Friday, July 29, 2011

A face to shine on you


Standard operating equipment would be a nose, 2 eyes and a mouth. 

Hair is optional and comes in a variety of locations and configurations.

So what is there about the face of someone we love that makes it so special?

The eyes are not necessarily so much more luminous than those of the general populace.

The lips of our loved one don’t automatically issue forth more pleasant sounds.

And the nose– no matter how beloved the holder of the nose may be, the stuff it emits is just as disgusting as the nasal secretions of the rest of humankind.

There must be a filter through which we observe those closest to our hearts. 

A gauzy filter woven with affection and memories, hopes, dreams and longings. 

The filter glimmers with devotion and is edged in grace.

The filter ensures that we see the requisite features both less and more clearly.

It obscures imperfections and highlights that which delights. 

It calls attention what a great gift we have in the bearer of eyes, nose, mouth and sometimes hair that are all so special to us.

And when the faces of those we have loved are no longer before us, their features don’t dim.

The veil draws gently over painful memories while giving greater clarity to the joy that was ours when we could look into the eyes of a beloved one and hear words of sweetness from the mouth. 

The same veil that endues our loved ones with such singular beauty also obscures the one who is Most Beloved.

What delight to know that now we see Him through the veil dimly, but someday,

Face to Face.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Emeril, let the games begin!

The Prude has a scheme.
Er, dream.
She wants to organize an event.
It will attract people from around the world.
Rich or poor, old or young, buff or squishy,
all are welcome.
The only requirement is a kitchen.

Yes, The Prude wants to organize the first ever
Kitchen Olympics.

It could be held every four years.
Nations can approach The Prude and put in bids to hold
Kitchen Olympics in their realm.
Each participating nation can design aprons to reflect national pride.

The Prude is working on an opening ceremonies theme song.

But what, you may legitimately ask, are the events?
How can I, you wonder, train for the thrilling
Kitchen Olympics
if I don’t know what I am training for?

And this is where The Prude gets a bit fuzzy.
She has a few:

-Messiest dessert 
(this one will also have style points)

-speed emptying dishwasher

-oldest expiration date on food in freezer (the Prude has some dating back to the previous millennium)

-cleaning a Tupperware cupboard with the least number of widow and orphan lids and containers left over

-the biggest variety of silverware patterns in a utensil drawer.

And that is it so far.
She is thinking that if she is going to have sponsorships and major media news coverage
she may need to add to the list.

So… anyone have anything to add?
Come up with an event and The Prude will name it after you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Early Bird Gets Bronchitis

The Prude is a big fan of Old Wives’ Tales.
She is a proponent of the Wise Old Saying.
Birds of a feather do tend to flock together.
If you can get close enough to a bird to put salt on its tale chances are you can catch him.

But some Old Sayings are so scurrilous as to rate a disapproval post.

Everyone by now knows that eating like a bird implies you devour your own body weight in food each day.
It is common knowledge that if you are a birdbrain you should be flattered. You have the sense to fly south for the winter and remain there until the weather improves.

But ‘The Early Bird Gets the Worm’ is single-handedly responsible for more psychological damage than any other saying or tale since Eve told Adam not to worry about the boys because ‘Birds in their little nests agree.’
The Way-Too-Early Birds

The Prude today debunks the myth of the early bird with photographic evidence.

See this bird? 

He no doubt slept in till nine.  He has none of that pompous, up-since-the-crack-of-dawn attitude. He tells the slothful, the slug-a-bed, the morning lounger, ‘Have no shame! The best worms don’t get moving till just before noon!”

That worm dangling from his beak? That was the twelfth worm The Prude saw him snatch from the ground  after she had set out a 10 am to finally do her weeding.
The smug robin winked at her as if to say, “You too? Never mind. The best weeds are easier to see when the sun is high.  No worries.”

My little robin friend poked cheerfully about the yard and with very little labor pulled out worm after wriggly worm.  Because, as everyone knows,
The Worm doesn’t Turn up till mid-morning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh, The Shenanigans We'll See!

When the Prude was eight she saw ‘The Music Man’ for the first time. It was on TV and her parents considered it wholesome entertainment, unlike the Jackie Gleason Show with its scantily clad dancers.
The Prude saw ‘The Music Man’ for the second time yesterday.
It was on TV and she considered it perfect entertainment to do ironing by, unlike the Brewers or Cubs games with their scantily batting players.

And somewhere between pressing the dress shirts and the khakis
it hit her like 76 trombones.
She has out-pruded her parents.

The Prude was shocked by the shenanigans in The Music Man.
-The staid librarian/staunch heroine doesn’t respect a mother’s wishes to control her own daughter’s reading material.
-Women of questionable virtue are exalted in an entire song.
-Teens are allowed—no– encouraged to have clandestine meetings with members of the opposite gender and without parental approval.

-Unchaperoned youth meet with members of the opposite gender at a footbridge. At night.
-Singing occurs in the library.
-The staid librarian/staunch heroine’s mother wishes out loud that the staid/staunch librarian/heroine would throw herself at a man. Any man will do.
-The heroine/librarian who is staid/staunch convinces the town to believe the ends justify the means regarding Mr. Music Man the Lousy Cheater.

Then, proving that naughtiness begets naughtiness, she tells the flim-flamming Music Man to ditch town before he is tarred and feathered.

This is what The Prude was subjected to during her formative years at the tender and impressionable age of 8. What was her mother thinking?  Allowing an impressionable child in the throes of her formative years to see such roguishness?
Maybe she had been to busy ironing to notice.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tears in a bottle

… and then the gun rights people say,
'If there were more guns in Norway this never would have happened.'
and then the outlaw-all-weapons groups yell back,
'No way! If there were no guns this would never have happened'
and then the Christians chime in and say
'Just because he calls himself a right wing fundamentalist Christian doesn’t mean he acted like Christ.'
and the Muslims say
'We’re sick of everyone blaming everything on us before they know the facts.'
and the newspapers claim, 
'82 slain! No! 89! No, wait! 93! More on page 2!'
and America says
'So, it doesn’t just happen here.'
and Europe says
'This isn’t supposed to happen here.'
and cable news tells us
'Amy Winehouse is dead!'
And in Norway ninety-three mothers beg to waken from the nightmare and one mother wonders why her son would create the nightmare
and opinions and recriminations fly across the universe.

Evil hugs itself in glee and rejoices in anger upon hatred, enmity upon intolerance,
heartache upon heartache.

But the God of the whole universe points one hand at evil and says
‘This far and no further, till the day I shatter you utterly.’
and His other hand reaches out to 93 mothers–94 mothers– and says,
‘COME to me. I will put your tears in a bottle and I will give you rest.’

Friday, July 22, 2011

These I've Loved

These I’ve Loved

Elizabeth-Ellen Long

These I’ve loved since I was little;
Wood to build with or to whittle,

Wind in the grass and falling rain,

First leaves along an April lane,

Yellow flowers, cloudy weather,

River-bottom smell, old leather,

Fields newly plowed, young corn in rows,

Back-county roads and cawing crows,

Stone walls with stiles going over,

Daisies, Queen Anne’s lace and clover,

Night tunes of crickets, frog songs too,

Starched cotton cloth, the color blue,

Bells that ring from white church steeple,

Friendly dogs and friendly people

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canada, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do.

A headline in The Prude’s paper this morning reads:

Seems there is cool air in the northern hemisphere; Canada is just hogging it.
It is ‘trapped’ there. Presumably against its will.

Them are fightin’ words.

The Prude suggests we storm Canada and take some of that cool air for ourselves.

But wait.  Although many loyal and sweaty Americans are willing to heed the call of patriotism and take by force what Canada holds, only 37% of us can go.
That is the percentage of Americans who carry passports.
Canada won’t let us storm them without a valid passport at the border.

And what if the cool air is trapped in Quebec? How many Americans can state our legitimate demands in French?
Only 17% of us great red white and blue-blooders speak French.

Our battle force is dwindling.
The Prude assumes several million meat-consumng men will refuse to go in case they have to eat Canadian bacon. How can a rotund sliver of meat that doesn’t drip grease be called ‘bacon’?

Then we have those traumatized by playing soccer on fields that were actually huge restrooms for Canada geese.
They’ll hang back, along with their fellow loyal Americans who believe that just across the border is a land perpetually swathed in ice and snow.
So who is left to go and rescue the cool air we so desperately need here in the US of A?
The Prude hears rumbling from those who resent Canada’s first dibs on Will and Kate’s visit.
Add some crazed hockey fans who see red when the maple leaf flag is hoisted, a few tourist industry folks who begrudge sharing Niagara Falls with Canada
and we may just have the lean, mean fighting machine required to invade a sovereign nation.
Who shall lead?
The Prude? She does, after all, know all the words of ‘Oh Canada’
But she doesn’t have a passport.
Maybe the cold air will escape and emigrate to the US. Let’s hope all the hot air generated in Washington DC right now doesn’t kill it before it can land.
*Julie Shirley/Wisconsin State Journal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fly Me to the Moon

 James Thurber wrote a delightful child's story called 'Many Moons' about a little princess who wasn't feeling well. All that would make her better was to hold the moon. Below is an excerpt:

"Nobody can do anything for me," said the king mournfully. "Princess Lenore wants the
moon, and she cannot be well till she gets it, but nobody can get it for her. Every time
I ask anybody for the moon, it gets larger and farther away. There is nothing you can do
for me except play on your lute. Something sad."

"How big do they say it is," asked the court jester, "and how far away?"

"The Lord High Chamberlain says it is 35,000 miles away, and bigger than princess
Lenore's room," said the king. "The Royal Wizard says it is 150,000 miles away, and
twice as big as this palace. The Royal Mathematician says it is 300,000 miles away
and half the size of this kingdom."

The court jester strummed on his lute for a little while. "They are all wise men," he
said, "and so they must all be right. If they are all right, then the moon must be just
as large and as far away as each person thinks it is. The thing to do is find out how
big princess Lenore thinks it is, and how far away."

"I never thought of that," said the king.

"I will go to her, your majesty," said the court jester. And he crept softly into
the little girl's room.

Princess Lenore was awake, and she was glad to see the court jester, but her face was
very pale and her voice very weak.

"Have you brought the moon to me?" she asked.

"Not yet," said the court jester, "but I will get it for you right away. How big do
you think it is?"

"It is a little smaller than my thumbnail," she said, "for when I hold my thumbnail
up at the moon, it covers it."

"And how far away is it?" asked the court jester.

"It is not as high as the big tree outside my window," said the princess, "for sometimes
it gets caught in the top branches."

"It will be very easy to get the moon for you," said the court jester. "I will climb
the tree tonight when it gets caught in the top branches and bring it to you."

Then he thought of something else. "What is the moon made of, princess?" he asked.

"Oh, " she said, "it's made of gold, of course, silly."

Sometimes the moon is warm and large and golden, sometimes cold and small and silver. It dominates the night, stealing light from the sun to draw attention to itself and away from the stars. Or it turns its face gradually to the wall, ignoring the sun, the stars and us until the mood passes, and just as gradually pivots its full, plump countenance back, confident to be yet again the center of attention.

On July 20, 1969, the moon had a visit from the planet it had been surveying from time out of mind. A mortal took a small step and had a chance to see the universe from the moon's perspective.
And behold, it was very good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If You Give a Prude a Cookbook,

If you give a Prude a cookbook, chances are she will want to bake a cake.

As she measures her dry ingredients into a bowl, she’ll realize her salt and baking powder are running low.
She’ll put them on her grocery list.

When she looks in the bowl she’ll see she should have sifted the chunks of cocoa.

So she’ll get out her sifter and grasp and squeeze and shake it till the lumps are gone. 

But then her hand will hurt.
So she’ll need to find the Icy Hot.

With the batter mixed she is ready to pop the pans in the oven. But men have converged outside her kitchen. 

She’ll instruct them not to slam any doors or stomp any feet or the
Cakes May Fall.

Back in the kitchen she puts the cakes in the oven, sets the timer and begins her next task.

But Son #2 and Husband interrupt. They need mediation in a crucial business matter involving grout color and a liability clause.
The Prude dons her Peacekeeping hat and works through the tangled intricacies of self-employment.

Peace reigns. Until she realizes the dispute drowned out the sound of the buzzer.
She stomps and slams her way to the oven and yanks out the cake breathing threats of violence and recrimination.

After she and the cake have cooled she sets the mixer to the icing ingredients. She wants to get the frosted cake in the fridge before the kitchen gets any hotter.
That will remind her that when the A/C isn’t running the powder room toilet is prone to perspire. She directs a fan at its sweaty tank.

Her mixer demands attention for the icing and she washes her hands, ices the cake, deposits it in the fridge and collapses on the sofa.

She picks up a book.
 It is a cookbook.
And if you give a Prude a cookbook, chances are….