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Archive for the ‘Country People’ Category

Bananas for Safari Park MonkeysIn the checkout line at the supermarket there was a fellow ahead of me who was buying a big pile of bananas.  The strange thing is I noticed the bananas before I did the guy. (Is this just another sign of aging?)

Anyway, I was thinking, “He must love bananas.

  • Maybe he has a big family.
  • Maybe he is a camp counselor buying snacks for the kiddies.
  • Maybe he wants to make banana bread?”

I was still lost in imagining what he would possibly do with all those bananas when he turned back toward me and smiled.

Safari Park Guy

Cute Safari Park Guy

And there was an emblem on his shirt that said, “Safari Park.”

Aha!  Mystery solved.  This was a representative of the Virginia Safari Park, a magical place near me and just a few miles north of Virginia’s Natural Bridge.  Safari Park is where my  grandgirls (all grown up now) still demand to go every time they visit.

“Are the bananas for the monkeys?” I boldly asked the Safari Park man.

“Yes, and the giraffes love them too.”

“Do you mind if I take a picture of all those bananas?  Oh, and a picture of you too? I want to write a blog post about the park.”

“Of course, he said, “And thank you.”

If you are interested in going to the Virginia Safari Park, my young friend told me they will be open until Thanksgiving.

Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru adventure featuring 1,000 free roaming animals. Drive along 3 miles of road in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, animals of all sizes, shapes and colors approach your vehicle in search of a tasty bucket of feed. Their website is http://www.virginiasafaripark.com .

Safari Park 07

My youngest grandgirl, Mackenzie, all grown up now but still loves the Virginia Safari Park.

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Some friends are fun,

and some are funny.

Meet our friend Pete,

a combination of both.

We had dinner with our friends, Pete and Phebe last week.  We see them often and look forward each time to hilarious conversations that leave us literally doubled over with laughter.

I am always concerned there will be nothing to say

since we have probably said it all by now.

But no story gets left untold and nothing escapes our howling laughter.  

Pete is wearing Phebe’s hat in this photo and you an see he is cracking himself up and the silliness is oddly catchy.

We are supposed to be among the distinguished elderly now, behaving with quiet maturity and an air of pride and elegance to make our families proud.

It may be fortunate that our families are not around to witness actual behavior!

We even make political arguments insanely funny (maybe because things are so insane in that realm anyway).

And what young folks would want to listen to those zany memories of  our younger selves?  We relive ridiculous moments with humongous chuckles.

Teasing the young wait staff at our local restaurants is part of the unplanned plan too. They may be secretly snickering at those old folks who are having such a great time, but I think they know we love them.

On this last visit to The Sheridan Livery Inn, in Lexington, Virginia, an old favorite restaurant, a familiar waitress greeted us with, “Oh No!  It’s those crazy people again!”  

I took that as a fabulous compliment and so did the others.  Besides, it started us off laughing and we laughed right through the meal.  Surely all that laughing is beneficial for digestion.

How lucky we are to have such people in our lives who are fun, funny and always funnier – they are the catalysts for life’s comic relief.  And just think of all the new memories we are creating to laugh about later.

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There is a dance that is new to me and maybe to you too.  It is a dance that is “as old as the hills.”

My good friend, Amy, who is always trying new things, filled me in on this enchanting activity that is good clean fun, great exercise, and a place to meet friends and smile.

 Have you ever heard of Contra Dancing?

Well, one site describes it like this: “If Swing Dancing and Square Dancing met in a bar, you’d get Contra.”

  • It is similar to square dancing but not the same.
  • It is considered a social dance that you can attend without a partner, but is danced in pairs.
  • It is danced in long lines and couples progress up and down the lines dancing with each other and other couples in the line.
  • There is a caller who teaches the sequence of figures before the music starts.
  • The music can be Irish, Scottish, old-time, or French Canadian folk tunes.
  • It is impossible not to smile at the music.
  • The fiddle is the core instrument, but can also feature the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin.

 Contra is a folk dance with mixed origins from English country, Scottish,  and French dance styles in the 17th century and African influence from Appalachia.  Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, Contra Dances can be found around the world as well as in most US states.

Check out Contra Dancing in your state or community.  Guaranteed to make you smile!

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Viola was a local  Virginia “character” who took pride in having an independent streak.  She was forthright and fiercely opinionated, and loved beautiful things.  And she was a beloved friend whose gifts over the years are things I still cherish.  They were old gifts she found in antique stores and one-of-a-kinds for the young me.

Sadly, we lost Viola, but there are wonderful reminders of her all over my home.  She was a friend who put extra thought into gift giving.

cookie-platter

  • A beautiful scalloped edged platter I still use to serve cookies.

  • An art deco bowl that makes bananas seem  brighter and yellower (is yellower a word?).

    art-deco-bowl

  • A lacy edged vase for short stemmed flowers to make into elegant arrangements.

    ruffled-flower-vase

I just read an article about how young people don’t like old stuff anymore. They don’t want Grandma’s china or sterling silver that has to be polished.

Who needs gold edged dinner plates for fast food or pizza delivery?  And who wants cutlery you can’t put into a dishwasher?

I concede there is some logic in this thinking albeit the younger generation seems to be forfeiting an atmosphere of beauty, charm and grace.

But do they know about the feelings you can get from holding or using something with a history?

A beautiful old serving dish is never really old.

And an elegant old vase will always complement a spray of  seasonal flowers.

And much like people, some old things age gracefully with the help of a little extra care.

And other things grow more beautiful with little to assist them but age and patina.

I was a young woman when Viola gave me some exquisite old things.  They never required too much care and they are cherished now, almost thirty years later, along with some very sweet memories.

I keep reminding myself that finding the one-of-a-kind perfect gift for someone special may be as easy as a stop at the local antique store.

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I wish I had taken their picture.

I went to visit old friends who have been married  for 72 years.

He is 98 , looks 65 and is still a community volunteer!

Still driving her around town too.

He proudly says he takes no prescription medications- only Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and baby aspirin.

Imagine?

She is 92 and beautiful – elegantly coiffed with painted nails, gorgeous clothes, and a smile that transforms her face to youth.

They are both beautiful.

I love talking to them, or rather, just listening to their stories of a lifetime together.

Oh, there are the negatives like lost hearing, balance and reading ability.

But they both offer this advice:

“Do not dwell on  the things you cannot do.  Be grateful for  the things you can.”

And they are truly my inspiration.

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horse-head-49642_640This morning featured a unique Neighborhood Breakfast.

I am not a morning person. Maybe closer to a bear.

I used to get up early to fix bacon and eggs  for Bill, but he was always too sick to eat!  Then he found out  it was me who made him sick and he has made his own breakfast ever since.

Nevertheless, at 8:30 this morning I managed to stagger into the Hunt Lodge where our neighbors were meeting other neighbors, and all with widely divergent interests.  The breakfast was to spread good will and I guess they had no idea about grouchy morning people.

But this is the story of a Buffet Breakfast designed to bring even me around to discovering the joy of connecting in an equestrian community.

Bill and I live in  the middle of a 700 acre tract designed for traditional fox hunting.  The scenery is spectacular and we have always loved  seeing the riders in their pinques (scarlet jackets) and the thrill of seeing them “ride to the hounds.”

They say they never actually catch a fox and I fervently hope that is true, but I diverse.

One of our fellow property owners is a Fox Hunting Club.

As you might expect, the Club’s main interest  is “horsey” and although many of the Hunt people once owned parcels and lived on the land, the Club Members  no longer do live here but now come to ride from far and wide.

The “other Land Owners”  are like Bill and me.  We own a parcel of land we live on and that is partially accessible to the Fox Hunting Club.  

We, the “other” Land Owners, are the people who love horses but  don’t ride in the Hunt.

We oftentimes feel vulnerable to the Club’s hounds, horses and riders who traverse our land.

And we tend to worry about liability.

Over the decades since our equestrian haven was conceived, the Hunt Club and  the other Hunt Landowners  have drifted apart and do not always agree on the use and care of the land or even the roles of each entity.

Enter two dedicated fellows with peace and harmony in mind. One is from the Fox Hunting Club and one from The “Other” Landowners, and these two peacemakers decided to host a Neighborhood Breakfast!

Cook & Dishwasher

They planned the event right down to name tags and provided all the food and drink.  There were home baked scones and biscuits, West Virginia sausage, ham and eggs, beautiful fruits, mimosas and all the coffee we could drink.

Maybe  people were motivated by the yearning for good will, and  maybe they were mellow from all the goodies, but soon there were folks chatting  away and getting to know each other better.

We talked about horses of course.  We used to have two of our own.  

We talked about the way things used to be,

the people we knew who were such assets to the Club and to all who live here,

the beauty of the grounds, the fun and camaraderie.

We talked about “the way we were.”

And the Neighborhood Breakfast Buffet was a big success!

Kudos to Pete and Hugh who hatched this ice-breaking outreach event, and to those of us who participated in spite of morning stupors.

I hope next time we will talk about ways to work together going forward and I hope next time the party will be in the late afternoon.

But, in spite of my bear-like morning persona, I must admit there is something to be said about sharing a lovely breakfast with good people.

Communication must surely be the way to overcome divergent interests so we can all live and let live and enjoy a beautiful world.

Amazing Egg Maker

Amazing Egg Maker

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Please Come Near (626x460)

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Mold MasksLast week was our Anniversary!

Time does funny things to anniversary celebrations.

  • We used to agonize over finding perfect gifts and cards.
  • Then it changed to just gifts – no cards.
  • And from there it was cards only – no gifts.
  • Then we decided to buy something needed for the house like new sub flooring and drywall to cope with an outbreak of mold.

But now, to celebrate another year of wedded bliss, our diabolical friends came over for laughs and libations before we all went out to dinner at the Natural Bridge Hotel.

And this is how they met us at the door!

 

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