Monday, April 26, 2010

Flowers and a thought

This is a flower off one of the rose bushes my great-grandmother brought from Carrollton, Georgia to Haleyville, Alabama. My grandmother later brought them from Haleyville to Collinsville, Alabama when she married my granddad. When we had to sell the family homestead last year, I brought the bushes to my house. And now they're blooming!

I've been trying to identify them - they're definitely Old Garden Roses (yup, that's an actual classification), and I think they're of the Bourbon variety though they could be Hybrid Perpetuals. I'm confident that far because of how old they are - the modern roses weren't even available back when Mamie was gardening in Georgia! I'm thinking they may be either "Louise Odier" or "Anna de Diesbach" but I don't have enough information yet to be certain. Still, isn't it amazing that roses from the mid-1800s are now growing in my yard?

My Nannie passed away last week, but I have a little bit of her living in my garden. And I think that's just how she'd want it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The G.S.E. - church "F"

Heh. And you thought we were done, didn't you? You thought we'd finally settled on a non-Anglican church and decided to call it home for the duration of our stay in northeast Alabama. Fooled you!! (And if you're wondering what this is all about, which would mean I have more than two faithful readers now - woohoo!, then you can read about what I'm talking about here.)

A couple of months ago we traveled about an hour south to visit the nearest Anglican church. We were desperate for a 1928 liturgy and eucharist! It was a small congregation, meeting in an old, historic, Baptist chapel. They are a CANA church, with a 1928 prayerbook and the Alleluia III songbook (Yes, they used a guitar. Please don't fall over. Those of you who know me also know I used to play guitar in a praise team many moons ago!) We were warmly welcomed, and experienced a wonderful service. So we've been back a couple of times, most recently at Easter. And it was glorious! We sang "Alleluia, He is Coming" and I nearly wept.

And it reminded me, deeply, that I am an Anglican. We've decided to try to make it down there for church a couple of times a month, if we can. It is, alas, too far away for every Sunday, but I can put up with the TULIPs if I know there's an Anglican eucharist in the near future!

(And how's that... TWO POSTS on the same day!)

Children and stories

A dear friend of mine (who is homeschooling her two boys) posted the following quote on her facebook page not too terribly long ago.
It is through hearing stories about wicked stepmothers, lost children, good but misguided kings, wolves that suckle twin boys, youngest sons who receive no inheritance but must make their own way in the world and eldest sons who waste their inheritance on riotous living and go into exile to live with the swine that children learn or mislearn both what a child and what a parent is, what the cast of characters may be in the drama into which they have been born and what the ways of the world are. Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions as in their words.—Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue
It struck a chord with me, and harkened me back to some other posts I’ve made about children’s literature. I’ve been looking for a good topic so I could *finally* include one of my blog’s namesakes in a post! I’ve written about Pooh, but Harry Potter hasn’t fit in to any of my “literary” thoughts, until now.

There’s a lot of angst over Harry Potter, if you hadn't noticed. Witches! Magic! Evil things! Rule-breaking! And then you have the arguments in favor of the stories: Friendship! Self-sacrifice! Loyalty! Compassion! But Harry Potter is not the first, nor the last, to juxtapose good and evil. You see it even our earliest fairy tales:
The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. --Tolkien, On Fairy Stories
So really, maybe the point of having kids read Harry Potter, and Tolkien, and Lewis, and fairy tales, and parables, and… well, you get the idea…is to get them to THINK. To exercise that gray matter so they can learn something about the world in which they live. And what they’ll learn is that life isn’t always fair. Sometimes there are kids without parents. Sometimes there are difficult choices to be made. Sometimes people make the wrong choice and must live with that mistake. Sometimes there are wicked and scary things. And sometimes people find themselves in a moment of grace and peace and perfect Joy*. But if you don’t expose kids to these kinds of ideas when they’re young how then will they deal with life-changing, or scary, or even ordinary events as they grow older?

*Joy, in my sense, has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with [happiness and pleasure]; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is. --C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

Monday, April 5, 2010

Turkey Trot

I've been beset by turkeys recently. And no, I don't mean "turkeys, as in folks who are slightly gooberish and driving me nuts". I mean Turkeys. Gobblers. Living, breathing poultry destined for the thanksgiving table. THAT kind of turkey.

A couple of weeks ago I was driving past one of the many cow pastures on my way home. I saw a large mass shoot across the road in front of my car. I didn't panic (thank you very much) but only because it cleared my front bumper with space to spare. I mean, I always keep a lookout for deer, and groundhogs, and bats. And even the cows themselves. But I wasn't too sure what that smaller mass might've been (having rejected the aforementioned creatures as being too large, or too small, or too "on the ground").

The next day, passing the same farm, I slowed a bit and inspected the fields beyond the road. I saw some large birds, and thought to myself "A-ha! Turkeys! Mystery solved!" Life went on, and All Was Good.

Then, this past Thursday (I have to agree with Arthur Dent about Thursdays, you know*) I was driving in town and saw, sauntering down the breakdown lane of a the major highway.... a TURKEY! Tail-feathers spread as if to say, "yeah, what's it to ya?" Now, this is Alabama. And you do expect some silly things parading around. But this was a cheeky turkey, and if I had visions of a roaster dancing in my head, who'd blame me? Funnier still, the traffic all around me slowed down too. And I could imagine wives calling their hunter-gatherer husbands "Honey, grab your 12-gauge. Dinner's on the highway!" Heh.

*“'This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.'” - Arthur Dent, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Trifecta" - the coolest thing since liberty!

OK, that may be an exaggeration ::grin:: but it's still Really Awesome Stuff.

There's a group of conservative bloggers (Scott Ott, Bill Whittle, and Steve Green) who get together every week to discuss, debate, enrage the liberals, enlighten the conservatives, and generally talk about what's going on in our nation. The show is called Trifecta, and they call their segments "minisodes" because they're usually short bits of less than 8 minutes. Their topics can range all over the place, but usually they hit the week's hot button issues. It's a little news, a little humor, a little commentary, and a lot of angst. But they have some wise things to say (and I don't just mean the wisecracks).

Scott Ott once ended a segment with these moving words:

Bastiat wrote “a false principle never has been and never will be carried out to the end.” And if you’re like me you might say there is a sovereign God who superintends in the affairs of man to the extent that even the evil and ignorant actions of fallible men can be turned to the ultimate good in the hands of this loving Governor. All that to say, I don’t know whether this health care calamity will get repealed, overturned, or just orphaned when we throw its parents out into the streets. But I do know that oft times before the song “God Bless America” has erupted from the hearts of forlorn patriots as a lyrical prayer, He has heard and answered and as a result we still live in the most God blessed land on earth. Never give up.

And Steve Green (who "drunkblogs" Presidential speeches and is a very, very funny guy) said this in the same segment:

There's a swell in this country - an undercurrent - and it's real and it's powerful and it's the most hopeful thing I've seen in 30 years. You can see it in the polls and in the tea parties, and you're going to see it on election day. But if - and only if - everybody speaks up without apology, that's the most important part, without apology for liberty, we can win it back.
So if you've been wondering why this blog lately has a bit more of a political undercurrent to it, that's why. I'm working on a post about literature and Alisdair MacIntyre, and I have some interesting observations of the local wildlife that I want to share too. But I also value my liberty, and my freedom, and our Constitution. So you'll be seeing stuff about that too. And I make no apologies for it!