Hijacking of tunes

Ode to Joy … no real problem

In the midst of humming, I realized I was humming “Ode to Joy” or at least these most well known bars. Well my musical tastes are becoming more refined as I ages, I thought. I have been known to hum “Ode to Spring” often, but Beethoven?

I was feeling quite proud of myself until I realized the genisis of my new found cultural behavior … a car commercial was playing about 6 times an hour relying on Beethoven’s classic in the background. Ok, bemused I wrote it off as our exceptional American #MAdMen culture. Afterall, how many cartoons did we watch in childhood which used the “William Tell Overture” as the musical theme?

My Mad Men Avatar

But the Cranberries & Enya? No Way

Having become more alert to the musical propensities of modern advertising, I became aware that one commercial was using the Cranberries’ early anthem “Changes” and another was using an Enya tune (can’t remember the name”) as the musical motif.

Outrageous! How dare Madison Avenue co-opt, kidnap my perosnal tunes? These tunes had been among my companions on my long (90 mile one way) drives to and from law school in Oklahoma, my commute into my law practice into Richmond from verdent Prince George County, my house cleaning tunes when I still bothered with cleaning house.

This is a crime against my tunes.

Twilight of winter in Prince George VA

March, already?

Prince Georgians are rarely really ready for winter. This Prince Georgian is never ready for spring.

I haven’t cut back the crepe myrtle, clipped the hydrangeas to the ground (nearly), picked up winter twigs, or ordered a new load of crush and run to have graded in my long circular driveway.

Some of my hydrangeas in late Spring blook.

We had an odd winter of mostly days’ long bouts of rain, here and there sunshine and wind, and a humdinger of a snowstorm. We were out of power for 17 hours for that event. The time was never quite right for me to traipse into the yard and start the chores.

Speaking of power outages. We had just ordered the installation of a whole-house backup propane generator when we lost power for 17 hours during that snow storm. We knew there was a backlog in their installation schedule. Well, yesterday they called and will begin the week-long installation process today. Now strangers, not just my neighbors, will see how neglected my property is. Well, hopefully, that is all they will see and not see the state of my housekeeping.

Interestingly, Amerigas Propane just arrived to refill my tank. Little did I know the tank was down to 25% before the delivery. I would have been a royal nervous wreck if I’d checked the tank and seen how low we were.

Summer, where are art thou?

Veteran’s Day 2018

Verdun – House of Bones

In the mid 70’s my husband, a Captain then, my daughter, and I visited the Verdun Battleground which was not all that far from where my husband was stationed with the 2/81st Artillery Battalion in the Strassburg Kaserne near Idar-Oberstein, Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany as it was really known to us then.

Verdun was a necessary trip for these two history loving adults (not sure what my very young daughter thought of the trip).

My personal interest in all history has always had to do more with intelligence operations, rather than the fighting, but I was very eager to see this vaulted military battlefield.

I tried to take it all it.  I beefed up my revisiting of works about Verdun before the trip, and read additional sources out loud to Bob and poor Angela on our road trip.

In the seventies, Verdun Battlefield was still an awkwardly denuded section of land in an otherwise bucolic French landscape.

It had been a pleasant trip in an area of Europe which is at once both French and German, even then. Kind of like Virginia and West Virginia with a similarly separating language. A lovely drive, some French wine and food, and then the battlefield.

All was good until I visited the House of Bones. Inside the memorial is a somber but tasteful mausoleum with the names of many of the fallen and their units. Elegant, respectful.  Then I left the interior of the memorial and walked around the exterior of the building. From the exterior, I looked through windows into the basement which is the tomb of the unidentified fallen, actually, the bones of the identified fallen. In piles of major bones laid the remains of those who had died, unnamed at that savage WW1 battlefield.

From that point, a different reality about war became part of my psyche. The utter waste of war can be felt viscerally by looking at those heaps of bones, once individuals, personalities, family members, lovers, future leaders, and now crumbling bones of those who once dreamed, loved, feared, cared.

So, I honor our military and their civilian counterparts, but not, not the waste and inhumanity of war.

food has been on my mind lately

A fallow garden

Last week I visited the first Prince George Farmers’ Market for the season.  It started earlier this year. It was too early for there to be many vegetables, but I did score a beautiful, compact cabbage and fresh red leaf lettuce. And, yes, a pendant handcrafted from melted marbles.  Craft jewelry makers and Farmers’ Markets are great partners.

In years past, I have been careful about buying too much veg at the Market because my neighbors Tommy and Wilma kept me and most my neighbors on our road well supplied with whatever was coming ripe in their large garden.  This year the garden is fallow.  Tommy passed away last year and with him the bounty from his garden.

A neighbor's gift
Tommy’s & Wilma’s Vegetables


It was Tommy’s garden, but it was Wilma who washed and carefully bagged whatever produce would be left, unannounced, at my side door. Working from home was challenged by the gifting of veggies. Wilma or Tommy’s presence on the side porch never failed to excite my yellow Lab and my black & white Aussie.  If fortunate, I was not on the phone with a client at such times. Now I am retired and rather long for the punctuation of excitement generated by the addition of fresh vegetables to my life.

We rarely fully appreciate the wonderful, enduring, or simply ubiquitous rituals in our lives … until they are gone.

Thank you, Tommy. Thank you, Wilma.