Nov 11 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Published by at 9:01 pm under Audio,Family,Mothers & Daughters

I am going more than a wee bit bonkers. As of an hour ago, my daughter is in labor, and I can hardly stand the suspense from this perspective. As you may recall from entries four years ago, I was there at the birth of my beloved Emmy. So it’s strange to be disconnected from the events this time.

Earlier this evening, Eleni and I spent a long time on the phone, as the first signs of labor began to present themselves, things that are not really part of polite conversation. Then came regular contractions, ending our chat. She, Em and Jason headed off to the birth center. They were going to call me when they got there, but they haven’t, which means, I suppose, that things are moving along more quickly than anticipated. I hope they’re all okay. I need to follow my own advice to Eleni: Breathe. A few days ago I’d told her that I thought the baby would come on Wednesday (tomorrow). Now I’m hoping I’m wrong, and that the labor goes more quickly than that.

Earlier today, while pacing around my house, I thought about how much junk I have accumulated: treasures with little to no intrinsic value that I can’t seem to part with. I really need to divest. There are old motion lamps, old cameras, old bottles, old snow domes, old books. Some things, I’ll be able to part with, if I can figure out who would want such things. Other things, I will never abandon. Here are a few of my favorite things.

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Mr. Jack was made by J.C. Burris, a blues singer (nephew of Sonny Terry) whom I interviewed many years ago, shortly before his wife, who had one wild eye, went after him with a frying pan full of hot grease and a butcher knife. He lived. In my radio program, you can hear him make Mr. Jack dance.

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Oooh, I can hardly stand not knowing how Eleni’s labor is going. Onward:

My dolphin  lamp, which Katie scooped up from a Goodwill back East, has cracked-glass marbles embedded in its back, through which the light shines. It was this light that officially instigated my Ugly Lamp Collection, which has included over the years such things as a California Raisin lamp, over a dozen motion lamps, a number of handmade lights (like one made out of my old leg cast with a ghillie painted on it) and much more.

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I used to have the best dog in the world. Otis, part German Shepherd, part Akita, didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was a big baby and I loved him like I’ve never loved an animal before or since. At 70 pounds, he wasn’t petite. Every night he slept under my tall antique bed, just beneath me. He still sleeps there.

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Some years ago I had a long-haired hippie housesitter stay here while I was out of town for several weeks. He kept bottles of biofuel on the dining room table where he engaged remotely in various Green activities. When he left, he gave me the most unbelievable present: A model of the 3-Mile Island power station. Further words fail me.

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My second ex-husband gave me something I will always treasure: a snow dome from Jim and Tammy Bakker’s Heritage Island USA religious resort.

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In 1993, when Molly was four, we attended a bluegrass festival in Summersville, WV, where our hero, Saint Bill Monroe, was holding forth. We queued up for an opportunity to shake his hand. Michael admonished me, “He’s crochety. Don’t try to get Molly to sit on his lap or anything.” Bill took one look at Molly and hauled her up onto his lap for a photo opp. Then he dug around in his pocket for a moment, pulled out a quarter, and presented it to her. Back in Frankford, WV, Dad immortalized this experience by making a little plaque out of it.

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Here’s a funny thing. I don’t think I resemble anyone in my immediate family. Some people see traces of my mother in me, but I don’t. She is beautiful. I’m not fishing here; that’s a plain statement of fact. But I have an oil portrait of a certain Mary or Ann Jamison, who lived in the late 1700s/early 1800s. She would have been something like my great-great-great-great (and maybe one more great) grandmother, and I think we look alike.

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I wonder how Eleni is. I haven’t talked to her for an hour-and-a-half. She must be in quite active labor now. Oh, I wish I had a peep from over there at the birth center.

Dad was an inventor in his spare time. He made what he called an anti-snore cap. It’s a straw sunhat with a bunch of wires attached. It uses mercury to set off a loud buzzer when the wearer rolls onto his or her back. Lulu’s Pill Machine was his solution to my grandmother’s problem of not knowing which medicines to take when. A sheet of plexiglass, on a timer, pulled back to reveal the daily dose.

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Finally, there’s God. There was an alternative coloring book that I got for Molly when she was small, that asked young artists to draw their vision of God. This is Molly’s.

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I have a few other Things I Cannot Part With. Would you like to see more, someday?

Oh, I hope the birth process is going okay and that Eleni is handling the great pain without too much struggle. I hope Emmy isn’t experiencing more than she is equipped to. I hope to hear soon that I have a healthy new grandson, and that the whole family is doing great. Ay yi yi. I am so powerless. I expect this new male creature to have black hair. I wonder what his name will be? I wish Eleni could tell I was sending mother-vibes her way.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A Few of My Favorite Things”

  1. marianna says:

    i was going to say relax and breathe, but you have me wondering now. could you immediately post when you know something please.
    yes, i would love to see all your crap. just to make me feel better.

  2. Nenny says:

    Oh, I could totally feel those motherly vibes. Thank you for staying on the phone for so long and helping me through the beginning of labor with your usual humor and tolerance of gross things. Sorry if I worried you.
    I, for one, insist on many more posts about all of your stuff, and very quickly. Some of these-even things that I’ve been familiar with since childhood-had no history until now. Very cool to hear their stories.

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