Yesterday’s celebration of Valentines Day was sweet and savory for the females in our family. It was a sweet day to throw a shower for my daughter-in-law who is expecting our first granddaughter in early March. They say that it’s proper to give showers for first time mothers only but this second time mother is expecting her first daughter this time. Little girls can’t wear their big brothers’ hand-me-downs. (even in these supposedly gloomy times)
My sister, Lucy, daughter, Kate and I love to talk about all-things-party: color, theme, feeling, design, menu, and budget, so as we mulled over our plans for the shower I looked into some of my albums to find my collection of antique Valentines. These Valentines tend to be less pink and more red, violet and vibrant in their presentations. None of my children or grandchildren or my childrens’ spouses are pastels in any sense of the word, all are rich and vivid, colors as individuals. Lucy, Kate and I all agreed there would be little pink in this Valentine Baby Shower.
The Valentine Baby Shower would have as it’s basic theme, antique Valentines.
The most romantic of all poems makes little use of the word, pink. I would never suggest that the color be banned, perhaps just lessened. We used just a little of the pink in some of the napkins and fluffy paper to soften the edges. I had fun going shopping at The Now and Then Shoppe where I found the beautiful red and white vase and at Target where I found the heart trees. I would say that I’ve done my share in helping to boost the economy in our local area.
My sister, my oldest daughter and I took on the happy task of putting the party together. Lucy helped Kate arrange the flowers and the two together went out early in the morning to find the best and tastiest selections for the table. The cake was an Italian Creme purchased from Sacred Grounds, a fun little coffee shop-Italian deli located in downtown Fort Smith. The punch was made of cranberry juice and ginger ale. We had creme puffs, fresh strawberries with chocolate dipping sauce, almond flavored heart shaped cookies and for the savory: two kinds of crostinis: artichoke and chicken fajita, mozzarella puffs with Marinara sauce, and little parmesan cheese straws.
We sat together later, after the guests had departed and watched the baby having hiccups in Joni’s tummy. We examined the pretty little baby girl outfits that were given as gifts and we watched as the light of the day grew gradually more dim, and we savored the memories the day had given.
The days before a new female Donoho emerges into the world are full of anticipation, for her world will be a very different place than the one her grandmother entered fifty some years ago and even the one her own mother was born into twenty some years ago. This baby girl’s world will be starkly different but our hopes for her are not unlike those our own ancestors cherished for us. I hope our little granddaughter will have dark black hair and a milk white complexion like her mother and will be an honest and trustworthy individual like her father.
I hope she will grow up in a country that still values freedom and love of family and God. I hope she will come to know her Creator at an early age and she will make Him her best friend and guide.
Most of all, I hope she will be born healthy and that the birth will be a safe event for both mother and baby. That we are already celebrating before her birth should in someway tell her how we are anticipating her arrival and how welcome she will be in our lives and in our family.
Finally, I have some flowers on the porch. When we renovated our house several years ago, like many people do, we had trouble with our contractor. He would not listen to me.
Our house was transformed from a New Orleans style with balcony to a wide front porch with columns and six new rooms. I loved the basic structure and the change to a front porch that we could actually enjoy but the contractor chose many of the materials and gave us a hassle on every choice we insisted on making.
Then came the driveway.
I wanted a simple sidewalk leading from the driveway to the steps. My husband wanted a parking lot. I regretted it from the moment the driveway was expanded. I at least wanted a circular drive but no one listened to me.
It didn’t take long for my husband to regret not listening to me. It would have saved money too.
Not being at all possessed of a green thumb I was at a loss when envisioning how we could make lemonade out of the lemon but my sister, who never met a plant she couldn’t nurture and grow came to my rescue. The day we picked blueberries we went to a nursery and bought flowers.
Then Lucy showed me how to pot them and I water the flowers twice a day. The porch faces the west so the flowers are exposed to direct sunlight. Most of them are making it.
We don’t have shade on the porch until the afternoon. But the afternoon and evening are the best time anyway.
Real landscaping will happen one of these days but until then at least, I have pots on the porch.
Last weekend I was in Bentonville, Arkansas to attend my nephew, Kevin’s baseball tournament. In between games my sister and I took in the sights, shopped a little, found my great great grandparent’s gravesite in the Bentonville Cemetery and went to Crystal Bridges at the Massey, the fore-runner to Crystal Bridges, a museum of American Art which will open in 2010. The museum is the brain child of Alice Walton, daughter of Sam Walton and will be an amazing and wonderful repository of American art.
Sam and Helen Walton are buried in the same cemetery as were my great great grandparents in a small plot with simple headstones. Sam Walton created massive wealth through his capitalistic endeavors and according to my anecdotal evidence, Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to be suffering from the economic woes of this present day.
My husband and I were at Wal-Mart just last evening to buy a new microwave oven. The store was packed with people. Every cash register was open and there were lines at each one.
Bentonville, Arkansas was once just a little town, the entry to Arkansas from the north but now, it’s the center of the booming northwest area of Arkansas.
All of this growth came from the innovative mind of Sam Walton. Now that his daughter is endeavoring to create a cultural hub in small but wakeful Bentonville, big city art snobs are appalled, calling Alice Walton a hovering culture vulture.
As if great art was only meant to be viewed by urbanites.
I find it appropriate and wonderful news that our little corner of the world will be blessed with an art museum of such significance. My late great Aunt Imy, a wonderful artist, was instrumental along with her husband, my Uncle Eddie in establishing the War Eagle Art Fair and the Bella Vista Art and Crafts Festival as well as the clothesline art fair in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
Naomi Ruth Ivy Mackey taught art in Rogers, Arkansas and was an inspiration and art mentor to me. The first time I ever had artwork in an exhibition I was fifteen and my art was exhibited in Bella Vista, thanks to my Aunt Imy. I’ve written about my aunt before in this post. If she were with us today she would definitely be involved in the development of Crystal Bridges. Crystal Bridges is named for the small lake that is nearby.
Bentonville and the northwest area of Arkansas have always been a bastion of art and artists. The entire town of Eureka Springs (not far from Bentonville) is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an active artist colony. Yes, there is a lot of country crafts and hillbilly art in Northwest Arkansas but there are also some excellent fine artists. I haven’t yet discovered any artist in Northwest Arkansas who has created a Madonna and Child out of elephant dung however. (Of course, there could be some in Little Rock.)
I will admit there are a lot of great artists in Little Rock. Check out Charlie Palmer.
Come to think of it, the urbanite snobs of New York and Philadelphia might want to get out of the gritty cities and come see the wealth of art that already exists in Northwest Arkansas and Bentonville in particular.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
Iraq is blooming now but the media concentrates on the weeds in Afghanistan. Anything to avoid the words: victory and freedom.
in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel and elsewhere.
We were told by the left that since there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq that President Bush lied. The left refused to believe that their favorite dictator, Saddam Hussein, could have a relationship with that Osama.
We have since been served up a whole passel of lies by the antique media including the New York Times.
Because of the insurgency in Iraq, the abuse at Abu Ghraib and a host of other real (and imagined) struggles to lift the Iraqis into freedom the left has jeered at every attempt by the newly elected Iraqi government to get up and running.
The bud’s been left with little water except that poured on by the true gardeners of freedom, the American military and by the careful clipping of the stalks by those of good will who would see a strong, healthy democracy grow in the Middle East.
The troops continue to fight for Iraq, weeding out the terrorists, homegrown and other and now, new developments are blooming out all over while other entities are withering on the vine.
Some are remembering those who were lost on the day that spurred all the heroic efforts to save civilization while others have been digging for the truth. And it’s busting out all over.
Still, the scarecrows in the media tell us don’t believe in that truth, it’s not important anyway.
And now, for some reason, even the weeds are tiring of themselves. They aren’t growing as much this season. Too much exposure to the light of the blogosphere?
So, although I may have been premature in my hopes for Iraq and its government I still didn’t give up on them. As the opponents of the war in the media and the Democrat party decried any success and stressed every setback even weak-kneed Republicans began to lose heart.
Urged on by Senator John McCain and others, President Bush changed course in January, 2007.
General David Petraeus was given the charge to surge troops into Iraq and that great military gardener brilliantly carried out his plan.
Still the media and the Reids and Pelosi’s continued their diabolical strategy of painting the war in Iraq a failure. With the help of the media this perception of failure became a reality to the American people. Barack Obama still clings to the Pelosi/Reid construct.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Ralph Peters wrote in May, 2008…..
DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?
If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.
Want a real “inconvenient truth?” Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.
But that fact isn’t helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.
The media now acknowledge that there is success in Iraq but on the other hand, failure looms.
The New York Times grudgingly accepts that security is better but questions linger.
There is a scarcity of news out of Iraq these days which leads me to believe that old saw: no news is good news. On the other hand, things have gotten weedy in Afghanistan. General Petraeus has been selected as the new Commander of the United States Central Command so I’m certain that in due time he will take a big honking garden hose to the Taliban.
The Times Online in the UK asks:
Since the ‘warrior scholar’ David Petraeus led the American military surge in Iraq last year, the body count has plummeted. Will he go down in history as the man who won the war, or is it all too little too late?
All too little too late? Why is that? Civilization requires time, blood, sweat and many tears. A Democratic government by its very nature involves intensive work, cooperation, compromise and leadership. At least the writer in the Times piece had the audacity to mention, “won the war.”
We will not see those three words in that order in any elite media reports before November, 2008.
That is, if they write about Iraq at all.
Where have I been the past few weeks? Very busy.
We had a storm a couple of weeks ago.
Lots of hail which damaged homes and cars in our family. Now we drive around Fort Smith, looking at all the boarded up windows and say, “Incredible.” It was actually very scary. My husband drove my daughter to pick up her husband from work and almost immediately after they left the storm started to rage. Hail crashed into the driver’s side window, damaging my husband’s left hand. He suffered multiple contusions and a cracked bone. The hail was coming down like bullets and after the window broke my husband was reaching around the car to get a barrier to keep the hail out. He grabbed what looked like a briefcase to put up to the window and my daughter yelled, “No. You can’t use that. It’s my breast pump.” A very uncomfortable moment between father and daughter. But funny.
We spent the rest of the night in the emergency room. The sun is shining now but that Wednesday night a few weeks ago, we got a taste of the terror of weather. I wish I could garden but I really don’t have the knack. But I do like flowers.
We went out to the country to see my cousins, Jeanne and Junior. They moved out to the country about fifteen years ago and have a great garden.
I love Jeanne’s Four O’clocks. They bloom every afternoon like clockwork.
Junior and Jeanne’s abundant garden has tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, okra, yellow squash, acorn squash, green beans, asparagus, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, and more. They also grow blackberries, strawberries and have peach and apple trees.
We had a supper of tomatoes, cucumbers, homemade guacamole, chicken enchiladas (the best I’ve ever tasted) beef enchiladas, and spanish rice. For dessert: delicious strawberry shortcake.
Afterwards we played a friendly game of Pinochle. We spent so much time laughing we didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the game and yet the crafty guys managed to win. I went outside on the deck to listen to the sounds of the night in the deep country. No street lights were around for miles, Jeanne and Junior live on a dirt road off another country road with lots of acreage.
The sounds of nature were even more striking than the bright sky. The night was a little humid but still peaceful and restful to the soul.
Jeanne and Junior have a beautiful tortoise shell cat who’s taken it upon herself to guard the driveway. When we first arrived she wouldn’t move out of the way so we parked out of her way. When we left, there she was again, right in the middle of the drive, so my husband drove out in the grass to avoid her.
Taking up the slack from the fading wisteria, the bridal wreath makes her charming debut.
My sister-in-law tells me that in the fifties there were very few nurseries in town so my late mother-in-law, Martha Ann, brought most of her cuttings of wisteria, bridal wreath and forsythia from Eastern Arkansas.
My maternal grandmother was also a gardener. When we visited she would take me on tours through her yard, proudly pointing out the flowering bushes and other beautiful flowers and herbs she grew. Once in early fall, on an evening before a freeze, she asked me to come over to get some cuttings of marigolds.
She was especially fond of her sweet pea bush.
When I see everything blooming in Spring I think of my late mother-in-law and grandmother.
When I was a child I loved the wisteria vine in our yard. Every spring when it made its beautiful presence known I would run around the yard yelling “Wisteria!”
Last year the wisteria didn’t answer Springs’ RSVP. I saw only a little of it in the backyard.
Sweet redbuds and lilacs are merely plain stepsisters compared to the exquisite Wisteria.