Friday, March 23, 2007

Chapter 15: Torture, Modesty and good news.

I've mentioned before that I am attempting to write this saga in "real time", matching my postings with the calendar and time lines as described in historical documentation of the events.

To ease the fear that you might die of old age before this story concludes, let me just say "we're getting there." And if you had been paying attention to my calendar for March, you would already know the answer of when this story concludes!

Today's episode is about torture. I will be careful not to delve into the deep details about torture, because I find my mind and feelings are too easily injured whenever I read about violence. It literally sickens me. I will leave graphic description to writer's with a less tender heart.

"During the long journey Hannah was secretly planning to escape at the first opportunity, spurred by the tales with which the Indians had entertained the captives on the march, picturing how they would be treated after arriving in Canada, stripped and made to "run the gauntlet"; jeered at and beaten and made targets for the young Indians' tomahawks; how many of the English prisoners had fainted under these tortures; and how they were often sold as slaves to the French.

These stories added to her desire for revenging the death of her baby and the cruel treatment of their captors while on the march, made this desire stronger."

(from The Duston-Dustin Family: Thomas and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Duston and their descendants.)

Odd how little phases pop up in one's casual conversation.

Have you ever said, referring perhaps to Christmas shopping expedition or greeting people at an event, or facing a critical group of people:
"I had to run the gauntlet?"

The phrase now is almost comic, and college fraternities routinely haze new members via "running the gauntlet" past paddle wielding fraternity "brothers."

It's nice to think we as society have come so far as to be able to hear the term without wincing.
Or getting absolutely ill.

Now days, gauntlet running as faced by Hannah strikes us an unthinkable torture that would indicate a truly sick mind. But because we don't have to confront the true meaning via a real person beaten and hacked to a bloody pulp, we can toss the term lightly into any conversation to convey the idea that we had run into some opposition to whatever we had planned.

"Running the gauntlet" was a very real punishment among Roman soldiers, French and German military groups, and the Native American Indians of the Northeastern region.

It was routinely used on captives and others who came to be in the midst of Indians.
Daniel Boone was forced to run the gauntlet, as were most English people whose stories are told in Captive Narratives. A lot of stories we will never know; gauntlet running generally lead to death, either directly from the blows and gashes, or from the resulting infections that would fester and take a life in a horrible drawn out misery.

In my mind (or as some people have called "my over active imagination") I picture Hannah and Mary sitting around the campfire after a long day's trek through snow and muck, and the Indians turning to them and describing the last "fun" gauntlet run that they had attended.

If my imagination could be true, Hannah probably would have been pleased as punch just to be by the fire, and she would not care what the Indians were saying, because at least she would have been warm and had a shot at the food that was on the fire cooking.

Captives usually didn't get to be near the fire, and definitely not near the food that was cooking there.

More likely she was set aside outside the wigwam, and the Indians would be jeering her with more and more elaborate gruesome details of the gauntlet run that was scheduled to occur in her near future.

Reading the retelling of Hannah's story at various times in history is interesting.
Funny how society and cultural focus shifts.

The original telling in the late 1600's focused on the cruelty of the Indians, the means of striking and hitting, and how people died as a result of this treatment.

By the mid-1800s, the retelling focuses on Hannah recoiling from the idea that she would be stripped naked, and her fretting about her possible loss of modesty.

Oh please. Those about majoring on the minors!

Excuse me while I laugh; I think that Victorian version is hilarious.

I suppose I should re-write Hannah's story for the early 2000's so she can lament her post partum abdominal sag, and stretch marks, and how she quickly began doing sit ups to tighten her buns and her abs, and rubbed a holistic herbal cream on the stretch marks to make them fade away.

I could write something like;

"Carrying each of her twelve precious babies had created those stretch marks, and while she knew as a woman the marks were "a badge of honor", she worried that Thomas would no longer think that she was pretty. She worried what the Indians would think. Reaching for the cream, she rubbed her stretch marks harder."

(Sorry if you are eating while you are reading this. All together now: "Barf!")

At work on Wednesday my co-worker shoved an article at me and suggested I read it, even though it began in a revolting manner.

She was right, it did begin in a horrifying manner describing how in past centuries people would gather for the opportunity to watch the sporting event known as burning cats alive. My co-worker is also a cat person, so I was shocked that she had offered this gut wrenching writing to me.

"Just keep reading" she said evenly.

The rest of the article (and really I did mean to get the citation) concerned the examination of violence in society through the ages. Using various sociological tools as measurements, the article announced that we have reason to rejoice; the times in which we now live are actually the most non-violent time ever in history.

The article went on to explore three historical philosopher's opinion on how a society becomes less and less violent. I think Payne and Locke were two philosophers whose thinking was suggested as explanation for the decrease.

When I stopped to think about it, it is true. There surely is violence still today, but most of our modern societies shun organized violence. Except for soccer, football, and ice hockey of course.

In Hannah's time, violence was all around her. She had watched her baby and her neighbors die in a manner of violence that seems unspeakable.

Hannah knew about violence. Violence was a reality, and that reality was about to encroach on her own flesh.

She made her plan. The gauntlet was not for her. Somehow, she decided, before they reached Canada, she would make her escape.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

To Kate, and all other Texas Expatriates.

Once you see them, you understand.
The State Flower of Texas.

Each spring they blanket the landscape, stealing breath away when they reappear, peeking out shyly like an tender memory, or an unforgettable fragrance.

Texas is a hard land. No mountains, little water, extreme heat, cold winters. Each year in the summer I think:
I must make my plan.
I must leave this place.

Six, seven months of heat and humidity, and air conditioning chilling the back of my neck. Then a brief blaze of color, autumn, riots through and in a week's time is gone.

Winter is even more elusive. Cold, frost, freeze, perhaps a blink of a snowflake is placed to mark that season' s fast passage.

And then...bluebonnets.

The heat, the cold, the hardships.

All is forgiven through the innocent bonnet's blue kiss, sweet blue upon the pupils of my eyes.

Love you Kate.
Miss you.
PS: There a slide show of bluebonnets and other blooms here.

I've got a funny feeling about this...

This morning this map was up on my computer screen:

When I hit the back key, it took me to the Continental airlines on-line ticketing site.

I noticed the little sticky note that we keep our super secret frequent miles user ID numbers on was knocked on the floor.

That was weird. So I checked our frequent flyer milage account and discovered a lot of our miles were gone.

I woke Bernie up, and asked him if he had booked a flight to New York during the night.
He rubbed his eyes, and grunted "No" at me, clearly disappointed that once again I was clueless about his travel plans.

Then he looked down at the foot of the bed, and asked "Where's Tiggie?"

(Tiggie is ALWAY next to Bernie. We call him our FOC: Faithful Orange Cat.)

I thought maybe Tiggie had just gotten up early and was using the litter box. So I went to check.

Tiggie wasn't in his "office." But there was a note attached to the litter box base.

That really surprised me.

Tiggie usually doesn't go outside until after Bernie gets up. Why would Tiggie want to go hunt birds early in the morning, at dawn for crying out loud?

He gets Science Diet cat food and even the stinky canned cat food on Sundays, so he doesn't really need to go hunting birds at all.

I put together a cup of coffee, and went to check my favorite blogsites. That's when it hit me.

Oh my lord, Tiggie's heading to Dawn's place.

He's going to kill that bird thing she's giving away.

What can I say?


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

(Whine) Why can't I just be like everyone else?

I can't even remember how many times I have wished that I could be one of those people who are content with showing up to work to the same parking slot and doing the same thing day after day after day for twenty or thirty years, and then retire, and go on the same trips and eat the same food, and sleep in the same colored room as I painted it 30 years ago, and be happy talking for thirty minutes at a time about what people did different with their hair and what I am doing with my hair, and what you ate last Sunday at your Mama's and how the macaroni recipe was a little different this time because I used them big macaroni things instead of the little macaroni thing, you know, the one Kenny likes so much?
And how my car used to get 26 and a half miles per gallon, but since I've been buying gas at the supermarket it just doesn't seem to be doing as good, last week we only got 24 and a half miles per gallon, and that just doesn't seem right.
And I could say things like "I'm fixin to go to the store to get me some milk and some of that really good bread, you know, the ones with the little seeds on top? " and that would be normal.
Oh lordy.
I just described life in Texas.

No wonder I don't fit in. The other 7% of women like me sure as heck don't live here either!

Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ISFP)

Your personality type is caring, peaceful, artistic, and calm.

Only about 7% of all people have your personality, including 8% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.

OK, so I'm a natural blond....

I've got to be dumb about something.
Just to keep my Dumb Blonde membership active.
You Failed 8th Grade Science

Sorry, you only got 5/8 correct!

But Bernie HATES Olives....

What Color Green am I?
Oh no!
Bernie can't stand olives!
You Are Olive Green

You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.

Oh yeah, flirting in the library..

...with a guy needing the documents on Texas insurance.
Get me outta here!

You Are a Natural Flirt

Believe it or not, you're a really effective flirt.
And you're so good, you hardly notice that you're flirting.
Your attitude and confidence make you a natural flirt.
And the fact that you don't know it is just that more attractive!

Novelist, writer, college professor, art director, graphic designer

I've been all of those!
HOW do these tests do it?

Your Career Personality: Original, Devoted, and Service Oriented

Your Ideal Careers:

Art director

Book editor

College professor


Film director

Graphic designer


Stage actor



Whew...I was afraid they were going to say....

Australia. Or Canada. Or some other imaginary place.
What English Speaking Country Are You?
You Belong in the USA

People either love you or hate you
And you really don't care what anyone thinks
Big and bold, you do things your way

Stop me before I test again!

These tests are so true it is scary...
Your Hidden Talent

You are both very knowledgeable and creative.
You tend to be full of new ideas and potential - big potential.
Ideas like yours could change the world, if you build them.
As long as you don't stop working on your dreams, you'll get there.

(I dream of being home, with the cats and azalea and bluebonnets in bloom.)

No Bernie, I am NOT going to do it!

I will not, I repeat, will not fork over one more dime to academic sadistic institutions.

You Should Go to Grad School

Grad school definitely isn't for everyone, but it looks like it's for you.

You have a pretty good idea of what you want to study - and how it will further your career.

So go ahead and go for it! You're ready to be a PhD.

Stop laughing Laura....

My INNER Californian?????
What the heck....

Orange County

You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!

How much longer until I can go home?

You know your are bored at work when.....

You Are Most Like Ronald Reagan

People tend to think you're a god - or that you almost ruined the country.
But even if people do disagree with you, they still fall victim to your charms!

Chapter 14: "The Praying Indians"

John Eliot preaching to the Indians
October 1646
When I was reading Mary Rowlandson's Captive Narrative I kept coming across the term "a Praying Indian." The phrase was used as a title, rather than a simple observation.
So, me being me, I had to research.
And this is what I discovered:
Praying Indian is a 17th century term referring to Native Americans of New England who converted to Christianity.

In 1646, the General Court of Massachusetts passed an "Act for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians". This act and the success of Reverend John Eliot and other missionaries in preaching the Christianity to the New England tribes raised interest in England.
In 1649 the Long Parliament passed an Ordination forming "A Corporation for the Promoting and Propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England" which raised funds to support the cause. Contributors raised approximately 12,000 pounds to investment in this cause, to be used mainly in the Colony of Massachusetts and in New York.
Reverend Eliot received financial aid from this corporation to start schools for teaching the Native Americans.

On October 28, 1646, in Nonantum (in Newton), Rev. Eliot gave his first sermon to Native Americans in their own language. This happened in the wigwam of Waban, the first convert of his tribe.
Christian Indian Towns were eventually located throughout Eastern and Central Massachusetts. They included: Natick, Littleton (Nashoba), Lowell (Wamesit) (then part of Chelmsford), Grafton (Hassanamessit), Marlborough (Okommakamesit), Hopkinton (Makunkokoag), and Canton (Punkapoag). Today only Natick retains its original name (a proposal to rename it "Eliot" was rejected by the General Court).

These towns were situated so as to serve as an outlying wall of defense for the colony, but came to an end in 1675 during King Philip's War when residents were first confined to their villages (thus restricted from their farms and unable to feed themselves), and many were confined on Deer Island in Boston Harbor.
(from Wikipedia, accessed 21 Mar 2007.
Another sloppy citation. So shoot me!)
One of the fun things about Wikipedia is that within their articles they hyperlink to practically every word except "and" and "the."
But they generally do a fine job of putting together a fast read on any subject. Leaving it to the reader to decide if they want to do more research.
More research?
Yes please! I'd love some more research! Pass the research please. Thank you! Oh, this is delicious. Yum yum!
The additional research pointed out that there were at one time 19 Praying Indian villages situated around the Massachusetts area, actually in a ring around Boston, each about 12-14 miles apart. The Praying Indian villages were fortified against attack by other hostile Indians tribes.
They also served as scouts for the English, serving a common interest for safety against the raiding hostile tribes.
Now this is how I imagine things going back then:
The Puritans are all about their faith. And their faith is now shared by some of the Native Americans. I have read the account of John Eliot's sermon as reported by a Native American, and it is a stirring document. Two races are united by a common faith. Glory!
So how did things come to pass that Mary Rowlandson and later Hannah Dustin were put into such dire circumstances at the hands of the Indians?
Well, this is what happened:

"The Praying Indians could have served as an intelligence force for the English. John Sassamon was a Christian Indian who served frequently as an interpreter and witness for both the English and the Native Americans.
As early as 1674, Sassamon discovered that his countrymen (hostile Indians) were preparing for war. He reported this information immediately to the governor of Plymouth Colony but was not believed because he was a Native American. (italics mine-Jill)
In April and again in May, 1675, Waban, Praying Indian leader at Natick warned the English of Philip's intentions to attack the colonists.
Various Native American sources reported that "when the woods were grown thick with green trees then it [war] was likely to appear...." In August, 1675, the three warriors accompanying the English to Quaboag (Brookfield) Plantation suggested that the local tribes should not be trusted. The English chose to disregard this advice and shortly thereafter the local Nipmuks ambushed them.

According to S. A. Drake, "... at this time if any Indian appeared friendly, all Indians were so declaimed against, that scarcely any one among the English could be found that would allow that an Indian could be faithful or honest in any affair."

(Isn't that a heart breaking statement? -Jill)

"Instead of using the Praying Indians as allies, the English disregarded any advice a Native American offered.

Although the colonials did raise a Praying Indian company, composed of 52 Native Americans, on July 2, 1675, and these warriors comported themselves well in the July Mount Hope campaign, a certain segment of the English population distrusted all Native Americans and felt that the Praying Indians would always be more loyal to the hostile tribes than to the English."

(Stupid, stupid stupid....)

"By August 30, 1675, the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Colony, in response to public demand, disbanded all Praying Indian companies, confined these Christian Indians to the Old Praying Indian towns, and restricted their travel to within one mile of the center of those towns and only then when in the company of an Englishman."
(They did what???)
"If a Native American broke these rules, he could be arrested or shot on sight."


"Most Englishmen were unwilling to reside in these towns because of the prejudice directed toward any Englishman supporting the Praying Indian cause.

Christian Indians were caught between two warring factions: the English and the hostile tribes fighting with King Philip.
They (the praying Indians) pledged their loyalty to the English who refused to trust them and, at the same time, faced the enmity of their own people.
Their loyalty was rewarded with such public hatred toward them that in August, 1675, the General Council in Boston began to consider removing the Praying Indians to Deer Island in Boston Harbor.
Finally, in October, 1675, the order passed for removal; by December of that year, there were over 500 Christian Indians confined to the island. "The enmity, jealousy, and clamors of some people against them put the magistracy upon a kind of necessity to send them all to the Island...." where they "... lived chiefly upon clams and shell-fish, that they digged out of the sand, at low water; the Island was bleak and cold, their wigwams poor and mean, their clothes few and thin; some little corn they had of their own, which the Council ordered to be fetched from their plantations, and conveyed to them by little and little...."

(I can't stand it....this is horrible.)

"There they stayed until released in 1677, but the world to which they returned was totally changed. The English had defeated the warring tribes,leaving the Native Americans strangers in their own homeland."
(By the way, any site that had .edu or .gov is a site you can generally trust. Watch out for .com or .org)
The Praying Indians were from a group of over a thousand Indians at when the Puritans arrived, at the end of this time, there were less than three hundred living.
Amazingly, some of those Praying Indian's decedents are still living. They never abandoned their faith, and just had a celebration of their 350 Anniversary last year. See details here!

I'm giving you the background on the Praying Indians because as you will soon see, Hannah Dustin is about to come into the hands of one Bampico, a former Praying Indian.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chapter 13: Trail Mix

While in Salt Lake we dined at a little restaurant named "The Red Iguana", a restaurant that has received the honor of being named "The Best Mexican Food Restaurant" in Salt Lake for about 10 years running.

As you can tell by the menu, it's not your run of the mill Mexican hole in the wall.

Above is what I ordered, which is the last item on the menu pictured at the top of the page.
The menu has many pages, and it always takes time to figure out what to order each visit.
Of course I was thinking about our story as we ate.
And wondered what Hannah ate on the trail.
I imagine it wasn't anything as tasty as this.
So what did they eat on the trail?
Trail Mix?
I think not.
Let's find out.
As it happens, there is quite a collection of what are called "Captive Narratives" available to read on the Internet these days.
I can access the hard (paper) copies of the stories at my college library, but I prefer to do research electronically so I can copy and paste at will, mindful of copyright and plagiarism issues.
(And boy am I glad I don't have to teach that snooze of a class at work!)
Arguably the most famous and complete Captive Narratives out there is the one written by Mary Rowlandson, the wife of a Puritan minister who was abducted from Lancaster Massachusetts, a town that neighbored Haverhill in 1675.
Mary survived an amazing three month ordeal three with the Indians and wrote an in depth report about her experiences.
Mary was quite a gal. I think if she were living in modern times, she would be a blogger, as her attention to detail was extraordinary, and she also made sure to include details records of what she ate.
If you have the time, you can read her complete story at this link:
It is a pity she didn't have a digital camera.
Scratch that...Thank God she didn't have a digital camera.
What she ate was pretty disgusting.
And she managed to choke it down anyway.
Hannah Dustin didn't report what she ate during her captivity.
But I imagine it wasn't much different that what Mary Rowlandson ate.
Hannah likely was familiar with the Rowlandson family, and possibly her captive narrative.
The ministry of the Rowlandson's home was soon to affect Hannah's and Mary Neff's life greatly.
But that comes later in our tale.
When Mary Rowlandson was taken captive she was forced to travel without any food for several days. Eventually she was given a spoonful of meal. Later she was given a piece of bear liver, which she eagerly began to roast over an open fire, only to have half of it snatched away before it was even cooked. She then burnt her mouth when she shoved the remaining half cooked piece into her mouth in order to prevent it too from being stolen.
At another time she was given "a finger sized" piece of baked cake, made of corn meal and ground nuts that she put into her "stinking pocket" where it molded overnight. She ate it anyway the next day.
At one stop an Indian woman boiled up an old horse leg, and Mary enjoyed the broth that was offered her.
Later the Indians would pull out horse hooves, or feet, which they had saved to boil when all other meat was gone.
They gathered grain from abandoned fields, abandoned because the homeowners had been massacred earlier.
And they cooked up whatever foods that they had plundered from the Puritans.
Meanwhile, I hope you aren't eating, or have a very strong stomach because I've copied one section of her writing that she wrote at length about what the Indians ate, and occasionally offered to her:

"Though many times they would eat that, that a hog or a dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthened them to be a scourge to His people.

The chief and commonest food was ground nuts. They eat also nuts and acorns, artichokes, lilly roots, ground beans, and several other weeds and roots, that I know not.

They would pick up old bones, and cut them to pieces at the joints, and if they were full of worms and maggots, they would scald them over the fire to make the vermin come out, and then boil them, and drink up the liquor, and then beat the great ends of them in a mortar, and so eat them.
They would eat horse's guts, and ears, and all sorts of wild birds which they could catch; also bear, venison, beaver, tortoise, frogs, squirrels,dogs, skunks, rattlesnakes; yea, the very bark of trees; besides all sorts of creatures, and provision which they plundered from the English."

Like I said, Mary was quite a gal. After recounting all this revolting food, this is what she had to say next:

"I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth.
Many times in a morning, the generality of them would eat up all they had, and yet have some further supply against they wanted.
It is said, "Oh, that my People had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their Enemies, and turned my hand against their Adversaries" (Psalm 81.13-14).
But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land."


Anyway, back to Hannah:
She was captive along with Mary Neff and at least one other Puritan woman who was also called Hannah, and there were 20 Indians, their squaws and their kids.
I'm figuring that means there were at least 40 people, if even just half the Indians had squaws and half of them had one kid.
Maybe the number was more like 50, or 60.
Could of been.
As I will be documenting later, the Indians ate three times a day.
Imagine, if you will, hiking through snow, and mud, and cold etc etc, and three times a day everyone takes a break to eat.
And this hiking on lasted for about 15 days.
I am amazed that they (the Indians) DID have food.
I know I couldn't possibly have dished up food for 50 three times a day for two weeks, even with my ample pantry at hand.
I've cooked for my family on camping trips with Coleman stoves and a store not too far away to replenish the junk food that makes camping such a special treat.
It was challenging to feed the four of us even with those modern conveniences!

I will leave you now to ponder this "manna in the wilderness" scene.

And hope you feel extra blessed by what you have had to eat today in comfort and in peace of your home.

Monday, March 19, 2007

They partied without me!

As I mentioned in my March 17th post, I love to give St. Patrick's Day parties.
Especially if the day falls on a Saturday.

But I had really not considered our cat's needs in this.

Luckily, good old Uncle Scott came to our furry friend's rescue while we were gone!

You remember Uncle Scott don't you?
The guy who watched our cats while we were gone near Valentine's Day?
The guy who gave the cats a Valentine Day gift basket?

Well, he watched Tiggie and Hart for us again this trip.

Just look what those two ridiculous boy cats got this time:

Ah, it's good for them to have Uncle Scott thinking about all their St. Patrick's Day holiday needs.

(Because I sure as heck didn't.)

The saying goes:

"Every Dog Has It's Day."

(Except for Canadian dogs named Otis, to hear him tell it.)

Around here we have a different saying:

"Every Cat Has It's Holiday. With Appropriate Gift Basket Included."

(Sing along...I'm leaving on a jet plane...

Leaving on an early flight, we said "Goodbye" to grandcat Meowsie at 5:30 am.
He didn't seem too shook up by us leaving.
Oh well, better than a long drawn out goodbye.
Jeff was bright eyed and bushy-tailed though.
And blind immediately after my camera flashed in his eyes.
(What is it about boys and goofy faces when you're trying to get a good picture?)
Jeff got us to the airport in the dark, and we hugged goodbye at the curb.
It is always hard to say good bye to family.

Inside the airport it was a madhouse. We had gotten there more than an hour early. It was a good thing too, the line snaked the entire length of the airport.
The terrorist in many ways is still winning every time we have to go through all the security measures at the airport.

I waited for Bernie to go get some coffee.
SLC airport is pretty drab.
Especially at six in the morning.

Bernie had to stand in line the longest time.
You'd think Salt Lake City Starbucks would have few customers.
You'd be so wrong.

As soon as he brought me a nice vanilla latte, I needed to use the girls room.
As I was washing my hands, I heard our names being paged.
Final call for us to report to gate A5 for our flight.
We had lost track of time in all that waiting in line.

I RAN back to the table, where Bernie was going "Did they just call our names?"


I grabbed my coffee and started to run.
It was Bernie's plain black coffee with four shots of espresso, not mine, as I discovered as I took a quick sip on the escalator.

I put it down and we RAN as hard as we could, carrying bags and a backpack on my back that weighted a ton.
My heart was going crazy...
As we came up on the gate the agent said:
"You're Bernie and Jill? Just get on the plane?"
He didn't even check our tickets. How embarrassing.

Hmmm...I might start listening to last call pages.
Last call for some place fabulous?
"Yeah, we're Bob and Betty, whew, we JUST made it, close the doors, let's go!"

OK, that would be WRONG.
But fun to think about.
Posted by Picasa

A lamp unto...

Isn't that just an adorable little cherub, or putti, or something or other?
I think so!
Look! It's part of a lamp!
The white globe is a pearlized glass, that looks kind of like lacy spots.
Doesn't it goes PERFECTLY with the polka dotted bedspread next to it in the guest room!?

Of course it does!
And the best part?
It was free!

It had been sitting in Jeff's garage without a shade.

I thought it came with the house, a left over from the former owners.
Turns out there had been a company party at work, and for some reason, the party was decorated using junk from the local thrift shop.
They spent a total of something like $100 on JUNK, as kind of a joke for some reason.
(I wasn't there...just reporting what Jeff said.)
After the party, they were just going to throw all the junk away.

Anyway, there was this lamp. The shade was all junky and broken, but Jeff figured someone could use a lamp. So it sat in his garage without a shade for a year waiting for "someone" to need it.
Nobody did.

I'm not surprised. Most of Jeff's friends are in the 20something age group, and this lamp just doesn't quite fit 20something taste.

But then Jeff had some guys come and stay with him for a long ski weekend.
The guest room only had an overhead lamp.
He figured the guest room should have a nightstand lamp, but didn't want to spend money or take the time to go get one.
After all, there was the lamp in the would work.

So he screwed in a light bulb, and plugged it in.
(Didn't even bother to dust it off. After a year in the garage, it needed dusting, bad.)

When we arrived, there was the lamp.
Jeff said he figured I would know what kind of lampshade it would need.

I said we should take it to Target (a department store.)
He recoiled.
"No, we're not taking it anywhere" he said firmly. "We'll just get a bunch of lampshades and return the ones that don't work."
(I imagine the idea of walking into a store holding this big old lamp didn't appeal to him. Definitely not a guy looking lamp, I have to admit.)

The three of us stopped by Lowe's, a home improvement/hardware story to get a ceiling fan, and there we looked at lampshade.

The ones with the cute beads dangling on the edge were swiftly dismissed.
The scalloped edged ones were dismissed.

We brought home two relatively plain ones.

An oyster/beige one, and a white one with a little bit of a curvy edge.

The white one got an immediate thumbs down.

The beige one, I pointed out, was too short.
Neither lampshade worked.

I went downstairs.
The men looked at each other, unwrapped the lampshade, and pronounced the lampshade to be perfect.

Take another look at what it looked like:

"It is too short" I protested. "It needs to be bigger, the next size up!"
(This current shade, Bernie noted, cost $40. For a free lamp. That meant the lamp was no longer free, and a bigger shade would cost more. And take up too much space. Therefore, this shade is just fine.)

A little more discussion with my non-HGTV watching family members, and they allowed that the lampshade probably should be at the same level as the cherub. (I think they winced at that. Like most manly men, both the word and thought of cherubs make them wince.)

They also pointed out that the lamp works just fine just the way it is.

I relented, provided Jeff goes to Target and buys a new lamp harp there that will be three inches shorter than the one currently on the lamp.
He is to take the old harp with him to Target to be sure he gets the right size.

He agreed to do this.

There was no time frame negotiated for this task.

The other lamp shade (another $40 item) needs to be returned to Lowes.

Now let's do the math:

Need to return lamp shade to Lowes to get money back.
Likelihood of task being completed this week: 100%

Need to go and buy a lamp shade harp to lower a lampshade to the correct level with the cherub on the lamp.
Likelihood of this task being completed anytime before my next visit: Um...what is less than zero?

Awww...lamps with pearlized finishes and cherubs.
Can you say "Middle Age Women Love This"?

And to think we got it for FREE!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Scenes from SLC

The Red Butte gardens were just starting to have blooms. These little iris were stunning. Be sure to enlarge that shot!
My grandcat Meowsie and I took a little snooze together. And we discovered he likes to nibble crocus. Not a good thing!
Skiing was grand for the boys, both Friday and Sunday. This was on Friday, as Bernie managed a little work via cell phone. So much for holiday got to do what you got to do to keep the contracts running smooth.
The snow capped mountains encircle Salt Lake City. Oddly, the homes here never seem to be designed to enjoy the spectacular views.

All for now...just wanted to share some of the beauty, and of course, brag on my grandcat.
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