A few nights ago my little girl woke up at midnight, sick with a stomach virus. I will spare you the details. But as I was sitting with her in my bathroom, I asked my husband to go downstairs and get her a glass of water. Instead of grabbing one of the clean glasses out of the dishwasher, he took an old mug from the cabinet, probably because he was still half asleep. I had to laugh when he handed it to me. It was my grandfather’s mug from as long as I can remember.
My Grandma and Grandpa had two coffee mugs, one labeled “HIS” and one “HERS.” I assume they were a gift, unless they actually did buy them in Arkansas. I will have to ask my father if they took any road trips there when he was growing up. I know they followed route 66 out West from Chicago one summer, but I never heard about any trips to the South. The mugs are labeled “Hot Springs Pottery Arkansas” on the bottom. After doing some research online I found that they were made by the Dryden pottery company. My grandparents probably obtained them in the late 1950s or 1960s, as Dryden moved from Kansas to Arkansas in 1956. I was fortunate enough to end up with my Grandpa’s mug after both he and then my grandmother passed away. I don’t know who has the “HERS” mug, but I’m sure someone in my extended family does. My grandparents used these mugs every day for their coffee, morning and afternoon.
There was something strangely comforting about seeing the mug that night. In some way I felt like my grandfather was there with us, trying to make my daughter feel better. I was sixteen when my grandfather had a stroke, although in my memory I felt much younger. He was in a nursing home for several months until he finally passed away. The first time I saw him in the condition he was in, I couldn’t take it. I turned around and started to cry, but I made myself turn back to him, and grabbed his hand. I rubbed his hand with my thumb, back and forth, to let him know I was there and that I loved him. A single tear rolled down his cheek. In that moment I felt that he was trapped in a paralyzed body, but he knew I was there, and shared my love and my pain.
The mug is so out of place in my kitchen. I don’t have any other pottery, or dark colored dishes. My kitchen is very black and white, a mix of classic and modern design. But every time I look at the mug’s muddy color, the glaze, the rounded edges, and especially the word “HIS,” it makes my heart smile and think of my grandparents.
Atlanta, bamboo, camillia, cardinal, carousel, cherry blossoms, elephant, family outing, flamingos, goat, kangaroos, meerkat, otter, panda, pink magnolia blossom, sleepy zoo animals, tiger, Zoo Atlanta, zoo train
Today was an unusual day for us, no baseball practice, no obligations, so we took a family outing to the zoo. It was a bit of a cold day for that, but the sun was shining and we had our winter weather gear to keep us warm. Unfortunately since it was so chilly, the gorillas and other warm climate animals were not outside. But we still had a great time and there was plenty to see. And admission was half off since it was less than 45 degrees! Apparently when it’s cold the animals get sleepy, because most of them were either sleeping or eating. They were very cute. The flowering trees have started to bloom, and the birds were singing their praises because of it. I took a ton of photos and haven’t seen my children smile that much together in a long time. It was the kind of day that lifts the soul.
If you are obsessed with the PBS Masterpiece Classic television show Downton Abbey like I am, you have probably fantasized about what it would be like to live in such a place, or at least a smaller version of it. I sure have.
The show is actually filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England. The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon still live there! It is just fascinating to read about the history of the estate and its inhabitants, and what goes on there today. There are 11 bedrooms on the first floor alone, and 40-50 on the other floors!
I love my house, but I often wish there were fields and forests all around, and a limitless decorating allowance. Our suburban fish bowl with neighbors on top of us gets old at times. Although we do have wonderful neighbors and are lucky in that regard. But it would be so amazing to live in an historic estate with acres of land that are mine, all mine! Curious if there was anything on the market with a Downton vibe, I found some real estate listings in the United States and England. The English properties are so much more impressive (and astronomically expensive) of course. Just click on the photos to get to the listings. For now I will settle for my daydreams and more Downton Abbey episodes on Sunday evenings. I am Countess of my estate after all, no matter how big or how small.
Monday mornings are always hard. But the sunrise today was a gift to my tired eyes and foggy brain. Ancient mariners (and my grandfather) had a superstition, “red sky at morning, sailor take warning.” In other words bad weather was coming. I’m not sure what rainbow colored skies forebode, but hopefully it is a good omen. In any event it is beautiful. Happy Monday!
Earlier this week I took my children to a little goat farm after school. Gronholm Goat Farm is located at the corner of Bowen and Stroup Roads in Roswell, Georgia. You can bring produce to feed the goats, any time of day. This time we brought parsley and lettuce from our own vegetable garden.
Two babies were born in late November and we were dying to get back to see them. They are so darn cute. Normally I don’t think goats are “cute” per say. But the sweet little white fuzzy one especially stole my heart. I was concerned for the babies when the older goats became rough with them, competing for food. The little white one decided to give up after awhile and just grazed on some grass where it was safe.
We love our local goat farm. It makes great meeee-mories.