Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hot and Bothered

I knew better than to plan anything even the slightest bit strenuous this weekend. 108 degrees predicted for Saturday and 111 degrees predicted for Sunday told me I had better get whatever I needed to do done early. Unfortunately I am also dealing with a little bit of cabin fever, thanks to this nice long stretch of hot weather we have not been enjoying. I needed to get out, if only briefly.

After running a couple of errands to pick up a new lamp timer and a birthday gift, I decided to head over to Smithville for lunch at Pocket's. I could not get that close to the antique shops on Main Street without poking my nose in at a couple of favorite spots to see if anything interesting was to be found.

My favorite shabby shic/antique shop had lots to see. I acquired another flowered and feathered hat to add to my growing collection and a hat stand to display it. I also spotted a little chest and a mirror that I really liked, but I could not make up my mind to buy. Across the street I found a tiny, garishly painted wagon that will ultimately take its place in the Mexican restaurant dollhouse, which is still in progress, and a small tatted doily.

That was as much as I could handle for an outing and I headed home to spend the afternoon puttering with my Hodge notebooks and explaining to the dogs why they could not go outside. All evening I pondered that little chest I had left behind, and by morning had decided I needed it after all.

So, Sunday morning found me heading back to Smithville. I arrived just as the store opened and in short order the little chest and the mirror were loaded into Big Red. On the way back home I impulsively stopped at Dixie's Emporium and picked up a few more things, including 8 bowls of Arcoroc Aspen to add to my collection. The set of dishes I purchased 15 years ago have become very hard to find, so when I stumbled over 4 cereal bowls and 4 soup bowls for a ridiculously low price, I grabbed them.

Loading Big Red was one thing (and I had help from the owner's husband getting that chest into the car), but unloading it was another since by the time I got home, the temperature was starting to crawl up well past 100 degrees. I had plenty of help there, too, with both dogs and the cats joining me in the garage as I wrestled the thing out and into the house.

Nothing would do but that I get it moved into the place I had chosen for it. I've been long wanting to rid myself of the last of the crate furniture, a piece that has held my stereo components and part of my CD collection. I had decided that the little chest would be a great replacement. I had dismantled the stereo and removed the CDs and then belatedly remembered the collection of 45 rpm records that were tucked in behind the CDs. By the time the shelving unit was empty, I had CDs and 45s strung all over the living room.

Eventually the CDs were tucked into the drawers and the stereo was back together.

And I have absolutely no idea where I am going to store the mountain of 45s.

There is everything here - from early Merle Haggard to the Partridge Family to the Carpenters to the Rolling Stones to what is probably every 45 that Glen Campbell released. I had fun listening to some old forgotten songs, like Jerry Lee Lewis's version of Chantilly Lace. I'm going to enjoy rediscovering some of these treasures while I try to figure out where I'm going to store them.

I may need to go antiquing again. I'm betting the perfect chest is out there somewhere.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tin Trunks and Fun

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity. I decided to take a day of vacation on Friday in anticipation of a late evening outing in Austin and a second outing on the following Saturday afternoon. Friend Lana was to spend the night and go to both events with me. We decided to kick off our fun and frivolity by meeting at the Elgin Antique Mall and bringing home the antique oak bookcase I had coveted for several years.

We had help getting the thing into Lana's van, but it was just the two of us getting it unloaded when we arrived at the house. Undaunted, we carefully tipped it out of the van, pushed it down the sidewalk and gingerly inched it up over the two step-ups into the house and it finally came to rest in my living room, where it has settled in and acts like it has lived here all along.

That night we headed to the downtown Hilton, where we joined an estimated crowd of 650 folks who had assembled to see psychic John Edward. This was our third time to see him and we had always enjoyed the experience before, but this time was a bit of a let-down. To begin with, we arrived two hours before the event and had planned to get a light snack in the coffee shop while we waited for the doors to open. Fortunately we decided to locate the ball room first and discovered that the line had already begun forming and we changed our plans to stay in line so we could have a better choice of seats. Two hours later, the show finally started - with a packed house. The 106 degree heat outside had the air-conditioning laboring hard to keep up and the sound was initially muddy, making it hard to understand him. He always gives some impressive readings and this time was no exception, but the heat and the crowd and the bad sound system left a bad taste and it may have been the last time we will venture out to see him.

The next morning we geared up for another adventure, beginning with "woofles" at the local Coffee Dog. They really hit the spot and then we headed east toward La Grange. We decided to take a detour to explore the little town of Fayetteville since neither of us had ever been there. We were delighted to discover a sleepy little town square and two antique/gift shops where we both found some things we had not been aware we needed.

We left Fayetteville, headed to Round Top, planning to get to Festival Hill an hour before show time to allow us plenty of time to get parked and seated before the play "Heart of the Tin Trunk" would begin. When we arrived, we were very glad we had decided to get there early. We were greeted with a "Sold Out" sign (the performance hall seats 1100) and ended up with a moderate hike in from our parking spot in a big field at the rear of the complex of buildings. We were beginning to feel a bit of trepidation after our experience of the night before, but we made our way through the crowd and snagged a couple of seats in the second row. Then we took a look around and were amazed at the interior.

We had a feeling this time we were in for a great time and we were right. The play was a lively musical that centered on a young girl's discovery of her Czech heritage when, upon her graduation from college, she is given an old tin trunk full of family memorabilia. She initially feels that there is nothing for her to learn from the old ways, but as she explores the trunk's contents, she begins to learn that she is who she is because of those who came before her.

The audience is transported back in time as we learn of the trials and sorrows experienced by the girl's great-grandmother Pavla when she, her brother, sister and mother make a ship journey from Czechoslovakia to Galveston and finally settle in La Grange. The brother falls ill and never sees America; the sister is given to a family to raise when Pavla and her mother are forced to abruptly flee when Pavla injures a local farmer who is trying to molest her. Eventually Pavla and her mother each find love and start anew, only to find sorrow again when World War I takes Pavla's husband. Finally the story comes full circle when the girl visits her ancestral homeland and discovers the life she is meant to live.

While the music and traditions were definitely Czech, the history of the family had elements that spoke to everyone's background. To two old genealogists like Lana and me, we were caught up immediately and enthralled with the story. It was uplifting, it reduced us to tears, it made us laugh. The cast and orchestra were flawless in their performances. We had a wonderful afternoon.

We came home fired up to get back onto our genealogical pursuits and planning our next research trip. I'm busily working on getting my files for Dr. Hodge ready to hit the road. I've got a couple of months to get ready!