Every so often, there comes a moment when I know I am no longer in Maryland. Such was tonight, when I went to a reception sponsored by some folks at my new church. A visiting speaker from South Africa was there talking about how professionals can help the poor. His name is Craig Stewart, from Capetown and his ministry is called the Warehouse. We gathered at the largest and perhaps the loveliest home I have seen yet here in Jackson and I’ve toured a few really nice ones. The couple who lived here had so many bedrooms, I lost count, not to mention the art studio and pool, three verandas and treehouse out back. It being in the low 60s, everyone sat outside on the patio. I was one of a clutch of women seated by an outdoor fireplace – with blazing fire – while others sat in chairs by the snack and drink tables. This being a gathering of Anglicans, naturally there was plenty of wine – and even Kentucky bourbon – to be had. Veeka, by the way, was inside watching TV. In Maryland, I can see sitting outside maybe as early as April, but definitely not in early February, yet here we were, me wearing a light cape, seated al fresco. Two weeks ago also on a Friday night, we were at another gathering, this one east of town and, the night being cold, we were indoors. It was a large crowd of musicians mostly of the country music and Elvis variety, although some of the fiddlers could do some good Celtic stuff, Someone had brought a harp and I really tried to play along, but I was nowhere near fast enough to keep up. Some of the folks there were college professors, other were retired and others worked in blue collar jobs doing I-forget-what, but it was a super nice group of people. Veeka wanted to borrow peoples’ violins, but naturally no one was too eager for her to experiment on their instruments. I need to find her a small guitar, as she really likes those.
Anyway, that gathering too was one of those soirees that would not have happened in Maryland. Things here seem more artless, less wary and less hemmed in by the craziness of living in a metro area of 4 million+ people. All of Madison County is 100,000 souls at the most. And enclosed here is a second video I got from my video class of Miss Veeka. Titled “The Scooter,” it’s a very amateur arrangement of her on her new Christmas toy to the tune of the Russian dance in the third act of “Swan Lake.” I have always loved that dance and as you watch the video, a lot of what Veeka does kind of goes with the music. I shot this on my iPhone – on iMovie – on my computer at work. I had fun making it, although iMovie is a lot harder to operate than one would think. Sadly, the tree she is shown climbing in the film had the lowest branch cut off soon afterwards. I have this funny feeling someone saw her climbing the tree – and me filming her – and spitefully wanted to make the tree impossible to climb. The next time Veeka saw that tree- and the missing branch - she set off a huge wail as to now she can no longer climb it. Our neighborhood had no other climbable trees, so I am in search of trees she can climb and read in, as I once did in Connecticut and so did her grandmother while growing up near Philadelphia.
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