Monday, October 25, 2021

R Is For Red

When I think of Red, my favourite colour, I often think of my Aunt Berthie, my grandma's little sister. My grandma was named Ethel, and her two living sisters were named Grace and Bertha. They had a baby sister named Ruth, but she died tragically at a very young age. Berthie became the baby of the family.

I rarely saw Aunt Berthie, and I saw even less of her husband Babe. (I'm awfully sure Babe was a pet name, but I have zero interest in knowing his real name. Berthie and Babe is such a terrific name for an elderly couple, don't you think?) Babe was always spoken about with a downcast look and a woeful head shake. "Babe's just not doing so good," someone always said. Or, "Babe's going downhill." For my entire childhood, Babe was doing poorly or dying, it seemed, but he always hung on. To this day, I have no idea what Babe's problem was, or if he simply preferred to keep to himself and claiming poor health was the only way to do it.

Anyway, back to Aunt Berthie and the colour Red.

Aunt Berthie was petite and slim and quick in her movements. She had snowy hair, cut short, and she spoke very fast. She liked to wear more sporty clothes and bright colours. My grandmother was methodical, deliberate, and wore hearing aids. Grandma worried that some prints were Too Loud, or even worse, Kiddish (too youthful). She had terrible arthritis in her feet and had to wear orthopedic shoes that were specially fitted. 

I once accompanied Grandma and Aunt Berthie on a shopping trip, probably for fabric, and we went to pick Aunt Berthie up at her house. We went in, and Uncle Babe was not available for a visit, of course, due to his declining health. Aunt Berthie put on a pair of bright Red Keds to match her outfit, and I saw my grandmother wince. "Oh, Berthie. Why oh why are you going to wear those red canvas shoes? They're so kiddish!"

Aunt Berthie turned to look at Grandma and cocked her head quizzically. She said, "Why, Ethel--" and I honestly could not tell you what else she said, she spoke so fast. She spread her hands across her Red skirt and looked at my grandma.

Grandma said, "Those Red culottes are so loud, and with those shoes!" She put her hand on the side of her face like she was in pain. Then she reached for her purse and the discussion was over. Aunt Berthie said a few more things in a rapid stream on our way out to the car, and we were off.

I was hugely entertained by the entire scene because my grandmother was the closest thing to a perfect human being I ever knew. Her few impatient outbursts were always funny because they were so rare. And the contrast between her and her sister was enormous.

This summer I found myself thinking of my Aunt Berthie as I was driving to the grocery store. I passed by this house as its awnings were being painted, closely supervised by a snowy-haired, tiny lady.

I want you to know that there is a lightpost painted bright Red, an address plate also painted bright Red, and her car in the garage is a fire engine Red compact SUV. All of the awnings on the side of the house are Red, and I'm sure if there are any on the back, they are Red as well.

If she were alive, this would be my Aunt Berthie's dream house, and my grandma would have cringed and sighed every time her Oldsmobile rolled up its driveway. 

I bet the lady who lives here loves her Loud Red, Red house.

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Monday, October 11, 2021

Q Is For Quicky Questions

Right now I have a great many Questions:  Where is Fall? Why am I sweltering in 80 degree heat and high humidity? How much longer am I going to have to run my air conditioner, and will I merely switch it over to the furnace and not be able to have any fresh air in my house, ever? Will the godawful black walnut tree behind us never be done dropping its fruit, fronds, and general detritus into my landscaping and pond? Why are the cats such shits about being brushed? And whose underwear is this, left in the middle of the sidewalk next door, discovered by Yours Truly on my walk today?

But those are all Imponderables, and best left for another day when I'm not feeling so snarky. And fussy. And Over It.

Instead, let's have some fun, Quicky Questions for a fluffy post. Here we go.

1. Favourite Colour?

2.  Reading?
The new biography of Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde:  A Life by Matthew Sturgis is being delivered tomorrow!

3.  Streaming/Watching?

4.  Wine?
(Yes, please.) We've found a label we really like, Z. Alexander Brown, out of California. I'm back onto cabernet sauvignon for my all-purpose red and (Barton & Guestier) vouvray for my AP white.

5.  Latest Food Obsession?
Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Making my own spice blend coffee

6.  What will you miss about summer?

7.  Which childhood dream of yours did you fulfill?
Among others, I became a teacher.

8.  What historical figure do you wish you could go back in time and meet?
President Abraham Lincoln

9.  What three words can describe you well?
Intelligent, kind, impatient

10.  Did you play a sport in school?
Oh, heck no.

11.  What's the last thing you bought for yourself?
The aforementioned book and two cozy cardigan sweaters.

12.  Are there places you do or don't shop/patronize because of your political beliefs?
Absolutely. I believe in voting with my wallet.

13.  Do you like your name? If not, what do you wish your name was?
Hate, hate, hate my given name. I wanted to be named Samantha, which was my grandmother's name for me.

14.  What popular phrase or saying really gets on your nerves?
It is what it is. 

15.  You find a hundred dollar bill in your mailbox. What will you do with it?
I put it in my wallet and wait for the time to come when I want or need something unexpectedly. 

Your turn.  I can't wait to see your responses to any or all of these Quicky Questions in Comments.


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