Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, March 14, 2004  

As to be expected, the DragonThroat sank about 12 inches, transforming itself into the ChestOgre. I sound like a fog horn off the Maine coast. This is so seriously un-fun, but I will say that, if I had to get the mold/pollen crap - at least I’m getting it when I can use sick leave, instead of when I planned to take vacation. I mean - things really could be worse. And the wise perspicacious fairy godmother whispered in my ear on Thursday ”take hooom the budget sheeets, taaaak hoommmme the budget sheets” So I can fill them out here and drive them to town in the a.m. even if I am too crusty to hang out in public.

(Bess figuratively dusts her hands, a smug look on her face.)

For some reason the H family didn’t trash up the house much last week so after a tad of vacuuming and dusting, I tackled a long overdue project in the kitchen - evicting all the mealy bugs who have spent the winter there - and their spider predators, too. One hesitates to talk about bugs when referring to one’s house, especially the kitchen, but I live in the country in a house without A/C. The screens are wooden framed and there is much about this house that, while charming, is not hygienic. I don’t mind. Long ago I made the existential leap required to share space on the earth with bugs. In part it was join ‘em or leave, because they will outlast me and any other human, down here on the banks of the great grey green greasy Limpopo er Rappahannock River. But I was aided in my philosophical journey by two great southern authors; Florence King and Frances Parkinson Keyes. FK and FK - hey - I just noticed that. How delightful. Anyway, Florence, if you have never read her and were ever wondering if Southerners were really as they are portrayed on TV, and if you wanted to live at Tara (though I can’t imagine why, it’s the ugliest house - you’d do much better in Atlanta, or at Twelve Oaks), will give you the complete run-down of Southern Characters. Her book Southern Ladies and Gentleman is a classic - only ever so slightly dated with the 1970's “I am woman I am strong” stuff. It will explain to you all about the southern gynocracy that created such things as miracle wombs and the disease called Nerves. Truly - you will come away from Ms. King’s south, utterly enlightened and extremely glad you grew up somewhere else - unless, of course, you are southern, in which case you will feel particularly smug and flattered.

Anyway, buried in this book is a passing reference to the fact that southern houses all get bugs - roaches, she has the boldness to state. Those bugs may be chased out immediately - or they may be tolerated like all the other ethnic groups which were assimilated so swiftly into southern culture. (You will never find a “little Italy” in a southern city and just you try to locate the German neighborhood in Richmond! Yet only 100 years ago there were so many Germans immigrants, the city supported 3 German language newspapers!) The day I stumbled on that passage a great weight lifted off my chest. I only have the little woods roaches, but have them I do, in season. Those I chase out because BD has such a Yankee horror of them. But I tend to leave the spiders alone - even if I sweep out their webs - because they are such an aid with the smaller flying creatures - mosquitoes especially.

Frances Parkinson Keyes (pronounced like “eyes” with a K in front) wrote wonderful novels, both historic and contemporary, of the south, of New England and Europe. Her opus spans the 1930's-50's; her life encompassed 3/4ths of the 20th century. Alas, she is OOP now but if you are lucky your library will have something by her. She was so popular in her day that I doubt I’ve ever been to either a used book store or a book auction and not found at least one title. I have two spare copies of her book Came a Cavelier, because I believe it is the most romantic story I’ve ever read and when our library’s copy wears out I want to be able to put another one back on the shelf. It may be there are still a few of her books I haven’t read, but I devoured most of them when LD was a wee one and I had lots of time to read. (He was that sort of infant.) I stumbled upon the passage referring to bugs fairly well along in my perusing of her works - in the book Crescent Carnival when Patty Forrestal, my favorite character even if she isn’t glamorous, confesses softly that she rather thinks all southern kitchens have ants. I could almost hear Mrs. Keyes’ editor telling her to substitute ants for roaches to keep her non-southern fans from getting sick to their stomachs.

Anyway - the bugs are gone and the crusted spices are too and my kitchen is open for inspection. And I am ready for a long slow Sunday with spinning and knitting and napping. Happy March.

posted by Bess | 7:50 AM