Saturday, September 20, 2014

Scotland, 'land of the heather...'; Elephant eye; Grandchilden; Benchley; Eating honey and locusts OK

Scotland the Brave

I come by my Scottish heritage in this way:

My grandmother was Myrtle Nicholson Dix.
Her ancestors hailed from the Isle Of Skye, Scotland.
She was proud of this and instilled in her progeny
a due respect for that history.

Shown above she tends her lilies in her retirement
in Modesto, CA.  Previously and for many years she resided in Iowa with
her husband, my grandfather Ray, who with her is mentioned
several times in the Raccoon. They both passed in Modesto.

I mention this lore because Scotland is very much in the news.

I have worn and worn my Nicholson Scottish tam
over many years, often to church, but in many other settings.

And the McDonald
Scotland the Brave
link at the beginning
of this section:

I played this CD for Myrtle's
son Leslie, my father, at a visit in his last year
of life in Virginia
and he requested it over and over
as he sat in his couch smiling,
with his eyes closed.


Remember this, ye Dixlings, and think of your dad/grandfather
smiling and listening...


The eyes have it


Nobody knows
 except for National Geographic
reading types

Nobody knows the trouble they've  seen...

Toward a better day
Glory hallelujah



They disappear with friends
near age 11. We lose them
to baseball and tennis, garage
bands, slumber parties, stages
where they rehearse for the future,
ripen in a tangle of love knots.
With our artificial knees and hips
we move into the back seats
of their lives, obscure as dust
behind our wrinkles, and sigh
as we add the loss of them
to our growing list of the missing.

Sometimes they come back,
carting memories of sugar cookies
and sandy beaches, memories of how
we sided with them in their wars
with parents, sided with them
even as they slid out of our laps
into the arms of others.

Sometimes they come back
and hold onto our hands
as if they were the thin strings
of helium balloons
about to drift off.

"Grandchildren" by Stiffler, from Otherwise, We Are Safe. © Dos Madres Press, 2013



Robert Charles Benchley (September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945) was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper and The New Yorker columnist, etc. etc.
including  numerous short subjects star I saw at the old Bucket of Blood theater (The Avon, Waukesha)

He wrote this, much to my mother and father's amusement:

(* Ruth was the 1940's church organist at the 1st Cong. church of Waukesha)

The Church Supper

The social season in our city ends up with a bang for the summer when the Strawberry Festival at the Second Congregational Church is over. After that you might as well die. Several people have, in fact.

The Big Event is announced several weeks in advance in that racy sheet known as the "church calendar," which is slipped into the pews by the sexton before anyone has a chance to stop him. There, among such items as a quotation from a recent letter from Mr. and Mrs. Wheelock (the church's missionaries in China who are doing a really splendid work in the face of a shortage of flannel goods), and the promise that Elmer Divvit will lead the Intermediate Christian Endeavor that afternoon, rain or shine, on the subject of "What Can I Do to Increase the Number of Stars in My Crown?" we find the announcement that on Friday night, June the 8th, the Ladies of the Church will unbelt with a Strawberry Festival to be held in the vestry and that, furthermore, Mrs. William Horton MacInting will be at the head of the Committee in Charge. 

Surely enough good news for one day!

The Committee is then divided into commissary groups, one to provide the short-cake, another to furnish the juice, another the salad, and so on, until everyone has something to do except Mrs. MacInting, the chairman. She agrees to furnish the paper napkins and to send her car around after the contributions which the others are making. Then, too, there is the use of her name.

The day of the festival arrives, bright and rainy. All preparations are made for a cozy evening in defiance of the elements; so when, along about four in the afternoon, it clears and turns into a nice hot day, everyone is caught with rubbers and steamy mackintoshes, to add to the fun. For, by four o'clock in the afternoon, practically everyone in the parish is at the vestry "helping out," as they call it.

"Helping out" consists of putting on an apron over your good clothes, tucking up the real lace cuffs, and dropping plates. The scene in the kitchen of the church at about five-thirty in the afternoon is one to make a prospective convert to Christianity stop and think. Between four and nine thousand women, all wearing aprons over black silk dresses, rush back and forth carrying platters of food, bumping into each other, hysterical with laughter, filling pitchers with hot coffee from a shiny urn, and poking good-natured fun at Mr. Numaly and Mr. Dow, husbands who have been drafted into service and who, amid screams of delight from the ladies, have also donned aprons and are doing the dropping of the heavier plates and ice-cream freezers.

"Look at Mr. Dow!" they cry. "Some good-looking girl you make, Mr. Dow!"
"Come up to my house, Mr. Numaly, and I'll hire you to do our cooking."
"Alice says for Mr. Numaly to come up to her house and she'll hire him as a cook! Alice, you're a caution!"

And so it goes, back and forth, good church-members all, which means that their banter contains nothing off-color and, by the same token, nothing that was coined later than the first batch of buffalo nickels.

In the meantime, the paying guests are arriving out in the vestry and are sniffing avidly at the coffee aroma, which by now has won its fight with the smell of musty hymn books which usually dominates the place. They leave their hats and coats in the kindergarten room on the dwarfed chairs and wander about looking with weekday detachment at the wall-charts showing the startling progress of the Children of Israel across the Red Sea and the list of gold-star pupils for the month of May. Occasionally they take a peek in at the kitchen and remark on the odd appearance of Messrs. Numaly and Dow, who by this time are just a little fed up on being the center of the taunting and have stopped answering back.

The kiddies, who have been brought in to gorge themselves on indigestible strawberry concoctions, are having a gay time tearing up and down the vestry for the purpose of tagging each other. They manage to reach the door just as Mrs. Camack is entering with a platter full of cabbage salad, and later she explains to Mrs. Reddy while the latter is sponging off her dress that this is the last time she is going to have anything to do with a church supper at which those Basnett children are allowed. The Basnett children, in the meantime, oblivious of this threat, are giving all their attention to slipping pieces of colored chalk from the blackboard into the hot rolls which have just been placed on the tables. And, considering what small children they are, they are doing remarkably well at it.

At last everyone is ready to sit down. In fact, several invited guests do sit down, and have to be reminded that Dr. Murney has yet to arrange the final details of the supper with Heaven before the chairs can be pulled out. This ceremony, with the gentle fragrance of strawberries and salad rising from the table, is one of the longest in the whole list of church rites; and when it is finally over there is a frantic scraping of chairs and clatter of cutlery and babble of voices which means that the hosts of the Lord have completed another day's work in the vineyard and are ready, nay, willing, to toy with several tons of foodstuffs.

The adolescent element in the church has been recruited to do the serving, but only a few of them show up at the beginning of the meal. The others may be found by any member of the committee frantic enough to search them out, sitting in little groups of two on the stairs leading up to the organ loft or indulging in such forms of young love as tie-snatching and braid-pulling up in the study.

The unattached youths and maids who are induced to take up the work of pouring coffee do it with a vim but very little skill. Pouring coffee over the shoulder of a person sitting at a long table with dozens of other people is a thing that you ought to practice weeks in advance for, and these young people step right in on the job without so much as a dress rehearsal. The procedure is, or should be, as follows:

Standing directly behind the person about to be served, say in a loud but pleasant voice: "Coffee?" If the victim wishes it, he or she will lift the cup from the table and hold it to be filled, with the left forefinger through the handle and bracing the cup against the right upper-arm. The pourer will then have nothing to do but see to it that the coffee goes from the pitcher to the cup.

Where the inexperienced often make a mistake is in reaching for the cup themselves and starting to pour before finding out if the victim wants coffee. This results in nine cases out of six in the victim's turning suddenly and saying: "No coffee, thank you, please!", jarring the arm of the pourer and getting the coffee on the cuff.

For a long time nothing is heard but the din of religious eating and then gradually, one by one, forks slip from nerveless fingers, chairs are scraped back, and the zealots stir heavily to their feet. All that remains is for the committee to gather up the remains and congratulate themselves on their success.

The next event in the calendar will not be until October, when the Men's Club of the church will prepare and serve a supper of escalloped oysters and hot rolls. Join now and be enrolled for labor in the vineyard in the coming year.

- From Benchley Beside HImself -

(Remember this was written in the late 1920s, but there is some similarity today.)


More KD Cat news

KD Cat reposes/tangles
white belly 'V for Victory'
sign showing, tangles with
her best friend in our 
poor man's penthouse:

The Hekkers gift of
a lamb's wool duster

to fit supposedly
on the end of the length
bamboo fishing pole
we have also received from Tom to 
the height of the ceiling
in this 1882 building
where we live on the top floor.

KD, hidden in a jungle of spider plant leaves
relentlessly stares at a mourning dove sitting
on the landing skylight edge.

See its shadow at the left side.
The skylight, of which we have three,
is transluscent (cannot see through it)
yet KD knows it is one of her vaunted
birdie playmates, or - favorite imaginary dishes.


Honeyed Locusts
Leviticus 11:2

William's birthday suckers:

Our pewmate, William

is newly 14 years of age

and he has a thing for eating insects currently
So Dee went to our local haute -cuisine chocolatier 
- Allo Chocolat -
and got William some gourmet cricket suckers.
 We will drop them off at Wm's today,
 his birthday.

Sunlight bathes Wm in back where we sit
in the peanut gallery of the 1st Congo.