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


Some of my fond memories as a child were when our family would take trips, whether on a family vacation or a visit to see relatives. During these long, long rides,in the mind of a child, we would sing songs. Each family member would take turns chosing a song, and all would sing. I wish I could go back and appreciate what a gift I was being given each time we traveled.

By Blogger Nancy, at 11:28 PM  

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Sunday, June 13, 2004  

I had forgotten - shame on me! Of course BD is the KeeperOfSentiment around here, but you'd think I'd remember anyway, what with my desultory attempts to write down the Pioneer Story. Yesterday was June 12th, 29 year anniversary of our great move to the country. TheLord was all full of nostalgia anyway because he was just in from a camping trip with BothHisBoys, down the Rappahannock and up the Potomac to Glebe Creek where his family had a summer home and he spent years hiding in the woods, where nobody could give him a chore to do.

That was how it was when we were kids. No child would willing linger closer than, say, 2 rooms down, to any adult. If a grownup saw you, he'd put you to work, unless he intended to scold you for some misdemeanor. Since nearly anything that might look like fun was probably also off limits, (Don't play in the woods, there are snakes. Don't pop wheelies on your bike, you'll kill yourself. Don't touch that bird, it has germs.)the best course for any child was to play Ninja and be invisible.

I'm often amazed at how much children seem to linger around adults these days. I admit it, I enjoyed having LD hang around me a lot - but then I have always rather liked kids anyway. I liked being BigSister to kids, and I loved being mama to one. But normal for us, in the 1950's and early 60's, was to lay low, get out of sight, and stick with our own kind. Besides, those grownups were sooooo boring.

The only un-boring - and safe - grownup I knew was my mother, who knew fortylevendyhundred songs and almost as many stories and had a sweet pretty voice. She also, if it was a rainy Sunday, would play with us. In my memory, that was the only time she would, but oh my goodness, her play was such fun! She was extraordinarily creative, artistic, and generous with her tools and supplies. I remember we once spent an entire afternoon making an enormous mural on a huge roll of paper, telling a story in cartoon fashion. In the evening we unfurled it for Daddy as if it were a movie.

Of course, what my memory holds on to - which is almost all feelings, and very little detail, is a pastiche of childhood. In fact, we spent a lot of time with grownups - just that - none of it was play. Play was stuff you were in charge of. Anything that involved an adult meant you were not, never would be, never could be, in charge. But just because it wasn't play doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable. I really rather liked school, with the exception of 5th grade. And frequently Mama took us with her on whatever fascinating path she followed and we thoroughly enjoyed it. But we knew it wasn't really play. We knew we had to be on Company Manners Mode - OR ELSE. It's just that, being polite wasn't all that hard, and the reward - getting to go with Mama to the pottery studio or some other really cool place - was worth keeping your hands in your pockets and a lid on your mouth.

The thing about being around a grownup was - you were always there on his terms. You had been invited into the mysterious world of ThoseWhoAreInCharge. You knew you had to play by their rules, but in return, you got to do something grown up; something you could brag about to peers the next day at school. That is as it should be. That's really what all kids are trying to do - become grownups. To learn the skills we need to become one of the guys in charge. Some just grab and hold power by bullying, others don't like being in charge, but most of us understand that if we learn how to do it, we'll get to become bosses - of ourselves at least, if not of others. So the opportunity to do grownup stuff is often worth the risk of being with grownups.

One of my strngest memories was of how, in the morning, Mama would sit with Dad in the living room with a second cup of coffee. It was a time for discussion, day planning, and talking about the world. Then he'd leave for work. I remember vividly how impressed I was the year my big sister was invited to join them with a cup of coffee all her own! I knew she had moved away from us then. She was no longer one of the kids who hid, but was a true apprentice adult. It happened to me too, sometime around 13. I was invited into the inner sanctum of grown upedness. Sipping my sweet white coffee, talking about real things, like elections or art, giving an opinion as if it really mattered what I thought. Sweet sweet moment of passage.

Of course, I'm looking at my childhood and remembering how I felt as a kid. I look at kids now from an adult perspective. They may feel exactly the same way I did - that life is tricky, grownups are difficult to read and best avoided, and what they don't know is probably going to keep you out of trouble. I overheard the boys last night, reminiscing, and it's interesting how the remember things: pretty close to how I remember them, but not quite the same.

Anyway, BD had a happy day being nostalgic and paternal. He took out the old army pup tent we camped in all those years ago, and set it up in the front yard. Then he took out the campaign tent we bought from a re-enactor’s supply store and set that one up. He has just finished reading the Freeman biography of Robert E. Lee and he set up some chairs and a little wooden folding table in the campaign tent. Right away, LD asked if this was the adjutant’s headquarters - completely stroked his dad's feelings with that comment.

So now the front lawn (my term for it) is covered in canvass. No - I did not sleep in the pup tent last night. I am a good and kind and generous and loving and understanding wife - but I did my camping 29 years ago. I will, out of my magnanimous heart, sleep in the tent next year, on the 30th anniversary of moving down here (I did it on the 20th, in the rain, on a work night), but I don’t want this thing to become some sort of annual event. Every 10 years is enough camping for me now. And I lured BD inside with clean sheets and the promise of a short story.

We took an Auld Lang Sine walk through the woods, got into a squabble about Clethra, (which I must tell him he won, btw), had a fantastic dinner of salmon with pistachio nut crust, and went for a night time spin in the boat, to watch the stars come out. What a wonderful day. What a perfect June moment.

I haven’t been much of a fiber blogger lately - but I did knit another 4 row pattern on the purple lace mohair. I’ll hop to it some more today - and see if I can get to pattern repeat # 6, or even #7. How wonderful it would be. It’s an easy pattern to remember, but it is very loopy and lacy and easy to screw up if you don’t keep an eye on it. (The easy screw up is to pick up an extra stitch by accidentally knitting into one of the long dropped stitches.)

I haven’t spun any in a good while - I’m feeling very much inspired to knit instead. Tuesday night knitters comes this week and I want to show the folk there what I learned from Lily Chin. Still not tempted to even visit a yarn shop or even read a newsletter from any of the on-line places. But I am having fun imagining what project #3 will be.

Best be off to work on project #2.

posted by Bess | 7:31 AM