Posted in Aging process, Changes, Friendship, I love you, Love, Marriage, Support

“Little Murders” by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Little Murders*  by Ginger Keller Gannaway

*A play by Jules Feiffer written in 1967

Marriage ain’t always easy.  Three kids and 35 years together have made Gary and me balance understanding and comfort with annoyance and anger. Once when I yelled at Gary for leaving his used dental pics on the coffee table, he answered, “Sorry. I guess these ‘Little Murders’ really chip away at us, huh?” Then I thought how I let small annoyances turn into large complaints.

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Love circa 1984

One Thanksgiving in an effort to stop me from obsessing about whether my husband would have enough leftover turkey gumbo when he returned from visiting his brother, Momma said to me, “Don’t you worry about Gary.  Gary always takes care of Gary.”   These days I sometimes extend that thought to“Gary only has eyes for Gary.”  He, however,  justifies his self-obsessiveness with, “I’m not a noticer.” ( Noticer –  1. The act of noting or observing; perception or attention:That detail escaped my notice. thefreedictionary.com)

So what if he ignores the whole world when he does his daily Sudoku or he can’t find ANYTHING in the fridge or he did not notice that he ate the last chocolate raspberry Haagen-Dazs bar from a box he “bought for me”?  He also gives my 90 year-old dad countless rides to and from doctor appointments, always has a buck for the down-and-out guy at the stoplight, and cleans a stack of dirty dishes with no complaints.

His tendency to stop up a toilet, watch CNN constantly, dirty 23 dishes for one meal, leave his bike in the back of the car, and grab his mandatory 9 hours of sleep a night could be viewed differently. 

  1. He’s developed expert bathroom plumbing skills.
  2. He stays well-informed on current events.
  3. He cooks with creativity and zeal.
  4. He stays fit and well-rested. 

My mom’s dear friend once told me she used to fuss at her husband for leaving the kitchen cabinets wide open (one of Gary’s favorite hobbies). Then years after he had passed away, she looked at me with watery eyes and said, “What I wouldn’t give to walk in the kitchen and see every single cabinet door open!”

I used to believe all those Little Murders slowly smothered the love I had for Gary.  Now I see they make pin pricks in my heart that make our love tough and real so we have enough strength to deal with the many “slings and arrows” of this life.  Gary makes me smile at life’s idiosyncrasies and laugh at love’s challenges. 

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Love, 2016 (Tesuque, New Mexico)
Posted in Children, Fathers, fathers and daughters, Friendship, Growing up, Memories, Outdoors

Bangberry Ride by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Bangberry* Ride (*Banbury Cross)

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Dad/ Papa with Grandson Ryan on the Bangberry Tree

There was an oak tree with a long, low limb. A 6’4” dad would put a girl on his shoulders and let her scramble into the crook of the tree’s limb where she could hold on to small branches and settle into the oak’s saddle. The tall dad would then grab the limb’s end and pull it down, down to the ground. Anticipation made the girl’s grip tighten. The dad would go down and up, down and up to the tune of an old nursery rhyme:

“Here we go down to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady ride on a white horse.

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She will have music where ever she goes.”

Then the dad added an “Ole!” as he released the limb to make the girl spring up high as the tree was free to boing, boing, boing back into place.

Evan in tree
Evan in Bangberry Tree, 2005

Head and hair surrounded by branches and leaves, the girl felt equal to the free-flying birds.That 4-second thrill was a perfect balance of joy and fear.  She looked down on her siblings from her queenly perch  as they did the “Me next!” dance and she gave the mere mortals a slight smile before she accepted the dad’s huge hand that helped her dismount her tree throne.

Besides the wooden roller coaster at the beach, the “Bangberry Ride” was the girl’s favorite ride. With a rhyming song, a heavenly seat, a touch of danger, a parent’s attention, her sisters’ envy, and her stomach’s tickle, the ride was a moment of childhood perfection.

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Oak trees around my childhood home
Posted in First Car, Friendship, Growing up

A Fine Ride

Impala

 

I haven’t always been a rule follower…in fact when I was 14 years old, I started to drive. This urge to drive took over my common sense like a speeding dart heading for the bullseye!  Not having a driver’s license did not seem to bother me and I was even able to convince my best friend that I could teach her to drive, as well.

 

At the time, my Dad drove a white, ‘63 Chevy Impala, so logically that was my car, too.  It was perfect!  I could get three people in the front and four or five in the back.  What could be better than taking your friends for a spin?

 

On this one particular day, my Dad had taken his ‘company car’ to work, leaving the Impala parked carefully in the garage.  As soon as he left, I found the keys to the Imala and began making my plans.  I’m not proud of this now, you understand, but for some reason, at that time I had no remorse.

 

My friend, Nitia,  walked over to my house and we took the ole Chevy out for the day.  Long, LONG ago, 50 cents would buy a lot of gas, so we came prepared to fill it back up if necessary.    I can’t remember where we went, but I’m sure it involved ‘seeing and being seen.’  There was probably a boy or two and maybe a trip to the mall incorporated into our plan.

 

After our joy ride, I was making the turn leading back to my house.  Unfortunately, it also went right by Nitia’s house.  This would have been ok except her dad was outside watering the yard.  When we noticed him, it was too late to turn around, and I instinctively yelled, “Duck!”  For some reason, I thought that was a good idea, and I ducked too.  It must have been a subliminal message or sheer ignorance, but surprisingly we crept safely by her house, ducked down in the front seat.  When we made it to my house, we parked back into the garage and congratulated ourselves on having a great day and dodging her dad.

 

Later that night at dinner, Nitia’s dad turned to her and said, “The weirdest thing happened today.  I saw Nancy’s Dad’s car drive by and no one was in it.”  Of course, she acted like she didn’t know what he was talking about and miraculously, her parents never called mine, but that was a very close call.

 

All during my 9th and 10th-grade years, I sporadically took that grand ‘63 Chevy Impala out for a drive.  I learned to drive in that car and finally got my driver’s license in that car.  It was my signature ride until I went to college and had to leave it behind.

 

If that ole Chevy could talk, it would keep us entertained for days with stories of friends, secrets, near misses and more fun than should be allowed.  I eventually told my Dad about some of my car adventures.  He was shocked, to say the least, but managed to chuckle since it obviously was past the statute of limitations for being grounded.  

 

There might be another story or two about that ole Chevy, but for now, just revel in its sleek, thoroughbred beauty, and imagine yourself at the wheel!  It was a fine ride, yes indeed!

 

Posted in Austin, Texas, Cajuns, Friendship, Support

Jockstrap Friends by Ginger Keller Gannaway

bike-original-mm-jock-strap-whiteJockstrap Friends (by Ginger Keller Gannaway)

Bette Midler has long known, “You’ve Got to Have Friends.” From the first friend I made in kindergarten to the dog-walking friend I made a month ago, friends have given me the support and the empathy I need to stay sane. 

Ever since I read Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, I daydreamed about that group of best friends that sticks together even after troubles may temporarily pull them apart. They snap back together even stronger.

Growing up in south Louisiana, my sisters were my closest friends, but technically they’re sisters, and each has her own best friend. I also have a first cousin I’ve gone through tragedies and comedies with, but she too has her own best friend.

In Texas I have friends who could be BFF’s, but they have friends they’ve known longer than me, and these friends know “where more of the bodies are buried” than I do.IMG_4335

So the single-best-friend-in-all-the-world is not my reality.

Instead, I have a group of Jockstrap Friends: friends who are close and supportive and know all my stinky secrets. (I considered calling them Bra Buddies, but a brassiere does not have the smelly, sweaty essence of a jockstrap). Jockstraps hold “the family jewels” in place, and in the bumpy, unpredictable ride we call Life, jockstraps have the comfortable elasticity to protect our most precious “friends” from sudden shocks and shoves.

Jockstrap Friends show up at hospitals and funerals as well as weddings and birthdays. IMG_4339 (1)In extreme situations they will even clean your house, cook your meals, hold your hair back while you puke, and take off work to drive to the International Crawfish Etoufee Cookoff in Eunice, Louisiana with you. Once three of my Jockstrap Friends even decorated my whole home for Christmas when my son was in the hospital!

Jockstrap Friends share many of your tastes in food, music, and movies. They accept your idiosyncrasies the same way your family does; however, you laugh more with Jockstrap Friends. Ya’ll share a 100%  breathable cotton kind of comfortableness without them “riding your ass” the way family members might. You “show your butt” with a jockstrap friend and still maintain “optimum support and comfort.”mardi gras with mark

At times I’m sad I don’t have a one & only best friend, but it’s probably better to have a mess of Jockstrap Friends.  That way whenever my next catastrophe hits, if one friend is having a hip replacement and another is flying to Oregon for the birth of her grandchild, I’ll still have that one friend who will help me clean out my grandma’s attic in August, help decorate the church’s activity hall for Momma’s memorial, or read the first draft of my YA novel.

Posted in Friendship

Big Santa by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Big Santa 1987Big Santa

In 1961 my dad created a 16-foot tall Santa Claus.  At the time, he owned Keller Advertising and painted huge roadside billboards and local storefront windows. When I was 5, he designed, drew, and painted four wooden pieces that when connected made a smiling Santa that he would raise and attach to our 18-foot chimney. Our  1950’s ranch style home was at the end of a winding gravel road off of Highway 190 on the outskirts of town. Dad set a spot light on Big Santa so cars could see him waving as they drove by. Also, Dad made the back view of  a 7 year-old boy and a 5 year-old girl waving at Santa. My red tricycle was set next to the  pigtailed girl to create a Rockwell Christmas moment.

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Santa circa 1996

Over the years, my feelings about Big Santa have changed.

In the 1960’s Big Santa added magical excitement to my kid dreams of Mr. Claus’s superpowers. Santa’s smiling presence also gave my family a touch of local fame as folks drove past our place each Christmas, and we even made the Eunice News once.

Fast forward to the 1980’s after my grandma died, and my parents bought her 100 year-old home and we moved to town. Now Big Santa needed an 18-foot pole to support him as he waved to sidewalk visitors and Second Street motorists.  Now Santa was a novelty who made his December appearance when I swooped into town for my mandatory college semester break.

In the beginning of the 21st century Big Santa loomed large in a different way.  After my three sons were past their “I believe in Santa” phase, they helped their Papa put up the Santa the day after Thanksgiving and take him down right after Christmas day chaos.

Putting up Big Santa became a complicated family tradition.  In 2007 my

dad was 80, so he mostly directed his grandsons (my boys and their 2 cousins) in the raising of the Santa.  First, they hauled the four sections from the back of the garage and cleaned up Mr. Claus before laying him facedown on the front lawn.  Then several wooded 2X4’s were arranged and screwed to the Santa sections to pull him all together. Next 4 or 5 guys sorta lifted and walked Santa towards his standing pole and secured him in place with screws and wire.  Papa sat in a folding chair and barked orders to his grandsons. By 2012 he had his walker beside him, and the boys did their best to keep Papa from grunting and struggling to stand to correct their construction mistakes. Of course, mistakes were as inevitable as Papa’s complaining and cussing. Once my middle son wisely suggested they buy new tools since my dad’s hammer head had a tendency to fall off its wooden handle, and the screws were more rust than metal. (“This would be a lot easier if we weren’t using tools from the Stone Age!”) Papa scoffed at such nonsense: “Give me that damn hammer! I’ll do it.”

So the grandsons worked with worn-out tools and rotting wood as they maneuvered around a short-tempered, crooked-backed, bossy-coach of a grandpa. Big Santa became a dreaded sort of family tradition. “If we get up early enough tomorrow, we can get Santa up before Papa wakes up,” said my youngest on the fortunate Black Friday of 2014.

Despite the frustration and anger that accompanied Big Santa’s arrival, family and friends still loved to pose in front of him each holiday. He made a dramatic backdrop, and passers-by often stopped to snap their own Big Santa moment.IMG_4299 (1)

Now Dad is 90 and living with us in Texas. Big Santa still spends his off-season days in Grandma’s garage. His fate now is in cousin Chiquita’s hands since she bought Grandma’s home.  Hopefully Big Santa will still come out to wave at the small town folks of Eunice, Louisiana, who parade past his tall smile.

big santa
Big Santa, 2014

 

 

Posted in Friendship

It’s Raining by Ginger Keller Gannaway

It’s Rainingit's raining

Irma Thomas’s “It’s Raining” is one of my favorite songs.  At the New Orleans Jazz Festival once Irma was walking around the fair grounds when a light rain started falling, and a group of festival-goers serenaded the Queen of New Orleans so she gave them a royal bow.

Growing up in Louisiana, I have a reverence for rain. Driving in a blinding downpour can be a nuisance, but it’s not scary for me. Like folks in Fargo and their snow, folks in Cajun land are used to their rain.

Plus there’s the comfort of a steady rain, especially if you’re on a front porch in a comfy chair sipping something good with good friends or sharing the serenity with your own self.

I know rain also arrives angry as a demon during storms and hurricanes. I remember my dad boarding up windows and us losing power for days. Back in 1965 after Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans,  I remember Dad driving down I-10 and seeing the flooded streets with tricycles and sofas floating by.

A few years ago some friends and I were driving on Texas Hwy. 71 when we broke the “Turn around; don’t drown” rule. We had stopped at a stretch of road that was covered with water, and we debated risking going across. After we saw 3 cars in front of us drive through (and rats swimming across the road), I urged our driver to “Go!!! Now.” as another voice demanded, “Don’t do it!” We made it over safely although we also yelled at the top of our lungs for good luck.

the camp
Emile, Kelly, me, and Gayle driggin the sand box at Keller Camp.

I have, however, more comforting rain memories than scary ones. Like being at Grandma’s camp in Indian Village on that perfect screened-in porch. I’m sitting at one of the two picnic tables coloring with my cousins. Grandma and Stella Parrott  sit in large wooden rockers with other less-important adults sitting in folding chairs at the other side of the porch, drinking Salty Dogs, telling stories, and playing gin rummy on TV trays.  Not far away the Calcasieu River is being replenished, getting ready for the fishing boats to visit her soon.

I let the fat steady drops of rain match the contented beats of my 7-year-old heart. And if I have any thoughts of the future it’s that the river water will be higher and more exciting when an adult takes us down to the sand bar the next day.

Nothing like rainy afternoons to remind us to live in the moment and absorb the sounds and smells of a natural kind of calm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJjDmpyWfBs

“Drip-drop, drip-drop” sing Irma’s back-up singers at the start of “It’s Raining.”

“It’s raining so hard, brings back memories

Of the times you were here with me.

Counting every drop, about to blow my top

I wish this rain would hurry up and stop.”

Irma’s song is about a sad longing for the rain to stop, yet even in the lonely tunes about lost love, we listen, listen, listen and feel relief like after having a long, hard cry.

Posted in Friendship

Junior League and The Junk Yard Dogs

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Junior League and The Junk Yard Dogs:

It’s almost time again for the Austin Junior League Christmas Affair.  What a grand tradition; full of beautiful decorations, artisan gifts to purchase, throngs of women dressed in their holiday finest and delicious food and wine.  It’s a sight to behold. In Sittin Ugly Sistah fashion, we make the trek to our Jr. League Mecca, along with a few friends, every year.  It gets us in the holiday spirit!

We loaded into my car, giddy with anticipation, wondering how best to see it all, shop as much as possible and of course decide where to eat afterward.  We made our way cross town and arrived at the venue.  Crowded streets and a FULL sign at the parking garage, made us circle around again until we saw a half-empty parking lot……….at Hooters!

How ironic or serendipitous that Hooters is caddy corner to the Junior League Christmas Affair.  “Perfect!” we squealed.  “Let’s park here!”  I do have a little ‘safety Sue’ in me, as I questioned, “Are you’all sure we should park here?”  The answers came back fast and furious:  “Sure!  Everyone does!”

“Why not?”

“We could go into Hooters and have a drink first if you feel guilty about parking here,”

Bottom line?  We parked and excited about our close proximity, almost skipped across the street to the “Affair.”

More than three hours later, laden with packages, relaxed from a little wine and starving for Mexican food, we walked back across the street to Hooters.   The parking lot was now full with the late lunch crowd, but as we sauntered to our spot, something was missing…..my car!  Somehow, we had missed that little sign that said: “All cars will be towed unless you are a Hooters patron.”                               

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Refusing to believe it, we walked the parking lot two more times, until we were finally convinced the car had been towed.  Ever the optimists, we found the phone number in tiny print on the sign and called.  I naively thought we would call and maybe they would bring us the car or maybe it was parked at a nearby lot.

My face went ashen, my wine glow slowly disappearing…as I listened to the unhappy voice on the other end of the phone.  Sure enough, miles away, in some obscure impound lot was my new Honda Accord.  Gulp!  Not wanting to call Boo, (for obvious reasons), one of the girls said, “Let’s call my daughter, Audra.  She won’t mind, I’m sure.”  We all watched and listened as my friend made the call.  “Hi, honey!  You’ll never guess what!”

Waiting in the Hooters lot, our holiday finest was beginning to droop and we were beginning to lose our appetites.  In fact, under the stress, one of us (who shall remain anonymous) bummed a cigarette off of a Hooters kitchen worker on his break.

When Audra pulled up, we cheered and then we realized she was driving a Honda Fit. We crammed our packages into the trunk and folded ourselves into the back seat.  We kinda had that ‘clown car’ feeling!  Audra was laughing but probably more than a little concerned about the Hooters Hooligans or Geriatric Gangstas as she called us!  Inching our way, during 4:30 traffic, we finally made it to the lot.

Barbed wire fences, growling junkyard dogs and no door in sight, I left everyone in the car and said, “Call the Police, if I don’t come out.”  I don’t know what I was thinking, but I can tell you it wasn’t $260.  I cautiously walked through the gate, bypassed the fenced-in dogs and found a small building with a dirty window.  I stepped up and a twenty-something girl asked which car was mine.  I told her, and then tried to make polite conversation, but she really wasn’t interested.  Finally, she said, “Lady, are you by yourself?”  “Oh, heavens no,” I said, “I’m with friends!”

She solemnly told me the amount, $260.  I solemnly slid my credit card through the dirty slit in the bulletproof window.  She smirked at me and pointed to the sign…..CASH ONLY.  “Oooops!” I said.  “ I’ll be right back.”

Silently I was praying, “Dear God, please let my car still have its tires.”

The girls and I emptied our purses, regretting that last purchase and round of drinks, but we managed the $260 between us.  I paid and we all rejoiced as I was led to my car and started it up.  Yippee!  No dents and all the tires were there.  

We hugged Audra, said our thank you’s and gathered our purchases to transfer into my car.  “Goodbye you Hooters Hooligans!” she laughed and off we went to get that much needed Mexican food.

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Posted in Friendship

Why I Write by Ginger Keller Gannaway

WHY I WRITEearly morn2

Yesterday at the Texas Teen Book Festival I heard the powerful writer, poet, rapper Jason Reynolds speak. He talked about a teenaged student he once taught who regularly cussed him out in class, and later Reynolds realized the boy was illiterate. However, this student was also extremely clever, creative, and very resourceful. Not being able to read or write caused him to act out in school because of frustration and anger.  James Reynold and me

Reading and writing can give us powerful ways to connect with our world. Literacy gives us voices. And just like the frustrated toddler who cannot make his mother understand that he does not want apple juice; he wants grape juice because apple juice reminds him of the time his cousin force-fed him a jar of apple sauce, we need to communicate our desires as specifically as possible to those around us. Also, this need to communicate grows larger as we grow older. Our world becomes flooded with information from so many sources, and we receive info all day long so that we often feel the need to respond with our own opinions, thoughts, and dreams. We take in so, so much that we naturally want to give out or give back to the universe that is always trying to get our attention.

Some people respond to the world with physical actions (athletes, dancers, builders, designers); others make music or paint or act or create comedy; others do research, conduct experiments, invent things, or study formulas; others pray, advise, teach, protect, or help others. Some connect to their world through writing. They share ideas that inform and entertain others. They examine past worlds, evaluate our present world, or create new worlds. No matter the method or aim, they write these “words, words, words” to help themselves make sense or even cope with their own lives.

Even though I have written all my life, I did not consider myself a “writer” until about three years ago. Now I remember way back in the third grade when I had gotten on a silly poetry kick where I wrote terrible riddles and rhymes for my classmates. I produced notebooks full of pitiful poems for an audience that admired unoriginal and ridiculous rhymes. (Remember they were 8 years old!)

3rd grade class
Mrs. Sally’s 3rd Grade Class, 1964

“We might cry
and wonder why
Our world’s a mess
with nothing but tests.
But don’t give up.
Don’t hit your pup.
Don’t go in a trance
or poop your pants.
We will soon have nothing to fear
Cause in just 10 days summer is here!”

As a timid, bespectacled girl who walked with a limp, I basked in my peers’ brief attention like a happy turtle on a sunny stone in a small pond. My little head poked out and I was smiling at the bright warmth of their third grade praise. But in less than a week the world returned to its normal ways and I went back to my shell of shyness.

Fast forward 50 years and now I write for family and friends on a blog with a fellow writing friend. The experience actually reminds me a lot of third grade. I feel comfortable and uneasy at the same time. I enjoy the little blue-colored likes and the comment here and there about what I write, yet I also worry that I will either bore or annoy my not-8-year-old audience. However, my writing uneasiness is nowhere as strong as the joy I get when I write. Writing makes me feel worthwhile, and all my physical and emotional shortcomings are revealed only when I decide to uncover them.

Is that not powerful? I control what is thrown up on the computer screen or down on the page. Freedom of expression can be like wiping the sweat from your forehead or pulling a splinter from your thumb or letting out a laugh that I fought to hold in and then I laugh until it almost hurts and I take a deep breath that turns into a soft sigh and ahhhhhh.  All seems right with my world for a short time.

Nowadays even folks who claim to “hate writing” have power of expression with their tweets and their FB posts. And the Instagrammers and the Snapchatters use pictures and videos to express themselves.

BUT the power of words for me is the most special. Words are not full of color and sound and flash and movement. They are mostly basic black and are carefully arranged like sticks and stones in row after row. They could be scrawled on a filthy bathroom wall or printed unevenly on a homemade Valentine or etched into granite or scripted with swirls and dots on a suicide note, but all the words were written to connect with someone, somewhere. These stick figures of anger, pain, love, hope, despair and wit have the ability to cause us to think and to feel deeply.

These days I do not feel powerful about anything in my life except writing. Most of life feels way beyond my control. I scribble my way through heartaches and confusion as well as through successes and celebrations. I fill journals, yellow tablets, cards, and letters with sorrow and regret and joy and gratitude. And whether the words I write make sentences that have honest strength or sentences that have awkward confusion, the sentences are mine. I may throw the words away or rewrite them in different ways or hide them in the back of a junk drawer. But I have power over my words and every time I write I feel less alone and less powerless.

Famous writers tell unknown writers that they should continue writing whether or not their writing ever finds an audience because writers write because they feel they must. It does not matter if anyone ever reads what they have written.

Such advice looks good on paper and sounds good in a pep talk; however, in reality writers usually write for others, not only for themselves. Writers may feel powerful as they write, write, write. However, if their words are never read by others, that power fades over time as their sentences get cozy with a small kind of silence.

So thank you, thank you to those who read my words.

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Posted in Friendship

What’s in a Name?

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Some people just ooze sweetness.  When they talk to you their sentences always begin with “honey”, might end with “sweetie”, and usually have a nickname for everyone else.  I wouldn’t say I fall into that category, but I’m somewhere between semi-sweet and a might sugary.

For instance, my husband and I call each other “Boo”.  He’s my “Boo” and I am his!  With Grandchildren it started out with “Love Bug” and sometimes “Honey Bun”, “Butter Cup”, and anything else that pops into my mind.  I fondly remember my Grandma calling me “Darling”.  When I consulted Webster, I found that darling means: dear, dearest, love, sweetheart and beloved.  Darling is pretty all encompassing.  It’s sort of an old-fashioned term of endearment, one which still makes me feel warm and special.

Truthfully, it probably doesn’t matter which affectionate name you use.  All that really counts is the way you say it; your tone and inflection, and most importantly, the crinkle in your eyes as your heart smiles at the object of your love.

Take note of your name for the one you love; whether it’s “honey”, “lovey”, or “baby cakes”.    What’s in a name?

“That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare

Posted in Flower meanings, Flowers, Friendship

La Langue des Fleurs

La Langue des Fleurs (1)

There is a delightful, yet, thought provoking book called, “The Language of Flowers”, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  It is beautifully written and paints a vivid description of a memorable woman who uses her gift for flowers to help change the lives of the people she meets.  While doing so, she must learn to heal from her past and lean into her future.

Have you ever thought about the types of flowers you are drawn to and what they say about your character or personality?  I think we all tend to choose our favorite flowers.  Does your spouse always bring you yellow roses?  Are geraniums your go-to garden plant?  For me and my garden, it is azalea’s, hot pink geraniums, Calla lilies, marigolds, zinnias, and mums.  

Just as there are birth month gems, there are birth month flowers.  My birthday is in May, so of course, I have the emerald; but also the Lily of the Valley.  Lily of the Valley means humility, chastity, and sweetness.  My, what a lot to live up to.

Think of all the ways flowers touch our lives.  The bouquet brought to you in the hospital; the unexpected single rose from the one you love; the spray laid upon a casket as a sign of respect and honor.  The type of flowers we choose for each person or occasion speaks volumes about the type of person who chose them.  Dainty and pale, bold and large, even all one color says to the world, “ I am here.  These flowers are part of me and me of them.  Drink in the fragrance and feel my thoughts of you.”

My little granddaughter delights in walking the neighborhood, admiring the flowers and doodle bugs.  She loves anything pink or purple and flowers are no exception.  She will sometimes pluck a flower from its stem and smile as she hands it to me, “Here, Nannie… I got you a flower!”  Time stands still and beauty knows no age limit, as we drink in the flower’s fragrance, gaze at its magnificence and feel the draw toward its delicate attraction.

If I could send you a little bouquet today, it would include pink carnations (I’ll never forget you), gardenias (You’re lovely), irises (Your friendship means so much to me), blue violets (faithfulness) and maybe an orchid (love, beauty, refinement).  Flowers may not be a replacement for telling someone how you really feel about them. Giving a bouquet of flowers is no excuse to not say “I love you.”  But, with the language of flowers you can say less and mean more, and as Lydia M. Child once said,  

“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character.”