Once before I reblogged a post from Manuscript Notes, but that was with the old editor. I clicked on the reblog button on this site, and absolutely nothing happened. Next, despite following several leads from the question mark at the bottom right of my screen, I have no clue how to reblog with the new editor. Sorry. Rant is over. Let’s concentrate on the positive.
Following are two paragraphs from the home page of Manuscript Notes:
“I have given myself the challenge of posting from time to time, in an aim to introduce classical music to people who either profess themselves to be tone deaf or simply insist that they will never like it.
“It is positively not a classical-music-for-dummies blog! The hope is to inform, and simply share my love of these pieces, in the same way any of us likes to recommend a good book, play or film.
We had our second
family gathering of this series. The people were relatives of two of
our nieces, Kathie and Julie – their parents, all their aunts and
uncles, another sister, and several offspring. We met this time in
the their ancestral home. My family married into theirs, so don’t
have delusions of grandeur about my roots. The house was built in
the late 1700’s, and was acquired by their family in the 1930’s.
Several of us took the tour, starting on the ground floor. A number
of pieces of furniture were carved by a great great uncle. Most of
them have hidden compartments Tour guide Myra told us the one in
this dining room photo has seven secret places.
We looked at
things in the living room, while grandson Nathaniel checked out the
On the second floor of the house, the old phonograph caught Nathaniel’s attention in the guest room. Myra played the record on the turntable and handed the young generation shellac records to inspect. I was impressed when I noticed how carefully and reverently they handled the old 1/4-inch thick disks. Myra said Thomas Edison had been in the area for some reason and came to the house. He was given the tour, seeing many of the things we were looking at.
After Myra pointed out some of the features in the master bedroom, she handed Julie a printed copy of the pirate story they usually include on the tour. Myra went in the next room. When Julie read aloud about the death of one pirate by the hand of another, several of the books in the bookcase began to slide in and out. We laughed, knowing Myra was behind the wall.
On the third floor
of the house, I was impressed with two paintings in my late
sister-in-law’s bedroom. She wanted to dress up the area of the
built-in drawers and painted two panels for it. I never knew she
dabbled in painting.
Nathaniel was told
not to bring food, but his offer of grilling was accepted. Donning
his brand new apron, he cooked burgers and dogs in the carport. As
several of us talked to him, he jumped into action, twisting the
controls off. He saw a surge of flames that shut off. His hunch was
correct; the tank was out of gas. There were three uncooked
hamburgers, which he finished cooking in the kitchen.
People in town
know the ancestral home as the shoe house. When my late
sister-in-law was little, her grandfather and great uncle built a
shoe out of concrete. Note the details – laces through the holes,
seams of the shoe, and a curved sole. Nathaniel and cousin Kate
adorned the top.
The teens stood on
the bench at the top of the shoe.
Flashback to 2004 where David is on the shoe. In 1973 nieces Julie and Kathie are with daughter Lise and Julie’s and Kathie’s grandmother Mama Sue
Two, who usually tangle feet under our table, came out in the open during the afternoon. The friendly warfare took place in the sitting room, the most-used room in the new addition.
Rick agreed to do a magic show for us, using John, Julie, and Nathaniel as helpers for various illusions. Most impressive was a rope trick that his niece Susan saw and recommended. Rick learned it this past year and amazed us by cutting a piece of rope into pieces and ending with a whole rope. He did several several variations of this. At one point, the rope had multiple knots in it, which he cut off and tossed to the floor. Even that segment ended with a whole rope.
Flashback to 2004 when magician Rick was doing a card trick. David was wearing a hat and glasses having to do with Harry Potter.
If you’ve read
this far, I’ll share with you the serious side of our gathering. A
young man of the middle generation, not pictured here, is dying of an
aggressive form of cancer. Julie organized us twice to come together
to surround him with our love. He knows he has our constant prayers.
His Christian witness is amazing, because he knows the Lord has
saved him and will be with him as he passes from this life to his
heavenly home. God bless you, JTR.
We didn’t intend for daughter Kate’s last day to be crammed with activities, but we had to take advantage of David’s day off. One of our favorite places to go is the Vanderbilt estate, Biltmore. Kate had never been there, and the special exhibit of the season featured trains, the garden railway size. [Note: the estate is now requiring visitors to have reservations.] After reading our shirts, a visitor offered to take our photo near the entrance.
We have always been fascinated with the swimming pool, amazed that George Vanderbilt included one in his house that was finished in 1895. The pool had underwater lighting, as well!! One of the docents remarked that they filled the pool for only a few days at a time, since it would begin to get a bit rank with no chemicals added. How cold the water must have been, since it was filled with mountain water! Correction: John said there was a steam hose that warmed the water, and that was why it became unfit for swimming in a matter of days.
My favorite shot
in the walled garden was of Kate and David. Former neighbor Amy and
I saw the garden filled with tulips one year. I was happy to see the
space filled with summery plants this time.
I saved eight
photos taken in the conservatory. All featured David and Kate with
the trains amid exotic plants. I liked one with a model of the
village church, where a train was running between the church and the
backs of David and Kate.
A second favorite
shows a train on a high trestle, going from one glass house to
another. I didn’t look at how it was done, but David said windows
had been taken out to give the trains access at that level.
The entrance to
the outdoor garden railway had a cute engine at the entrance. David
climbed in it at Kate’s request.
My favorite photo
there was of Kate and David with two trains running behind them.
lightning in the distance and rain on the windshield, we drove to Hot
Springs for lunch at the Iron Horse. The weather began to clear as
we drove on a graveled road to Tennessee, where there was a stream to
swim in. Unfortunately, heavy rain had swollen and muddied the
stream, making it too dangerous to swim in.
Across the road
was a small waterfall where David waded and Kate climbed on the
Both climbed up to
a pool above the falls and posed for me.
Our scenic drive
home across three mountain ridges was lovely. We had been gone for
12 fun-packed hours, leaving enough time in the day for ice cream
before going to bed.
The next morning, while the mist was still hanging in our mountains, Kate hugged her dad goodbye. She expected her drive to New Jersey to take 14 hours.
Daughter Kate and
I went to an antique mall in Asheville with Nathaniel while David was
working. Nathaniel knew the place, having spent a couple of hours
there when I had an appointment nearby. We enjoyed poking about, and
I knew the bench to sit on when my back protested. They made two
purchases, a jacket and a London Fog raincoat. I wish I had taken
Nate’s picture when he modeled the raincoat at home. On him it
looked elegant. He wore the jacket when he served us the peach
cobbler he had baked.
David and Kate
responded when we called out that it was time for the mirror ritual.
Nathaniel put the mirror back to its normal position before we went
We ate lunch in
Asheville, after which John drove Nate to Charlotte. They took our
wash with them, and Nate texted his three roommates to ask them to be
through with the machine by 4:30. Our washing machine died, and the
new one wouldn’t be delivered for a week. John met the roommates for
the first time, as well as the mother of one of them. The mother had
cooked for the four boys, freezing about ten meals ahead. Normally
the fellows shop for food, share the cost, and cook dinner together.
John said it appears that Nathaniel does a great deal of the cooking,
since he works from 1 to 6 most days. John came home with one load
of dry clothes and two others that went in our dryer.
David and Kate
planned to hike to the top of Purchase Knob, a mountain we see from
our house, but the weather looked threatening. I took a nap as they
sat on the front porch and saw two lightning strikes in front of
them. Both were less than two miles away. They obviously made the
right decision to stay home. I wondered how loud Kate may have
screamed. A few days before, I was in the kitchen while others were
in the dining room. They saw the flash of lightning and were not
surprised at the thunder. I told Kate I didn’t know which startled
me most, the boom of thunder or her scream. It’s an instinctive
thing she cannot control, this being a warning to those who scream at
the sight of a spider not to criticize her. The same goes for those
who can’t deal with mice.
We’re back to six
in the house, feeling a large empty space where Nathaniel had been
for the long weekend.
David went to work, grandson Nathaniel helped Grandpa work on the
waterfall in the garden. We didn’t run it last year because it
leaked, and they thought they could find the trouble by digging up
the hoses. They couldn’t find the leak, but I took a photo of Nate
with our glads. A few hours later, heavy rain knocked down five
On our way out for
a drive, we checked on Jonathan Creek. John and I saw it in the
morning when it was clear and a bit low. After heavy rain, it was
muddy and about six inches higher.
Nathaniel pulled a
money tree plant for me near the bridge. I see those plants there
every year and wanted a few seeds for our garden.
We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway where the 8s, Kate and Nate, took photos of the mountains. Circling around, we drove through touristy Cherokee, and stopped at Soco Falls. The younger set quickly hiked down the mountain, where they took some lovely shots of the falls. Nathaniel said he wanted new pictures for his computer desktop. Kate got some to take home, too. I was content to look at theirs, knowing I had many similar ones at home.
posed with her son Nathaniel as we picked him up from his dorm. He
wore all his name tags to show us, but normally he wears only one at
We went through the mirror ritual where Nathaniel hangs the mirror on a higher hook.
There was a happy reunion when David came home from work.
I wanted a photo of our first meal with all seven of us together. Yes, there is often a clown in every group. Friend Rose laughed when she saw what John $pencer had done.
We began our
holiday much earlier than expected when a smoke alarm pierced the
silence shortly after 4 am. I got the full story hours later. The
alarm in Rose’s and $’s room began to chirp, and they couldn’t sleep.
To keep from disturbing the whole household, Rose ran out to her car
where she knew there was a 9-volt battery. I didn’t know that when
alarms are hard-wired into the electrical system, ALL the units
shriek when a battery is changed. All of ours worked perfectly and
loudly. I woke, grabbed my phone and began frantically stabbing at
it to stop the noise. It did stop, but not because I turned anything
off. The installation was complete. Everyone was standing up except
David and me. We listened from our beds and lay back down when the
Kate watched Nathaniel tie a special knot, using his phone for directions. He can tie several knots from memory, but the Eldredge Knot is complicated. He used a special tie, one with the small end different from the wide end.
A close-up shows
the stars in the blue field over the stripes.
We all laughed when I pulled up a video from the previous evening. Nathaniel talked about ties as he began putting one on. I didn’t catch it all, but I began recording as he talked. You can probably see when he noticed the camera. While words were coming out of his mouth, he was asking himself if the camera was on. To find out, he stopped and posed. I don’t know of anyone who is pleased with a recording of himself, but he knew I wanted to use it and gave his permission for it to be published. Thank you, Nate.
The family knew I wanted a photo of them in their holiday clothes. We took it early, because David wouldn’t be home from work until after dark.
Thanks to blogger Ron Walker, I was able to put photos mostly where I wanted them. The spacing isn’t right around two of them, but this is better than it was.
You see all kinds of unusual things in our supermarket. This woman coughed violently and suddenly leaned against the Crunch ‘n Munch display. I had to ask why, and the answer was, “It’s to relax my lungs so that I won’t cough.”
I didn’t think there was anything to suggest relaxation in her arching pose, but she talked easily and gave me permission to take her photograph. I’d like to nominate her to be the poster child for the Lung-Lean Organization of North Carolina. Would you be inclined to vote for her?