“May your heart be light and happy,
may your smile be big and wide,
and may your pockets always
have a coin or two inside!”
~ Irish Proverb
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Let us give thanks that ‘ol St. Paddy ran all the snakes out of Ireland and that, today, we have the chance to embrace our Irishness, even those who aren’t Irish. Erin Go Braugh! (or Éire go Brách as the translation tells me)
“Don’t promise when you’re happy. Don’t reply when you’re angry and don’t decide when you’re sad.”
Can you believe it? Stacy Yelton ventured out with me to the grocery. I was on two missions: one for food, and the other for hats. The wee bit Irish lass in her wee hat cracks me up. I’ve laughed at this picture all day. Carol Hart’s birthday was yesterday, so it’s fitting that Stacy makes a return to the hat dance in her honor. She would be tickled. I know I am. Enjoy!
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~ Maria Robinson
It’s a great day when I get a postcard so, I’m not sure what to call today. The first thing I read was a postcard from Brett, Lisa, and Jackson “Cincinnati Red” Bick, “I heard you liked postcards...” That just made my day, and it’s my first postcard from them: double bonus. A perfect handmade hat by my old friend Debra Bays, whom I haven’t seen in a month of Sundays, came springing from a yellow package. I put it on. I may never take it off. Its colors were custom made for me. My smile widened. The white envelope was heaviest. Inside I found two classic, colorful postcards both with outhouse themes, and two negatives, also of outhouses. Dan Kibler knows how to instantly put a smile on my face. Postcards and outhouses? He really outdid himself this time. I know it doesn’t look like I’m speechless, but I am. I’m overcome with gratitude. And my cheeks hurt from smiling!
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” ~ John Lennon
Just before Stacy and I left for our weekly grocery extravaganza, my mother called. Their beloved little aussie dog missing for three weeks had been found at the farm nearby. It appeared as if she simply laid down and died without a scratch on her. They brought her home to bury her beneath her favorite tree. So many people were hoping for a better outcome, but there’s a great sense of relief that comes with finding her. It’s sad, yes indeed, but she’s no longer in danger, or cold, or hungry, or in pain, for she had been ill for some time, much more than anyone suspected, obviously. So, let’s not dwell on the sadness of the end, but delight in the happiness our pets, and our friends and family, bring us during life. Watch this short video (it goes with the picture) and always remember to laugh no matter how sad you might be. It’s the best medicine.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
~William Arthur Ward
Given that Thanksgiving is three days away, and the first major winter storm is due to begin tonight, Kroger was surprisingly calm. Until, of course, it was time to play hat. Then, suddenly, everyone in the store converged upon this epic head ware display. It was pretty funny.
“Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it.”
I grew up with artist Ron Gevedon. Against all odds he has remained as steadfast and driven to making art as anyone I’ve ever met. His work is thought-provoking, rooted in history, and steeped in Appalachian spirit. One of my favorite works is his Cannel City Coal Babies ceramic rattle. He dug the clay himself from a nearby holler. Coal Baby was a derogatory term for Cannel City children known to play in the coal dust. You see, at the turn of the 20th Century, Cannel City was one of the largest cities in Kentucky known world wide for its hot, long burning cannel coal. Few remember the city’s significance, but Ronnie works tirelessly to find and preserve as much of its history as possible. He also helped organize today’s art and music event at DeLancey Park in Cannel City. It was the first such gathering there in 105 years. Apparently, the last time such a thing happened it involved a circus tent, moonshine, and knives (the circus never came back, I’m told).
In any case, I had a blast today! I got to visit with people I don’t see often. My BFF cousin Pam Oldfield Meade invited me to show a few of my photos in her booth. I got a few compliments, which is always nice. I saw my old art teacher/band mate Larry Adams, and my 4th grade teacher Wanda Reed who actually remembered me. I spoke with a man I had a serious crush on 30 years ago. That was interesting. I met some remarkable artists. I even met a young man who is my fourth cousin as we recently discovered via DNA tests on Ancestry.com. I’m telling you, it was a great day!
This is Bonita Skaggs-Parsons, an artist after my heart. Her creations are made from newspapers. They’re incredibly creative, whimsical and fun. You can’t help but smile when you look at them. Her mother is a quilter, and her daughter is a poet. We had the best conversation, and she very kindly gave me one of her small hats, and her daughter’s chapbook of poetry. I was really touched by such generosity. What a blessing to be in the company of such giving, creative spirits. Did I mention what a wonderful day this was?
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It seems I’ve gotten a Derby party tradition started. This makes me extremely happy. My best Lexington peeps show up a few hours before the race and talk, drink beer, eat, laugh, and buy into the Derby pool (I won 2012, Bryan Bartlett 2013). Last year was also Cinco de Mayo, so we went with tacos. This year, we grilled burgers and brats. Last year, Abby Bartlett was the only child. This year, she had playmates Beth and Anna Trainor. Riley Morrow, who was busy being born last Derby Day, made an appearance at his first Derby party today. We also had the pleasure of a dog named Jack who clearly fit right in.
I didn’t have a stellar photo day like I had last year. However, Crystal Heis made sure I had good shots. She cracks me up. I love her for that. She is my HRB. Crappy photos aside, it was a brilliant day of Cornhole (or Bags as some call it), meeting Dr. Greg’s charming date Vanessa, broken bottles (twice), buying into the pool with dimes (Crystal), and a big ‘ol heap of warm, fuzzy fellowship. As Louisville soaked in rain all day, we stayed dry in Lexington until 10 minutes after the Derby. Seriously: 10 minutes. How fortunate was that? Yes, it was a great day with great friends whom I love and appreciate beyond words.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring is here and they’ve wheeled out the straw hats. Stacy and I were like kids in a candy shop. I got to thinking: I wonder how cool all those pictures are together? So, I put ’em together. It all started with a little green frog when Stacy was still unemployed and terrified. Now look at her: beaming with pride for having pulled up those boot straps and gotten herself where she wants to be. I can’t wait to see how cool a year’s worth of hats is going to look!
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” ~ Erich Fromm
Every week BFF Stacy Yelton poses for me with a new hat. In October, Kroger started making cute little hats available for sale. I did a shot of her for fun. It was so cute we did another the next week…then another, and another. Four hats in and people were loving her in the hats. We’re doing hats once a week until we can’t find one to put on her head.