this holiday season....

I thought I could get away without a visit to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day-but no such luck. Actually, it was a blessing in disguise, because I happened to have on NPR and they had a special Thanksgiving program. I don't think I have enjoyed a trip to the grocery store more than that day! I listened to a lovely passage from Anne Frank:
"I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains... My advice is : "Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!" I immediately became ashamed of myself reflecting on those moments of feeling pity for what I am dealing with in my life. I have so much compared to so many. My throat closed up in that funny way-(you know what I'm talking about!) listening to this, to hear the wisdom that was in this 13 year old girl; (my oldest daughter is almost the same age and I can't imagine her going through those horrors of what Anne had to experience-I thank God every day for this life we have.)

But oh, the incredible knowledge,that ability to see something beautiful in everything....and how she can just touch my heart in a way no one else will ever be able to....It was one of her wishes to keep on touching people's lives long after she was gone, and Anne, you have done that, and so much more. Thank you, my darling girl for all you have given all of us.....

I also listened to a very special story about an unforgettable journey of the spirit at Chartres Cathedral from Charles Laughton:
(To go directly to this passage, click on the arrow above to start the audio, then slide the bar to 36:00 minutes to listen to this fascinating story) this was taken from an out of print LP called "The Story Telling" from 1962 for which it won a Grammy. (If anyone locates a copy of this, I would love to know-)

His voice is amazing! I could listen to him speak all day and never get tired. His recital of an excerpt from Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums is beautiful:

"And finally the snow came, it came swirling my way, sending radiant white heralds thru which I saw the angel of light peep. And the wind rose; suddenly a green and rose rainbow shafted not 300 yards from my door, it came among steaming clouds, an orange sun turmoiling. The lake was milk white a mile below; it was just too crazy. Suddenly my shadow was ringed by the rainbow on the hilltop. A lovely haloed mystery, making me want to pray. And I said, "God, I love you." And I looked up to the sky and I really meant it. I have fallen in love with you God, take care of us all one way or the other."

Listening to Charles makes me yearn to go back to the 50's or 60's-where everything seemed to be in black and white, in a time that I envision in my mind as being much more innocent and polite than life as we know it today-its a place that was filled with glamour and dinner jackets and candlelight meals with dancing afterwards at the club to a 20 piece orchestra.....where there was romance and refinement and beautiful things just for the sake of being beautiful-his descriptions are so vivid you feel like you are right there, in the middle of it.

Just do yourself a favor and grab a cup of coffee (or a martini if its later in the day) and enjoy this-its one of my gifts to you this holiday season.

You will thank me-I promise!

(Of course after listening to this I then had to research the Chartres Cathedral, Etienne Houvet and Charles Lautner.) Just fascinating stuff......It makes you realize there is so much more to life than we think we know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Poem, Scottish Style

Some hae meat and canna eat, -
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
~Robert Burns

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

How to teach your horse to give "kisses" part 1. It involves lots of peppermint candy treats.....So far, I've gotten lots of mud and slobber in my face but she is getting the idea pretty quick.

This is Dancer and I....

Did I fool you for just a second?

I would like to say this is a picture of me, but alas, I cannot take the credit....This is Jackie Kennedy and her horse, Sardar. (In persian, this name means "commander".) It is on my list of things to do before I die, though, to at least attempt a jump like this! I should be careful about what I wish for, shouldn't I? Because this might actually be the last thing I do before I die, LOL.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Magic Bus

Just one of the many cool sites I see when I'm on way to the barn.....

I'll take Howard over Edward any day.....

In this day and age of romance films that leave little to the imagination, its nice to enjoy a film like this.
Calamity Jane (Doris Day) is the tom-cowboy to end all tom-cowboys, known for her feisty attitude and tallish tales of fighting Indians. When saloon/theater owner Henry Miller (Paul Harvey) is faced with angry Deadwood residents because he tries to pass off a man in drag as the attractive New York actress he promised (he made the mistake based on the actor's name), "Calam" promises to go to "Chicagee" and bring back an actress all of the men are going gaga for because of her picture on cigarette cards.

Director David Butler's Calamity Jane delivers on many ends--it's a musical featuring catchy songs, many sung by one of the greatest songstresses of her era, Doris Day, and a few incredibly choreographed; it's a frequently hilarious comedy; it's suspenseful in quite a few scenes (usually through realistic dramatic tension); it's a beautifully shot western with fantastic sets; and in the end, it's a grand romance.

I'll take H0ward Keel over Edward any day....

Sharing a Poem

I listen to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac every morning on my public radio station: and wanted to share the poem for today. Parts of it aptly describe me and my daily trips to the barn......(but instead of being an old man, I'm an old woman; and instead of eighteen ewes it's one horse...everything else is almost an exact parallel to my life....) And, its one of the few times my day when I feel truly at peace and at my closest with God.

XI. by Wendell Berry

Though he was ill and in pain,
in disobedience to the instruction he
would have received if he had asked,
the old man got up from his bed,
dressed, and went to the barn.
The bare branches of winter had emerged
through the last leaf-colors of fall,
the loveliest of all, browns and yellows
delicate and nameless in the gray light
and the sifting rain. He put feed
in the troughs for eighteen ewe lambs,
sent the dog for them, and she
brought them. They came eager
to their feed, and he who felt
their hunger was by their feeding
eased. From no place in the time
of present places, within no boundary
nameable in human thought,
they had gathered once again,
the shepherd, his sheep, and his dog
with all the known and the unknown
round about to the heavens' limit.
Was this his stubbornness or bravado?
No. Only an ordinary act
of profoundest intimacy in a day
that might have been better. Still
the world persisted in its beauty,
he in his gratitude, and for this
he had most earnestly prayed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lincoln's Letter to a Boy

The boy, whose father was a journalist, had told all his friends he'd shaken Lincoln's hand. They didn't believe him and mocked George for claiming he'd met the man who was now president. So his teacher wrote a letter to the White House hoping to learn the truth.
The president responded in a brief note dated March 19 and sent to the boy in New York City.
"Whom it may concern, I did see and talk with master George Evans Patten, last May, at Springfield, Illinois. Respectfully, A Lincoln"
The Raab Collection expects to get about $60,000 for the letter, The Associated Press reported. This is the only know surviving letter Lincoln wrote to an individual child, according to the Philadelphia-based dealer.
However, Lincoln did write to a group of 195 children who sent him a petition in 1864, The Guardian reported.
The kids asked the president to free "all the slave children in this country."
On April 5, Lincoln replied.
"Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust that they will remember that God has, and that, as it seems, He wills to do it."
The letter sold last year for $3.4 million, a record for a manuscript in the U.S.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Only Known Photo Of President Lincoln at Gettysburg

It was on this day in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln got up in front of about 15,000 people seated at a new national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and delivered the Gettysburg Address.

It was a foggy, cold morning. Lincoln arrived about 10 a.m. Around noon, the sun came out as the crowds gathered on a hill overlooking the battlefield. A military band played, a local preacher offered a long prayer, and the headlining orator, Edward Everett, spoke for more than two hours. At that time, a two-hour speech was quite normal. Everett described the Battle of Gettysburg in great detail, and he brought the audience to tears more than once.

When Everett was finished, Lincoln got up and pulled his speech from his coat pocket. It consisted of 10 sentences, a total of 272 words. Lincoln did not mention any of the specifics of the war or any of the details of the battle of Gettysburg. He did not mention the North or the South. He did not mention slavery. Instead, he explained, in ordinary language, that our nation was founded on the idea that all men are created equal, and that we must continue to fight for that principle, in honor of those who have died fighting for it.

Unfortunately for Lincoln, the audience was distracted by a photographer setting up his camera, and by the time Lincoln had finished his speech and sat down the audience didn't even realize he had spoken. Lincoln was disappointed in his performance, but the next day Edward Everett told the president, "I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes." The speech was reprinted in newspapers around the country, and it went on to become one of the most important speeches in American history.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"That Strong, Sad Face..."

"I was in Richmond when my Soldier fought the awful battle of Five Forks, Richmond surrendered, and the surging sea of fire swept the city. News of the fate of Five Forks had reached us, and the city was full of rumors that General Pickett was killed. I did not believe them. I knew he would come back, he had told me so. But they were very anxious hours. The day after the fire, there was a sharp rap at the door. The servants had all run away. The city was full of northern troops, and my environment had not taught me to love them. The fate of other cities had awakened my fears for Richmond. With my baby on my arm, I answered the knock, opened the door and looked up at a tall, gaunt, sad-faced man in ill-fitting clothes who, with the accent of the North, asked:

"Is this George Pickett's place?"

"Yes, sir," I answered, "but he is not here."

"I know that, ma'am," he replied, "but I just wanted to see the place. I am Abraham Lincoln."

"The President!" I gasped.

The stranger shook his head and said, "No, ma'am; no, ma'am; just Abraham Lincoln; George's old friend."

"I am George Pickett's wife and this is his baby," was all I could say. I had never seen Mr. Lincoln but remembered the intense love and reverence with which my Soldier always spoke of him.

My baby pushed away from me and reached out his hands to Mr. Lincoln, who took him in his arms. As he did so an expression of rapt, almost divine, tenderness and love lighted up the sad face. It was a look that I have never seen on any other face. My baby opened his mouth wide and insisted upon giving his father's friend a dewy infantile kiss. As Mr. Lincoln gave the little one back to me, shaking his finger at him playfully, he said:

"Tell your father, the rascal, that I forgive him for the sake of that kiss and those bright eyes."

He turned and went down the steps, talking to himself, and passed out of my sight forever, but in my memory those intensely human eyes, that strong, sad face, have a perpetual abiding place-that face which puzzled all artists but revealed itself to the intuitions of a little child, causing it to hold out its hands to be taken and its lips to be kissed."

Sally Corbell Pickett, Wife of Major General George E. Pickett, April 1865
"The Heart of a Soldier, As Revealed in the Intimate Letters of Genl. George E. Pickett C.S.A."
Pickett, George Edward, 1825 -1875

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quote of the Day.....

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln

November 21, 5:30pm-A Very Special Event for the Whole Family

7th Annual Remembrance Illumination. Luminary candles are placed on each Civil War grave in Soldiers' National Cemetery as a testament to the sacrifices made here in 1863. 5:30 p.m.

For information, contact the Gettysburg Foundation at 717-338-1243.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I'm Listening to This Evening....

Pink Martini:
and their new release, "Splendor in the Grass"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Daily Dose of Inspiration

From Just Beautiful Things- a wonderful site that's well worth the visit to uplift your spirits! We all have a choice in how we deal with life, don't we? There will always be those out there who seem to enjoy it when we are down or distraught. I am making a conscious effort to deal with adversity in the most positive way I can-

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