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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving And Upper Division English

As we inched our way out of Bel Air Market parking lot yesterday, we saw another day-before-Thanksgiving shopper crossing our path with her last-minute purchase, an orchid --a table centerpiece perhaps-- and watched her walk by with blossoms bobbing over her head with each step she took --much like the topknot plume of the California quail. I doodled her over "Wavin' Man" because it was a similar situation and Wavin' Man wanted in on it. You might say they're on the same page.
Thirty years ago, I carved two quail --ground-birds still welcome and plentiful on this property-- over some sheet-aluminum reinforcements on our back door. I headed them into each other because they describe a heart between their heads. Observe:
I thought this sculptural collision positive, life-affirming and even romantic --still do-- but, when I think of humans trying to emulate it with feathery hats, I cannot escape the the strange memory of a college class in Restoration Comedy. High-elevation headgear only amplified the middle-school tenor of the scripts and caused me to withdraw from the class after opining "Thank heaven for Oscar Wilde". Prof. didn't like that and became adversarial. He thought the jokes had to be 300 years old and I was not equal to the task of enjoying them.  Restoration was important because it produced art in defiance of Puritan dominance, but if it is to be effective, it must refresh it's punchlines again and again. One doesn't always take the right classes, I know, but still one resents the fact that mistakes are not realized until after they are made.

So, on to the closing Normaphoto of metal sculpture purchased on an outing with our sister Christina:
It shows a typical family of Callipepla californica --the sort that runs around our yard. When I pass by it, I forget about mistakes, collegiate errors, Puritans, middle school, everything except the garden. I strongly suspect Nepenthe is not a drink but a garden that leads us not out of but INTO reality, dream and discovery. I am thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, all of you.



25 comments:

  1. Wonderful thoughts and a delightful post indeed. Great works, warm greetings to you and happy thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you Blogoratti! Best wishes to you too.

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  2. I definitely agree about refreshed punchlines. "Die Fledermaus" by Strauss is much more enjoyable with contemporary jokes than the original ancient Viennese ones.
    (I also noticed that jokes have been happily updated in recent productions of "The Merry Widow").

    I love that quail "sculptural collision" above the door - - and the door is fantastic.

    Thanks for this delightful post - and Happy Thanksgiving to you and Norma!

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    1. Thanks, Jon. We've had a lot of fun with that back door over the years --another reason I call it a crazy old farmhouse. Likewise, composers and librettists have had a lot of fun with "The Bat" and other operettas that make their ways through time and translations. It's part of what makes them come alive. Best holiday wishes.

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  3. Your door is a thing of beauty as is the metal sculpture in your garden. We need things to look at that can take us out of this world.
    There is something sad about an old joke that brings only a sympathetic smile.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Norma.....so very much to be thankful for.

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    1. During our years of rebuilding a crumbling house here, we found ourselves overwhelmed with scrap lumber and sheet aluminum. It got used for decoration --and for holding the door panels in place. Happy wishes reciprocated, Delores.

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  4. Happy thanksgiving to you, Norma and others there, Geo. I like the carvings, quite the talent, you are.
    Unfamiliar with the drink, but I had a great meal once at Nepenthe once in the mid-seventies.

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    1. Happy holiday to you too, Mike. We'll be staying in but calls are coming from kids. Only one had to work today and will lock up SF Food co-op this evening and visit other SF boy. I'm assuming your reference is to the excellent restaurant in Big Sur. Mine was to the old fictional Greek drug of forgetfulness --an antidepressant I guess. Nepenthes is a carnivorous plant named after that, but for another reason --erasing memory, I suppose, along with everything else in what it catches.

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  5. Loved the door and the quails you created and acquired.
    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you.

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    1. Dear EC, today is reserved for counting blessings, among which you are definitely included. For the good minds that have gathered here over the years, I am truly grateful.

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  6. Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Geo. Echoing EC with admiration for the door and all the quails. You are an artist in so many ways.

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    1. O_Jenny, You are most generous, but the more I practice in the arts, the more I consider myself a gardener. Family and I appreciate your happy wishes and reciprocate in kind.

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  7. Wonderful sites, pieces of art, sentiment and musings for this day of gratitude.
    Thank you for the beauty and the good chuckle-punchlines should be refreshed. I think I'm with you on 300 year old jokes, mine are old enough! Good cheer to you and Norma and all gathered through your garden and into your home.

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    1. Tom, you are definitely one of the good minds met here on the web that I'm grateful for. Good cheer to you too, and thanks.

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  8. A beautiful garden, with beautiful things to see.

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    1. Most kind, Ana. Norma is responsible for the design and plantings. I'm mostly needed when there's chainsawing to be done now.

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  9. Dude! You never fail to amaze me with your talents. I have no doubt that your artistic skills enhanced your gardening abilities, but never doubt that you ARE an artist. Your carved quail above the door are fabulous. In fact, that whole door is. It creates a delightful air of whimsy and a certain mindset that informs visitors as to the kind of people who dwell within. (And they're pretty damned terrific.)

    I hope you and Norma had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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    1. Susan, the artwork helped sustain us through some very busy times here. We've worked so much on this old house for 35 years. Given another 35 years, we'll have it about right. And yes, we had a pleasant Thanksgiving --just the 2 of us-- but one of our sons is coming by train to cook for us today --so it isn't over yet. Hope you had a wonderful day too!

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  10. We once lived at a place where a family of Gambel's Quail lived somewhere around a woodpile. We would sit on our back patio and watch the adult in the family climb to the top and keep watch over his youngsters. The little ones are wonderful to see.

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    1. We keep a brush-pile in the woody end of the property that serves the same purpose. The quail like to feel protected and the little families always post a sentry when out foraging. They are, as you say, wonderful.

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  11. Dear Geo., I like your Geodoodle very, very much!
    And I am always astounded how many orchids are offered these days to choose from - and that one does not have to pay that much. When I think back to Rex Stout`s crime novels with Nero Woolfe, who disappears to his attic when he has to think - and there sprays lovingly his orchids with finest water...

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I suspect Stout used the house as a metaphor and Woolfe's attic symbolized his brain. His thoughts were tended there but his physique relied very much on the kitchen.

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    2. That might well be so, Geo. - but orchids also symbolized the exquisiteness of his sense of taste.
      Though it is a very interesting point of view. Orchids symbolizing women, maybe - and he just adored them in his brain.

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  12. Geo, you are indeed so talented...your carved quail is amazing, as is your doodle of the "flower lady!"
    I do like your door...it is like the entrance to another, more magical world.
    Oh how I feel drawn to enter...*smiles*

    Wishing you and Norma a great weekend.:))

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    1. Ygraine, your posts and comments are always welcomed where this door is, and much appreciated. Thanks!

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