Saturday, December 31, 2011

Star of the Highlands

I found this collector plate at a garage sale, along with several others.


Montana - A River Runs Through It




New Snow for the New Year

New Snow for the New Year at Sundance Cottage


Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sixties - the best music ever produced


The Beach Boys - Sloop John B

Business Letters


Business Letters

by Robert Benchley

A textbook on English composition, giving examples of good and bad letter-writing, is always a mine of possibilities for one given to ruminating and with nothing in particular to do. In Business Man's English the specimen letters are unusually interesting. It seems almost as if the authors, Wallace Edgar Bartholomew and Floyd Hurlbut, had selected their examples with a view to their fiction possibilities. It also seems to the reader as if he were opening someone else's mail.
For instance, the following is given as a type of "very short letter, well placed":
Mr. Richard T. Green,
Employment Department,
Travellers' Insurance Co.,
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Mr. Green:

The young man about whom you inquire has much native ability and while in our employ proved himself a master of office routine.

I regret to say, however, that he left us under circumstances that would not justify our recommending him to you.

Cordially yours,
C. S. THOMPSON
Now I want to know what those "circumstances" were. And in lieu of the facts, I am afraid that I shall have to imagine some circumstances for myself. Personally, I don't believe that the "young man" was to blame. Bad companions, maybe, or I shouldn't be at all surprised if he was shielding someone else, perhaps a young lady stenographer with whom he was in love. The more I think of it the more I am sure that this was the secret of the whole thing. You see, he was a good worker and had, Mr. Thompson admits, proved himself a master of office routine. Although Mr. Thompson doesn't say so, I have no doubt but that he would have been promoted very shortly.

And then he fell in love with a little brown-eyed stenographer. You know how it is yourself. She had an invalid mother at home and was probably trying to save enough money to send her father to college. And whatever she did, it couldn't have been so very bad, for she was such a nice girl.

Well, at any rate, it looks to me as if the young man, while he was arranging the pads of paper for the regular Monday morning conference, overheard the office-manager telling about this affair (I have good reason to believe that it was a matter of carelessness in the payroll) and saying that he considered the little brown-eyed girl dishonest.

At this the young man drew himself up to his full height and, looking the office-manager squarely in the eye, said:

"No, Mr. Hostetter; it was I who did it, and I will take the consequences. And I want it understood that no finger of suspicion shall be pointed at Agnes Fairchild, than whom no truer, sweeter girl ever lived!"

"I am sorry to hear this, Ralph," said Mr. Hostetter. "You know what this means."

"I do, sir," said Ralph, and turned to look out over the chimney-pots of the city, biting his under lip very tight.
And on Saturday Ralph left.

Since then he has applied at countless places for work, but always they have written to his old employer, Mr. Thompson, for a reference, and have received a letter similar to the one given here as an example. Naturally, they have not felt like taking him on. You cannot blame them. And, in a way, you cannot blame Mr. Thompson. You see, Mr. Hostetter didn't tell Mr. Thompson all the circumstances of the affair. He just said that Ralph had confessed to responsibility for the payroll mix-up. If Mr. Thompson had been there at the time I am sure that he would have divined that Ralph was shielding Miss Fairchild, for Mr. Thompson liked Ralph. You can see that from his letter.

But as it stands now things are pretty black for the boy, and it certainly seems as if in this great city there ought to be some one who will give him a job without writing to Mr. Thompson about him. This department will be open as a clearing-house for offers of work for a young man of great native ability and master of office routine who is just at present, unfortunately, unable to give any references, but who will, I am quite sure, justify any trust that may be placed in him in the future.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SAILING

I have always been fascinated by sailing and seafaring terms, although I have never set foot on a sailing vessel.

BORA

We rode the Bora’s frozen breath
With blue fingers we grasp
The bowlines for the weather leech
A spanker snapped and begin to thrash
We laid low by the mainsul mast
While the maiden, she climbed the swell
Followed the curl and broke away at last
Free sailing as she’s compelled
The Bora tames to a mistral
The maiden finally sees the sun
The swarthy sea turns azure blue
And rocks gently now the maiden’s run

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

American Folk Music

Glen Yarbrough - "Baby the Rain Must Fall"


Divided Destinies, by Rudyard Kipling

Divided Destinies

It was an artless Bandar, and he danced upon a pine,
And much I wondered how he lived, and where the beast might dine,
And many many other things, till, o'er my morning smoke,
I slept the sleep of idleness and dreamt that Bandar spoke.

He said: "O man of many clothes! Sad crawler on the Hills!
Observe, I know not Ranken's shop, nor Ranken's monthly bills!
I take no heed to trousers or the coats that you call dress;
Nor am I plagued with little cards for little drinks at Mess.

"I steal the bunnia's grain at morn, at noon and eventide,
(For he is fat and I am spare), I roam the mountain side,
I follow no man's carriage, and no, never in my life
Have I flirted at Peliti's with another Bandar's wife.

"O man of futile fopperies -- unnecessary wraps;
I own no ponies in the hills, I drive no tall-wheeled traps.
I buy me not twelve-button gloves, 'short-sixes' eke, or rings,
Nor do I waste at Hamilton's my wealth on 'pretty things.'

"I quarrel with my wife at home, we never fight abroad;
But Mrs. B. has grasped the fact I am her only lord.
I never heard of fever -- dumps nor debts depress my soul;
And I pity and despise you!" Here he pouched my breakfast-roll.

His hide was very mangy and his face was very red,
And ever and anon he scratched with energy his head.
His manners were not always nice, but how my spirit cried
To be an artless Bandar loose upon the mountain side!

So I answered: -- "Gentle Bandar, and inscrutable Decree
Makes thee a gleesome fleasome Thou, and me a wretched Me.
Go! Depart in peace, my brother, to thy home amid the pine;
Yet forget not once a mortal wished to change his lot for thine."

by Rudyard Kipling

The Egg-Shell, by Rudyard Kipling




The  wind took off with the sunset--
The fog came up with the tide,
When the Witch of the North took an Egg-shell
With a little Blue Devil inside.
"Sink," she said, "or swim," she said,
"It's all you will bet from me.
And that is the finish of him!" she said
And the Egg-shell went to sea.

The wind fell dead with the midnight--
The fog shut down like a sheet,
When the Witch of the North heard the Egg-shell
Feeling by hand for a fleet.
"Get!" she said, "or you're gone," she said.,
But the little Blue Devil said "No!
"The sights are just coming on," he said,
And he let the Whitehead go.

The wind got up with the morning--
The fog blew off with the rain,
When the Witch of the North saw the Egg-shell
And the little Blue Devil again.
"Did you swim?" she said. "Did you sink:" she said,
And the little Blue Devil replied:
"For myself I swam, but I think," he said,
"There's somebody sinking outside."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Sixties - Folk Music

Farewell Angelina written by Bob Dylan and sung by
Joan Baez


Adieu Angelina written by Bob Dylan and sung by 
 Nana Mouskouri



Monday, December 26, 2011

CELLS by Rudyard Kipling



Cells

I've a head like a concertina:  I've a tongue like a button-stick,
I've a mouth like an old potato, and I'm more than a little sick,
But I've had my fun o' the Corp'ral's Guard:  I've made the cinders fly,
And I'm here in the Clink for a thundering drink and blacking the Corporal's eye.
    With a second-hand overcoat under my head,
    And a beautiful view of the yard,
  O it's pack-drill for me and a fortnight's C.B.
    For "drunk and resisting the Guard!"
    Mad drunk and resisting the Guard --
    'Strewth, but I socked it them hard!
  So it's pack-drill for me and a fortnight's C.B.
    For "drunk and resisting the Guard."
 
I started o' canteen porter, I finished o' canteen beer,
But a dose o' gin that a mate slipped in, it was that that brought me here.
'Twas that and an extry double Guard that rubbed my nose in the dirt --
But I fell away with the Corp'ral's stock and the best of the Corp'ral's shirt.
 
I left my cap in a public-house, my boots in the public road,
And Lord knows where -- and I don't care -- my belt and my tunic goed;
They'll stop my pay, they'll cut away the stripes I used to wear,
But I left my mark on the Corp'ral's face, and I think he'll keep it there!
 
My wife she cries on the barrack-gate, my kid in the barrack-yard,
It ain't that I mind the Ord'ly room -- it's that that cuts so hard.
I'll take my oath before them both that I will sure abstain,
But as soon as I'm in with a mate and gin, I know I'll do it again!
    With a second-hand overcoat under my head,
    And a beautiful view of the yard,
  Yes, it's pack-drill for me and a fortnight's C.B.
    For "drunk and resisting the Guard!"
    Mad drunk and resisting the Guard --
    'Strewth, but I socked it them hard!
  So it's pack-drill for me and a fortnight's C.B.
    For "drunk and resisting the Guard."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, from Denise, Terry, and Ernest

Merry Christmas, everyone!!



Christmas Tie, December 25, 2011.




Christmas Classic Movie, December 25, 2011.




Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Comedy Movie - Christmas Vacation



Coach and horses Christmas Post Card



Christmas Tie, December 23, 2011



Snow on the Christmas Decorations.
Lots of snow at Sundance Cottage.





Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa toasts the New Year - Antique Post Card



Christmas Tie, December 22, 2011
"Santa is Coming", by Laura, age 9, 
from the Save the Children Collection




Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Uncle Sam and Santa Christmas Post Card

Santa meets Uncle Sam - Is this an early Christmas in July Post Card?





Christmas Tie, December 17, 2011. 



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Classic Christmas Movie: White Christmas

Another Favorite Christmas Classic Movie.



Christmas Tie, December 15, 2011




Christmas Image - Three Wise Men





Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cartoon Christmas Classics

Mickey is my all time favorite.  Thank goodness for Walt!!

 




Green Suited Santa Post Card

I don't think I have seen any other Santas with Green Suits.
Seeing the doll with the Fez in the sleigh makes me think this card's origination
may be Morocco or Turkey, or Serbia?  Just a guess - any ideas?












Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ernest The Christmas Schnauzer


Ernest the Christmas Schnauzer

Our family has had three Miniature Schnauzers through the years.  Our first was Max.  He was with us when the kids were little and growing up.  He considered himself one of the kids but determined that he was the alpha kid in the pack – he was number one, Wendy was number two, Heidi, three and Tim was bringing up the rear.  When VCR’s were new in family entertainment, Denise would put a Disney movie in the machine and the three human kids and Max, the leader of the pack, sat in front of the TV on a blanket on the floor.  Denise fixed popcorn and each kid had his and her bowl in front of them – Max loved movie time he watched intently and ate his popcorn just like the others.  Max lived to the ripe old age of fifteen (human years) but considered himself a kid right up to the end.

Our next Schnauzer, Buster, was a sweet baby sitter for our grandchildren.  We hadn’t intended to get another dog after Max passed away but Denise’s friend’s mother had gotten Buster as a puppy.  Her friend’s mother died suddenly and Denise’s friend asked Denise if she wanted him – it was either that or go to the humane society.  Denise couldn’t refuse – so we inherited Benji the Schnauzer puppy, who I immediately renamed Buster.  Why Buster?  Because he looked like a Buster, I guess.  Buster loved to ride in the car.  Often he just sat in the car and watched through the windows.  The car didn’t have to be moving; he was content traveling or not.  Buster developed diabetes.  At the end we could not stabilize his blood sugar even with two large injections of insulin.  He developed glaucoma and we had to have him put to sleep.

Ernest came to us at Thanksgiving 2006.  Ernest was born in Polson in September 2006.  Our three kids chipped in and purchased Ernest and brought him to us on Thanksgiving, hidden in a laundry basket.  So he was not really a Christmas gift, but given the timing it was close enough.  All six grandchildren were there so you can imagine that little puppy Ernest’s little paws never touched the floor for the entirety of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Ernest is an adolescent living in a house with old folks.  Of the three Schnauzers, he is the only one that ever played with toys.  He has his toy basket jam packed with his toys.  The basket resides in Denise’s office/craft room.  He takes toys at his leisure and puts them away (sometimes) when he is done.  Of the three Schnauzers, Ernest is the smartest.  He is fluent in human English, and I’m almost positive that he can spell.  When he communicates with Denise his voice is pitched higher in his utterances.  When he talks to me he lowers his voice.  He is a thinker and a planner.  I watch him, sometimes, when he lies on the floor by the sliding glass doors that lead to the back deck and his half acre back yard.  He takes on a Sphinx posture as he watches his domain through the glass doors.  He watches the deer and rabbits and squirrels – he watches and plans.  He watches for long periods of time and I’m sure that in his mind he is instinctively reverting to his primordial need to be a member of the pack.  Imagining those ancient days when canines wandered the savannah in packs and hunted and scavenged and adhered to a strict pecking order.  Sometimes I can almost see him responding to that instinct by raising his chin (just a little), ready to howl on a moonlit winter night.  Then squelching it as he brings himself back to reality.  I watch him and imagine his thoughts and think of my own roots.  My ancesters came to the US from Scotland in 1841.  The Clan came from the Caithness and Thurso area in the north part of Scotland.  Like Ernest, sometimes I lose myself in thought contemplating the early days of man in that part of Europe.  I think of the comfortless life of early Scotland.  I think of the love and pride that man has for his homeland.  I think of Christmas. 



 Christmas Tie, December 9, 2011




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Santa Snow Globe

Mickey and Minnie and Santa Snow Globe.
Nothing like a snow globe for the holiday season.




Christmas Tie, December 7, 2011









Monday, December 5, 2011

We're on a Roll

Denise and I are painting ornaments every day!




The Northern Lights


 Aurora Borealis

A kaleidoscope unfolds
In the northern sky
Colors bright and bold
Dance for you and I


The Northern Lights high above
Where Valkyries lead the fight
A Norseman’s treasure trove
Lights a dark and wondrous night










Christmas Tie, December 5, 2011





Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

Denise and I painted ornaments again today.



Good therapy - if you need it!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Greeting Post Card

Hanging Christmas Stockings - looks like those socks will hold a lot of loot



Christmas Tie, December 2, 2011




Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Afternoon, by Robert Benchley


 

Christmas Afternoon
Done in the Manner, If Not the Spirit, of Dickens


By Robert Benchley

What an afternoon! Mr. Gummidge said that, in his estimation, there never had been such an afternoon since the world began, a sentiment which was heartily endorsed by Mrs. Gummidge and all the little Gummidges, not to mention the relatives who had come over from Jersey for the day.


In the first place, there was the ennui. And such ennui as it was! A heavy, overpowering ennui, such as results from a participation in eight courses of steaming, gravied food, topping off with salted nuts which the little old spinster Gummidge from Oak Hill said she never knew when to stop eating--and true enough she didn't--a dragging, devitalizing ennui, which left its victims strewn about the living-room in various attitudes of prostration suggestive of those of the petrified occupants in a newly unearthed Pompeiian dwelling; an ennui which carried with it a retinue of yawns, snarls and thinly veiled insults, and which ended in ruptures in the clan spirit serious enough to last throughout the glad new year.


Then there were the toys! Three and a quarter dozen toys to be divided among seven children. Surely enough, you or I might say, to satisfy the little tots. But that would be because we didn't know the tots. In came Baby Lester Gummidge, Lillian's boy, dragging an electric grain-elevator which happened to be the only toy in the entire collection that appealed to little Norman, five-year-old son of Luther, who lived in Rahway. In came curly-headed Effie in frantic and throaty disputation with Arthur, Jr, over the possession of an articulated zebra. . . . In came Fonlansbee, teeth buried in the hand of little Ormond, who bore a popular but battered remnant of what had once been the proud false bosom of a hussar's uniform. In they all came, one after another, some crying, some snapping, some pulling, some pushing--all appealing to their respective parents for aid in their intramural warfare.


And the cigar smoke! Mrs. Gummidge said that she didn't mind the smoke from a good cigarette, but would they mind if she opened the windows for just a minute in order to clear the room of the heavy aroma of used cigars? Mr. Gummidge stoutly maintained that they were good cigars. His brother, George Gummidge, said that he, likewise, would say that they were. At which colloquial sally both Gummidge brothers laughed testily, thereby breaking the laughter record for the afternoon.


Aunt Libbie, who lived with George, remarked from the dark corner of the room that it seemed just like Sunday to her. An amendment was offered to this statement by the cousin, who was in the insurance business, stating that it was worse than Sunday. Murmurings indicative of as hearty agreement with this sentiment as their lethargy would allow came from the other members of the family circle, causing Mr. Gummidge to suggest a walk in the air to settle their dinner.


And then arose such a chorus of protestations as has seldom been heard. It was too cloudy to walk. It was too raw. It looked like snow. It looked like rain. Luther Gummidge said that he must be starting along home soon, anyway, bringing forth the acid query from Mrs. Gummidge as to whether or not he was bored. Lillian said that she felt a cold coming on, and added that something they had had for dinner must have been under-cooked. And so it went, back and forth, forth and back, up and down, and in and out, until Mr. Gummidge's suggestion of a walk in the air was reduced to a tattered impossibility and the entire company glowed with ill-feeling.


In the meantime, we must not forget the children. No one else could. Aunt Libbie said that she didn't think there was anything like children to make a Christmas; to which Uncle Ray, the one with the Masonic fob, said, "No, thank God." Although Christmas is supposed to be the season of good cheer, you (or I, for that matter) couldn't have told, from listening to the little ones, but that it was the children's Armageddon season, when Nature had decreed that only the fittest should survive, in order that the race might be carried on by the strongest, the most predatory and those possessing the best protective coloring. Although there were constant admonitions to Fonlansbee to "Let Ormond have that whistle now; it's his," and to Arthur, Jr., not to be selfish, but to "give the kiddie-car to Effie; she's smaller than you are," the net result was always that Fonlansbee kept the whistle and Arthur, Jr., rode in permanent, albeit disputed, possession of the kiddie-car. Oh, that we mortals should set ourselves up against the inscrutable workings of Nature!

Hallo! A great deal of commotion! That was Uncle George stumbling over the electric train, which had early in the afternoon ceased to function and which had been left directly across the threshold. A great deal of crying! That was Arthur, Jr., bewailing the destruction of his already useless train, about which he had forgotten until the present moment. A great deal of recrimination! That was Arthur, Sr., and George fixing it up. And finally a great crashing! That was Baby Lester pulling over the tree on top of himself, necessitating the bringing to bear of all of Uncle Ray's knowledge of forestry to extricate him from the wreckage.


And finally Mrs. Gummidge passed the Christmas candy around. Mr. Gummidge afterward admitted that this was a tactical error on the part of his spouse. I no more believe that Mrs. Gummidge thought they wanted that Christmas candy than I believe that she thought they wanted the cold turkey which she later suggested. My opinion is that she wanted to drive them home. At any rate, that is what she succeeded in doing. Such cries as there were of "Ugh! Don't let me see another thing to eat!" and "Take it away!" Then came hurried scramblings in the coat-closet for overshoes. There were the rasping sounds made by cross parents when putting wraps on children. There were insincere exhortations to "come and see us soon" and to "get together for lunch some time." And, finally, there were slammings of doors and the silence of utter exhaustion, while Mrs. Gummidge went about picking up stray sheets of wrapping paper.


And, as Tiny Tim might say in speaking of Christmas afternoon as an institution, "God help us, every one."

By Robert Benchley 

Christmas tie for December 1, 2011


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It is the Most Wonderful Time of Year

It is the "most wonderful time of year" - it's time for Gramma to get 'run over by a reindeer', and
for the Xerox Xmas Letter



Monday, November 28, 2011

The Village Sunday


On a crystal cold winter morning
New fallen snow squeaks underfoot
The sun hides without warning
Fireplace chimneys spew their soot

Church bells sound in the distance
So crisp their deep and mellow sound
They call for joyous assistance
Cleansing Sunday’s meek and penitent crowd

From a sleigh a family greets
Scarves hide their Sunday smiles
On their way to Sunday meets
Bright eyes betray their covered smiles

The congregation warms the church
The church warms people’s hearts
They sit in silence in pews of birch
While the Parson’s sermon finally starts

No fire and brimstone this Sunday morn
The Parson speaks of Christmas Day
The day the savior Jesus was born
To whom the congregation should pray

After an hour the Parson stops
The people rise to family and friends
The children play and run and romp
In the new snow that heaven sends

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Town

Christmas Town was all abuzz
There was skating in the square
The best season that ever was
There was laughter everywhere


The children’s choir sang ‘Silent Night’
The carolers sang door to door
The falling snow was the purest white
Pot bellied stoves warmed the stores


Santa visited Christmas Town
While the town’s people were asleep
The Christmas spirit was all around
Santa left gifts they could keep


The children woke on Christmas morn
To find presents under their trees
Toys and drums and little brass horns
They were all immensely pleased


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Belts, by Rudyard Kipling

There was a row in Silver Street that's near to Dublin Quay,
Between an Irish regiment an' English cavalree;
It started at Revelly an' it lasted on till dark:
The first man dropped at Harrison's, the last forninst the Park.
    For it was: -- "Belts, belts, belts, an' that's one for you!"
    An' it was "Belts, belts, belts, an' that's done for you!"
    O buckle an' tongue
    Was the song that we sung
    From Harrison's down to the Park!
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- the regiments was out,
They called us "Delhi Rebels", an' we answered "Threes about!"
That drew them like a hornet's nest -- we met them good an' large,
The English at the double an' the Irish at the charge.
    Then it was: -- "Belts, &c."
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- an' I was in it too;
We passed the time o' day, an' then the belts went whirraru!
I misremember what occurred, but subsequint the storm,
A Freeman's Journal Supplemint was all my uniform.
    O it was: -- "Belts, &c."
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- they sent the Polis there,
The English were too drunk to know, the Irish didn't care;
But when they grew impertinint we simultaneous rose,
Till half o' them was Liffey mud an' half was tatthered clo'es.
    For it was: -- "Belts, &c."
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- it might ha' raged till now,
But some one drew his side-arm clear, an' nobody knew how;
'Twas Hogan took the point an' dropped; we saw the red blood run:
An' so we all was murderers that started out in fun.
    While it was: -- "Belts, &c."
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- but that put down the shine,
Wid each man whisperin' to his next:  "'Twas never work o' mine!"
We went away like beaten dogs, an' down the street we bore him,
The poor dumb corpse that couldn't tell the bhoys were sorry for him.
    When it was: -- "Belts, &c."
 
There was a row in Silver Street -- it isn't over yet,
For half of us are under guard wid punishments to get;
'Tis all a merricle to me as in the Clink I lie:
There was a row in Silver Street -- begod, I wonder why!
    But it was: -- "Belts, belts, belts, an' that's one for you!"
    An' it was "Belts, belts, belts, an' that's done for you!"
    O buckle an' tongue
    Was the song that we sung
    From Harrison's down to the Park! 
 
by Rudyard Kipling

Friday, November 25, 2011

Antique Santa Post Card

By the looks of the fireplace, Santa must have had a warm trip down the chimney.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Santa and the Prairie Christmas



If truth be told it was bitter cold
As the wind blew on the plains
It was a winter day as the story unfolds
The snow drifted for nearly five days
Christmas time was drawing near
Santa was making ready his night
His prairie run was a tough son-of-a-gun
Santa’s jaws were clenching tight
A plan was formed to beat the storm
A team of mules instead of those deer
Mules are strong, though their ears are long
They’re too stubborn to know any fear
They’re willing to work all night long
For a bucket of oats and a pail of beer
Santa hitched ‘em up to his heavy sleigh
And said; “which one of you buggers can steer?”
Not one Jack answered him back
Not a single Jenny uttered a bray
Santa said; “How will I keep ‘em on track?”
“How will I deliver by Christmas day?”
It became darn right clear the old elf would steer
He saddled the lead Jake; a snaffle bit to brake
He climbed on the back; with a leap, the first drift was cleared
They were headed off across the plains
Santa got the job done with his mule run
It was a Christmas for the history class
It was the year that Santa made his run
Just sittin’ on his a………a………a………mule


©12/7/09Terry Sutherland

Sunday, November 20, 2011

'TIS THE SEASON

The past few Christmas seasons (well, maybe the last ten or fifteen), Denise and I have been painting Christmas ornaments.  Just inexpensive plaster of paris cast ornaments.  We spend a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon at the kitchen table with our acrylic paints and dime store brushes, being creative.  We have fun!!



Winter Has Come to Sundance Cottage


We'll spiff it up with Christmas Decorations!!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Old Christmas Post Cards

I bought a book of reproduction old Christmas post cards at a garage sale.  I thought it would be fun to post one every so often - Christmas is just around the corner!


I'm guessing this is a British publication by virtue of the bearskins and red tunics worn by the toy grenadiers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Daughters of Oden

(a second posting)


Daughters of Oden

Daughters of Oden, Valkyrie
Cause of the heroes slain
Valhalla’s open gates to see
Forever Norsemen reign

Oden’s warriors einherjar
Valkyrie serve them drink
Skuld carried from battle far
Across the foamy brink

To every battle the Valkyrie
Until final Ragnorok begins
Oden’s norn cross the sea
Blown by the Northern wind

Norse heroes of Oden die
Valkyrie choose the slain
Sail Norsemen to endless sky
Drink mead to ease the pain

©11/20/07Terry Sutherland

Thursday, November 17, 2011

THE LAMENT OF THE BORDER CATTLE THIEF, by Rudyard Kipling

O woe is me for the merry life
 I led beyond the Bar,
And a treble woe for my winsome wife
 That weeps at Shalimar.
 
They have taken away my long jezail,
 My shield and sabre fine,
And heaved me into the Central jail
 For lifting of the kine.
 
The steer may low within the byre,
 The Jat may tend his grain,
But there'll be neither loot nor fire
 Till I come back again.
 
And God have mercy on the Jat
 When once my fetters fall,
And Heaven defend the farmer's hut
 When I am loosed from thrall.
 
It's woe to bend the stubborn back
 Above the grinching quern,
It's woe to hear the leg-bar clack
 And jingle when I turn!
 
But for the sorrow and the shame,
 The brand on me and mine,
I'll pay you back in leaping flame
 And loss of the butchered kine.
 
For every cow I spared before
 In charity set free,
If I may reach my hold once more
 I'll reive an honest three.
 
For every time I raised the low
 That scared the dusty plain,
By sword and cord, by torch and tow
 I'll light the land with twain!
 
Ride hard, ride hard to Abazai,
 Young Sahib with the yellow hair --
Lie close, lie close as khuttucks lie,
 Fat herds below Bonair!
 
The one I'll shoot at twilight-tide,
 At dawn I'll drive the other;
The black shall mourn for hoof and hide,
 The white man for his brother.
 
'Tis war, red war, I'll give you then,
 War till my sinews fail;
For the wrong you have done to a chief of men,
 And a thief of the Zukka Kheyl.
 
And if I fall to your hand afresh
 I give you leave for the sin,
That you cram my throat with the foul pig's flesh,
 And swing me in the skin! 
 
by Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UNTITLED


(I can't think of a title for this - any suggestions?)

Prairie songbirds whistle and sing
While cowboys ride the plains
Society ladies wear diamond rings
While workers commute on trains

Colored shards of earthen ware
Lie broken and scattered on the ground
The early people left them there
Never caring if they were found

The seasons came and went
Still, the seasons come and go
Horse soldiers wintered in a tent
Seeking shelter from the snow

The early people hunted by day
And recounted the magic through the night
Circled, watching the campfire play
Casting shadows in the firelight

The early people lived and died
Now, modern man occupies
Where horse soldiers used to ride
Under a deep blue prairie sky

©11/16/11Terry Sutherland

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skating


The surface was shiny slick
As ice should always be
A cold and blustery day we picked
To skate the Zeider Zee


Arm in arm we glided
With our backs to the wind
This is great fun, I confided
Except where the ice is thin


Our bodies formed a sail
The wind took us for a ride
The wind blew up a gale
Then suddenly it died


In unison we skated
Laughing as we talked
Then we debated
Crossing where ice is soft


Holland was many miles away
It wasn’t the Zeider Zee
It was just a frozen creek to play
On a Saturday we had free


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Prairie Christmas


A steady wind blew from the west.  It always came from the west.  A piercing winter wind born on the north central prairie of Montana.  It gathered and carried the driest snow depositing white crusted drifts with random abandon.  The wind formed peaked and curled drifts on the little town’s streets.  It pushed steadily against the buildings finally escaping around the sides with increased velocity; rearranging the white dunes; barricading the streets and leaving white, miniature mountain ranges in winter yards.

Miss Jenkins announced to our fourth grade class that after Christmas vacation, when we came back to class it would not only be a new year, 1958, but she would have a new name.  She told us her new name would be Mrs. Letson.  She seemed very pleased and her face reddened a bit when she made the announcement.  The fourth grade girls, who made up exactly half of the eighteen fourth graders in Miss Jenkins class seemed to think the announcement was cause for excitement.  Jerry, James and I and the rest of the fourth grade boys, except for Billy Peterson, gave the announcement little heed.  Billy never played with the boys much.  At recess, when the popular boys chose sides for basketball or dodge ball, Billy was always the last choice.  He just didn’t have the interest in fourth grade boy’s roughness and physical games.  He was a very good screamer, though.  The fourth grade girls spent as much time screaming as they did talking and Billy could keep up with the best of them.  Billy always chose the company of the girls over the boys and neither gender seemed to mind.
 
She made her announcement during the last hour of school before Christmas vacation.  It was just a bad time to capture the attention of the cupcake eating, kool aid swilling, Christmas party boys who just opened their exchanged Christmas gifts.  Jerry got a red plastic miniature car, James got a plastic sheriff’s badge, and I got a bottle of lilac hair tonic.  The only thing I could figure was that a girl had drawn my name for the exchange.  I told James and Jerry that it was probably that creepy Lorna Iverson, or maybe Billy Peterson. 
It was Friday, December 20th, and when the bell rang at three twenty, an exodus of sugar laden children streamed out onto the playground and quickly dispersed.   We were free for two whole weeks.

Christmas vacation was a time for snow forts and snow caves for we three friends.  On the west edge of my neighborhood the town ended and farmland began.  Town and field were separated by South Iowa Street.  The two city workers, Pinky Broders and Hank Storm had erected the snow fence in the stubble field on the west side of the street.  They put the fence up the first Monday after Thanksgiving and it had already collected a snow drift about a hundred yards long and six feet high.  Christmas vacation always brought with it the promise of more snow and more wind; that meant bigger and better drifts.

Saturday, the first day of vacation and we were determined to build a snow fort at the long drift on Iowa Street.  We dressed in our warmest parkas, stocking caps, our flannel lined jeans, and our black rubber buckle-up overshoes.  Last year, when we were kids, our mothers would have bundled us in snow suits, a forty five minute process involving harsh words and nearly mortal combat.  We had finally outgrown mittens and that string that our mothers ran through the sleeves of our snow suits connecting the pair of mittens insuring we would never lose them.  Now we wore mittens knitted by our mothers to match knitted stocking caps we wore.

We met on the corner of South Michigan Street and trudged through the snow to the drift on the edge of Iowa Street.  The sun was bright in the eleven a.m. morning sky.  The snow collected the sunlight and the crystals shown like millions of diamonds.  We squinted from the brightness and shaded our eyes with our mittened hands.  We each brought a shovel.  Shovels were and important part of the snow cave building ritual.  They were mostly a symbol of the nature of our endeavor.  When we started our caves and block forts we always stood the shovels upright in the snow and used our hands to do the work.  Fathers usually never missed their shovels until the spring when the drifts were melting and spring gardening was in the air.  Then, when time allowed each would walk over to the stubble field and retrieve his shovel.

We walked the length of the block and found a good route to the top of the drift.  It was time to celebrate with a good, first day of the season, game of ‘king of the hill’.  Since James was the tallest and heaviest of the three of us, it was Jerry and I that were sent sprawling down the drift; rolling and tumbling with delight to the bottom.  It occurred to James that the rolling and tumbling in the snow was the best part of ‘King of the Hill’.  He dove head first over the edge of the drift and tumbled and rolled to the bottom.  We reveled in our new found sport and spent the better part of an hour rolling down the hill and walking back to the top.

We stood on the top of the drift and surveyed our surroundings.  We were moving north on the top of the drift to the highest part; to the part where no one had yet set foot.  That would be the location of our excavation.
 
We jumped off the edge of the eastern slope of our mountain and became human toboggans sliding to the bottom.  At about two feet above grade we started pulling the snow out behind us forming the mouth of our snow cave.  We dug and dug forming a center room about six feet in diameter and about three feet high.  We each dug our own little room slightly elevated from the main room floor with rough dimension of three by four by four.  We tired of the excavation.  Now we talked about laying in supplies to keep us in our new fort.  That meant that we had to go home.  The time now was two in the afternoon.  We knew if we went home we would not be back until the next morning.  We were all getting cold.  Jerry invited James and I over to his house for hot chocolate and the remainder of the afternoon listening to Gunsmoke and Amos and Andy on the radio.

Christmas came and went.  Our vacation ended, but Jerry, James and I had built a magnificent fort.  Later in January on the first Saturday after school started again.  Jerry, James and I collected discarded Christmas trees from the alley dividing South Michigan and Iowa Streets.  We used the trees to make a fine roof on our snow fort.

It was hard to remember that Miss Jenkins was now Mrs. Letson.  She wasn’t the same after school started again.  Jerry and James and I couldn’t pin down exactly what the change was.  She seemed to get tears in her eyes for no reason.  She seemed to have gotten rounder too.

One day in January I came to school with my hair dripping with oil and wreaking of June lilac.  Lorna noticed the change in my appearance and proudly owned up to giving me the lilac hair tonic.  She stood a head taller than me and could look down at the top of my head surveying her handiwork.  We both smiled.  Maybe she wasn’t as creepy as I thought.

©Terry Sutherland