Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors



Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Columbia Cemetery

To read my articles, click HERE! And don't forget to subscribe.


Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity


Rizzo on retaining wall with tiger lilies

Rizzo the splendid Chiweenie has developed a new behavior.

But wait.

Update: He has been doing much better when it comes to eating pieces of wood and local flora and rocks and pine cones and acorns.

He hardly ever has to wear his OutFox Field Guard anymore.

I think he's tasted everything there is to taste in the back yard slash pool area which is his outdoor domain, and lost interest. At least temporarily.

When the acorns begin dropping in about five months, I'm pretty sure we'll have to start installing the face mask again. But until then, Rizzo goes outside in the altogether.

He adores basking in the sunshine and almost never wants to come in. We'll see what happens when the weather turns positively sweltering.

I saw two fleas on my pet a few weeks ago and freaked out. He was being treated with a topical pesticide so I didn't understand why live fleas were able to establish residence in Rizzo's luxurious fur.

The veterinarian said that fleas long ago figured out the particular formula we were using. They eat it for breakfast now; it puts hair on their chests. It hasn't harmed a flea since Skippy was a pup.

He also said it's squirrels bringing all the fleas to the yard.

We have only the occasional squirrel that runs along the privacy fence or hops from tree to tree overhead, but I guess they're flinging fleas as they go.

So anyway, we switched to another brand of topical flea treatment, and that did the trick.

But as to Rizzo's new behavior -- the one I mentioned earlier -- he's begun trotting along the low brick retaining wall that runs for about seventy-five feet separating our pool area from the grassy knoll beyond.

The tiger lilies are showing out so I took Rizzo's picture sitting/standing on the far edge of said retaining wall, over by the sun room and my palmetto tree garden, with the bright orange flowers behind him.

From his expressions, Rizzo is alternately contemplative as to the existence of tiger lilies, bored to tears by having his picture taken with tiger lilies, ready to sing full-throttle at the meaning of tiger lilies growing beside retaining walls, made very sleepy by the semi-rainy day (and for all we know, the tiger lilies), and completely disinterested in all of the above, including me.

But what I'd do without my little Riz-man, the Rizzonator, my excellent thirty-five-dollar dog, I will never know. I rescued him and in return, he rescued me right back.

And that is all for now.


Happy Wednesday


We went to Greenville. They went to Jared.

Mother's Day is only fifty-one weeks away! Or one week and one day away. Depending on how you look at it.

This thought crossed me pirate brain as I considered the fact that if I don't tell you about my Mother's Day, tales of the occasion will become hopelessly OBE.

Overcome By Events.

Which seems to be the story of my life lately. Apologies for my tardiness.

A week ago Saturday, practically our entire family converged on the home of Mom and Henry in Greenville. We took food and gifts, and were met with more food and more gifts.

My mother started this thing several years ago of giving presents to my sister and me for Mother's Day. Presumably because we are mothers. And she's our mother. I like how she thinks.

So now, I give my children gifts on Mother's Day. Even the ones who aren't mothers, or even female.

For example, this is what I gave to Andrew. It was matted and framed and ready to be displayed in his house. Click to embiggen:

Audrey got this one (which, I should confess, was actually taken by Andrew) --

And Erica received this one:

(Our other three grandchildren will be visiting us for a week each this summer. I can't wait to show you the portraits of them that I plan to get, with their maternal aunts and uncle. PLAN being the operative word, because they aren't here often or for very long, and it will be hot, and a multitude of activities tend to get in the way. Stay tuned.) 

Stephanie received lavender soap and sparkly earrings, place holders until I can get a pretty portrait of her with Dagny.

To my own mother I gave, among other things, this photo:

Along with a promise to organize a shoot with Stephanie and her three children, and give her a framed picture of them too. Again: This will be tricky as opportunities don't necessarily abound. But I'm nothing if not determined. And I did promise.

We took lots of photos that day but due to light and space and temperature/humidity concerns and my singular failings when behind the camera lens (or being the one who set it up on a tripod and operated the remote), they're not great.

But at least you can see all of us, including Mother and Henry. Click it! Do not be afraid.

Anyway, we got together and ate and had presents and pictures. The only one missing (and greatly missed) was our son-in-law, Joel, who is a pastor and as such takes Mondays off but rarely a Saturday.

Chad was there, and Brittany. As in, two of my single children have been dating lovely people since late last year.

There is love-dust floating around everywhere now. You breathe it; it sticks to your eyelashes and your clothes.

The twitterpation is palpable. Eyes are sparkling. Happy smiles simply break out before faces tell them to show up there.

Chad is Erica's love, and she his. For Andrew, it's the darling Brittany. And he for her. We adore them all, both separately and together. But I think you'll agree, together is better.

Back to presents. Stephanie gave me a glittering Jessica Simpson necklace that reminds me of a pirate medallion. I adore circles. Win-win.

Brittany brought me a sweet miniature rose bush which I fervently pray I do not kill.

Also Erica gave me a vintage Reader's Digest condensed book cut into the shape of a J and tied closed with a bit of twine. I love it.

Among my cards was a giant one featuring a tiara-wearing Chihuahua. Home run, mi amigas.

On Mother's Day, after church, the girls prepared lunch for me and TG and hostessed us at their house. And guess what I saw, the second I walked in and my eyes adjusted?

A beribboned gift bag from Jared.

My heart skipped at least sixteen beats. I gasped. Is that for meeeee, I thought. Noooooo.

But it WAS for me. Audrey, Erica, and Andrew pooled their racehorses and got me a Pandora bracelet. I never dreamed I'd own one. I love it.

My clasp is the signature twinkling barrel and my first charm is angel wings with a cultured pearl drop.

I've got many future charms all picked out. I got right on that, just in case anyone asks.

I hope your Mother's Day was just as memorable in every way and that you have awe-inspiring plans for your Memorial Day.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


Sunday driven

I'm working on a photography project that involves getting certain shots of certain people.

And even more shots of certain people together.

You might say I'm driven. The project has been in the works for a while. I long for completion.

So I asked Erica if she'd come over to the house after church last Sunday evening, during the golden hour, so that we could take advantage of the gorgeous weather and perfect light.

Dagny was involved too. Audrey agreed to produce her daughter on location at the same time.

Naturally everything's more fun when Dagny enters the mix. It's true that children keep you young.

Exhausted and frustrated too (sometimes), but definitely young. Young and hopeful and full of laughter.

My youngest granddaughter wore a black dress and pearls for this shoot. What else?

Before getting down to the business at hand, she begged to drive with Papaw, who was putting the car away.

She hopped in and they left together, with Dagny sitting on TG's lap in the driver's seat.

Don't judge. They drove around the block. Top speed: ten. Our neighborhood is nothing if not quiet.

Dagny couldn't have been more thrilled if her mother had told her she could have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week.

When they got back and Papaw had changed clothes, more shenanigans ensued.

Dagny trusts the strong arms of her grandfather. She's got faith in his love and she knows he'll never hurt her or let her down in any way.

From earliest babyhood when Dagny watched hours upon hours of Baby Einstein videos, she will put her arms up over her head when we say "Reach!"

Then came a short session of Dagny and Papaw sharing hugs. I'm pretty sure Dagny has had millions of hugs and kisses since her birth.

And she's just getting started.

It's all good.

Eventually we got down to the business of taking pictures of Dagny with her beloved Aunt Erica. Those two have a special relationship.

I wanted to capture it in a picture, as much as that can be done.

Along with devoted parents and grandparents, adoring aunts and uncles can be among the best parts of a childhood.

Dagny's rich in that regard.

She and her cousins return happiness tenfold for all the love they're given. Kids are great. My grandkids? Grander than grand.

Meanwhile, the project continues. Stay tuned for shots of all four of my grandchildren. Alone, and together. I'm driven to make it happen.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday


Whatever you say

OK here's the deal: I've got something to say here and, as is my wont, I'm just going to haul off and say it.

If it offends you, do feel free to click out. Pirate or no pirate, it's our policy here at IHATH not to keep anyone against their will.

Allow me to first lay some groundwork.

My TG collects books like a black dress collects lint and dog hair.

The shelves are groaning. There are piles beside his chair. Tome towers rise on nearby surfaces. His bedside table is littered with various volumes.

I look at the books sometimes and think: Where do they all come from?

(On account of, I fail to notice him actually bringing them into the house, and he seldom receives a package at the door or in the mail.)

The materials seem to simply ... materialize.

So I asked TG: Where do all these books come from? 

Oh I just get them, he replied. Vaguely, as per usual. (A man of few words, if you don't count the millions on his hoarded pages.)

Anyway. Recently I spied a smallish book sitting by itself on the ledge of a built-in. I picked it up. I read the pretty, beachy cover:

A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy.

OK the Pat Conroy part I got right away; Like TG, the late South Carolina man of letters was a graduate of The Citadel. He even wrote a book about The Military College of South Carolina: The Lords of Discipline.

You might say TG is a fan. So am I, as it turns out. I've read The Lords of Discipline. Meh. I read The Prince of Tides twenty years ago. I found The Great Santini difficult to read, however, and didn't finish it. Ditto My Losing Season.

Conroy's writing can be too sad for me to endure. His autobiographical works are the worst in that regard. Naturally. His young life was insanely painful and he wrote of it with excruciating honesty. At least I think so.

All I can say is, it rings true to me, for personal reasons I won't divulge. And I can tell you that when I stood at the grave of Colonel Donald Patrick "The Great Santini" Conroy himself a few years ago, in Beaufort National Cemetery, I was uncomfortable.

I go with my gut. I believe Conroy's account of brutal abuse at the hands of his father. Enough said.

OK so I understood the Pat Conroy part of the mysterious new book decorating my ledge. What I didn't get was the title. TG is not known to read books about the craft of writing. That's my bailiwick. You might say I collect those types of titles.

Yes; I'm guilty of amassing books too. Mea culpa. So sue me.

Before I thought to query my beloved regarding the provenance of Conroy's book on writing, one fine day I was coming up the driveway from the mailbox when my next-door-neighbor spoke hello to me.

Hey, I said. I kept walking. (We're not exactly close, except in proximity of our domiciles.)

Did you read that book I gave Greg? She brayed.

I looked up. Uh, no! I said, feigning interest. What book is that?

The Pat Conroy one! Mrs. Botherton bellowed.

Oh, that's yours? I wondered, I said. We love Conroy. We actually met him one --

I only bought it because my (mah) child (cha-ald) went to The Citadel, she interrupted. Maybe when Greg's finished with it, he'll let you read it.

(Let me? Haaaahaha ...) She knows me not at all.

Hey but have you ever known someone who wants to talk at you but has no interest whatsoever in talking to you? They'll yammer on and on, never caring to stop and listen for as long as it takes to draw a breath?

That's my neighbor. Just let's not talk about her anymore, shall we?

Good fences and all that rot.

Intrigued, I went back indoors and sought out the little book. I examined it more carefully. Turns out Conroy's wife convinced him to keep a blog in his latter days, when he was too ill to travel and interact with his readers as he once had done.

(Conroy was famous for writing his novels in longhand on yellow legal pads, and only embraced technology in his latter days, when he was forced to do so or be cut off from his public.)

The book consists of many of Conroy's blog posts. It looked good to me and I set it aside to read.

A few days later, I picked up the book. I always read (or at least skim) introductions, and this time was no exception.

Said Introduction had been written by Pat's third wife, his widow.

Now, at the risk of being too wordy here (like I said; if your mind is inclined to wander or if the laundry needs folding or the fried chicken's about to burn, click on out. I don't blog all that much these days), I'm fixing to pull over and park for a mo.

Heaven forfend that I, of all people, should speak ill of the dead. 

I don't say that I never would. Some people, alive and/or dead -- no matter -- truly deserve to be spoke ill of. Be that as it may, this is not that.

The disclaimer is provided because I'd be hurt, dismayed, nonplussed, perturbed, and deeply grieved if anyone read this post, took an errant turn, and ended up at the wrong conclusion.

So don't.

This observance falls solidly under the heading: Just Saying.

Because that's really all I'm doing: Saying.

In reading Mrs. Conroy's introductory words to the volume of her husband's selected blog posts, I learned that the late great Pat wasn't the only member of the family given to lush hyperbole.

The widow describes her husband as someone who effervesced throughout his many book signings, greeting everyone "as though he were running for mayor." According to her, Pat was a virtual paragon of charm and charisma unequaled in the Western Hemisphere for his ability to effortlessly connect with his fellow humans.

Rather than heed the directives and pleas of his publisher's representatives at promotional events to, for the sake of time, sign only one book per customer, to their chagrin Pat would gleefully invite his readers to "Bring all you have!"

And they would. As Mrs. Conroy tells it, a reader would approach the table where Pat was holding court. Clutching several Conroy titles, they would instantly burst into tears and commence to tell him their life story and what his writings had meant to them, and maybe even ask if he had the time to read their manuscript.

He'd let them gush for as long as they had a mind to, not even marginally concerned that two hundred people waited behind the sobbing reader to tell their own moist, painfully personal tales to South Carolina's answer to William Faulkner.

When visiting a bookstore for a signing, Pat "knew each of the staff by name ... asked after their families ... even if it had been many years since his last signing there."

Could you do that?

Mrs. Conroy insists that her husband, who was a diabetic, many pounds overweight, prone to crippling hand cramps, and a sufferer of severe back pain, would sit for five to eight hours signing books and greeting his public non-stop, refusing to take "even the quickest of breaks" -- to visit the men's room, for example, or to eat a bite of protein.

Pat Conroy's book signings are described by his wife as "more than anything else ... lovefests between him and his readers." Emphasis mine.

I could go on. You know I could. And I will thank you not to snicker.

For the sake of this exercise, just imagine a hale, hearty, rotund, larger-than-life, Santa-jovial, white-haired, silver-tongued devil bursting with love and energy and the desire to share himself lavishly with all comers, never once glancing at the clock -- and you have conjured only a pale adumbration of the man described by Mrs. Conroy as her beloved husband, the once-living embodiment of the absolute indisputable best of all late-twentieth and early twenty-first century literary figures combined into one beaming, blinding light of joyous generosity and limitless passion for life.

Except -- as I mentioned earlier -- I once met Pat Conroy.

It was January of 2007, and Pat was a guest lecturer at the University of South Carolina here in Columbia. One of the lectures was given in the evening, and TG and I attended.

You who know me already know that I was entranced and enthralled to be in the presence -- as in, occupying the same room -- as a famous author of the caliber of Pat Conroy. It was a dream come true. Conroy's way with words had brought him the kind of success all writers secretly hanker for.

My mind's eye can still see the stout and aging Mr. Conroy standing at the lectern, talking about writing, showing us the long ink-filled yellow pages upon which he spilled his characters and the incredibly detailed, emotionally-charged imagery for which he was known.

I don't remember much of what he said; I took a few notes. I recall that he was an interesting speaker, funny and engaging if not necessarily lighting up the room like a klieg, transforming the cold January dark into blessed blazing day. I enjoyed the lecture but its contents are not burned into my brain.

I remember being thrilled when, at the conclusion of his talk, it was obvious Mr. Conroy was in no rush to get away. He took a seat at a small table and an instant long queue formed.

I got in it, clutching my copy of The Prince of Tides upon the flyleaf of which I'd long ago written my name and the date of acquisition: December 1986.

My turn finally came. TG took pictures of me meeting Mr. Conroy, who stayed seated while I bent down and smiled toward the camera. Pat signed my book, and when I asked him to write a special inscription, he obeyed.

Only, he didn't make eye contact and I had to say it three times.

I have pictures of that transaction, somewhere. I took pictures of his yellow legal pad pages, too. To be fair, they spoke to me about as much as their writer had. It was a brush with greatness but far from overwhelming.

I didn't burst into tears upon entering Mr. Conroy's aura, and I felt no urge to tell him my story. But if I had done either thing, I'm confident that he would not have encouraged me to take my sweet time. Don't ask me how I know; I just do.

And that's fine; I didn't have anything to tell him.

TG '74 had a turn too, a few minutes in which to introduce himself to Pat Conroy '67 as a fellow graduate of El Cid, and share a reminiscence or two.

But here's the thing. And just so you know, before going off half-cocked I checked with TG to see if his memory jibed with mine.

It did. In case you haven't yet picked up what I'm putting down, I'll elaborate:

When I met and spoke with Mr. Conroy, he came across as old and sick, gray and faded. He seemed doddering and nearly deaf. I would even go so far as to say that he appeared a trifle confused. Maybe it was only fatigue, but still. His demeanor was light years from the description provided by his wife in her introduction.

Well, he was old, you might say. He was old and, as you said, sick there at the end.

But it wasn't the end. This was a decade ago. Mr. Conroy died last year at the age of seventy. When I met him on that January night in 2007, Pat Conroy was a mere sixty-one years old.

Which, I think you'll agree, is (at least relatively) young. As in, I am sixty. And on my worst day, I wouldn't come across as seventy and sick.

I wish I could have attended a "real" book signing and interacted with the silver-tongued devil who threatened to blot out the very sun with his brightness of being, his personality bursting with light and love.

I wish I could have been even a witness to one of the "lovefests" between Conroy and his readers, in which he sat transfixed by joy for five to eight hours without taking a potty break or consuming so much as a saltine cracker, signing books far into the night while hapless helpers looked on in impotent amazement.

I also wish I could write a single sentence -- much less a paragraph, chapter, or whole book -- that someone might describe as Conroyesque.

He knew he'd been blessed with "a natural lyric gift" and he knew how to use it. That's enough for me.

May he rest in peace.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday :: Happy May


Wordless Wednesday


An Iris Blessing

May your blooms be floriferous and in good form,
Distinctive, with good substance, flare, and airborne,
With standards and falls that endure, never torn.
May you display many buds and blooms sublime,
In graceful proportion on strong stalks each day,
Gently floating above the fans and the fray.
May you too reach toward the moon and stars,
Bloom after bloom, many seasons in the sun,
Enjoying your life, health, and each loved one,
Until your 'living days are artfully done.

= Georgia Gudykunst =


Happy Wednesday


Status: Clematis

I claim no glory for the gorgeous deep-purple Clematis vine that climbs a small trellis outside my back door.

As in, I didn't plant it. I don't plant things because if I dare, they die.

Neither of my thumbs are green so I am thankful for an index finger that is photographically inclined. I can push the button and memorialze what others have taken the pains to plant.

With my new Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens, I've become chronically nosy with anything that happens to bloom in my yard.

The yellow and purple bearded iris will poke their glamorous heads up soon. Look out, perennials!

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday


Making arrangements

Yesterday I walked into the family room and happened to glance out into the adjacent sun room.

Dagny has been here, I thought. And indeed she had, on Saturday afternoon.

Upon entering the house jabbering -- Dagny is always talking or singing; try to stop her -- Dagny makes a beeline for Rizzo. And me. Mainly because where you find Rizzo, you usually find me.

Sighting Rizzo for the first time, she bursts into a belly laugh. Rizzo's mere existence makes Dagny overflow with mirth. 

Hi Rizzo! Hi Rizzo! Hi Rizzo! She chortles, over and over again as though he's deaf.

Hi Dag, I say.

Hey Mamaw, she adds.

In due time Dagny is encouraged to let Rizzo be alone with his chew toys, and proceed to the sun room where her own toys reside, divided between a wire basket and a Lego bucket.

She splits her time between dumping the Legos out onto the family room floor and building a tower or a house, and staying in the sun room where she plays vigorously with the stuffed animals, a few bouncing balls, a canister of buttons (do not open it!) and an old wireless phone.

Among her favorites in the stuffed critter category are her yellow teddybear (it comes out Lello Teyberr!), two keyrings with tiny puppies attached, a small stuffed Dalmatian, a diminutive bear wearing a Nummer One! teeshirt, and two Chihuahuas left over from the late-'90s Yo Quiero Taco Bell ad campaign.

The Chihuahuas still talk: The one with the rose in its mouth says I Think I'm In Love and the other one repeats Drop The Chalupa as many times as you care to squeeze its chest.

And yes; we bought these soft-taco dog dolls around 1998. Around the same time we got Javier. And yes; the acquisitions were connected.

I stood there laughing at the way Dagny had left her ammals when she took her leave on Saturday. Sometimes I find them lined up on the bench; this time they were grouped on the floor, with Lello Teyberr propped on the bench leg.

The keyring puppies are situated cheek-by-jowl, as are the Chihuahuas -- one standing, the other in an eternal sitting position. Nummer One bear is perched in Lello Teyberr's garish furry lap. Small Dalmatian takes up little space at the rear of the arrangement.

The plastic eyes stare without sight but somehow still manage to convey a message of life and the sort of cuteness that entrances children.

I wondered where kids get the idea to arrange objects the way they do. What does it say about their personalities? What induces them to organize and compartmentalize and form cozy tableaux?

Still musing, I went upstairs to make coffee. And noticed my own dining table.

I know the real meaning of Easter. But I also love bunnies and have a small collection. I bring them out in late March, where they stay, decorating various surfaces, until I go all patriotic for summer.

My bunnies' eyes are sightless but they delight me with the whimsy and sweetness they convey.

I guess that's your answer, I thought.

Hey. Little eyes (the kind that really see) are watching. I may be wrong, but I think they get most of their ideas from us -- those among whom they live and learn. Those from whom they're bound to take many cues.

I think that's very cool. I believe I'm up to it. Are you?

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday