Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I had a request to post pictures of Ellie. Here she is. (Actually these were taken the first day she was in SC.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees

Spring is upon us, and 'round here if you don't get the hint by the yellow dust of pine pollen that covers every surface outside (and in - if you leave your windows open), then maybe the Cherry Trees in full bloom will remind you. And, these are not  just any Cherry Trees, these are Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees.

Miss Margaret is actually the widow of a beloved state senator. And, if there was ever someone who personifies the southern belle, it is her. Now yes, she can serve a formal dinner for God knows how many with all the fine sterling, crystal, and china in the "Big House". She is known for her oyster pie, her ever present hat, and her outfits that often have a theme. For most occasions, "dressed to the nines" best describes her.

But there is that side of her that also truly makes a southern woman. She can get her way with a smile, after being told no and before it is over the powers that be never knew what hit them. She knows the in and outs of all the state's politics, where the bodies are buried, and who is sleeping with who - but your secret is always safe with her. She has buried a husband, two children, and a daughter-in-law, but still goes through life at ninety with a larger than life positive attitude.

But all this aside, it is her Cherry Trees, that put her on the map. Years ago, she was introduced to the tree and fell in love with its delicate pink blossoms. For her 70th birthday, her family gave her eight Cherry Trees to be planted in the city garden. And, that was the beginning of what Southern Living in 1999 called "An Idea that Grew".  By that time our city had 529 Cherry Trees attributed to her work.

When her daughter died, she asked in lieu of flowers that money be given to purchase more, and much money was sent. Then she had this great idea that if every one in town would just plant one Cherry Tree in their front yard, twenty feet from the curve, then all the streets of our fair town would be lined with these blossoming trees each spring. And, although, not every house has a tree, it is hard not to ride through an established neighborhood without seeing several of the trees planted in their appropriate places.

But, the coup de gras came when the Senator passed away. He never realized how much he loved these trees during his lifetime, but Miss Margaret made sure everyone else did and upon his death, tons of money flowed into the Cherry Tree fund and now the main streets of the city, as well as the drive through our city garden are lined with the Cherry Trees.

The irony is that we are known for our famous rose gardens, which are lovely, and our Rose Festival each May. However, nothing can compare to Miss Margaret's campaign to bring Cherry Trees to the city streets. And, as anyone is aware, she is a southern lady with great charm and a force to be reckoned with. She wanted Cherry Trees and Cherry Trees we have.  

So for one week during the spring, everyone in town is blessed with the beauty of Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees and the fruits of her relentless campaign to line the streets of the city. We are reminded the true beauty of spring. Even after she is gone, her legacy will live on.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Selling that Old South Charm

The wedding this weekend was held at a fairly unique venue. A Yankee from New Jersey came south bought some land and decided it would make a beautiful wedding venue. To enhance its image he built a replica plantation house that could be rented out.

So let me paint you the picture here - we have a Yankee from New Jersey who comes and buys land in the deep south, builds a big white house with Corinthian columns and puts porticoes around it, calls it a plantation, and rents it out to us southerners for exorbitant rates - which some idiots pay. Talk about selling ice to the Eskimos.

And, of course, as always the Yankee is determined to civilize us "heathens" and bring culture to the backwoods of the rural south. Please define " culture". We are seated in white chairs on a wide expanse of green lawn over looking the pond (all man-made to fit the ante-bellum theme) for the nuptials. Throughout the ceremony the preacher has to pause due to the loud revving of engines that can be heard from the near-by drag strip (some good 'ol boy flavor the Yankee didn't quite count on.)

As the preacher announces the bride and groom and they start making their way up the aisle, a loud boom goes off. Some true Old South flare? A friend sitting near by nonchalantly says, "Oh, that's Trish." I look at her. "What do you mean Trish?",knowing who she was referring to but not having a clue what Trish had to do with the near sonic boom we just heard. "That was Trish's cannon." I looked at her totally perplexed. "She has three cannons and she likes to shoot them at special occasions, like ball games, and the births of her grandchildren." "And weddings," I added. "Especially weddings," our friend said.

The venue may have been owned by a Yankee, but how much more southern can you get than a wedding in the shadow of a white house built for show, interrupted by the Saturday evening noises of the local drag strip and highlighted by the boom of a real cannon. Even an entrepreneuring Yankee can't come up with this much color.

Monday, March 14, 2011

She's (almost) Here!

God bless my oldest daughter and her darling beau who took their Saturday for a three hour drive to the home of a Texas breeder to pick up a puppy for me. I was still so traumatized by the psychic breeder episode from last weekend that I had no faith that this deal would fly. But at 3:30, I got a phone call, "We've got a puppy!" Success - I had found and procured an honest to God Norwich terrier. She went into all the details about the breeder and the litter. Then she shared all the details about the pup. "Mom, she is feisty - you better be prepared."

By the time she got through, I wasn't sure if I was getting a new puppy or a grandchild. I had instructions on the new food, what color her hair was, who she looked like, and even pictures on my phone. My daughter will bring her with her later this week when she flies in from Texas for a wedding - and the leave the puppy with me when she flies home, I hope!

So my long nightmare is over. Now it is on to house breaking, learning not to leave anything on the floor, less it become puppy teething treats, and, oh, yes, the "Maggie, you have no choice. You have to be nice. Sorry she is here to stay." discussions with our 13 year old Scottie who will be anything but enthused.

Oh, yeah, and a small detail - I still don't have a name for her.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

But Is It Really A Norwich?

This is worse than adopting a baby - getting a puppy. My oldest calls with a list, "We will need a carrier, a collar, a leash, and dog toys. Oh, and I've already called the breeder to see about what kind of food the puppy is on so we will have some of that. And, I've called the airline and made her a reservation to fly with me, so that's taken care of." "What if you don't get her?" "The ticket is refundable. Don't worry. I made sure of that." She had made sure of everything.

I had not gotten past how much this was going to cost and was I making the right decision and my daughter, who always has her senses about her, is moving on to the practical matters at hand. How did I ever raise rear a child. It's amazing my children survived if I was this way when they were little. The idea of a leash, collar, or food had not crossed my mind.

"I'm still worried about making sure it is a Norwich Terrier you are bringing home, not a Cairn." "Well, I'll make that decision when I see the puppies. What is the difference?" "I know Norwich's tails are docked, but then they can easily dock the tails of a Cairn to pass them off. I'll get you the breed standards." "You know me. I'm not afraid to walk away if I see that something is not right."

So I do my research. Norwichs have a wiry coat, prick ears, foxy expression, stand 10 inches tall, weigh 10-12 pounds, and come in colors of red, wheaton, tan and black or grizzle. The Cairns on the other hand, have a wiry coat, prick ears, foxy expression, stand 10 inches tall, weigh 13-14 pounds, and come in colors: any color but white, with dark ears, muzzle and tail tip desirable.

The only distinct difference every site refers to is their disposition. Norwichs tend to be very loving, affectionate, and friendly both as puppies and adults. While Cairns tend to be friendly and playful but not truly affectionate dogs. Could this be more difficult? Why dear God, have I chosen the one breed that is hard to find, has difficult breeders, is not cheap, and easy to counterfeit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Want the Deep Rich Ones

Forrest Gump may have been right when he said, "Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Well, next time around, I want to pick out my box. I either want  Godiva chocolates or a nice Whitman Sampler - both have a diagram that describes each piece. Yes, that may be cheating. But so far this go 'round, I haven't done so well - most of my selections have been fruit and nuts.