Two days ago I went to Northside Honda in San Antonio, for an oil change and regular maintenance where I was assured it would take two hours. After five hours of waiting without an update, a hello, or a kiss my brake fluid, I finally wrote a check for work done and left with my car, albeit, on unhappy terms with Ralph, my “service representative.”
The next afternoon at 4pm, Ralph called to say my check had “been voided” and I needed to bring him another check RIGHT NOW, before they closed. I told him I couldn’t come to the dealership, but I would mail them another check in the morning. Sixty seconds later Ralph called back and said his boss told him to come to my house NOW and GET MY CHECK. When I told him I wasn’t home, he said, “Well where are you?” When I said I was in Fredericksburg, Texas, he told me he was leaving NOW and would drive to Fredericksburg and FIND ME. I should have said, “Do you realize how creepy that is, Ralph,” but I didn’t. (Even under the best of conditions that’s an hour and a half drive, but in rush hour traffic with highway construction and lane closures… ?) Instead I told Ralph their strong-arm tactics were offensive and not to call me again, but I would put another check in the mail.
Well guess what Ralph? I’ve changed my mind. First I want an apology for making me wait five hours, and then I want another apology from you and your boss for the two phone calls where you tried to intimidate and bully me. You browbeat the wrong woman, Ralph.
Have you seen Joanna Gaines’s new TV series Magnolia Table? Like many of us I became besotted with Joanna and her practical, common sense, yet chic style on the Fixer Upper series she did with her adorable husband, Chip. Joanna’s new series, Magnolia Table, takes its name from their restaurant in Waco, Texas, as well as her best-selling cookbook. In Joanna’s new series, I’m drawn to her kitchen because, except for her fancy stove, it looks as though it’s been lifted straight from the architectural plans for the house James and I never got to build.
Actually Joanna’s kitchen makes me a little melancholy.
Christmas Cactus by Brad Braune, 1981
This year has taken many of us down the rabbit hole, and we are wondering when it will be safe to poke our heads above ground and get our lives back. I wave to neighbors, text and zoom with friends and attend church online, but the only living being I see face-to-face is Annie, and she can be a handful. Adorable but a handful.
I have missed all of you. Every day I work on my memoir, and it leaves little time for anything else, but I wanted to touch base, today, and wish all of you love and good health this holiday season.
I have also included a passage from my memoir and some holiday gifts you might enjoy.
Photograph by Jennifer Denton
I don’t know about you, but I have been taking self-quarantine seriously: I get together with friends on Zoom, have my groceries delivered, and I haven’t seen the inside of a hair salon since February. While I have adjusted to visiting with friends online, and I’ve never been crazy about grocery shopping… My long, thin grey hair had to go, so a couple of weeks ago I studied some YouTube videos and decided to cut and color my own hair.
If it didn’t turn out well I was going to say my hair had been gnawed off by woodchucks.
Le Mythe Dior
I have often thought about writing you but after months of self-imposed Covid lockdown, followed by George Floyd’s senseless and tragic murder and the upheaval in our nation, I hit a bit of a brick wall. The memoir I’m writing revisits a dark period in my life, and for a time, it became difficult for me to write or even think about blogging. I needed to find a way to change that, so in addition to beginning each day with a prayer and taking care of the plants in my courtyard, I put my writing aside and started mainlining lighthearted feelgood films, documentaries and YouTube videos. They were my cinematic macaroni and cheese.
Like a young child, I would plop myself down in front of the television and watch the same beloved films over and over again.
Other than a masked visit to Whole Foods during senior hour and the drive through at the pharmacy, my post Covid schedule revolves around working out, writing a memoir and keeping Annie entertained, or maybe it’s the other way around. Annie is keeping me entertained.
Each time I take Annie for a walk, I feel like I’m putting my ever-thinning bones at risk.
The other night I watched the classic 1959, film, The Diary of Anne Frank, the true story of seven people who went into hiding for two and a half years, hoping to save themselves from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. They lived in a tiny space, on top of one another, and were forced to be silent for nine hours a day. The film had a number of takeaways applicable to the current Corona Virus crisis, but for me, the most important one is the need to get ourselves into a survivorship mentality. I’ve found myself there more times than I’d like to count.
While we can’t change the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we can change how we look at, and deal with, them.
From Disney's Alice in Wonderland
Like Alice in Wonderland I’ve slipped down the rabbit hole. Unlike Alice’s world where, “Cats and rabbits would reside in fancy little houses and be dressed in shoes and hats and trousers,” my world has been filled with “men in suits, driving four door sedans who emptied the contents of our garbage can into the trunk of their car.”
This is my world, the rabbit hole in the memoir I’m writing.
Photographs by Jennifer Denton, taken at Bohanan's, San Antonio.
Not long ago I watched the film Rumor Has It with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston. Aniston’s character was lamenting the fact that her life was “a little nuts” to which Costner’s character said, “Life should be a little nuts. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together.” I love that line! If everything in life was accompanied by a smooth path, with no ups and downs, how would we know if we could survive when life hands us down days, months or even years? And on the flip side of the same coin, how could we fully appreciate the good days?
If a life without worry sounds perfect, might I suggest that after a while, even paradise might seem like a bunch of Thursdays, devoid of those moments that make us who we are?
Lionel Richie & Brenda Coffee. Photograph courtesy of Lionel Richie, 2019.
Dear Friends, This will be my last regular blog post for a while because I’m stepping away to work on my memoir. Writing a blog and a memoir requires different writing muscles and voices, and I can’t do both at the same time. This hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact I’ve put it off for several months, but the time has come.
Did you know you are the ones who’ve encouraged me to write my story?