We all have our own YouTube list, but since you're here, have a look at mine. Strangely, they're all duets. First up: Aled Jones joins Aled Jones in "O Holy Night" (click on image):
Next up, Michael Bublé joins Bing Crosby, over his objections ;)
Finally, here's the legendary Bing again, this time with David Bowie in an unconventional "Little Drummer Boy."
Just a short list, leaving room for you to share your favorites. Meanwhile, have a blessed Christmas--"Peace on earth, good will toward men on whom His favor rests."
This 1961 book for boys is, in fact, very good. Author and U.S. Army veteran Bertrand R. Brinley was at one point (to quote from the jacket copy) "a methods and procedures analyst for Lockheed Aircraft's engineering department." His expertise gives an aura of credibility to otherwise improbable but satisfying adventures of a nerdy group of preteen boys.
I have the 40th anniversary edition, whose cover blurb notes, "original text restored." That phrase speaks volumes, as some of the chapters feature tools, settings, and modes of transportation that are dangerous for adults, not to mention children. Also, the freedom with which these boys embark on their missions is almost inconceivable today.
In other words, it's worth reading if only to remind us what was once possible.
Faithfully continuing our immersion into all things country, my family stopped by this excellent facility yes-terday. As you can see, the residents were as interested in us as we were in them. Too late, I learned that the sneaky devils just wanted us to feed them the forbidden grass below their windows. (This is the rear of the stables fronting the street.)
Anyway, the large building partially visible at right is the arena, where we watched several students at lessons.
First, we had to pass muster with the stable boss, here claiming squatting rights to the entire arena. There were several friendly dogs roaming the compound (to protect the horses, I'm told) but this girl ruled, no question.
Here's one novice rider at lessons, though all but stable employees wore helmets when riding. This rider is reflected in a mirror that runs partially around the arena.
When visiting any place with so many horses, you expect certain odors, but it was the faint smell of sawdust that I first noticed here. It elicited vivid memories of my grandfather's yard, where he did a lot of furniture repair.
I'm telling you, moving out to the country has brought me full back to my childhood--and I lived in the suburbs! So the feeling is weird but nice.
If you're one of those people whose heart skips a beat at the sight of vintage articles repurposed to new uses, you know what I'm talking about. The treasured thing doesn't have to be antique or valuable, just something old and previously discarded.
On my first trip to Canton, I spent a wonderful day exploring booths full of old rusted things that I recognized from my grandparents' house, garage and yard. Many other visitors were filling large carts with this stuff, some of it in pretty disreputable condition. Why?
Oh, there's satisfaction in salvaging something from the landfill, and there's certainly delight in using it creatively. There's a tangible connection with people who lived before we were born. While all that is in the mix, there must be more to it.
I think I know what that is. It's time travel--not just back in time, but forward. Salvaging old things is somehow reassurance that we ourselves are salvageable, that we also can be redeemed and put to fresh use. Even after we are rusted and all worn out, we can be repaired, cleaned up, and displayed with pride by our Owner. We are given the place in his house that was meant for us.
All old things were once New. But they don't stay that way; if they're to be useful, they have to be made New again. That is what we hope for ourselves.
(Photo above is from this page.)
I had an interesting discussion with an elementary-school librarian in which she vented about what she believes to be a major failing in today's schools: they don't teach cursive writing any more.
"Uhhh," I said. "It does seem kind of redundant."
"You don't understand," she said. "If the kids don't learn to write in cursive, they don't learn to read it. In one generation--ONE--we will lose the ability to read old family records and original historical documents."
She's right. This is an excerpt of a letter my stepmother transcribed detailing my aunt's recollections of family history. I can scan it easily because I suffered through cursive in school--and never made above a "B" in it. Can a bitmap-font reader understand it?
Oh, and, that librarian is teaching her children cursive writing.
As far as I can tell, this is the first newspaper article ever published about my writing. I will always remember with gratitude the support and encouragement of First Baptist Church, Durant, Oklahoma, upon the publication of Chataine's Guardian.
This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving photos ever. The year was 1960 or so; I'm the little girl in the cool cat's-eye glasses. My beautiful mother is at the top right; my paternal grandmother in the chair; and my lovely Aunt Verna at top left. Notice: they're all wearing aprons and all laughing--I suspect one of my waggish uncles made a comment just as he took the photo.
I believe this was at my grandparents' house. I loved visiting there because it was full of the most wonderful stuff. My grandfather sold "antiques" to supplement his income as a preacher. My dad disdainfully called it "junk"; I disagreed heartily, and still do. My last visit to Canton Trade Days almost overwhelmed me with nostalgia. Next time I go back, I'm renting a semi.
My first book, Chataine's Guardian, was published in 1984: the beginning of one wild ride.