IT’S GLOWING TODAY BUT TOMORROW, THE RAIN WILL COME – Marilyn Armstrong

Driving home from River Bend, I was still — after all these years — breathless at how beautiful this area is. It’s love at the river and even in town, but as you turn down our street, it’s just so much color, it’s hard to even absorb it.

I didn’t think there were any more pictures to take, but the trees are much brighter today than they were yesterday. The maple is redder and the yellow has turned to deep orange. The yellow just makes your eys go “pop.”

Looking south on Aldrich Street

Down the driveway

Northbound on Aldrich Street

Maple in front of the house

I had to take a few more pictures. By then I was so tired, I could barely stand up, but I did it anyway because Autumn doesn’t come every year and rarely looks as glorious as it did today!

Upward from the house to the road

Bright yellow maple

Behind the green lawns, a tractor is on the way

I bought a new pair of Minnetonka little shoes AND I bought them half a size too big so there would be room for socks. And they wouldn’t fit. I finally realized my feet were so swollen from all the walking, I just stuck a pair of shoe trees in them and went back to socks. They ALWAYS stretch. I’m fondly hoping that those suede Minnetonka’s will stretch too!

AHOY AND AHEAD – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Ahead

We got a notice from our BOA branch, which is right next door to our grocery store that they are closing the bank. This is a total pain in the butt and basically means, unless we can bank in Rhode Island while living in Massachusetts (not always easy or even possible), that we should change banks.

You cannot begin to imagine how much I don’t want to change banks. It isn’t that I have some fierce loyalty to BOA. I don’t. They’ve never done me a favor and basically, I don’t like them. But they are very convenient — or until now, have been very convenient. And I have ALL my payments lined up with them so I have very little to do on a monthly basis. Which is good because I’m not a great money-tender.

There are other banks in town, but not many and I’m more than a little dubious about them. The rest are all at least 15 to 20 miles away … or more. So we are off to the bank to try and see what we can work out. IF we can bank in the nearest town with a full-service bank (North Slaterville, RI) and keep the rest of the arrangement, I’m okay with that. If not, we have to start setting up at another — probably equally inconvenient bank — then move all of our electronic deposits to the new bank, get new cars, set up all those payments again. Not a thrilling prospect.

JUST when you think you’ve simplified your life, it comes around again. So first, we’ll go in, make a deposit (it’s cash — I do NOT do cash in an ATM!), talk to the manager (who’s main favor to us was giving me a fabulous recipe for making homemade (cheap and delicious) humous.

Then, to the dam in the middle of town and maybe up to River Bend for some pictures before this glorious Autumn ends, It’s at peak now, so it’ll just be a few more days before it starts downhill to November, which is its own sort of Autumn — the bronze age, as it were — and finally, real winter by the middle of December — if it doesn’t snow first.

So once again, it’s another one of those weeks. Doctor appointments (two of them, both mine) and the “gutter repair” people (tomorrow — they are having a sale and maybe, just maybe, we can get ONE more thing done before the snow flies. Which could literally be any day now. We have had pretty heavy snowfall as early as September. Last year, it didn’t show up until my birthday in March, but after that, we were in it to our asses until May!

I’ll do the best I can to be here, but I can’t believe I’m supposed to be retired.

I am moving ahead. Ahoy there world — this elderly lady is dashing around trying to keep her life, such as it is, on track.

I have to point out to the bank and Garry and I are 149 years old. We deserve a break!

THE MAPLE TREE IN THE FRONT YARD – Marilyn Armstrong

MORE AUTUMNAL COLORS!

It’s a lot harder to get the colors right on the photograph that one might think. Especially the reds. They may look like red to your eyes, but to the camera, they appear closer to bronze-brown. The problem is that leaves are a mix of colors, including more orange than red and a sizable dollop of yellow and magenta.

I took a bunch of pictures and I spent hours trying to make the colors look the way they looked to me. They don’t exactly, but they are close. Regardless, they are as close as I could get them.

My house with its maple tree. I couldn’t get the red correct without making the house look really strange. Sorry about that.

Much closer, but still more orange than red. Pretty, though.

This is relatively accurate, though the reds are a bit too orangy.

Still maple. Maybe a bit more red?

This is close to the real color, but it blocked out all the other colors!

This may be the closest to the real color. Not as dark a red color, but the range of colors is right.

 

LINE AND SQUARES AND FALL – Marilyn Armstrong

FROM THE SALT LINE TO THE GOLDEN TREES

Small, cute, and hungry

A titmouse enjoys the bright colorful woods

The great maple in front of the house

MOVIE NIGHT STARRING GARRY “THE LEGEND” ARMSTRONG – Marilyn Armstrong

Personally, I thought Garry should write this himself. It was his show. He was the star with the cool Hollywood stories. But he doesn’t like to write about his “events” (I don’t know why not because he does it often enough). But this time, he wanted me to write it so here I am. Writing.

Let us begin with Garry’s great story about how Katherine Hepburn invited him over to her place for tea (and it really WAS tea — and cookies) at her big house in Hartford, Connecticut. What makes it particularly special is that it wasn’t a “work gig.” It was a personal, private invitation. Wow.

Old-fashioned popcorn maker! Sadly, I can’t eat popcorn. But they also had pizza!

Garry was doing his first work as “talent” at Channel 18, an underfunded early cable station. First TV jobs are like that. You take what you can get and hope someone thinks you are special enough to move to a bigger station and suddenly, stardust falls and you gleam — for thirty or forty years. Then you get old and they ditch you for someone that looks like a cookie-cutter reporter from who knows where, but they all look and sound the same.

He was coming from ABC network where he had done enough glittering to know he didn’t want to be a producer. He wanted to be talent.  On the air. When he got the call from Hartford which, in the 1960s, wasn’t exactly a glamorous venue, he took it. He’d be in front of the camera.

As it turned out he was in front of it, behind it, writing for it, starring in it, working news … and best of all, he did a movie show. It wasn’t as if Channel 18 (an RKO station) could afford “real” stars, so Garry had cardboard cutouts of famous Hollywood characters. They sat (quietly) around his set (they were, after all, cardboard) and he talked to them. Some people thought they talked back, but there’s no accounting for taste.

The Legend! himself

This was back in the days of film that had to be “souped” before rolling it on camera and Garry, not much of a technical star, was lucky if he remembered to load film before shooting, take off the lens cap … and you know, focus. I have, I admit, had many similar unfortunately experiences with lens caps — even to this very day when suddenly, I look through my lens. It’s dark and I scream “OH NO! MY CAMERA IS BROKEN! WHAT DO I DO NOW?” … after which I realize I forgot to remove the lens cap.

I digress. This story involved a phone call that Garry thought had to be the other guys at the station yanking his chain when the guy on the speaker announced: “Garry, there’s a call for you from Katherine Hepburn.”

My movie companion

“Yeah, sure,” he said. But Garry took the call. It was Katherine Hepburn. Who liked watching local television stations. She liked Garry. She thought he had some talent and might go places in The Business. She invited him for afternoon tea at her local mansion (always a New Englander, birth till death). With voice squeaking and knees trembling, Garry agreed.

He straightened his tie, patted down his then luxuriant hair, and went to tea. With Katherine Hepburn who did most of the talking. This was just as well. Garry was a bit tongue-tied that day.

Jim LaClaire, our faithful cameraman

The long and short of it was she told him he had one sterling feature that could take him far. Garry is a very good listener. Not to me (I’m his wife, after all), but to other people. He doesn’t work from a prepared script. He listens and responds to what they say or imply.

She also had a few recommendations on improving his wardrobe. As he had always thought he was a rather sharp dresser, after that, he got much sharper. I believe “clothes horse” would be a good description.

Watching

So, this was one of the longer stories Garry told. Once Garry gets rolling on his favorite movie stories, he can be hard to slow down. It took me and several other strong women to get him to “Say Good Night, Gracie.” Folks needed lifts home and it was more than an hour past closing time.

Showtime!

Everyone enjoyed Rustler’s Rhapsody and if you can find it on Amazon (it comes and goes, but it’s usually just a few dollars for the DVD). I keep a small collection of them and give them to friends.

I’m not sure “Rustler’s Rhapsody” ever made it to the big movie theaters. I think it may have gone straight to DVD.

Getting the conversation going. Turned out to be no problem at all.

To fully enjoy it (and this was the right crowd for that!), you need to have had some relationship with the “B” westerns that came with the main feature at local movie houses. Garry and I did not live very far apart and went to the same movies and shops and libraries but of course, not the same schools. Until college when all bets were off.

There was a lot of laughter. I had to tell everyone that that incredibly handsome guy playing the good but really bad guy was actually Patrick Wayne who wasn’t a great actor, but he was incredibly, strikingly, awesomely handsome. If he had been a better actor — or maybe cared more about acting — he could have knocked the audience dead. And he was a really big guy. Not fat … but very tall, broad in the shoulders, and yes, he is still alive.

Patrick John Morrison (born July 15, 1939), was better known by his stage name Patrick Wayne. American actor, the second son of movie star John Wayne and his first wife, Josephine Alicia Saenz. He made over 40 films, including eleven with his father.

There was a lot of chatter after the movie, too and it was fun. Even though I’ve heard all of these stories before, I love them anyway and every once in a while, I show up as a companion to the Legend.

The audience!

We all promised to do more of this stuff. I had fun too, though by the end of the night, my back was trying to go back to the car without me. It has been a trying couple of months. I’m definitely better than I was, but this stuff takes its own sweet time to retreat.

Meanwhile, Garry did the entire performance with an abscessed tooth. THAT is impressive.

Fron Channel 18, the RKO station in Hartford, Garry got invited to Boston’s Channel 7 — also an RKO station. And the rest, as we like to say, is history.

TAKING THE REST OF THE WEEK OFF – BACK ON THE WEEKEND – Marilyn Armstrong

This is the kind of busy week we all bump into. Usually, I try to set up schedules with posts in advance, but I’m tired. I’ve been pushing to try to get everything that needs doing done before the snow flies. I finally realized I can’t do it. It’s not because I’m unwilling or uninterested.

I’m tired and I can’t keep pushing this hard. Cooking, cleaning, writing, photographing, processing, editing … and maybe even sleeping (!) — I need time. I need a few days to get stuff done. I can’t sit at the computer all day and still manage the rest of the week. So, until Saturday, I’m dealing with the rest of my life. Or trying to.

Tomorrow is Garry’s dental work. The first of two days, actually.

There’s something for every taste

Thursday I have nearly a whole day while they figure out what to do with my Pacemaker. It will need its battery replaced soon. Whether to switch to a new (non-metal) Pacemaker or keep the current one is up in the air. New or old, they are internally identical (no major progress on Pacemakers, in case you were wondering). Plastic or metal, they are no different, so it’s a matter of “convenience.” Mostly mine. On the upside, there are a lot of tests they can’t run if I have a metal one and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I can’t get an MRI with a metal pacemaker and there are many airport issues. Except I’m not flying anywhere. There’s some question of whether or not Medicare would pay for a replacement anyway since there’s nothing wrong with the one I have. Personally, I’d like a thinner one where I can’t feel the wires — and not have to panic in the presence of magnets. Sometimes, when I walk past my refrigerator that has all those magnets on it, I wonder if I’m going to accidentally turn my heart off.

Friday, Owen’s moving in. Right now, he’s moving out all the trash in the basement. For the FIRST TIME EVER, all the junk will be GONE.

Oh, joy! I do need to check for a few long-missing items. I have a feeling they are in big cartons at the back of the basement behind all the rest of the more recently added junk. All my old writings and my copy for the ceremony of “Fall of Sauron” day are in the very back — assuming they are still readable.

I may want to dump most of it, but there are probably a few things worth keeping. Or they will so embarrass me I will race to the dumpster with them.

So I’m just going to take the rest of the week off. See if I can clear out the mountain of email. Get some sleep. Buy groceries as we’re running a bit thin in the freezer.

I think my contractor will be starting work next week and I think (I hope!) my granddaughter has found a guy to paint the doors. Meanwhile, I’d like to enter winter without holes in the exterior walls of the house.

THE MAVEN ANNOUNCES “IT’S MOVIE NIGHT AT THE UXBRIDGE SENIOR CENTER”! – Garry Armstrong

Hey, movie mavens!  Tomorrow night it’s “Roll Everything!” as I host “Rustlers’ Rhapsody” at the Uxbridge Senior Citizens Center on Main Street in downtown Uxbridge.

It starts at 5:30 pm with refreshments and trivia prep time.

At 6pm, it’s curtain time for “Rustlers’ Rhapsody,”  a wonderful 1985 spoof and homage to those wonderful “B” westerns of our childhood. Surely, you remember the Saturday matinees at your favorite neighborhood theater? You know, where the good guys wore white and the bad guys wore black.

The plots were simple. Good versus evil. Good always won. The heroes had nice outfits. The villains usually wore dirty, ill-fitting garb you could smell from your front row seats as you chowed down popcorn, juji-fruits and hot dogs.

At 7:45 pm, it will be Q&A time as we swap trivia about favorite movies.  Maybe the featured film will sharpen your recall of those golden olden days.

“Rustler’s Rhapsody” fondly remembers heroes like Roy and Gene. There’s a nice bit of surprise casting that will leave you smiling. If you know who I’m talking about, mum’s the word.

You’ll find yourself singing along with the wonderful ballad at film’s end that definitely will have you recollecting your days of innocence, lost in the wild west where there was no doubt about law and order.

So, saddle up your cow pony and ride the high country to the Uxbridge Senior Citizens’ Center tomorrow night.  We’ll start the show at 7pm. We need your help to smoke out all those bad hombres.

That includes YOU, Pilgrim!

GOBLINS AND PUMPKINS BY THE ROAD – Marilyn Armstrong

September 25, 2019 – PUNKINS!

Pumpkins are no longer just big, orange globes that either become the pie or the jack o’lantern. There are white ones and Goblinesque round ones, tall ones, and thin long ones and sugar pumpkins (for pie baking).

This farm had them all … and some really impressive tomatoes which I’d have bought but my stomach does not like tomatoes anymore. So I gave up buying even the best looking bunch of tomatoes. But I admire them anyway.

Follow the orange and white sign

Pick your favorite

Carve this one into something special

There’s something for every taste

You have to love the colors

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES – Marilyn Armstrong

Xfinity has an advertisement. They assure viewers that their wi-fi is so fast, you will definitely be able to keep up with the Joneses.

I didn’t know it was a race. I didn’t know I was supposed to be keeping up with anyone.

If you use Xfinity, you will be able to keep up with the Joneses, whoever they may be.

“Garry,” I asked. “Are we keeping up with the Joneses?”

“The who?”

“Joneses.”

“I don’t think so. We don’t know anyone named Jones. I actually can’t remember ever knowing anyone named Jones. Lots of Smiths and many of them named Mike. No Joneses. Of any name. So probably we aren’t keeping up with them.”

On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever worried about keeping up with anything that didn’t have a dollar sign attached. I certainly don’t worry whether or not I’ve got faster wi-fi than my neighbors, especially not in Uxbridge. This just isn’t a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of town. We all use Charter. We don’t have any choice. That’s what the town decided for us.

We have enough trouble keeping up with the mortgage, bills, and taxes.

WHICH WAY? – Marilyn Armstrong

SonOfABeach’s Which Way Photographs

Which way to go on a bright, hot, murky summer’s day? I think we’re going to hit the grocery store, but not until late in the day. It is simply too hot and muggy to be outside right now.

Main Street

BLUE ON WOOD – Marilyn Armstrong

BLUE DOOR ON A HOUSE WITH A BRIGHT AUTUMN TREE

Every autumn, I go and take pictures of this little house because it sits next to a large maple tree that turns bright red or orange every fall. So I have a series of pictures of this house on subsequent autumn afternoons. Some autumn color changes are better than other years, but the little house always has its blue door.

I believe it used to be a carriage house for a larger home that is gone now.

NOT THE BUCKET LIST – Rich Paschall

Things To Do, by Rich Paschall

Perhaps you have a “bucket list.” You know, things you must do before you “kick the bucket.” That is to say before you die. Such lists seem to be popular with middle-aged and older people. Younger people may not give this much thought, as they are more likely to believe there is plenty of time left to do things.

Domed stadium, natural grass, Miller Park

If you have a list, what do you have on it?  Do you want to visit all the MLB stadiums? NFL stadiums? NBA arenas? Do you want to climb mountains? Perhaps Mount Everest holds an allure. Perhaps you want to skydive or water ski.

Maybe you want to swim with the dolphins, or watch the humpbacked whales come out of the ocean? Perhaps you wish to travel. London? Paris? Rome? Far East? The Middle East? Do you want to go to the islands of the Caribbean or the South Pacific?

In London with a friend

It may not be too late to learn a language, take a wine tasing course or learn to paint (pictures, not houses).  Maybe you want to run a marathon. You could try for every state. Maybe you want to run with the bulls. I hope you are fast. Maybe you want to visit famous places close to home. You could travel to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or the monuments of Washington, DC.

I guess if we thought about it enough, we could put down hundreds of ideas.  If you made a list, how would you prioritize them? Would you do the easiest to complete first, or start with the hardest? Time, health and financial resources could play into all of your decisions.

Grand Canyon

I don’t have a bucket list, nor do I feel the need to make one. I don’t wish to have a list of things I must accomplish. What if I didn’t finish them all? Was life a failure? What if I did finish them? Do I just wait around after that for the grim reaper?

Of course, there are things I would like to do. They are not bucket list items, just things I would like to accomplish if time and resources allow. I have eliminated the ambitious running around the country or around the world ideas. Anything that is too arduous is out.

Selestat, France

If you have any kind of chronic pain, you immediately cross items off the list as not worth the time and aggravation. If you have a plate and 8 screws in your spine, roller coasters and bungee jumping are not things you will consider if you still have your sanity. There are limitations to what the human body will put up with at certain stages of life.

This year I decided on something I should do that had crossed my mind before. There just was no more putting it off. The opportunity to get away was at hand and all I needed was the go-ahead from my destination hosts. When the arrangements were complete I was off to the destination that had moved to the top of my list of places to go. Uxbridge, MA!

Downtown Uxbridge

If you have been following SERENDIPITY for very long, then you have seen plenty of photos of Uxbridge from Marilyn and Garry Armstrong. Marilyn is our editor, photographer, publisher, sage and idea guru. I dropped in on SERENDIPITY in 2013 with a short story, and Marilyn has let me hang around ever since. I am here on Sundays and I sneak in an extra article from time to time on another day.

The interesting thing about the internet is you can contribute articles from anywhere. While Marilyn and Garry are outside the Boston area, I am in Chicago. You may be surprised to learn that prior to this year, we had never met. So Uxbridge became my destination of choice.

My hosts: Garry, Duke, Marilyn

We were going to tour the area and visit many of the spots I had seen before on the blog. The weather held other ideas for us. We were in the pattern of daily ran and spent much of the time indoors. As it turns out, that was just fine. We never ran out of things to talk about. After five and a half years of articles, comments and emails there were plenty of topics to discuss. It was just a couple of days before my trip in early June that I heard Marilyn’s voice for the first time. We were coordinating our arrangements by phone. In the days ahead, we had a lot of time to talk.

With a very small window of opportunity, we headed out to grab a few pictures. The rain held off for a few moments allowing us our touristy pictures. Then it was back inside to our regular greeters, the three dogs.

Cameras at the ready

Nighttime gave us the opportunity to view Westerns we had discussed back and forth in comments and emails. This included one of the Armstrongs’ favorites, Rustlers’ Rhapsody. It is an homage to the great B-movies of a bygone era. It’s a good cast and wacky entertainment. I will get the opportunity to see this send-up again and again as I was sent home with a copy.

It was the opportune moment to meet friends at the other side of the internet universe. I don’t know if I will ever make it back to Uxbridge, but it was on this year’s To Do List and it got done.

I make a careful distinction between things I want to do and a “bucket list.” I have no crazy ideas or personal challenges, just a desire to visit friends when I can. It does not matter where they are in the world. If I can make the trip, then it becomes the next adventure.

Check out this adventure’s photo gallery at Sunday Night Blog: A Visit To Uxbridge

GARRY IN BLUE BY THE MUMFORD DAM – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry in July Blues

Garry in blue down by the Mumford Dam in downtown (!) Uxbridge. Background includes the falls and dam, Route 16 bridge, and the odd floral bush.

Garry in blue amidst much greenery

THE WONT OF WIT, THE BATING PLACE OF WOE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 6-24-19

Are you more a thinker or a doer?   

Either I just do it and then have a lifetime to think about how I — if I’d thought about it more — could have done it better or preferably, not at all.  As an alternative, I think about it, decide not to do it, then spend years wishing I had done it.

As a third choice, I think, rethink, change my mind, begin the process, stop — write something or take a few pictures — while completely forgetting what I was going to do. When finally I remember my original intention, it doesn’t seem all that important so I read a book.

Why is beauty associated with mortality?

Because dead people putrefy? Because rotting bodies aren’t as attractive as live ones? Even when that individual — when alive — wasn’t beautiful they look worse when dead.

As proof of this statement, I have yet to see a single advertisement for anything using rotting corpses. I mean — seriously — dead people don’t enjoy beer and don’t look good in snug jeans. I’m pretty sure if advertisers aren’t using corpses (who would probably not need to be paid, so it would definitely be to their advantage to work with the dead), it’s probably because corpses are not attractive.

But when I die, hey, if you think this is a good idea, by all means. I’m pretty sure I won’t care.

If everyone spoke their mind (told the literal truth), would this world be a better place?

No. It would be just like it is but worse. Life would be harder, colder, and even more full of blowhards who don’t bother to give a moment’s thought before running their mouths. It’s bad enough now. That would make it oh so much worse.

It would finally and completely eliminate manners (such as they are). It would dispose of any remaining civility, kindness, politeness, delicacy, and good taste.

Your mouth is not supposed to be where random crap just falls out. We are supposed to think. That is why we have brains — which are supposed to be in charge of our mouths. Ponder that.

In the toilet, things just “fall out.” When they stink, you flush them away.

Sadly, once said, you have put it into the world and can never make it go away. There’s no flushing your words. They sear permanently on the minds of whoever is unlucky enough to hear them.

Your mouth isn’t supposed to be the verbal end of your anus. What comes out of it is supposed to have polish. Class. Wit. Elegance. Kindness. Compassion. Love. Maybe even brilliance. Toddlers say whatever flows into their unkempt young minds and that’s okay. They were born to learn and we teach them to not grow up and continue to act like toddlers.

Remove the training in manners and civility and the world would be all adult toddlers. The idea is nauseating. We have one of those in the White House. Isn’t that guy our national huckleberry?

I am sick to death of people who think they are “special” because they don’t know when to shut up.

We went to a party (left early) where one (drunken) woman was blathering endlessly about how proud she was to have started smoking again now that she was done with chemo and cancer. She was proud of this. She has a daughter. What’s her message?

The first amendment protects free speech. It isn’t a license for everyone to say anything, anytime, anywhere, under any and all circumstances.

What happened to class? Grammar? Elegant phrasing? Facts before opinions? Where went wit and cleverness? Concepts based on research? Has intelligence gone completely out of style? If it has, we are doomed.

Can religious beliefs affect scientific thinking?

Amongst the stupid, yes. Brighter people don’t seem to have this problem.

An attitude of gratitude: If you’d like to, share some gratitude in a photo, written, or song. 

The day is bright and sunny and for this small thing, praised be the rain gods for going somewhere else to do their thing.

Now, I’m going to put on a pair of sandals and go take a few pictures before the sky goes gray and the next rain comes.