Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Valley of the Jolly

This morning I drove down a street shuffling along amongst the mild traffic.  I was headin' home from an errand.  No big rush.  Red light.  Green light.  Red light.  Green light.  The slow, rhythmic pace of the cars lulled me into a traffic trance which opened a tiny corner of the back of my mind where rarely anything exciting ever happens.  A tiny crevice within a wrinkle of a wrinkle.

Had you been a passenger sitting next to me checking your facebook news feed or texting friends that didn't happen to be sitting 18" away from you, you would have suddenly heard me sing out a random tune.

"From the Valley of the Jolly!"

And, knowing you as well as I do, without even glancing up from your newsfeed you would have responded with a hearty


Hearing no hearty response, my thoughts rounded the corner into Melancholia.  We are raising a generation of children that do not know to sing out

These marshmallow jewels constituted "good" candy because
they were a heck of a lot better than the lukewarm
boiled eggs  that we found in the back yard hiding in
potted plants and the elbows of trees.

Seriously, do they know about him?  Do they?  Do they believe in him like I did?  In my childhood world where a man in a red suit traveled in a sleigh propelled by flying reindeer and a giant Easter bunny hopped silently into our house to tuck individually wrapped "Easter Egg Hunt" eggs between couch cushions and behind chair legs, there was nothing weird about a solid green man wearing a caveman suit made of leaves.  Nothing weird at all.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we believed that there was a verdant Valley of the Jolly - Ho! Ho! Ho! - Green Giant.  It was a proven fact.

I have spent the last hour in search of the illusive Giant.  My search would rival any Sasquatch hunt that ever was or ever will be.  And.  What I've found so far is fascinating.  To me.

I won't spoil the joy of the hunt for you.  I'll just share a couple of juicy green nuggets of my discovery.

First, there was the Scary Green Giant commercial that would ensure parents that kids would run and hide under their beds leaving said parents alone on the couch to enjoy a cigarette and the Mickey Rooney Show.

I specifically remember the following commercial because it answered the question, "How do they slice the green beans diagonally?"

"Tender thick-meat beauties."

Before I send you out on your own personal quest to the Valley of the Jolly, I wanted to share with you a coveted item that was owned by my childhood BFF, Kristi.  She sold it a couple of years ago in an estate sale.  Her dad "brought it home from the warehouse" one day.  He worked for a food wholesale company.  Just like that.  "Here's your 4-foot Jolly Green Giant Rag Doll that no one else in the neighborhood will EVER have because their mothers will absolutely not fill out the little coupon and send $3.50 (plus the price of a 4-cent stamp) of their hard-earned money for a big green doll."  If he actually said those words, he was right.  My mom would have looked up from her sponge mop and said, "You've got a birthday coming up in March.  Is that what you want for your birthday?"  I fantasized that Mr. Hook would come driving slowly down Neal Street handing out Jolly Green Giant Rag Dolls From the Warehouse to one and all.  That never happened.

I've saved the best for last.  A song.  About the Jolly Green Giant' life.  It explains "why thuh cat's so mean."  Asparagus!

Now that I've planted the seed of curiosity in a tiny crevice within a wrinkle of a wrinkle of your brain, I recommend that you begin your quest here:  

Enjoy the journey.  I'm heading south in search of the Frito Bandito:  The Man.  The Myth. The Legend.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jonakan!

Brrrrrrring, brrrrrrrrrrg!

"Hey, Mom!

"I got my haircut today.  Can you come take my picture?"  

(Her voice is tiny.  She couldn't scream out loud if she tried.  I know because from time to time we'll tease her and ask her to scream as loud as she can.  You'd have trouble hearing her in the next room.)

It was early July.  I knew exactly why she wanted me to come take her picture.  One of her latest obsessions has been her Christmas cards.  Yes, she wanted me to come take her CHRISTMAS picture.

It was boiling hot that day.  She was wearing a summer top.  Out we trundled to the courtyard of her memory care unit.  Sitting in the blistering sun, she let me drape different scarves around her neck - red, fuschia & turquoise - to simulate winter attire.  

"I'm hot."

"Mom, it's July."

"I know.  I'm hot."

I got the cutest picture of her!  I told her that it was so cute we could use it for her obituary.

"I'm going to live until I'm 100."

"Yeah, I'll probably be taking at least 11 more Christmas pictures of you.  We might come up with an even cuter one."

"That's right. Heh.  Heh." 

Boom.  Christmas cards!
Her other obsession has been sending a birthday card to her grandson, Jonathan.  In May, she started asking me about sending him a card.  "When are 'we' going to get a birthday card for Jonathan?"  Each of the one hundred times she asked me she said that she didn't want to "forget" his birthday.

Today, at lunch, I brought out a birthday card for her to sign for Jonathan.

"Mom, come sign Jonathan's birthday card, and I'll put it in the mail tomorrow!"

She slowly walked over to the counter to sign the card.  The card for Jonathan.  Her grandson.

"Can I sign Jonakan's card?!"  We don't know why Leonard pronounces Jonathan with a "k."  It actually sounds kind of cool.  Jonakan Skywalker.  We've known Leonard for about 5 years.  Jonakan KNOWS who Leonard is.  Leonard signed his full name.  Ohhhhh.  THAT Leonard.

Then, Nana signed.

Later this afternoon, I noticed how Mom signed the card.  It wasn't until I wrote the note on the left side of the card that I saw Nana's signature.  She is also Jonathan's grandmother.  I attribute the "+" to the fact that she is a retired math teacher.

I just this minute I noticed that I wrote "The Nana" instead of "Then Nana."  Lawdy Mercy, I needs me a keeper.

Over lunch, Mom asked me if I had done the return address labels for her Christmas cards yet.  I told her that I would have them ready on October 2nd (because I'm kind of sassy like that).  She doesn't like for me to print out the address labels until the week before Thanksgiving (she sends her cards the day after Thanksgiving...) because if "we" print them to soon, someone might die.  Instead of "Joe and Jane Doe," "we" would have to reprint it to read "Jane Doe."  Poor Jane.  When you're 89 the timing of printing address labels is very, very tricky. 

Happy 28th Birthday, Jonakan!
Aunt Mom


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...