Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Few of Lori's Favorite Things...

There's a reason today is the day for posting our favorite things. Apparently it's also the 48th anniversary of the Broadway opening of "The Sound of Music" -- which, coincidentally, is on my long list of favorite things. I have many fond memories of the movie, not the least of which is the story about how my big sister smashed in the front bumper of my dad's brand new VW bug.

My sister had a brand new driver's license and the Catalina Theater was showing the brand new Julie Andrews movie. In order to be allowed to use our dad's car, she was forced to take me along with a couple of her real friends to see it. After the movie we piled in the bug and headed for the parking lot exit with my sister exuberantly singing "Climb Every Mountain" at the top of her lungs ... and that's when she plowed into the car stopped at the parking lot exit. We fabricated a huge whopper to tell my parents, and it was at least 20 years before we told them the truth on one of those great days you get to have with your parents when you're all grown up and can smoke and drink and confess things to them on their patio by the pool.

And so, with nostalgic memories of that evening in 1965 playing in my head, I shall proceed to wax all mushy about my other favorite things:

1. Christmas:

Exhibit A -- The Christmases of my youth - especially the year Santa brought me the book "The Littlest Angel" and I sat on my mom's lap while she read it to me and then explained, in one of the best mothering moments of her life, that Santa was not a real person, but the Spirit of Christmas and giving to those we love ... just like the Littlest Angel gave the things he loved the most to the Baby Jesus. I believe that may have set the stage for my lumping Santa and Jesus together under the heading of "great fairy tales."

Exhibit B -- Christmas trees - especially the Christmas trees of my youth. We used those big Noma lights with the red-hot bulbs and the thick, fabric-wrapped electrical cords for twenty years, and it was my dad's job to find the blown lights, change the fuses, string the lights on the tree and then cuss and move them around until they met my mom's approval. No same-colored lights together, of course. Then we took turns hanging the ornaments. My mother performed the last detail --the ritual Hanging of the Tinsel -- because it was a job no one else wanted. It was the bean picking of tree decoration and it took roughly three days to hang those thousands of strands of tinsel, starting from the inside of the tree to the tips of each branch. Equally as labor-intensive as the tinsel hanging was the tinsel retrieval from the dead tree a couple of weeks later. Because you can't just throw it away, you know ... you have to save each strand, untangled, in folded newspaper to re-use next year. Ahhh, but when it was all done and my mom's tinsel all hung there neatly and tidily reflecting my dad's lights, and we laid underneath it in our footie pajamas peering at the little lighted Christmas village under the tree, it was so worth it! I can still picture the tiny trees, little groups of snowman candles (sort of squatty from semi-melting while in storage), and Santa in his sleigh coming down a "snowy" hill covered with cotton batting and mica snow.

Exhibit C -- Christmas music - especially the traditional Christmas carols. While I enjoy "Grandma Got Runned Over By a Reindeer" as much as the next guy, it's Bing Crosby singing "Adeste Fidelis" that really does it for me. I can remember shopping in downtown Tucson when there still was a downtown Tucson. All the fancy department stores had Christmas displays in their windows (just like New York!) and elevator operators who said things like, "First Floor, ladies dresses, Second Floor, lingerie" and let you off at some mysterious non-floor called the "Mezzanine," and they played "Silver Bells" over outside loudspeakers. One of my great Christmas memories is shopping with my son when he was little. I would threaten to embarrass him if he wandered off from me, and I did it by singing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" ... at a steadily increasing volume ... until he would run back and walk with me to shut me up. I have no shame.

Exhibit D -- The Miracle of Snow - especially snow in the desert southwest. Over the course of my life in Arizona I probably saw snow fall on Tucson a half dozen times. It would leave a light dusting of white on the tops of cactus and about 1/4 inch of flakes on the ground, and we'd call it a "snow day" and stay home from school, but it never happened at Christmas. But the year my son was born, it really snowed. He was three months old and we were driving from Phoenix to have Christmas at my parent's house in Tucson, singing along to the Christmas music on the car radio, when it started. But this time, for the first time in my life, it didn't stop. It snowed all night. On Christmas morning Tucson was blanketed with almost a foot of snow. It was piled up on our poolside lounges and the diving board. It had to be swept off the front porch. There was even enough for my ex-husband to construct a full-sized naked snow woman with nipples facing the kitchen window to greet my mom when she got up to cook Christmas dinner.

2. Thanksgiving -- especially big Thanksgivings with lots of relatives and lots of food and the playing of board games after dinner.

3. Autumn -- especially now that I live where there are visible seasons and the changing of leaves. I love the smells of Autumn, not the least of which are woodsmoke from fireplaces and the kitchen smells of baking and roasting.

4. A long hot bubble bath with a good book.

5. A movie that makes me cry in a good way. Guaranteed multiple-tissue choices include The Trip to Bountiful, The Color Purple and Seabiscuit.

6. The first bite of a perfect, juicy, medium-rare steak.

7. Thick-sliced bacon, toasted buttermilk biscuits and plum preserves for breakfast.

8. Going places in the car with Ev. I love long car trips to actual destinations with her, or short day trips out touring around aimlessly, but I'll settle for a five minute drive to WalMart. She's my favorite person to be alone with, always.

9. Our house. I love coming home, especially when Ev's been off work and there's a fire in the fireplace. I love the way our house looks, especially the antique furniture we've bought to add to the antique furniture Ev already owned. It's roomy and yet cozy -- colorful without being an assault on the senses. It sits up on a grassy hill tucked up into the trees with a broad view from the back deck.

10. Having all the clothes washed, dried, folded and put away.

11. How good the bed feels when you first crawl in at night and the sheets are cold and the pillows are fluffy.

12. Driving with the top down.

13. Hearing a song on the radio you haven't heard for a zillion years and still remembering all the words.

14. Looking through old picture albums.

15. The little coffee cup I inherited from my grandfather that came from a Southern Pacific Railroad dining car, my fraternal grandmother's glass cream and sugar bowls, the tiny cordial glass my dad used to fill with chipped ice and a tablespoonful of Kahlua so I could have a "cocktail" when the big people were having theirs and my maternal grandmother's crockery mixing bowls ... and having a place to put them all out where I can see them every day.

16. Necking with Ev.

17. A hug from my grown son now that he's all tall and lanky and I'm the little one.

18. Good lord, I almost forgot to mention chocolate!

I'll stop there, but I might want to revisit this list in the future. This morning I read Feral Mom's blog post suggesting we all list the five things that always cheer us up. My first thought was that I don't have things that always cheer me up, but I guess I do. Making this list was certainly cheery!


Linda said...

Oh, I love your Favorite Things! First of all I creamed my uncles Caddy on the way to a movie once, so I can totally relate - we actually went to the movie and then had to "face the music" when we got back! Funny - sort of. I really love the way you described so fully your faves - I love to see the inner story of why something is important! Great blog - beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. You mean my parents were not the only people in the universe to insist on re-using the tinsel? And of course no one but them could have the fun (as we kids saw it) of actually putting the tinsel ON the tree --- but guess who was allowed (as in forced) to take it OFF again, strand by strand, and drape it ever-so-carefully back over the cardboard packaging?

Such memories.

P.S. You're MY vote for best GLBT blog...