Saturday, April 25, 2009

God Save the ANZACs!

This blog must take a moment of its time to acknowledge its namesake, the glorious Aussies. Today marks the remembrance of losses sustained many years ago on the beaches of Gallipolli by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Notably, their exploits were also immortalized in the song "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" made famous by The Pogues.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hocus Pocus Eggs

"Hocus Pocus, die-mi-dokus
Daddy's scrambled eggs are on focus"

"Stir 'em up, dish 'em out,
Soon the children will run and shout!"

That little gem of a verse accompanied many a Saturday morning breakfast at my house growing up. So much so that eventually, at least one Saturday a month turned into "Jazz Brunch," and we'd find Dad in the kitchen making eggs, Mom making everything else, and old Ella and Louis tapes playing on the hi-fi.

It must have had an impact on the whole family - my sister recently wrote this creative bit for an assignment at PTS:

There he was in his gray knobby bathrobe and leathery brown slippers standing over the stove, a bright salty breakfast before him cooking in cast iron. My sister, brother and I giggle as we rush to fight over our seats at the creaky old table. On the way Sara S L I D E S the length of the wood-floored kitchen in her sockfeet so I try to copy her and go almost as far.

Mom brings over the sweet smelling pancakes and sizzling bacon and pours our OJ in plastic cups. Finally…the time had come and we could enjoy the brunch we had been hungrily smelling for what seemed like hours. My feet dangle from my chair as Stephen runs to turn down the music so Dad can say the blessing. “…bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies, and us to Thy service. Amen.” I methodically copy my sister putting on several pats of butter and then the syrup as I begin to devour this special feast. With the mid-morning sunshine streaming through the windows, I ask “Dad do you really put a spell on the eggs?” “Of course, honey. That’s why they taste so good.” “Stephen made the pancakes!” Mom announces, as Sara and I respond in sync; “Thanks!” Stephen nods, eyes still sleepy, and reaches for the orange juice.

In the background the lilting voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong float along in harmonious duet. “Wrapped in the arms of sweet romance, un-der a blanket of blue.” Dad imitates the low, smooth growl of Louis’ voice and a smile forms on his face, his crows feet joining the expression. I imagine this Armstrong with his gravelly voice to be a skinny white man with huge arms, kinda like Popeye. As we scarf down the last of the hocus pocus eggs, buttermilk pancakes, and crunchy bacon, I excitedly anticipate my favorite part of this Saturday morning tradition. Sara and Dad make it to the den first and he twirls her around in her flannel, purple nightgown. Waiting impatiently for my turn, I get recruited by my coffee-smelling Mom to help clear the table. Finally a new song starts- The brassy trumpet sounds waft around us as Louis begins, “Heaven…I’m in heaven. And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak...” Dad takes my hand and pulls me into his arms in the middle of the den. I feel like his favorite child, his prized possession. We laugh and I step onto his slippers. My pink flannel nightgown spins around with me and I never want this song to end.

Kim, Jack and Stephen enjoyed the first of many Saturday's full of Jazz Brunch fun. Dean enjoyed a little bit, too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Day of School

For as long as I can remember, all the kids in my family lined up in the front yard, next to the azaleas or some other foliage, and posed for an annual "first day of school" picture. This became such a ritual that we kept it up even when we went off to college. I've got a "first day of school" picture from the day I joined the Marines, and started at Cintas, and on the day I went to orientation at Elon Law. I even took one of Kim on her first day of residency.

And so it was with great pride that I sat Jackson up in his car seat on the morning of his first day of daycare, and initiated him into a lasting Shaw tradition.

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