Proper Marmalade

Two summers ago, whilst in Exeter, Devonshire, I made a purchase at the local market, held on a Saturday in the Exeter Cathedral close.

The purchase? Three jars of delight from a shop in north Devonshire: Proper Marmalade.

At Sunday breakfast, I finished the last jar.

I saw this marmalade for sale at Borough Market in London last month, but didn’t purchase any. My suitcase was already at weight, and I had little wiggle room to bring home delectables. (I did, however, find some room for a brick of Caerphilly cheese.)

I’m now regretting this Proper Marmalade decision.

You see, this brand is not sold here in the USA, and the small operation in Devonshire does not currently ship to the USA. I tried to order this week some of their flavors: blood orange, quince, Seville, lemon. All to no avail.

I may have B find some and ship it to me.

And now I’m off to Dierberg’s to peruse their selection of international jams.

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#TBT 1976

What an era-specific Olan Mills photo this is!

1976. Early in sophomore year. I loved this leisure suit.

For more on leisure suits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_suit.

Unce John

My beloved Aunt Esther married John Summers in 1951.  He died of a heart attack on April 15, 1984. His funeral was 34 years ago today.

1963, in Columbia with Aunt Esther and Uncle John Summers, and my mother.

His pallbearers were all people I remember from my childhood.  The faces are cloudy now, and all of these men are also long gone, but their names and their influence were part of my first 18 years or so.

Amongst the things I inherited from Aunt Esther was a box with the guest book from Uncle John’s funeral, and copies of the obituary and funeral home card, and all of the notecards from the many sprays of flowers that bedecked the church that day.

As I look through these cards, I see that Aunt Esther was as meticulous with these as she was in all areas of her life.  She wrote on the back of each card the kind of flowers in the spray, and in a vase also the shape and color of the vase. She made note of having sent a thank-you note, and on many cards wrote in pencil the address to which her own thanks should be posted. Notice on this card her own notation of “sent” and that she indicates that she wrote one thank-you note to all of the names on the card.  She also crossed out Moberly and wrote in the town and ZIP code. And the word “all” indicates that she sent one thank-you note for the whole group.

Also in this minor trove of family memories was an acrostic my own father wrote a few days later.  As we cleaned out his office four months ago, we found dozens if not hundreds of these acrostics, written for family, for funerals, for weddings, for sermons, for published columns. I found notepads on which he worked out the details and crossed out word choices and crafted these little ditties.

My father with Aunt Esther.

The American people

A bit of a rant:

When did the phrase ‘the American people’ become so ubiquitous?

I detest this phrase, especially when used by politicians who are speaking for a narrow(ish) slice of the citizenry.  How many times have I heard powerful men (for the most part) say “The American people are wanting [insert cause here].”?  And of course they are speaking only for the base to which they are pandering at that moment.

Might we try “American citizens” or “American voters” or even, God help us, “Americans”?

This slant toward “the American people” seems to me to be slightly coded toward the nativist & populist strain that is suffocating our nation right now.

And I know that our dear President Obama used this phrase, so my screed is cutting at politicians of all stripes, but especially to those who pander and are dishonest or at least disingenuous in their (im)moral and demagogic spoutings.

Americans deserve better.  We deserve thoughtful politicians who know how to use words to inspire, not divide.  This citizenry is crying out for centrist leadership, and if that can’t happen, a dose of socialism!

Here endeth a stream-of-consciousness rant.

Random pearls of wisdom

From recent personal experience . . . .

  1. Always wear something on your feet whilst in the kitchen.  One never knows when one is going to drop a full glass bottle on the tile floor.
  2. Always check not only which copier is receiving the signal to begin printing, but also the number of copies being printed.  There’s nothing like printing 9 copies of Jeremy’s book reports.
  3. Always put your shoes away.  When one leaves them in the middle of the floor in a darkened room, and then gets up in the night to make water, one might stumble and trip over the shoes.

That is all.