Monday, August 29, 2011

Our House's Brush With Greatness

Last night, we had our neighbor over for dinner. He's in his late sixties and has lived in the house next door all of his life. He grew up there as a child and after time in the army, came back to live with his parents. They've both passed on and now he lives there alone. I was anxious to ask him questions about the neighborhood and what he remembered of our house and the people that have lived here. Boy, he didn't disappoint.

My first question was, "What do you think was the craziest thing that has ever happened on our street?" Well, he sat and thought for a moment and just when I thought he wasn't going to come up with anything, his eyes lit up and he said, "Oh! I have one!"

I stopped him with, "Okay, first off...nobody got murdered in our house, right?"

He laughed and said, " No...No...Well, not yet at least!" then went on to tell us about a teenager who was a real trouble maker around the neighborhood in the sixties.

The kid and his family lived across the street and a few houses down. At the same house as the lady who came beating on my back door one day trying to make me give her the Jack-o-lanterns off of my front porch. I guess that house has had quite a few characters in it!

Anyway, this kid was always breaking into the neighbors' houses and robbing them when they weren't home. A real delinquent from the way it sounded (or "rabble rouser" as they used to say back in the day). So, this kid also had a penchant for making explosives. He liked to blow things up in the back yard. Comforting, no? Well, one day, the guy just blew his hand completely off! Horrible, yes...but I'm sure that all of the neighbors who'd had their houses broken into may have just considered it justice for the now one-handed burglar.

Our neighbor couldn't remember when the family moved away but he did recall that shortly after the accident, the kid was sent to live with family. As they did back in the day.

A while later, we were telling our neighbor that there was a house on our old street where Porter Wagoner and Minnie Pearl used to go to parties and dance right on the living room rug. Then out of the blue, he says very casually, "Patsy Cline used to come to your house." The Mister and I stopped dead in our tracks to make sure that we heard him right. And we did. Patsy Cline! He said that she'd come to visit one of her friends who lived right here in our little ranch! He said she was over all the time. Whee!

So, of course after our neighbor left last night, Mister Kitsch and I were doing dishes and going on about, "I bet she stood right here in THIS kitchen!" and "She used the pink bathroom. You KNOW she did!!" "She touched our front door knob!"

I asked our neighbor if she ever wore her gold cigarette pants when over but he couldn't remember. I told him, "Oh, if she'd worn them, you would remember!" That said, as any folklore allows for wiggle room, I've been picturing her sitting in our living room next to the faux fireplace, wearing those gold pants and having iced tea.

I woke up this morning and remembering our house's brush with greatness, loved it just a little bit more. Love and Patsy Cline - the perfect kind of ranch dressing. And I think that calls for a double dose of Patsy! What do you say, kids?








Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pam and the Rabbits

Hey all,

It's time for installment number one of the Pam films.

In this one, you'll see Pam when she was just shy of two years old in July of 1958.





She was so cute, wasn't she? I promise not to give a lot of unneeded commentary on the films but just to associate you with the people that you'l usually see: The man in the film with the rabbits and the lady that you see him wrestle with (he seems to do that a lot) are her grandparents on her father's side. They always seemed to have a lot of rabbit hutches so maybe they sold rabbits?

Pam's Mom will usually be behind the camera but there will be some films later on where we'll see a little bit of her too. The man smoking the cigarettes is Pam's father. The other two older folks in the video (the lady and man on the porch) seem to be the other set of grandparents. And you'll also see a smattering of other relatives as well. She seemed to have been a very loved little girl.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hit It Mister Butters!

My new favorite thing:



along with my old favorite thing:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Not-So-Secret Love of Square Dancing

When I was just a small girl, I fell completely head-over-heels in love with square dancing. Unlike a lot of people that I've talked to from my age group, I never got to do it in elementary school gym class - but boy, would I have loved to!

My romance with square dancing began when my great aunts and uncles would stop by my grandparents' house on the way to go to their dances. My Grandmother always encouraged them to come by so that she could see their pretty outfits. I lived next door and whenever I'd see the relatives pull up and pile out in their dancing duds, I ran over as fast as I could.


Aunt Inez & Uncle Cal ~~ Uncle Buddy & Aunt Edna


To me, they were pure magic - the ladies in their big swishing skirts and cute Mary Jane dance shoes (sometimes in gold metallic...be still my heart) and their husbands perfectly matched by color and pattern complete with handsome bolo and bow ties. I'd always giggle at how when in these dresses, only two women could sit on my grandparents' long couch which usually could seat five people. Petticoats took up some real estate!

I'd be remiss if I didn't insert one of my favorite quotes ever here. It's from the movie, Calamity Jane:

This town ain't big enough! Not for me and that frilled-up, flirtin', man-rustlin' petticoat, it ain't!

And I'd watch under the porch light as they got into the car to leave. Each husband would help his wife into the car and then quickly shove her wide dress and crinolines inside before hastily shutting the door before they could spring out again. You could tell that it took some practice to get both the wives and the dresses into the same car. And these were the days when cars were big! I also remember that both of my Aunts wore just the softest hint of perfume so with every swish, the air was filled with flowers.

Several times, I went with my Grandparents to watch them square dance. The dances were held at an outdoor open-air pavilion next to the lake. It was set amongst big pine trees and I can remember how dark and still the woods were with the tops of towering pine branches just barely silhouetted against moonlight and the water lightly lapping the shore. In the middle, this large wooden pavilion that appeared as if a carousel when the dancers spun round and round in swirls of color in response to the steps melodically encouraged by the caller.

"Promenade! Now circle left! Now weave the ring!"

I'd give anything to go back there again. I've toyed with the idea of taking up square dancing for a long time now. I even once talked The Mister into trying it with me but we never have. I think it's time to see if he's still up for it. I've found several classes being offered in our area. One in a senior citizen's center. Hello, I bet you know which one I'm going to choose!

I've collected some square dance items through the years and here are some of my favorites:



I have two different square dance lesson records with Ed Gilmore. Inside, there are books that show the different steps as well as many full-color shots of Ed and the dancers.



Okay, forget the dancers. I'll admit to having quite the Ed Gilmore crush. It's lucky for Mister Kitsch that I only get crushes on unattainable men from the past.

One of my other favorite pieces is this Phun Phelt (so fun that we don't even need to use the letter " f ") applique:



I've had this for many years and it was given to me by the owner of a junk shop. When I found it, I let out the biggest squeal and I guess that the owner thought that I should have it. He was this sweet little elderly man and as we got to talking, for some reason he told me that he sometimes went fishing with Jerry Reed. Wowee!

I'm trying to figure out what to compare those few minutes to so that you kids these days might be able to understand. Let's see... It's as if you went into a junk shop and there amongst the undesirable items, found a brand new I-Pad and the owner just gave it to you. And then he told you that he sometimes plays X-Box with Justin Bieber.

You dig? I was stoked! I have yet to be able to commit to ironing this applique onto anything. I just can't find anything cool enough to deserve it. So, it stays in a frame just waiting...

Maybe when I get my first trophy for winning a square dancing competition, I'll put them both in a shadowbox together. See that? That's using the power of positive thinking.

Promenade!


I was so excited to find this mini documentary on square dancing today and to hear that it won the American Documentary/POV award:

Watch the full episode. See more POV.



My heart just leaps when the man says, "You get to swing the one you brung twice!" Being a married lady, I also notice a little cringe from his wife when he says it as if she has heard that same joke a hundred times. Super cute, those two.

Though I expected such, I hated to hear that it's still mostly the senior set that enjoys square dancing. Maybe like many things considered "vintage", it will see a come-back. Maybe square dancing will be the next mustache on a stick or zombie apocalypse. I bet that you kids get what I'm saying but if not, I'll be happy to tie Justin Bieber into that one too!

But enough of Justin Bieber. It's sad to think of him being eaten by flesh-hungry zombies while trying to fight them off with that mustache on a stick. Let's talk about something happier. Like square dancing! What about you buckaroos? Anyone know how to square dance? Do tell!

I'm going to leave you with this curious little video from Lucky Strike. See! Square dancing used to be so cool that ad men tried to sell cigarettes with it!



Until next time (Bow to your partner! Bow to your corner!)
x's and o's,
Eartha

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breaking News out of Nashville

Hey buckaroos! How many of you felt the earthquake today? Wowee, crazy!

We didn't get any here in Nashville but as we're not ones to be outdone, we had our own scare to worry about:



I would so love to say that I was late to work because of displaced bull semen.

"It was no different to us than if a mattress fell off a truck," said transportation spokeswoman B.J. Doughty.

And in other news:




Hot dog! I bet you anything that this will be the last time that my Ranch Dressing source files read "bull semen" and "Barbara Mandrell's couch" all in the same day. It's one of those rare occurrences. Kind of like Halley's Comet.

In more free couch related news:



Trust me. That's the kind of two-for-one special that one can find a lot around here. Don't jump on the first one.

That reminds me - one of my friends once posted a free mattress on Craigslist. Guess who called him about it? Brenda Lee! Yes, THAT Brenda Lee. So, I was all excited..you know, trying to think up a way to get myself invited over when she came to look at it. Maybe even help deliver it to her house and accidentally never leave. But then he told me that she wasn't getting the mattress because someone else had called first. I was completely out of my mind with remorse. Who denies Brenda Lee their used mattress?? I considered immediately listing my own mattress to see if she would call me but in the end, I let the dream die.

And in unrelated news, it's been decided that our most historic alley shouldn't be like an alley at all but like a beautiful thoroughfare.



What makes it so hilarious is that one: it's an alley. It's supposed to have garbage cans and potholes and beer bottles. And it's supposed to smell. And two: the reason that it's historic is because the country stars back in the day used to use it for access to the back door of the Ryman before and after their Grand Ole Opry performances. As people do in alleys. These stars hung out there. And used it as a thoroughfare to get to the honky tonks. It was an alley then and it was a-okay. If tourists don't want to go through the alley, then go around for pete's sake.

I love it when the teenage girl says, "It smells like beer. It just doesn't smell like Nashville." Seriously, hon. We have beer for breakfast here and learn to burp our own last names before we're in middle school. Okay, I jest. Sorta. But hello, you know what's connected to that alley? Honky tonks. With beer.

Anyhoo...as you can probably tell, it's a pretty big news day in Nashville. I promise to interrupt your soap operas if any more urgent news comes across the wire.

x's and o's (and beer, Barbara and bull semen),
Eartha

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Pam Films

The Mister and I spent yesterday watching and digitizing Pam's films. I figured I'd dream about her last night and I surely did. Though in my dreams, she was an adult. It may have been because I told the Mister during the archiving that I hoped that Pam was watching along with us in the next life and smoothly guiding the films through the projector's creaky old unpredictable mechanisms.


There are thirteen films that show tiny portions of six years of her life. In total, a mere fifty minutes of her story. There were so many times that I wanted to shriek out with glee over certain scenes but had to clasp my hands over my mouth so that I wouldn't be recorded along with the audio.





Since most of the scenes show her at family gatherings, I'm going to post one each Sunday. I remember Sundays as when my family always gathered together for food and laughter, watching the young kids play until dirty and limp while the relatives told the same stories over and over. Then we'd all pile into cars for home with our empty casserole dishes, exhausted but happy.

Without fail, the adults would yell out, "Y'all come go with us..." to those staying behind. Or an abbreviated "Y'all come! ". Then to complete the call-and-response, the answer would come back, "Nah...I guess we'd better stay here..". As a kid, I always wondered if anyone ever did jump in the car and come with - as I'd scoot sideways on the seat a little to make room for any possible stowaways. But as an adult, I realize that what made these visits special was not only the hellos.. but also the goodbyes.




Though I feel sad to have watched the last of Pam's films, I look forward to sharing them with you all. Y'all come...


Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hey Nashville Peeps!

Update to this post: I just heard that the sale was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help out Charlotte and to give a boost to the kind rescue folks helping her along! - tons of x's and o's, Eartha

If you're in the Nashville area, please stop by 1412 Woodland in East Nashville tomorrow for a yard sale and bake sale to raise money for vet bills for Charlotte, the pup. Charlotte was found on a country church step and has been battling anemia, mange, malnutrition and juvenile celulitis, a rare but very serious condition which restricts the airway until choking occurs. She is under intense medical treatment but is doing well - and is getting love in leaps and bounds.



Here is some info on Charlotte from her Facebook page written by the amazing person who rescued her:

Charlotte was found lying in the doorway of a church, way out on a country road....who knows how far she had dragged her broken, weary little body to get there? Members of the congregation gave her food and water, but nobody would take her in. Little Charlotte watched as, one by one, they all drove away, until she was left alone again...and darkness began to fall. When I arrived that night, Charlotte was still lying in the doorway of that church, lonely, frightened, in pain...but waiting still for salvation, hoping for sanctuary. I knew I had no room for her, as my home is already refuge to many rescues. I have no money for the kind of care she needs. But this little puppy had faith, so I will have faith, too....faith that you will help her, faith that she will make a full recovery and leave pain and fear far behind her. She is only a baby, about 3 months old.. She is suffering from malnutrition and severe mange.

The sale is being put on by the Labor of Love Animal Welfare Project and there will be lots of awesome buys and delicious treats to be had and it's for a great cause. I'm dropping off some dog cupcakes and cookies and will definitely be checking out both the yard sale and the bake sale - two things that I can't pass up. Especially for as great of a cause as that sweet pup, Charlotte.



The fundraiser runs between 8:00 and 2:00 on Saturday, August 20th. The organization is already up to 90% of their $3500 goal to pay for her vet bills. Come help them meet and even exceed that goal if you can. And if you want to donate yard sale or bake sale items, they'll be glad to have them too.

You can learn more about Charlotte and Saturday's event here on her Facebook page as well as see photos of her condition when she was found and how she's looking now:

Charlotte's page

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers and if you can, come out and support this sweet pup who has had a long road to recovery and safety. And if you can't attend and would like to donate, here is how: Funds for Charlotte

Thanks all!

x's and o's,
Eartha

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pam

I love to collect other peoples' memories. Their painted portraits and photographs. Their slides and films. Their carefully penned letters and their scribbles on the fronts of cookbooks. I don't know why but I'm able to completely engross myself in their worlds even if I've never met them. I've always been really interested in people and their stories. Even if I can only get mere clues to those stories from the visual snippets that I find.

Recently, the Mister and I were walking around a really bad flea market and were not only near the end of the aisles but also the end of our ropes from the frustration of looking at horribly boring merchandise. It was then that I saw them - a large pile of 8mm films.



I went over to them and started reading the handwritten notes on the outside:

1963 Florida
Pam and I Decorating The Tree
Pam's Third Birthday Party
Pam and The Rabbits
Pam's Fourth Birthday and the Christmas Snow


There were thirteen films in all and they ranged from the mid-nineteen fifties to the mid-nineteen sixties. I was absolutely dying to see what was on those films. It felt like I was meant to find them and they had this incredible magnetic pull. Which was strange because I didn't even own an 8mm projector. And I'd seen 8mm films for sale before and had never taken them home. Before I knew it, I'd bought several of them and the weekend ended with yes, the purchase of an old film projector. Before long, Pam and her family's memories were playing on our living room wall:






























Bit by bit, I went back and got the rest of those films. I've learned since that Pam, the sweet little girl on the films has passed away and that the items from her home were cast off.

Knowing of her early death, it's sad to look at her and her family in the happy times in these films. I feel like I know what's going to happen to her and I want so badly to leap inside of the movie's flickering reels and tell her to enjoy life to it's fullest - to soak it up and then when she thinks that she's had her fill, to soak it up even more. I can't help but wonder why her family didn't keep the films. Maybe it was too sad for them to see her there too.

I'll treasure her movies - her memories - and take good care of them and one day, her collection will merge into mine and be found by someone else - and to them, it will seem like she and I are family. Maybe that's why I found the films that day. In a flea market that I don't usually go to - on that last aisle, on the last shelf.



What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. ~George Eliot

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Solid Potato Salad Redux

I posted a version of this video of the Ross Sisters last Summer but noticed that this YouTube user has posted a pristine copy of it with beautiful crystal clear quality. So I thought I'd post again. It's my favorite video in the history of the world. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cats With Thumbs

I saw this video over at Sue's fantastic blog I Got Stuff On My Mind and I swear, I laughed so hard that I was crying.



Since I've spent the good part of the morning removing all of the cute knick-knacks from the shelves next to the sink in the kitchen because Pip, the tuxedo kitty has learned to climb them, I think it may already be a reality. And did I mention that she fought back by removing the refrigerator magnets from the fridge with her paws, sending my paper treasures flying all over the kitchen? This commercial is completely based in reality. What do cats have? Lots of time. What do they do with it? Hatch evil plots. You can't convince me otherwise.

You see this?




One day, Ranch Dressing will go silent and you will know that I'm right.

Anyhoo... At the moment, we're still currently up so enjoy the video! - and thanks to Sue for letting me share!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dino-mite!

Another agony of defeat story from Craiglist today. I couldn't help but notice an ad for a free dinosaur. Of course, I figured it was a toy dinosaur. So imagine my surprise when I clicked the link:



That's right - a nine foot long dinosaur! For free! (And seriously..how cool is this teacher that she let her kids make this?)

I jumped into action. The first order of business was getting the Mister to say that I could have him for the patio. And he did! - but the only stipulation was that I needed to find someone to haul him home. Oh, the agony of driving a tiny compact car! I zapped off a few hectic texts and emails to friends begging, "Do you know ANYONE who can help me move a nine foot dinosaur??" but as you'd expect, got no takers.

And then, someone else got the dinosaur before I could. Sigh...

I could just picture myself in a pickup truck with my new friend, the dinosaur perched precariously in the back on his way to his new home at the ranch. And the cute eyes that I was going to paint on him. And the natty vest.

I'll have to hand it the award as the best "free" ad that I've seen on Craigslist in a while though!

And maybe I can talk the Mister into building our own dinosaur in the Fall when it gets cooler. I'll add it to the list.

Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha