Have you been watching the reports from Scotland & London on the farewells to the Queen? I can’t tear myself away. I know it sounds a bit silly, but it’s such a slice of history. (And I am an avowed history nerd.) On one hand, so much pomp and circumstance, on the other tradition. And monarchs in the United Kingdom are one of the oldest of traditions.
I haven’t always been a huge fan of Queen Elizabeth. She often sounds very stiff and formal, and for years she toed the most conservative line about marriage and divorce, well after society had clearly moved on. But, we soften with age. The Queen sure did, and I guess I have too.
Queen Elizabeth’s life was pretty much unlike any other and probably not what she would have chosen, but there she was, at the center of history. Can you imagine a weekly meeting with Winston Churchill when you’ve just assumed a new job? Trying to sum up the Queen’s ninety-six years in just a few words, even a few paragraphs, is impossible. And all kinds of really smart people have been doing it beautifully for the last several days. Look them up.
So, yes, when I grow up and grow old — like into my nineties — I’d like to be like the Queen. I’d like to be stylish and wear pretty colors and matching hats. I’d like to still be wearing lipstick to highlight an impish smile. I’d like to be current with what’s happening in the world. I’d like to have a cheeky sense of humor a la James Bond and Paddington Bear. I’d like to savor the antics of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And I’d like to still have my prince at my side to share it all.
It’s not about the crown or the jewels, the power or the palaces (although given the choice I would likely choose palaces over all of the above). I would just love to be the ninety-six-year old matriarch sharp enough to be current with what’s happening in the world and wise enough to view it from an historic perspective. I would like to be gracious enough to privately manage familial trials, failing health, and whatever other ill winds blow. In essence, that’s keeping the proverbial stiff upper lip.
So now that I’ve written this all down in black and white, so to speak, I have to wonder: Am I asking too much? I hope not. I’m sure going to try.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope I see you again here soon,.
Did you give summera proper send-off last weekend? We did with a football theme, (see below). My miscellaneous file also includes a report of my summer without a garden as well as what I have been and will be reading. I hope you enjoy the this-and-that-ness of this post as I sink my teeth into September, one of my favorite months! (It’s those bluer than blue September skies that get me every year.)
Of books, book clubs, & good reads
After decades of participation in my Wheaton book club, I cannot tell you how many people have asked if I have found a new one. The short answer is yes. In fact, I found two. First, I joined one in our neighborhood. It limits participation to less than 10 people, a far cry from the twenty members, give-or-take another ten that I am used to. And while I am uncomfortable with the size limitation (who wants to tell someone they can’t come to the discussion?), I understand the reasoning. We met recently to discuss Richard Russo’s Empire Falls, had a great discussion, and the small group allows everyone to participate fully.
Our next read is Strapless by Debra Davis, about Virginie Gautreau, the subject of John Singer Sargent’s most famous painting, unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon. Both were relatively unheard of at the time, but of course that quickly changed. Unfortunately Gautreau’s reputation did not assume the stardom of Sargent’s. It’s one of those books that has a bit of a buzz, and the story along with the 19th century art world setting should be interesting.
I’ve also discovered a very informal book group in the New Albany community. They will meet in October to discuss Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus which I just read and loved. It’s a book that begs for a conversation so I’m looking forward to that.
I’ve decided the trick to finding a good book club is identifying one that likes to read the same material that you do, and maybe — hopefully — pushes you to read a bit beyond your comfort zone. It’s great if the books aren’t always current best sellers. Empire Falls was published in 2001, but there is so much depth and layering to the characters that the conversation just kept rolling. Not every book or author lends itself to that kind of examination. Some of my fellow readers in my last book group got me started on Louise Penny, and I devoured her mystery series. But I don’t think we would ever choose one for a book discussion. And I think the same is true of a lot of writers and not only of mysteries. What about you?
My summer without a garden
If you have followed my blog for long, you know I wrote often about my garden (for example here) and about cooking from the garden (as I did here and here), but at the Reset we are still waiting for irrigation, final grading and sod before we can plant much of anything. The front has been landscaped with boxwood, day lilies and a nice bed of mulch. I’m sure we’ll add to this scheme, but not until the builder finishes his work on the lot.
In the meantime I have a few mis-matched planters of annuals on the front porch. There is no rhyme or reason to them: one over-sized pink geranium, because it was in full bloom back in May (and has continued to be so most of the summer), a pot of assorted coleus that I have cut back several times and yet it is taking over its spot along with a Boston fern from my grandson’s school flower sale. It’s also out of control. However, they don’t all really work together and so I need a better plan for next year. Any ideas?
And what about the missing vegetable garden? I honestly haven’t missed canning tomatoes (though I will probably miss cooking with them this fall). I bought some beautiful basil at the farmers market to make pesto. I do have pots with rosemary, thyme and parsley on the patio. so I can still duck out and snip what I need for a recipe.
This is Big Ten football country
Columbus is the home of Ohio State University (my husband’s alma mater, but that’s another story) and you only have to be here once, on a fall Saturday, to grasp the football fever that grips Columbus. So, it should not have been a surprise to me — but it was — that when I attended a community event on September 1st — two days before kickoff against Notre Dame — the event had a bit of an OSU pep rally feel to it. EVERYONE — and I do mean EVERYONE — was dressed in some variation of an OSU shirt/hat/socks/shorts, etc. And in fact Brutus, pictured here, joined us for coffee. And that was just the beginning of kick-off weekend. We dropped by a community watch party in a park on Saturday night. It was fun – a huge screen streaming the game, food trucks, and more. Frankly, I am entertained by the fans as much as the game.
Thank you, as always, for stopping by to spend a little time with me. I hope you’re having a great week. And if you’re one of the millions experiencing our extreme weather, I hope the worst is behind you.