YARDWORK IN JUNE, 2011

I DEDICATE this gardening/yardwork post to my late cousin Sue who kept an immaculate home and patio with flower garden in the Dallas, Texas area.  The loving gardening and yardwork effort was rewarded with the community honor of Yard of the Month.  Needless to say, her hospitality was sublime.  Sue was so pretty, with an alluring humble nature, and a voice that engaged your interest.  She will be greatly missed by her husband, caregivers, and three daughters.  She was adored by her granddaughters, and a help to those coming her way.

SUE

Mildred "Sue," Daughter of My Mother's Brother & Wife, Euell & Blanche

In a later post, you may see a couple of attractive young women’s faces from the forties, as were Sue, her sister Lavona, my mother Louise, her sisters Inez and Eunice.  Others of that era were named Dorothy, Tressie, and Blanche.  I enjoy the sound of those names.

1940s People: Ervin & Tressie, Louise & Glenn

Well-tended Side Yard In Hillsboro, Texas, Long Ago

My maternal grandmother loved flowers! This family line enjoys gardening.

 

 

 In the family portrait below, one I have enjoyed viewing through the decades, Sue is the little girl on the right. Her parents Euell and Blanche stand behind her.  Louise and Glenn anchor the other side.

Ervin & Tressie, Glenn & Louise are also in this shot.

Beulah & Clarence's Family Portrait

 

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Gardening Equipment:  Waterproof Gloves and Ice Water, Covered

Pleasant colors that attract you and good quality in tools, such as pruning shears, help create enjoyment in gardening and yardwork.  Care of property is a good thing.

Consider these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“When I go into the garden with a spade, and I dig a bed,

I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover

That I have been defrauding myself all this time

In letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.”

 

Shovel and Dirt

 

“Garden” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American, Harvard graduate, authored a book NATURE and other books, sermons and addresses, poems, and more.  An essay “Self-Reliance” is reputed to have once been the most often quoted essay in American literature.  Hmmm . . . does that put him up there at the level of Abraham Lincoln?

GARDEN

Many things the garden shows,

And pleased I stray

From tree to tree

Watching the white pear-bloom,

Bee-infested quince or plum.

I could walk days, years, away

Till the slow ripening, secular tree

Had reached its fruiting-time,

Nor think it long.

Solar insect on the wing

In the garden murmuring,

Soothing with thy summer horn

Swains by winter pinched and worn.

[The end]

 

O N   T H E   S U B J E C T   O F   G O O D N E S S  .  .  .

I have in my blog a desire to express interest in the goodness of the individuals in my family.  Being older and in the memoir stage of life, I see the gentleness of the matrix in which I was fortunate to be reared, so long ago, when the times were slower, more deliberate.

PRESENTATION OF AN EARLY 17TH-CENTURY ESSAY

Researching Francis Bacon (1561-1626), scholar in philosophy and scientific method, I found a statement that said he considered his essay writing a kind of gentleman’s hobby.   This English major was reminded (assuming that I learned it in college originally) that Bacon wrote during the Tudor period (1484-1603) and beyond to the changeful Stuart England (1603-1700).  I have enjoyed, through the years, studying the Stuart monarchs, because of our ancestor coming through Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, involved in Charles I’s court.  My reason for including this old essay by Bacon is that it talks of a character trait not much mentioned in this day and time—goodness.  Over the recent years, emphasis on goodness seems to have become supplanted by emphasis on lies, crassness and insults, and violence.  Perhaps there is a strange wake-up call, or skin-thickening hidden benefit, difficult to find.  My first memoir, Beulah, Zelma, Patricia, Ann, came out of a desire to counter this seeming cultural trend and present goodness in family life.  The strain of goodness through one-hundred-sixteen years in four women got a grip on my writerly, reflective self.  Retired from public school teaching, I wanted to be with this material, and the desire has held over several years.

 

OWNING UP TO COPYEDITING BACON’S SENTENCES

Before posting Bacon’s essay on goodness, which I located online, I got rid of a couple of dozen meaningless commas.  I do not know why so many commas were stuck in.  They hampered the clarity of the sentences.  Also, to help patnotes.com blog readers who may tend to jump up for the dictionary, I suggested a couple of substitute words, and they are in parentheses.  All the italics are mine.  This essay goes on longer than many readers would care about, and thus I have broken it in about two halves, posting the first.

Francis Bacon’s essay:  Of Goodness And Goodness Of Nature

I TAKE GOODNESS in this sense, the affecting of the weal (public good) of men, which is that the Grecians call philanthropia; and the word humanity as it is used is a little too light to express it.  Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature, the inclination.  This of all virtues, and dignities of the mind, is the greatest; being the character of the Deity: and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing; no better than a kind of vermin.

Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity (substitute “love”), and admits no excess, but (does admit) error.*  The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall:  but in charity (aka love) there is no excess; neither can angel, nor man, come in danger by it.  The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take (go out) unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, (by past reputation) a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy, in Constantinople, had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl.  *Errors indeed in this virtue of goodness, or charity, may be committed.  The Italians have an ungracious proverb, Tanto buon che val niente:  so good, that he is good for nothing.  And one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, that the Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust.  Which he spake (this) because indeed there was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.  Therefore, to avoid the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent.

Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility, or softness; which taketh an honest mind prisoner.  Neither give thou AEsop’s cock (rooster) a gem, who would be better pleased, and happier, if he had had a barley-corn.

[First Half Installment of Francis Bacon’s perspective on concept of goodness]

 

HISTORICAL BITS OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS

Clarence and Beulah in 1902

Clarence and Beulah in 1902, Happy Texas Couple

Texas history has much to do with railroads and cattle.  During the life of my grandmother, facts of land development tell an interesting story:  Beulah lived in Tom Bean, established in 1887, and White Mound, towns in Parker County, Texas, west of Dallas.  White Mound, originally spelled “Whitemound,” which was bypassed by the railroad, lost its post office to Mr. Tom Bean’s euponymous city in 1888, and many Whitemound settlers moved to the new town.  Mr. Bean’s estate began to sell town lots surrounding the routes of the railroad in the 1890s.  The town school was moved in 1891 from a one-room structure to a two-story building with an auditorium.  Several Christian denominations, including the Church of Christ, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist, established churches in town.  The city charter was signed in 1897.  As time progressed, the sharp increase in automobile travel and transport, and the decline of cotton as the principal crop of the area, led businesses to the larger nearby cities of Denison and Sherman.  Although never again the railroad boomtown of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the community enjoyed a growth spurt in the 1950s and 1980s, celebrating its centennial in 1987.  The city of Tom Bean continues to thrive, according to a “Community History” section of The Handbook of Texas on the internet.

Another Texas town I heard about from Beulah herself, her voice animated at the mention of it, was Yates, also called Yates Crossing, of Kimble County.  It was here where early settlers held camp meetings under the live oaks and Joseph A. Yates opened a post office in June 1907.  Between the late 1860s and the early 1880s, herds of cattle, averaging up to 2,000 head, crossed the Llano River at what was called the Beef Trail Crossing.  Not having the success of the town of Tom Bean, Yates reached a population of fifty-one, and its last reported population in 1958 was ten.  Beulah also lived in Weatherford of Parker County (near Fort Worth) where she was married, and in Temple, of the Temple-Belton area.  Belton is the County Seat of Bell County in central Texas, located on the famous Chisholm Trail for cattle drives.  Thousands and thousands of cattle walked the miles upon miles from the Rio Grande Valley or thereabouts to markets in Kansas.  [Wording found in The Belton Journal “Belton City Guide,” 2010 Edition.]  Today, Belton and Temple are on I-35 midway between Dallas and San Antonio, just over an hour north of the state capital of Austin.  Belton is home of The University of Mary Hardin Baylor, chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845, the Quilting Queens of the Belton Senior Center, and in ages past, The Sanctified Sisters of the Belton Women’s Commonwealth, generally referred to as The Sanctificationists. Temple is home of the famous Scott & White Hospital, and the Temple Symphony, now in its seventeenth season.

The influence of my grandmother on the south-central Texas place to which she migrated took hold of my fascination, and I used this as motivation to write a story for submission to a contest sponsored by National Public Radio (NPR).  The word limit was six-hundred words.  I enjoyed imagining a scene wherein Beulah and her sister struck out in a buggy pulled by a contrary mule.  I changed some names around to suit my own ear, and have  included it here in patnotes.com.

 

NATIVE TEXAN BRINGS TEXAS CACTI HOME TO PLANT IN MEMPHIS

Texas Cacti Planted in Tennessee

WHAT DO YOU SEE ON AN I35E ROAD TRIP THROUGH TEXAS?

Have you driven up Interstate Highway 35, traveling east between San Antonio and the remaining ninety miles of the State of Texas before reaching Arkansas?  If you like a road trip of many hours, say ten, then read on, you may have fun.  Frequently, as native Texans with interesting relatives who still live there, we head to Texas via I30W out of Memphis, take the 440 Loop around Little Rock, Arkansas, pass through Texarkana, stop for a barbeque lunch at Ramage Farms in Hooks, Texas, and before you know it, have spent seven hours and arrive in the Dallas area.  We recently went on to Fort Worth, instead of stopping in Dallas, for a change.  We spent a couple of nights, and then headed via I35 to San Antonio, and ultimately Boerne, a country-living small place in the Texas Hill Country.  A neat bumper sticker for sale at the Flagpost Cafe reads “Life is too short NOT to live in Boerne.”  Returning home to Memphis after a few days, I jotted some notes of what my eyes took in on I35E on that familiar Texas highway.  I hope readers enjoy imagining a road trip in Texas, headed east from the San Antonio area.

If you left the Boerne Hill Country/San Antonio Urban area before 10:00 AM, you exit toward Austin by 10:15 AM.  That is your first segment, allowing for a good bit of traffic, which is common.  You may desire a coffee break just past the billboard advertising Gruene, a historic town geared for tourist activity, and past New Braunfels’ Rueckle Road Exit.  New Braunfels is an old German city, larger than the old German town of Boerne.  For the tasty java from the approaching Starbucks, take the Niederwald Exit.  Time will be about 10:55, or less than an hour from departure.  That particular Starbucks has the biggest round logo sign you have ever seen.

Back on the highway again with your Grande bold and vanilla scone, you are not far from Austin, a popular large city, next in size to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.  Occasionally, traffic on I35 through Austin is horrific!  I take care to have a pit stop before entering greater Austin.  You can choose the high road or the low road, as both are I35 straight through.  Either way, you see some of The University of Texas campus, some skyscrapers, and the dome of the Capitol Building.  The capital city of Texas is a residence desired by many Southerners, Midwesterners, and others who think of Austin as rather freewheeling.  After all, this is Tour de France Seven-time Champion Lance Armstrong’s home town and home of The University of Texas, which has over fifty thousand students.  It goes without saying that big universities impact an environment.  Even small ones do.  Austin bears the claim to fame of “Live Music Capital of the Country,” not to be confused with Nashville’s distinction as “Country Music Capital.”

Leaving Austin headed toward Waco, home of Baylor University, traffic thins out.  I saw a billboard stating that I need the info to be found at Texasbytrain.org.  The billboard surprised me by promoting the light rail concept.  Good for Texas!  I did not know Governor Rick Perry was interested in the “separate country” of Texas adding light rail transport (jus’ kidding).  Coming toward the cities of Belton and Temple, I notice that a town named Moody, and one named Lorena are in McClennan County.  I am familiar with the neighboring Hill County, where my maternal grandparents settled.  My paternal grandparents lived in McClennan County.  In that stretch of road, at a seventy mile-per hour drive-by, I noticed some giant concrete statues– a pig painted pink and a rooster.  These were huge; you could not miss them.  There were many other shapes, but I was past them in a high-speed flash.  I also noticed the trees became bright green and thick in foliage coverage, so thick it reminded me of the “Music Highway” between Memphis and Nashville, very green, claustrophobically lush for me, a lover of the Texas scrub landscape.  The live oaks and cedars with their scrappy, worn-out trunks, look like antiques, some close to death and discarding, eaten up by moss balls.  A billboard lettered with stately block style reads “BAYLOR + WACO = PROUD PARTNERS.”

As driver-passenger team, we tend to take note of road construction.  Living away from Texas, our birth state, we go gaga at the forty- or fifty-feet-high overpasses engineered by Texans.  Rumor has it that the Texas government has run out of funds for highway construction.  Those funds lasted a long, long time.  If you haven’t seen such unspeakable tons of concrete, the Texas overpasses will amaze you.  On down the road a bit, I see three more billboards.  I am not sure I believe the message on one of them:  “Great things are happening in Texas Public Schools;” “Fossil Rim Wildlife Center;” and “Taqueria Arrandes.”  We sometimes stop in Waco and eat at Taco Cabana for a TexMex flavor treat:  tacos with picadillo, frijoles refritos, rice, chalupa with guacamole, or fajitas, chicken or beef.  The price of Exxon gas in Waco was $3.59, same if bought from Valero, and the Brazos River looked high.  A most interesting fact about the unusual part of Texas that is Waco is this– a miniature Brooklyn Bridge exists there, as a historic landmark.

Driving on, a billboard advertising a Texas fruitcake tradition originating in Corsicana reminds you:  mail order plenty of Christmas fruitcakes to friends and family from Collin Street Bakery.  I have tried to like them, through the years, but . . .  Next site popping up is LoneStar Windmills, wherein dozens of faux windmills are for sale, some as tall as twenty feet or so.  Next, I notice Superstar Fireworks as we head into West, a Czech town near Hillsboro, a larger town.  Do you like Czech pastries called “kolaches?”  Pull into the Czech Inn, the Czech Stop Bakery & Deli, the Czech American Restaurant, or the Village Bakery (Their claim:  since 1952– “The original Czech pastries”), all conveniently accessed from I35E.

(More to come.)

 

 

NATIVE TEXAN GOES BACK FOR VISIT

Rushing Water Over Concrete Platforms, Accented By Athletes

While Touring Water Garden, We Saw Yogins Exhibiting Advanced Poses

Braque (French) & Picasso (Spanish), Developers of Cubism

BRAQUE and PICASSO, Collaborators in Cubism

This native Texan experienced a fun visit to Fort Worth, Texas on the last couple of days in May, 2011.  The arts community members of Fort Worth distinguish themselves as conscientious custodians of art treasures:  The Kimbell’s paintings and drawings and their ornate frames, the palette of hues on walls and color-enhancing electric light sources, their sculptures on perfect mounts or inside preserving plexiglass boxes; installations at The Museum of Modern Art; the magnificent Philip Johnson Water Park, and more, including the Bass Performance Hall in Sundance Square, these beautiful forms  inspire the lives of folks in Fort Worth and tourists from elsewhere.  Our beloved Kimbell Art Museum, a heavy, comforting structure, intriguing and plain, lures patrons and visitors, and rewards substantively, even to the way a lunch is served and, as well, the way a wine experience lingers at The Modern Cafe, where you look out at two silver metal trees in the distance named “Conjoined.”

 

The Kimbell Museum’s architect, Louis Kahn, designed brilliantly back in his heyday.  He knew how to bring a prolific array of drawn art that brought renderings to a built work. The majestic Kimbell is in process of enlarging over the next couple of years.  Many more artworks now stored will come out for display in the additional structures, one of the docents said.  Not surprisingly, I look forward to visiting the museum then.  Each time I go, I am rewarded with a heightening of all my senses, and I find it hard to leave.  On this particular May 2011 visit, a small exhibition featured Picasso, the Spaniard, and Braque, the Frenchman, collaborators and reviewers of each other’s development in cubism.  The two joined up in experimentation for two or three years, 1910–1912.  The exhibit’s iPads we opted to use in the gallery enhanced the figuring out of the untraditional earth-toned paintings.  Without being allowed to photograph the paintings, I can only post a shot of the two men, Braque white-haired on the left, with Picasso, in their later years.  Picasso was born in 1881 and died in 1973.  For purposes of communicating coherently selections in patnotes.com, I refer readers to my “Beulah’s Buggy Ride” original story, an older post. Picasso’s years of living are close enough to my grandmother Beulah’s years to make me smile and take extra note.  She was born in 1884 and died in 1979.