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Archive for the ‘Country People’ Category

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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happy_wedding_anniversary_valentines_day_special_vector_568815

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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That is not Dor in the pink socks!

That is not Dor in the pink socks!

Speaking of marathons, my friend Amy is amazing.  She is little but mighty, plays and teaches the violin, has a truck driver’s license, goes to a jumpology trampoline center for fun, is a teacher’s aid, and runs in marathons.  I like to tell people my BigFoot was the result of running in too many marathons (or a skiing accident), but you must know that is a big lie. I have never run in a marathon.  In fact, I don’t think I have run or even fast-walked anywhere since 1995.  

But today my friend Amy is a contestent (with two of her equally mighty sons) in a unique race in Roanoke, Virginia.

Picture running uphill through office buildings,

parking garages and train yards

in a race called, WASUPWIDIS!

Translated that means What’s Up with This, but by the time you run up the first set of stairs you can hardly breathe so the name has been gasped into a shorter version –  “wasUpwidis.”  The event is offered by Roanoke City Parks and Recreation and Mountain Junkies LLC (home of the trail running and mountain biking junkies of the Roanoke Valley) and is noted by both organizations as “one of the most unique races you’ll ever have the chance to run.”

According to reports, nearly 370 people participated last year with even more expected this year. The object is “to run through, up and over a few of Downtown Roanoke’s landmarks, traversing surprisingly difficult elevations in two of the city’s parking garages and finishing with a breathtaking climb and descent in the Wells Fargo Tower.  You may be able to run and you may be able to climb, but can you do both?”

Good luck Amy!

Above details and information about the WasUpWiDis race in Roanoke, Virginia are from  http://mountainjunkies.net/site/wazupwidis/ .

Mountain Junkies L.L.C.  “home of the trail running and mountain biking junkies of the Roanoke Valley.”

And here’s a video too:

 

 

 

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Winter's Fingerprint January 2016

Looks like we got about 18 inches of snow in my part of Virginia during the first big snow storm in 2016!

I am grateful that we did not lose power.

I tried to help clear the deck but my toes got wet and cold in the big boot for the Big Foot. The boot is more of a summer variety with open toes vulnerable to snowflakes (even when protected by a sock).

I did finally clear a path to the bird feeder though since the little sweethearts were in a frenzy for food.

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Special appreciation to our friend, neighbor, and President of our neighborhood, Pete Holladay, who never fails to clear these back-country lanes during almost any snowstorm.  He came out twice this time to assure we can all get out if there is an emergency.   Thank you Pete!

And finally, “Ain’t snow grand?”

Being Florida born and bred, I still love the feeling of living in a magical white world!

 

 

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