Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 11/26/21

1. Robert and I enjoyed a big ole modern family Thanksgiving celebration with daughters Amy and Emily (and their fams) and ex-wife/great friend Donna.

And a pic that defines Awkward Family Photo …

I had just made some silly, jokey remark, and grandson Daniel was the only one who thought it was funny. He thought it was REALLY funny.

2. Cranberry sauce. More specifically, MY cranberry sauce. With allspice, brown sugar, fresh squeezed oj and zest.

3. My aging, sometimes achy and imperfect but wonderful body.

{No pic until said imperfect body is perfect. Do not expect body pics in the foreseeable future.}

4. Robert’s sometimes odd but always delicious soups (which he often makes up on the fly). This time, Baby Bok Choy and Shrimp.

5. The countdown to Christmas. We put up our Travel Tree last night, Thanksgiving night—a tradition. What’s a Travel Tree, you ask? It’s a Christmas tree, with each ornament from one of our travels. (More about the Travel Tree on my blog each day during December.)

Happy Last Weekend in November!

What are you thankful for this day?

Posted in Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Touch”

I can still remember so very vividly this difficult but meaningful chance encounter one evening in downtown Savannah years ago.

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Touch

sadeyes3

Savannah’s Broughton Street bustles with activity this past Friday night, even for a warm and gorgeous early spring evening. I suppose Broughton is as close as my quirky, Midnight City gets to having a normal Main Street, as the historic district snakes around twenty-two breathtakingly beautiful squares. (Savannah’s downtown area is unique and hard to describe–come visit us to see what I mean.)

My friend Robert and I venture to the Crystal Beer Parlor, share joyful banter with lovely Hostess Fifi, meet good buddies, consume delicious and perfectly prepared ribeye steak. Friday night joy. Next, Broughton Street Market and dream-laden lottery tickets. Walking toward my car. Traverse past hip young couples pushing into dance clubs; midde-agers brandishing bags with Paula Deen leftovers; older folks leaving Savannah Music Festival venues; SCAD kids with blue hair waving in the breeze. Packed, noisy sidewalks. All well. Very well. Blessed.

Then fate interrupts–as she often does.

They sit on the sidewalk. No sprawl. As if dumped there. Three young men, in their early twenties. Two dogs. Man and pet, dirty, smelly, retched. Outcasts from society. A block from McDonald’s.

I live downtown and have grown immune to the homeless, the beggars, the street people. They merge and melt into the old bricks, the azaleas, the wooden benches. So what if there is an occasional grocery cart on its side in the shadows? No big deal. It happens.

But then the soiled speak.

“Can you guys help us out? We’re hungry.” Honesty makes me tell you my reaction: No Reaction. Walking on. Past the dirty ones.

Then Robert turns, and says, “I can’t give you money, but I can buy you some food.”

Why do I hang out with people like Robert? It’s so much easier to keep walking. Walking past. Walking toward. Past what I don’t want to see, acknowledge. Walking toward the known, the comfortable.

“What are you doing?” I quietly ask Robert, a bit frustrated.

“Getting them something to eat,” he says matter-of-factly.

I try but can’t think of a real reason to stop this interruption of my previously perfect night.

Too late, already inside McDonald’s, I remember a possible reason to have kept walking, a religious reason even: didn’t Jesus say that we would always have the poor with us?

But Robert, reasonless, places the order.

Five minutes later, with a bag of burgers and a tray of dollar menu sweet teas, we walk back toward the vagabonds. One young guy, with his mouth inexplicably sucking on the side of a smoking soda can, with pierced nose tattooed in triplicate black dots along the bridge, stands up in dryrotted pants that touch bony, bare knees. Drunk. Or high. Or both.

I hold out the bag of burgers. Away from my body, and toward his. Embarrassed. He reaches towards the food and plops back down.

Another, apparently the leader and spokesperson, looks up at me and says, “Man, you guys are beautiful. I gotta stand up and thank you. That’s a cool jacket.”

I want to be anywhere, anywhere but here.

He starts to stand, and then reaches out to hug me, drunkenly. But pauses, perhaps sensing my hesitancy.

I then see his eyes.

And my safe Savannah world shatters.

For his eyes are the eyes of a real boy. A boy with a mama and a daddy somewhere. A boy who used to be a baby.

“Where are you guys from?” I ask, shakily, terrified but now connected. Joined. Level.

“San Francisco, long way from home,” he replies.

And then my knowing comes: his eyes could be the eyes of my daughters. The eyes of my grandchildren.

Without thinking, I reach out and touch his scraggly face and hold it for a moment. I see him. Time freezes. I really see him. He sees me, I think.

“If this was reversed, I’d do this for you, man,” he says haltingly, taking his place back down on the sidewalk, back down to his low place.

Robert and I walk away.

Less than two blocks later, I feel tears on my face.

sadeyes2

— 2013

Posted in Robert and …

“Robert and …” #5

A blog category of pics I’ve taken of Hubby Robert and … well, just about anything.

Robert and the Longleaf

Ever since we read Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and watched the beautiful documentary Secrets of the Longleaf, Robert and I have been obsessed with the majestic Longleaf Pine Tree.

The Longleaf Pine once reigned supreme, covering over 90 million acres across the coastal plain of the U.S. Now, because of logging and mismanagement, only several million acres are left.

Robert and I have been fortunate to see the stately pine and reintroduction efforts in our Georgia State Part travels.

Here’s Robert … talking to a Longleaf, while others in the background lean in to listen …

And here he is … massaging the tree …

(I try not to judge. Just document.)

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Two Definitions, not Wun”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

Here are two definitions of ANXIETY. First, from Oxford Languages:

Well, Oxford Languages summed it up pretty well: “Worry, Unease, Nervousness,” otherwise known as WUN. (Truth in blogging: I just made up that acronym.)

Unnecessary sidebar: Did you know that “wun” is an actual word?! At least according to the unrivaled urbandictionary.com.

Uh oh, “Walking with the occasional burst of running for a few seconds, or minutes at best,” not to mention “let’s hope I survive” both sound eerily, anxiously familiar.

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A “hypothetical“ convo between Anxiety, Developing Truth and Me:

Me: “Anxiety ain’t gonna wun over me. I’m gonna wun from it.”

Anxiety: “We’ll see.”

Developing Truth: “Neal, it’s not about being adversarial, combative or managerial with Anxiety.”

Anxiety: “Again, we will see.”

Developing Truth: “Breathe and try again, Neal.”

Me: “Okay. I ain’t gonna wun from it. At least I’m gonna try not to.”

Developing Truth: “That’s enough for now.”

Anxiety: “We. Will. See.”

************

The second definition of Anxiety is from “my sister,” Anxiety Girl:

Whew, that’s enough defining for wun day.

Posted in My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: “Who Let the Fish Out? A Trawling Adventure on the Sea Dawg”

Last month, Robert and I took our second day trip over to the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension and Sea Grant on Skidaway Island.

“By advancing research, education and training, and outreach, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant promotes the economic, cultural and environmental health of Georgia’s coast and prepare citizens to become good stewards of coastal ecosystems and watershed resources.” — Marine Extension and Sea Grant website

A cloudy day, with rain threatening, we braved our away onto the Sea Dawg, UGA’s 43’ research vessel.

Here’s how UGA described our adventure …

Here’s Robert looking excited and normal (and a little bit like a dark Gilligan) …

And here’s me with a sort of seated and crazed I’m-not-so-sure-about-this-floating-Dawg-thing look …

We did two trawls, and although at first glance each catch looked like it held basically one type of little fish, upon closer inspection there were a couple of dozen different fish species, as well as sting ray, jellyfish, sponges, coral, etc.

Thankfully, these trawls on the salty Wilmington River brought up very little trash.

We can’t wait for the next adventure on the water. Thanks, UGA. Woof.

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 11/19/21

Today I’m resurrecting an old blog category I used to publish each Friday where I listed five things which bring joy to my life. I ingeniously named the category “Five Friday Happy Bringers.” It’s a weekly gratitude journal of sorts.

So here’s today’s listing.

1. Brilliant fall, even in Savannah.

A cool leafing in the Design District

2. Our body’s natural ability to breathe.

On an exit door at my local Y

3. Old shoes which fit so comfortably.

4. Robert’s homemade chicken pot pies.

5. This little blog, which is enabling me to reconnect with a small but significant sense of purpose.

FABULOUS FRIDAY AND WEEKEND TO YOU ALL!

Posted in Humor, Robert and …

“Robert and …” #4

A blog category of pics I’ve taken of Hubby Robert and … well, just about anything.

Robert and a Really Big Steak

A few years back, Robert and I were in Atlanta to celebrate our anniversary. On previous trips, we had passed by this architecturally interesting building off I-85 just north of the city.

Wait. What? You don’t find it all that interesting? Well, Robert didn’t either. But in the spirit of blissful anniversarial celebration, I insisted that we go for our dinner festivities.

You can see why, right? Doesn’t the name itself make you happy? All circque du soleil-ish and island-drinky!

We walked through the classy daiquiri bar to get to our table. Walked too quickly, if you ask me.

Robert wouldn’t let me stop. Even though they had a wonderful selection …

Robert was hungry, so we quickly perused the menu, and my eyes immediately found the Tomahawk for two. It WAS our anniversary after all.

Here’s Cirque’s menu description of the big steak:

Neither of us being very good with numbers, 36 ounces sounded like enough for both of us.

After endearing anniversary chit-chat (“But why don’t you want to celebrate with that pretty blue daiquiri?”), 36 ounces finally made their way to our table.

We were both simply shocked. (Why didn’t we do our math homework in eighth grade?!) Here’s my husband, with a somewhat crazed and confused look on his celebratory face, holding our dinner soon after it arrived. It was far too heavy for me to pick up, but I wanted a scrapbook pic for posterity.

Hours later, and 36 plus ounces heavier, we slowly waddled back past the daiquiri bar (I was too stuffed to take a final longing glance at the “Blue Mutha”—the Tomahawk had “Shut my Mouth”) and into the Atlanta midnight.

A BIG anniversary celebration.