The Great Throwing-Away: Back When I Was Smart

One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

~A. A. Milne

Last night, embroiled in the Great Throwing-Away, I made surprising discoveries. I found

*The senior will, which I read at the junior-senior banquet (1969)

*The judge’s comments on ten pages of a novel I submitted to the Writers’ League of Texas (2007), not as bad as I remembered

*The essay, with judge’s comments, that I wrote for the state Ready Writing contest (1969), during which I was imprisoned in a classroom with other students from all over Texas for two hours or until I’d written a 1000-word essay, whichever came first. It was torture.

*Several pages–or maybe all–of a story I wrote in the early ’80s for my fellow teachers to read in the teachers’ lounge or (surreptitiously) in meetings. In chapter one, the principal expires while eating poisoned chocolate mousse prepared by home economics students.

*But the big, really big, surprise was the discovery of a paper I wrote in grad school for a Tennyson/Browning class and presented at the Conference of College Teachers of English back in 1984, my first year as a college teacher of English. I’d thought it was gone forever.

The paper is titled, “Sickness and Death in Tennyson’s ‘Lancelot and Elaine,‘” from Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. I wrote it six months after my father died unexpectedly. If that year had been happy, I might have seen something happier in the poem, but it was a miserable year, so I saw sickness and death.

It was a miserable year for Lancelot, Elaine, and Guinevere, too. Guinevere, Queen of Camelot, is sick and can’t go to the fair jousts King Arthur has arranged. When she tells Arthur she can’t go, Sir Lancelot, his closest friend, says “‘Sir King, mine ancient wound is hardly whole, / And lets me from the saddle.'”

I’ve forgotten how he got his ancient wound, but it’s healed; he could sit in that saddle if he wanted to. When he claims to be ailing, he’s lying through his teeth. He doesn’t want to go to the joust. He wants to stay with Guinevere.  Although Tennyson doesn’t come out and say it, he makes it clear that Arthur knows–or at least suspects–it’s not a wound that’s keeping him at home.

Then there’s Elaine, the Lily Maid. Lancelot dreams about her and then meets her, and she immediately falls in love with him. She’s young, lovable, sweet, and pure.  After Lancelot is wounded in a joust–he went to the fair joust after all, but in disguise–Elaine cares for him. Her company has a healthful effect on him. But his spirit is also sick–carrying on with your dearest friend’s wife and fibbing about it and then becoming semi-involved with another woman will do that to you–and Elaine can’t restore his spirit. And, unfortunately, although he’s attentive, he’s not in love with her.

Elaine isn’t in good health either. She lives in sterile, self-imposed isolation, refusing to express emotion. She wants Lancelot, but he can’t live in her fantasy world, and when she realizes he doesn’t love her, the mirror cracks from side to side and the curse comes upon her. Infected by reality, she decides to die.

(The mirror and the curse are in “The Lady of Shalott,” not the Idylls, but Tennyson wrote both, and he wouldn’t mind my combining them).

Well. If this weren’t enough, Guinevere is behaving badly. She starts out by rebuking Lancelot for lying to Arthur. When she sees he’s become fond of Elaine, jealousy overtakes her–spiritual sickness runs rampant in this Idyll–and carps at Lancelot unmercifully. She doesn’t have one good word for the man. Granted, she’s been sick, but I don’t think that excuses the carping.

When Lancelot brings her a gift of diamonds he’s won in a series of jousts, a gesture most women would appreciate, she throw a hissy fit and tells him to give them to Elaine, then changes her mind and says, “She shall not have them,” and throws them out the window into the river. Then, while Lancelot is leaning on the window sill, watching his diamonds hit the water, here comes a lifeless Elaine, floating down the river on a barge.

Not a good day. A triangle with two sides sick and the other dead.

And it doesn’t stop there. The last line of the poem predicts that Lancelot will “die a holy man.”

“Lancelot and Elaine” tells a sad story. It could be a downer, especially for someone not in the best state of mind. Looking back, I can see that focusing on sickness and death for several weeks while I studied the text and wrote the paper was depressing.

But now when I think of the the Idyll, I remember not sickness and death but a beautiful image. Ironically, it grows out of Guinevere’s rage, when she exclaims that Elaine shall not have the diamonds.

Saying which she seized,
And, through the casement standing wide for heat,
Flung them, and down they flashed, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flashed, as it were,
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.

When the diamonds, flashing in the sun, hit the surface of the stream, water splashes up, droplets flashing in the sun like diamonds.

More than thirty years after first reading the Idylls, I retain that image: diamonds meeting diamonds.

Those are some of the loveliest lines I’ve ever read.

Coming across the paper on “Lancelot and Elaine,” was true serendipity. A delightful surprise, because it reminds of me of a time when I was smart. When I was a scholar. When I engaged in literary criticism. When I could write formal prose. When I would never have inserted an incomplete sentence into a formal composition. Or in an informal composition. When I had a personal lexicon of more than a dozen words. When I could spell.

And when I would have floated down the river on a barge before I’d let anyone read what I’ve written in this irreverent little post.

 

***

Images

“How Sir Launcelot Fought with a Fiendly Dragon.” Arthur Rackham. Public domain. Via Wikipedia.

Guinevere.” Henry Justice Ford (1860-1941). {{PD-US-expired}}

“The Lady of Shalott.” Henry Meynell Rheam{{PD-US}}

“The Lady of Shalott Reaches Camelot.” Author unknown. From “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
{{PD-US-expired}}

Millennials Killed the Fleek

Today’s Dictionary.com word

Fleeknice, smooth, sweet (2003); awesome, added in 2009;
used in 2014 by everybody but me .

Nobody says fleek now. Millennials killed it. Naughty millennials.

Seems it can be used to describe Kim Kardashian‘s butt. My take on Kim Kardashian’s butt: Years back, when she said she broke the Internet–well, if she did, it’s because she sat on it.

Kim Kardashian is licensed by Eva Rinaldi under CC BY-SA 2.0

While waiting for a radiation treatment, I read in a magazine that Kim is so self-conscious about her butt she backs out of a room so her husband won’t see it. That’s a lot of reversing. I’ll bet he knows about it anyway.

I believe this is the first time I’ve used butt in this blog, or much of anywhere else. I try to avoid the subject. If necessary, I say derriere. When I wanted children to sit on the floor in the library’s Story Square, I told them to sit on their bottoms. Teachers said that, so I followed suit.

Anyway, back to fleek. It was made up by a 16-year-old. She said it about her eyebrows on a video. The video went viral, and here we are, or there we were in 2014.

My take on fleek: It’s a spin-off of sleek. It might be a portmanteau word, a combination of fast and sleek, or fantastic and sleek. Some would say it’s a corruption of sleek, but I wouldn’t go that far. I might start saying it myself. Like if I ever have to describe my eyebrows or Kim Kardashian’s butt.

***

My apologies for any offense taken over my use of butt in this post. I was deprived of sleep for two consecutive nights and as a result am  incapable of exhibiting good taste. In addition, I mean no disrespect to Kim Kardashian. I’m a little challenged in that area myself.

 

The Great Throwing-Away: Piano

My husband just made arrangements for the Salvation Army to pick up the piano because we’re moving in two weeks and won’t have room for it in our new place.

It’s not in the best of shape. It doesn’t tune as high as it should because I let it get too hot and too cold for a year before moving it to Austin.

But it still tunes and would be fine for playing, or for singing to if you’re not particular about the vocal range. Still, I haven’t played it in months, have played only infrequently for years. The cats sleep under it.

William used to sleep on it.

So I shouldn’t care.

But any minute now, I’m going to start crying, and I’m going to cry till the Sally truck comes on Tuesday, and I’m going to cry while they load it onto the truck, and while they drive off, and every time I look at the space where it used to live, because all my life I’ve had a piano, and now I won’t.

And then I’ll dry up and feel a lot better because the Salvation Army was good to soldiers during World War II, and they’ll find it a home where somebody will play it and not let it just sit there with cats leaning against the pedals.

And because I’ll have stopped trying to drag one more part of my past into the present.

***

Image of piano by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

The Great Throwing-Away: Quilts

Today’s Great Throwing-Away was more of a Great Packing-Away, but I’m stopping for a brief post. Anything to take me away from the task at hand.

Like my mother’s cookbook and her high school diploma, three quilts will stay with me.

The first is a baby blanket my mother’s mother, Mary Veazey Barrow, made for me. It’s blue, the safe color, since at the time no self-respecting boy would have been seen curled up under a pink blanket. Today there are no boy or girl colors, but I suspect blue is still the safe one.

The second is a quilt my great-grandmother, Nettie Eastwood Woodward (“Granny”) made for my dad. I don’t know exactly how old it is, but Granny died in 1940, so I assume it was made in the ’20s or ’30s–close to a hundred years old, anyway. I spent hours under that quilt during my sinus infection years and occupied myself by contemplating the one-inch squares of reds and blues and yellows and the tiny stitches binding them together. Today I look at it and think of the work that went into just piecing the top.

 

My grandfather Waller provided fabric for the third quilt. He chain-smoked Bull Durham roll-your-own cigarettes. After my grandmother died, when he was thirty-five, he lived on his farm but ate many of his meals at his mother’s house in town, and, consequently, did a lot of smoking there, too.

When he emptied a tobacco sack, he set it on the radio table in the living room. His older sister, Ethel, who lived there, got tired of picking up the sacks and decided to see how long he would let them stack up before he moved them. I gather he let them stack up as long as she waited to see how long he would let them stack up . . . etc.

Finally, she collected them, cut them open, washed them, and pieced two quilt backs, one for each of my grandfather’s youngest sons. But she never got around to making the quilts. When I was in my twenties, my uncle Donald’s wife and mother-in-law matched one of the backs with a sheet and made a quilt for me.

 

News Flash: Bullet Books Are Here!

 

Bullet Books are speed reads for the busy traveler, commuter, and beach-goer. All are new original crime fiction stories that can be read in two to three hours. Gripping cinematic mysteries and thrillers by your favorite authors!

Manning Wolfe, attorney and author of the Merit Bridges legal thrillers, this week introduced the first set of Bullet Books. She’s co-written them with other twelve crime fiction authors, and they’re ready for readers.

I am officially chuffed because I’m one of the twelve. The book is

Available from Amazon. Click on the cover.

And on the back cover:

English professor Blair Cassidy arrives home late one rainy night to find the body of her boss-from-hell, Justin Capaldi, lying stabbed to death on her front porch. Her bloody clothes and plausible motive make her the number one suspect. When attorney and ex-husband Hart Montgomery vows he’ll keep her out of prison, she wants to believe him… 

But, Blair suspects hers is one murder case Hart would love to lose.

And the book trailer!

I’ll add that Blair has something Hart reeeally wants. And then there’s the argument over a concrete slab.

Bullet Books are short and snappy. Open one on take-off, finish on touch-down, and in between, escape into a world of fiction designed to keep you turning pages.

See all twelve Bullet Books here (and find out who the authors are): http://bulletbooksspeedreads.com/

Read more about them here: http://bulletbooksspeedreads.com/blog/

Find STABBED on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Stabbed-Bullet-Books-Speed-Reads-ebook/dp/B07XQK7YJR/

and here: https://www.amazon.com/Stabbed-Bullet-Books-Speed-Reads-ebook/dp/B07XQK7YJR/

I could say more about Bullet Books—such as, profiling the other eleven authors and mentioning the titles of their books—but I’ll save it for another time.

On second thought, it’s a little tacky of me to showcase STABBED and ignore everyone else. And this post sounds suspiciously like an advertisement. That’s a little tacky, too.

But I think I can live with it.

I will say, most sincerely, that I’m honored to have had the opportunity to write with Manning Wolfe and to be in the company of some fine authors. I hope you’ll read and enjoy STABBED and all the other Bullet Books.

By the way, air travel is not required. While Bullet Books are suitable for all modes of transportation, they’re just as entertaining in recliners, rocking chairs, and porch swings. The choice is yours.

***

The Great Throwing-Away: Tomato Soup Cake

The Great Throwing-Away continues to unearth items I refuse to throw away.

Today it’s The Household Searchlight Recipe Book my mother acquired, according to the inside cover, in 1940.

It’s had a hard life. I referred to page 77 repeatedly during my Divinity Phase, when I was eleven. Every rainy weekend—and there were more of them back them—I made divinity. It never set. I knew it wouldn’t, and I didn’t care. I didn’t like divinity all that much, but I enjoyed using the candy thermometer. The divinity always turned out sticky and had to be eaten with a spoon, but it was perfectly good.

Anyway, the highlight of the cookbook appears in the back, written in pencil, under “Additional Recipes”: Tomato Soup Spice Cake.

I grew up hearing the Legend of the Tomato Soup Cake: “Ted [my mother’s uncle Ted Lynn] was always saying, ‘Crys, when are you going to make me a tomato soup cake?’ That was his favorite.” For some reason, maybe because my father was more of a chocolate- and lemon meringue pie addict, I never got a glimpse of the cake. I don’t think I wanted to. I was addicted to Campbell’s tomato soup (cream of, made with milk and mushy with saltine crackers) but cake and tomato soup sounded incompatible (like bleh). I was in my twenties when I finally insisted on seeing what Ted was so crazy about.

Well, Ted was right. For anyone who likes spice cake, this is the one. For anyone who doesn’t like spice cake, this could be a game changer. The layers are velvety. The icing is a candy in itself.

My mother got the recipe from—if I remember correctly—the wife of the Methodist minister in Martindale, Texas, in the late 1930s. Instructions were dictated and lack detail. I’ve inserted a few extra steps in brackets. Some I remember doing myself. My mom might have directed the operation the first time I baked it, or she might have written out a fuller version for me.

And before anyone asks, I have no idea how to define a scant teaspoon.

Tomato Soup Spice Cake

Layers

2 cups tomato soup [2 cups canned soup, not the entire two cans]
1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs – optional
1 handful raisins
2 scant tsp. soda

[A wisp of memory said to dredge raisins in flour before mixing with other ingredients. Specifically, I remember saying, “What does, ‘Dredge raisins mean?'” BUT, on second thought, I believe dredged raisins went into my grandmother’s applesauce cake, not into the tomato soup cake. I hate to make this difficult, but I haven’t baked either since the 1980s.*]

Cream butter and sugar, add 2 scant teaspoons soda to soup and add to sugar and butter mixture.

Sift together:

4 scant cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cloves
3 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. all spice
1/2 tsp. mace (or nutmeg)

[Add sifted dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend.]

Add 3 tsp. vanilla to mixture.

Makes 2 large or 3 medium layers. [For best results, make 3 layers. See “Further instructions from Kathy,” below.]

[Pour into cake pans. Bake. Possibly at 350 degrees.]

Icing

This:

1 Phila. cream cheese
? powdered sugar
? vanilla

[The corner of the page is missing, so I don’t know how much powdered sugar and vanilla are called for. Check online, act on experience, or guess. But if the online recipe calls for butter, don’t add it.]

or [and!]

This:

1 C milk
2 C sugar
1 C dates [Pitted dates. And a warning: 1 cup doesn’t sound like enough. In fact, I’m not sure this makes enough icing to cover three layers. If you increase the recipe and have some left over, that will be all right, because the extra can be eaten as candy.]

Boil to soft ball and add dates before taking off.

Add 1 tablespoon butter afterward.

[Another warning: After butter is added, the icing may need to be beaten a bit. I think it does. Fudge and pecan pralines do.]

 

Further instructions from Kathy:

Now. This is what the all the fuss was about.

Make 3 layers.

Make the second “This” icing with milk, sugar, and dates. Ice the tops of layers.

Make the first “This” icing with cream cheese. Ice the sides of the cake.

My experience: Do not try to slice in wedges. The candy icing hardens/sets and can make slicing difficult.

Instead, bisect the cake—a bread knife and a light touch can help—and then make cuts perpendicular to the cross cut. (The icing might have hardened because I cooked it too long. But I think it’s supposed to set that way. Like divinity does when the humidity is low.)

I’ve seen similar recipes online, but none looks like it would match this beast. Combine three layers of light, velvety cake with two kinds of icing, and the end product is simply devastating.

The Tomato Soup Cake recipe is included in a cookbook published by the Fentress Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary (or maybe it was the church?) in the 1970s or ’80s. I don’t have my copy any more, so I can’t verify, but one of the ingredients may have been recorded incorrectly. I seem to remember—lots of my memories are wispy these days—using it and coming out with an unexpected result.

According to WorldCat, The Household Searchlight Recipe Book is housed in the collections of the Turpin Library (Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX), the Texas Woman’s University Library (Denton, TX), the Marfa Public Library (Marfa, TX), the Alcorn State University Library (Lorman, MS), the Perry Memorial Library (Perryton, TX), and the Conway Springs City Library (Conway Springs, KS).

It receives excellent reviews on Goodreads. Various editions are available on Amazon.

***

*I haven’t baked much of anything since the 1980s.

The Great Throwing-Away: Martindale High School

The Great Throwing-Away continues. I opened a bin I thought contained photographs but found more paper than photos. Cards. Letters. Newspaper clippings. Little bits of life.

And my mother’s diploma from Martindale High School in Martindale, Texas, which she received May 31, 1935. It’s signed by Chas. E. Lumpkin, Superintendent; Ruby C. Slaughter, Principal; and J. E. Carnes, Secretary of the Board of Trustees. I can’t decipher the school board president’s name.

The diploma was folded inside a little booklet embossed on the outside with the letter M.

I held one corner down with the copy of Twelfth Night she read for an English class at Mary Hardin Baylor College, and the other with a copy of Liz Carpenter’s Ruffles and Flourishes, given to her many years later by Nell Waller, a dear friend.

On the last page of the booklet, there’s a note from the superintendent.

 

Critique Groups: Here There (Might) Be Sharks

 

At least three times over the years, I’ve posted on my personal blog a paean to critique groups.

And once more I repeat: My critique group is a necessary part of my writing life.

Before I joined my first critique group, I was floundering, rewriting the same material over and over, trying to remember—does this scene come next, or that one? Or something else? And thinking, This is stupid, stupid, stupid, and I’m a fraud, and I’m stupid to expend so much energy on nothing, nothing, nothing. If other aspiring writers hadn’t rescued me, I might have given up.

One thing I’ve never mentioned in my song of praise is that critique groups aren’t necessarily all sweetness and light. Writers who put their work out for comment must have thick skin. That shouldn’t be a surprise: in the dictionary, critique is just three words down from criticism, and in these groups, criticism is Job 1.

Click here to read the original post at Ink-Stained Wretches.

Courageous Offer

Finally, someone comes to the aid of Alien Resort!

Alien Resort

Just when our spirits had sunk to their lowest low, a voice from out of nowhere has sparked a glimmer of hope. Dan Rosandich, the owner of Dans Cartoons, wrote to say that he will not be intimidated by the Beacons of Night, and has offered us a gig. Mr. Rosandich says he has a spot for our comics in the extraterrestrial section of his cartoon catalog. Dans Cartoons creates cartoons for professional and commercial projects, and will custom make them for any purpose. We wrote back thanking Mr. Rosandich for his courageous offer and letting him know that we’ll keep it in mind as we sort through our current crisis. Lmao used to associate with a business crowd but he lost all his ties.

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The Great Throwing-Away, Part 2a: The Siege of the Research Paper

 

The Great Throwing-Away continues to unearth evidence of past life.

Today it’s “The Siege of the Alamo,” my eighth-grade research paper, twenty pages handwritten in ink (I didn’t like to turn in work with strike throughs, so I trashed a lot of paper bearing mistakes), plus pencil draft and outline, plus bibliography cards and note cards held together by the original (now rusty) paperclips, the whole thing held together in a hole-punched manila folder with the original brads.

1854 drawing – The Alamo chapel would have looked something like this in the 1830s. Public domain. Via Wikipedia

For anyone not familiar with it, I’ll mention that in 1836, the Alamo San Antonio de Valero was a dilapidated former Spanish mission, hospital, and military post in San Antonio, Texas, where for thirteen days in February and March of 1836, fewer than 200 Texians held off over 2000 Mexican troops under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who called himself “the Napoleon of the West. All the Texians died or were executed by Santa Anna and their bodies were burned. The battle was important because it gave General Sam Houston time to gather reinforcements—when they heard of the fall of the Alamo and Santa Anna’s cruelty, many joined him. On April 21, 1836, in a battle lasting eighteen minutes, Houston’s forces surprised the Mexican Army at San Jacinto and the next day captured Santa Anna. During the battle, many of the Texian soldiers cried, “Remember the Alamo!” When captured, Santa Anna reportedly said to Sam Houston, “That man may consider himself born to no common destiny who has conquered the Napoleon of the West. And now it remains for him to be generous to the vanquished.” Houston replied, “You should have remembered that at the Alamo.” (Wikipedia)

At Prairie Lea ISD, the research paper was a fact of life for students in grades eight through twelve. On the first day of school, I started thinking about a topic. On January 1, I shifted into worrying about a topic. When the official assignment was finally made, my mother started worrying, because I yowled so loudly and so often that I would never finish, she was always afraid I wouldn’t. I suffered for what seemed like months (probably five or six weeks) and shared my misery with the rest of the household. When it came to heart-wrenching suspense, nothing came close to the Drama of The Annual Research Paper.

(My father seemed oblivious, but I think he assumed I was a teenage girl and hysteria was part of the landscape.)

Davy Crockett by William Henry Huddle. Dallas Museum of Art. Public Domain. Via Wikipedia

I don’t know why I chose to write about the Alamo. Possibly because I lived nearby and had visited it. Possibly because I could gather the required five sources of information. Possibly because it seemed doable. Possibly because at the age of thirteen, I was still smitten with Davy Crockett as portrayed by Fess Parker and presented on television and in the movies by Walt Disney (and based on legend).

When I was three, we got an RCA television, and I broke it in watching the Disney series. I found an old mop handle, charred on one end, christened it Old Betsy, and spent my days lurking behind the garage, singing “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and waiting for bars* to walk by. I knew one verse of the song plus the chorus.

 

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
greenest state in the land of the free
raised in the woods so he knew ev’ry tree
kilt him a be ‘are when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

There are twenty verses. Fess Parker’s recording, below, leaves most of them out.

For my birthday that year, I received a Davy Crockett outfit. The buckskin shirt was made of plastic. October was colder then (really), and wearing that plastic shirt was like wearing nothing at all, so my mother made me wear an undershirt with it, which I didn’t mind, but she also made me wear a cardigan sweater over it. Davy Crockett didn’t wear cardigan sweaters. Sometimes she made me wear a scarf under the coonskin cap.** Going out in public, even behind the garage, dressed like a sissy was embarrassing. Somewhere there’s a snapshot of me wearing my Davy Crockett suit, looking like a sissy, and holding my pet chicken, Dickie. I wanted to keep the coonskin cap forever, but it molted.

Fess Parker in Disneyland, episode Davy Crockett Goes to Congress, pubic domain. Via Wikipedia.

An article from the True West website headed “Davy Crockett’s ‘Ol’ Betsy Found” caught my attention while I was researching for this post. I got all excited, but it turned out that the found item was the rifle Fess Parker carried on television and in the movies.” There’s a difference. Big let-down.

Anyway, the research paper might have been an attempt to recreate happier times. It worked, to a degree, I guess. The content went over well. Footnotes didn’t. See red ink, below.

Example of eighth-grade footnote:

I understood the function of footnotes but could not get through my head that the superscript goes at the end of the quotation and isn’t put in parentheses. Grinning down bars behind the garage was a snap compared to battling the footnote. My mother weighed in, but to no avail. I just didn’t get it.

The quotation cited in the photo above is Crockett’s famous, “You all can go to hell and I’m a-going to Texas.” As a member of Congress from Tennessee, he had clashed with Andrew Jackson over Jackson’s support of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which resulted in the forced removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma along what is now known as the Trail of Tears. In return, Stephen Harrigan wrote in American History (forty-six years after I wrote the research paper), Jackson “squashed him politically.” 

In a December 1834 letter, Crockett, anticipating that if elected, Martin Van Buren and would continue Jackson’s policies, wrote,

I have almost given up the Ship as lost. I have gone So far as to declare that if he martin vanburen is elected that I will leave the united States for I never will live under his kingdom. before I will Submit to his Government I will go to the wildes of Texas. I will consider that government a Paridice to what this will be. In fact at this time our Republican Government has dwindled almost into insignificancy our [boasted] land of liberty have almost Bowed to the yoke of Bondage. Our happy days of Republican principles are near at an end when a few is to transfer the many.

So Crockett didn’t consign his constituents to hell and take off for a Paradice in Texas just because he was angry about losing an election. I wish I’d known that when I wrote the paper. I wish his battle with Andrew Jackson over the Indian Removal Act were as well known as his part in the Battle of the Alamo and the legends that have grown up around him. He deserves to be remembered for standing against a government that was violating what we now call human rights.

Oh. Please forgive me. My post about a research paper took an unexpected detour. If I were grading it, I would say the writer veered off topic.

Sometimes, however, veering off topic is okay. I would rather write about Davy Crockett than about an eighth-grade research paper.

And you would surely rather read about him.

***

* Yes, I mean bars.

** I grudgingly concede my mom was justified in wrapping me up in cold weather. My other hobby was lying in bed with a raging sinus infection and a high fever, waiting for Dr. Luckett to come and pop me with a shot of penicillin.

Labor-Not-Intensive Day

 

A spontaneous Labor Day picnic, fried chicken and potato salad beside the pool, followed by carrot cake in air conditioned comfort.

We forgot to take the camera, so later David did a basic recreation and snapped some shots. I got a picture of the cake.

When I remember the elaborate family picnics of my childhood—chicken barbecued on the riverbank, baked beans, potato salad, creamed corn, fresh onions and tomatoes, iced tea, pecan pie, homemade peach ice cream, and on and on—I am ashamed that I let Walmart do the cooking.

When I think of all the labor that went into celebrating warm-weather holidays—most of it done by others while I was splashing around in the river—I’m okay with a scaled-down version.