Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ball Masque XVIII




I pulled up my Word programme, formatted the blank page for my journal entry, and saved it into the folder for my journal entries. I just file these by the date. It hit me like a ton of bricks this morning that I was typing out 2011 as the year. It seems like it was yesterday the world was supposed to end because of “Y2K”. Surely, it could NOT be over 11 years ago people were stockpiling food and water in anticipation of the breakdown of the food chain.

I know it sounds like a broken record, but I’m discovering first hand how fast time passes as you get older. It seems like yesterday I was having the conversation with Ron about what it would be like for me if I moved south. Ron was from Arkansas and he taught me well on the “ins and out’s” of southern etiquette.

It was early afternoon on Sunday May 11, 1985 Ron drove to my house from Rochester, NY. We had planned a trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was mowing my front lawn when he pulled into the driveway. I will never forget Ron telling me in no uncertain terms, “Jimmy, what do you think you are doing? Put that lawnmower away. NICE PEOPLE don’t mow their lawns on Sunday!” That was my first indoctrination into southern living. Ron passed away back in September of 1992. He was never able to witness my transition into southern life. To this day I feel a twinge of guilt whenever I do yard work on a Sunday!

1985; Ron, Niagara Falls, Ontario:

The book “A Southern Belle Primer, or Why Princess Margaret Will Never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma” by Maryln Schwartz gave me a tremendous insight to the culture of the South. In this book she describes the “Royalty of the South”. I had the evidence of that “royalty” at the Mystic Krewe of the Druids “Ball Masque XVIII” last night.

This annual event is put on every year to raise money for West Alabama Aids Outreach. Musical tableaus are preformed, beads and Jello shots are thrown into the audience, the reigning king and queen step down, and the new king and queen take over. It is pomp and circumstance and bawdy fun all rolled together. Everyone has a good time while raising money for a worthy cause.

The new king and queen:

While it is not mandatory, tuxedos and formal dress are informal dress codes. I’m lucky in I was able to score a great tuxedo jacket from the Goodwill some ten years back. I used to accessorize it with my black leather riding pants and work boots. Now I wear my black Utilikilt. I have not given up wearing work boots though!

I can still fit into the pleated tuxedo shirt I bought at Chess II in early 1980’s. It has some small holes; I can’t bring myself to get rid of it! You can’t go wrong when sticking to the basics, so last night I wore a plain white shirt; but the bow tie was a real one. It is an art to tie those damn things. Doing it left handed makes it more complicated!

The bitter cold we experienced did a number on my Camellias’. I really had to search out the “Pink Perfection” bush in my back yard to get two nearly perfect blooms for Em and I. Those blossoms brought us lots of compliments.

If you want to catch the beads, you need to be down in the front. After years of attending this function, I have more plastic beads than I will ever use up in this lifetime. It must have been fate as I got hit in the head a number of times by the flying beads!

Pre Ball Party: Cornelius, Me and Emmet:

Home from the madness!

There were after hours parties going on at the clubs. Em and I were both too beat. It was a forgone conclusion we would leave at the end of the programme. I implored Em to crash at my place, have a good breakfast and drive back to Birmingham in the morning. No, he was adamant in driving home. I hate that drive so, especially at night. I like to extend the offer.

This boy is not used to the “late night life” and slept in till nearly 6:00 a.m. I felt like I wasted half the day!!!

I will be feeling the guilt of doing yard work on a Sunday today. I need to get the yard in shape for the newest acquisition from E-bay…. A cast iron Railroad Crossing sign! It is to be delivered Tuesday. Now I can gripe to the city, “It’s bad enough I have manholes and fire hydrants installed in my back yard, now you’re putting a railroad through here!”

The new sign:

When Ron and I did a road trip to his home in Arkansas back in 1989 we did a tour of the battlefield in Corinth, Mississippi. I fell in love with that town. We visited the museum there and I was able to get the ratty Edison phonograph they had on display working. You could just tell the docent at the museum was one of the “dowagers” of the town. She was so happy I was able to get that machine functioning.

We were headed to Memphis after that. I questioned Ron on how if I moved south if I would ever be able to fit in being from the north. Ron replied, “Jimmy, if you moved here people would just say of you; oh, he’s that nice Yankee who moved here from New York.”

Ron was so wise: I’ve had that line said to me a number of times in the time I've lived here. However, I’m thinking I may be pushing the envelope a bit. Now, I'm afraid that phrase will be, “Oh, he is that crazy Yankee who moved here, He’s a mess!”

I take being called “a mess” a very high form of praise!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow and Cold




It started snowing last night at about 6:00. There was a blanket of snow on my lawn when I let Stumpy out at 4:00 a.m. this morning for his first foray to check his territory. He did not stay outside long. When he wants in Stump will jump to the top ledge of the outside shower. From this perch he can claw at the heavy wire screen protecting the swing out bathroom window. When he gets going you can hear him in any part of the house. I am programmed to open the window and coax him into the house. He has to rub the bottom window frame and poke… all the while the freezing cold air pours in! You can’t hurry up a cat. Then he climbs up to the window sill, and I’ll carefully close the swing out window being careful to not pinch his paws. I don’t have to worry about his stump of a tail! It’s a quick jump to my shoulders and he gets a lift to the kitchen where I’ll dish up his treats. I think we have this routine down!!

6:00 a.m from the back study steps: The clothes line is actually a TV cable I salvaged on one of my walks. An old bleach bottle with an opening cut in serves as my clothes pin holder! Household hints from Jamie!! LOL!!

I was enjoying my first cup of coffee messing with E-bay about 5:00 a.m. when Stumpy signaled he wanted in… NOW! He and Daggy got their wet food treats and both cats are now sacked out with full bellies blissfully sleeping on the bed. To be so snug and warm when it is 27° outside is a luxury I appreciate.

7:00 a.m: Contented Cats! My everyday Utilikilt is draped over the footboard: you can just barely make out the snow through the window...

There is a “Railroad Crossing” sign I’m negotiating on. I won the E-bay auction a few weeks ago, but it did not meet the reserve price. The seller relisted it with a buy it now price, or make an offer. My offer is way more than the high bid on his auction, but about ½ of his buy it now price. Who knows??? That sign would go well with the fire hydrants!

I needed a good stick to the ribs breakfast this morning. HOTCAKES!! They are such a pain to make with having to melt butter, beat eggs, etc, but the results are so worth the aggravation. First I seasoned up my great grandmother’s cast iron griddle by frying thick cut pepper bacon. That smell of frying bacon should be bottled and marketed! The hotcake batter was then poured onto the heated greasy griddle. When it was time to flip the cakes the pure maple syrup was nuked. The cakes were buttered before taking them off the griddle, they were plated up with the bacon and the hot syrup was poured on top. I had to force myself to eat slowly as this is one of my favourite meals.

The city seems to be functioning. I’ll call in a bit to see if the “Y” is open. So long as the schools are in operation, everything else seems to follow. I’ll have to push myself now doing my rowing sets aggressively to work that meal through my system!!

This weather sure puts a damper on getting projects finished up. Nearly all my outstanding chores involve being able to work outside. There are a number of “piddly things” and paperwork that need to be done. I’ll work on those projects this afternoon.

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About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.