Tag Archives: Lower Alabama

Friday Diary on a Saturday: Canines, cotton barns, porches and–have you ever seen one of these?

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Friday was another beautiful if chilly day here in Lower Alabama. Our guests were still with us, as you can see.  They seem quite at home.

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Puppy continued to share those looks. Geez, they don’t call them “puppy dog eyes” for nothing, do they? Time for our walkies, boys (and girl)!

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The new grass, kelly green, that has sprouted in the recent rains, heralds the coming spring. That old barn, once used to store cotton from my grandfather’s vast fields, later to store wood shavings for the family’s poultry houses, is now a sort of large-scale dog house for the family canines. Weather-proof, it shields from rain and wind and provides a cozy bed courtesy of those same shavings.  Puppy just had to explore!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the brick front porch of the old farmhouse, which will be 75 years old in 2014. The house was built in the late 30s following a fire that destroyed the rambling two-story Victorian in which my daddy’s large family had grown up.  The fire (of mysterious origins. Arson was suspected but never proven) also took one of several barns and a shed with vehicles. My dad was in his teens when all this happened. A fear of fire never left him.

Even though the family was downsizing (most of the ten living children now adults and on their own) my grandfather still took the blueprints for the new house and had all the rooms enlarged and extra closets added–the Victorian house possessing a distinct lack of said conveniences.  And while the new farmhouse lacked the elegant wrap-around veranda of its predecessor, it did have three porches, one of them accessible from two of the house’s bedrooms (including my own).

Later, my father built a rather rustic wooden back porch. What it lacked in eye candy appeal,  it made up for in convenience. It was a perfect place for shelling peas and beans from the garden, dressing chickens from the poultry houses, and enjoying homemade ice cream and salted slices of watermelons plucked from the big deep freeze.

When my mother was still alive, our dogs used to enjoy commuting between the two houses, spending some time lounging on the cool bricks of the front porch on hot summer days.  My parents had a small ceiling fan installed years earlier to make it more comfortable for humans and canines alike.

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Rascal (he of the soulful cinnamon brown eyes) still enjoys stretching out on the farmhouse’s brick porch.

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I used to stretch out on this very–pillar?–what do you call the porch portions flanking the steps?–as a girl on summer Saturdays.  Armed with a Popeye fruit-flavored frozen treat and a good book, I would let the sun dry my freshly shampooed waist-length tresses.  My lips turned some peculiar shades of orange or purple as I lost myself in an engaging story . . .

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Elvis–who ain’t nothing but a hound dog. Well, one-quarter bloodhound and who knows what else! 😉

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As I said, it was another beautiful day!

But here’s the thing I am wondering if you’ve ever seen before . . .

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Yep, a genuine outhouse. This is located behind the chicken coop, the one where my grandmother once collected eggs ( I have her basket atop my kitchen cabinets). The coop is now the storage shed for the riding lawnmower.

I have no idea how far back this outhouse dates, but judging by the concrete pad for it and the toilet itself, it’s a more upscale 20th century form of privy.  The chicken coop is adjacent to what is known as the cook’s house or little house, so I am guessing it was built in the 2os or 30s when that house was constructed (a bathroom was added to a side porch at some point).

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For a short time after their marriage, my parents lived in the little house, which is built shotgun style, each room backing onto another. If you shot a gun through the front door, it would go straight through into the back door (or wall, in this case).  Meanwhile, back to the privy!

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The seat bears a plate stating it’s “odorless” and was manufactured in Andalusia, Ala. I didn’t lift the seat to test things out.

And yes, the farmhouse where I grew up had indoor plumbing, although my mom always wished for a second bathroom, what with three girls and periodic guests. 😉

Oh, Mama and her son are ready to move on!

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Coincidence? I don’t know. But it’s PERFECT.

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It’s a blustery, cold, wet day here in Lower Alabama. Upper Alabama just may get some wet snow out of this massive storm system moving across the Southeast.

A day to stay in with a big mug of coffee and do some Richarding! 😀 Last night I was joking on Twitter about feeling like Pavlov’s dog. You know, any sight or hearing or mention of a certain TDHBEW, and I practically start drooling.

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So what did I see in my inbox this morning? My A.Word.A.Day email. And what was the word, you ask? Heeheehee.

Salivate: (verb) (1) to show great relish in anticipation of something desirable. (2) to produce saliva.  From the Latin salivare (to salivate). Earliest documented use: 1669.

Let me say I laughed aloud. Coincidence? Fate? Who knows. But it’s a perfect word for the effect Mr. A and his chaRActers have on me. I can feel my eyes light up, my lips part as I softly, rapturously exhale,  a fatuous grin crossing my face when I see images like this:

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So, do you salivate when you see/hear/contemplate Mr. A and his sensational selection of alluring, adorable, amazing ChaRActers?

A winter warm-up: ’tis the season to thud

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I know from Twitter that it’s down right frosty where a lot of you live. We are actually having mild weather here in LA (Lower Alabama). Even so, I am not opposed to doing some warming up via these fellows below. In fact, they might make us all work up a sweat . . .

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Having a holly jolly holiday so far . . .

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Ho, ho, ho! Yeah, I know, the bangs need a serious trim and if you could see the regrowth and all that grey . . . but I am still holly jolly.

I have admitted to really being in the holiday spirit these days. I’ve started breaking out the Christmas scarves and this particular pair of specs always makes me feel like Mrs. Claus. I need a little red mob-cap with white lace trim . . .

Saturday only further cemented my festive feelings. Benny and I headed to Montgomery late in the afternoon for our evening at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We are both big fans of “A Christmas Carol” (our favorite film version being from 1951 and starring the incomparable Alistair Sim as Scrooge) and we sat tonight and counted up. It is five times we’ve seen ASF’s various stagings of Dickens’ classic tale (another year I was seriously ill and unable to attend). By attending one of the two preview performances (the show doesn’t officially open until early December) we scored great seats (second row) for a very reasonable price.

A scene from the dress rehearsal of this year’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at ASF.

I had to confess it was not my favorite of the adaptations they have presented. It had a somewhat sluggish second act that could have used some tightening up. Nonetheless it was very enjoyable, ASF’s customary high-caliber production, with lots of talented actors, detailed costumes and sets, and good use of the Festival Theatre’s revolving stage and trap door and lots of atmospheric stage fog.

One thing I did really like about this version was adding Dickens himself as a sort of narrator and actor within the play, taking on roles such as Fred’s dim-witted but good-hearted friend, Topper. Dickens , who went on tours where he gave readings in which he performed portions of his novels for the audiences, was also an enthusiastic amateur magician who performed for his large family, and several magic tricks were incorporated into the play.

The author also seems to be pulling invisible strings as the master puppeteer, causing bells to ring, thunder to crash, and mysterious figures to rise up in the fog . . .

And I do love how it “snows” at the end of each production. I like to look around and watch the faces of children in the audience, who are clearly delighted to see the white stuff–even if it isn’t the real thing. You don’t see a lot of snow in Lower Alabama.  And Tiny Tim was downright adorable.

Before the play, several of the production’s carolers, clad in Victorian costume, performed Christmas classics in the front lobby, with the giant statue of Shakespeare looming behind them, a festive wreath of holly adorning his brow and another in his hands. I was wishing I had my camera with me. Benny tried to take some photos with his phone, but–they didn’t turn out, alas. Knowing I couldn’t take photos of the actual play, I hadn’t packed the trusty Olympus. Always be prepared!

The promo art for the 2012 ASF production of Dickens’ classic holiday tale. I love the message of spreading Christmas spirit through generosity, kindness and compassion for the less fortunate.

Scrooge encounters Marley’s ghost as the fog machines work overtime. Courtesy of the Montgomery Advertiser.

The theatre complex is located on a lake within the beautiful green expanse of Blount Cultural Park, which also hosts such events as the Scottish Highland Games.

Not only did I get to enjoy this classic holiday tale on stage, I also got to do some shopping, my feet comfortably enclosed in a pair of red leather high-top Nikes that Benny dug out of the closet for me. My beloved “elf shoes” of years past, red suede Reeboks, have had to be retired. But with the colorful holiday ribbon I found at Target and the jingle bells I should find in the multi-purpose room, my elf shoes will return! Now I know what my go-to footwear will be this Christmas season.

I was trying to find a copy of the Rolling Stone’s Hobbit issue, but had no luck there. However, Benny came through once again for me. His sharper eyes discovered a Hobbit Tribute magazine dedicated to our friends at TheOneRingNet. So naturally I had to snap that up.  Benny and I also looked over the Hobbit/LOTR display at the big book store we were visiting.

Funny thing is, I seem to already have a lot of it—books, Thorin’s action figure . . .  who’d a thunk it?  Ah, Thorin . . . will it only be three weeks now from tomorrow that I finally see him in glorious 3D? It shall, it shall!!

And then I come home later and see that new photo of Richard at the airport after a 24-hour flight on Servetus’ blog and am gobsmacked at how fine he looks.  Good grief, imagine this on the red carpet. The mind boggles. The heart palpitates. Drool seems to be forming in the corner of the mouth.

Oh, Richard, how do I love this photo? Let me count a few of the ways . . .

And once Agzym pointed out certain–aspects of Mr. A’s appearance, it was hard to look away. My gosh, what a splendid specimen of masculine beauty.

It’s freezing cold tonight after another big atmospheric change here. But I feel snug and warm and not just from my cozy PJs and the layers of blankets and the cuddly tuxedo cat on my feet.  Feeling all holly jolly–and having new Armitage goodness to contemplate–warms the very cockles of a girl’s heart.  Have a happy Sunday/Monday, my dears.

Oh, and I almost forgot. My beloved Alabama Crimson Tide beat their archrivals, the Auburn Tigers, 49-0. They were pulling first string players off the field by the fourth quarter to give them a rest and keep from further running up the score. Now we have bragging rights until this time next year and a good chance at another National Collegiate Championship, which would make it two in a row.  Rooollllllll Tide!