Ha! I’ll bet you thought I was going to say Lake Wobegon, didn’t you? Maybe not. Maybe Prairie Home Companion …
In most areas of my life, I’m really not a decisive decision-maker. My family says I’m wishy-washy, and I’m OK with that After all, if I offer my opinion that Red Sombrero is where we should eat tonight and then let them convince me that we should chow down at Olive Tree instead, I come home just as well-fed and still have no dishes to do.
Once in a while, though, I find that my opinion on a subject seems worthwhile enough to make a stand and state my position. Out loud, and in front of everybody. Unless, of course, you feel that I should just kind of keep my opinions to myself, and…NO! This one I want to say.
The other day I read a post that disturbed me. Actually, it isn’t the post but the subject that causes me distress. Because I follow Mae East here on WordPress, i got a notice directing me to her new post Graffiti: Art or Disrespectful? and I popped on over to take a look.
In my opinion, and in those of people I respect, anyone who destroys or defaces the property of someone else is a criminal. Period. Most people work hard to provide themselves and their communities with pleasant surroundings. To ruin this by imposing a permanent (and usually very unsightly) “work of art” is a disgrace. I’m not even counting the monetary impact here, just the aesthetic.
I should append a little history note here. When I was in college–back in the sixties, when graffiti was something we thought would forever be confined to New York subways–I took a basic art class. At the first meeting we discussed the relative merits of traditional and contemporary art and the professor asked us for the definition of “modern art.” We all gave our answers which were, in general, uncomplimentary. He responded by telling us that modern art was simply “an old idea expressed in a new way” and suggesting that we leave ourselves open to it if we wanted to pass the class. Knowing myself to be an abominable artist, I petitioned to be excused from taking the class (a graduation requirement) once I heard that we were expected to produce some work of our own. The teacher laughingly told me that anyone who could draw a circle could produce some form of art. I drew my best circle for him; I was immediately excused from the art class.
All this is just to explain that my assessment of graffiti as junk may not be that of an expert on the subject of art. However, as my strong opinion, it stands.
I do have to admit that some of the works, if displayed on canvas or some other less permanent medium, would be quite lovely. Not much graffiti falls into that category, though, and far too much of the damage goes beyond any definition of art, resembling more the territorial markings of a particulary obnoxious dog.
It’s rumored that some countries extract a high price for vandalism. I’m not ready to go so far as to cut off hands, but I might be agreeable to putting eight or nine of the illicit artist’s fingers in casts for a couple of months. (In some cases it wouldn’t make much difference to the artistic output anyway, but it might be worth a try.)
Some people might consider this blog to be a form of graffiti. After all, it isn’t written to anyone’s order and it is certainly out there for the world to see. But it doesn’t hit you in the eye while you’re driving down the street, and if you don’t like it, you can always Delete.
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.
My sister and I thought our dad was the funnniest man on earth, and he never once wore a fright wig or a big spherical red nose. But his sense of humor was bright and bold, and he had the rare gift of being able to laugh right along with us without self-consciousness, even if we happened to be Eating Out which was not an everyday occurrence in our young lives. People would stare at us and most of them couldn’t help smiling just to see a family having so much fun. I suppose it’s appropriate that a whole lot of the best tidbits he handed us were about food.
Of course, we truly believed that he made up all the funny things he was always saying.It wasn’t until I was all grown up that I finally realized he was, much of the time, just sharing what he’d picked up along the way. It didn’t matter, anyway. My sisty ugler and I laughed ourselves to tears over and over at the same old jokes and the same crazy couplets. We still find ourselves occasionally thinking of one of his bright sayings at exactly the same moment and we break into laughter remembering him and the joy he gave us.
Some of our favorites (I’d give credit but I have no idea where the originals came from, if not from Dad, and most of them have a little of him twined in there somewhere, anyway):
Broccoli, though not exoccoli, is within an inach of being spinach.
I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life. They taste a little funny, but it keeps them on the knife.
The woman can’t say five words without going off on a tangerine.
(Yes, there were a lot that didn’t have to do with food, too. I just happen to like these.)
Probably 99 percent of Dad’s jokes came from the pen of Ogden Nash or one of the other witty folks who graced our lives in the days when stand-up comedy didn’t require one to blush at every other word and a book could be a best-seller just because it was fun. Now we’ve gotten “sophisticated” and “earthy” and not nearly as funny as we used to be. I guess I’m horribly old-fashioned, because I still prefer the nice, clean slapstick variety that we used to get from Dad. He was an absolute delight; we lost him too soon.
Red Skelton, where are you when we need you?
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.
You don’t find many restaurants these days that offer cinnamon toast. I suppose it isn’t a high-volume item, anyway, nor one that allows a huge markup in the price. Although, come to think of it, plain old toast and jelly isn’t cheap when you partake of it at your local eatery. We won’t mention the heights to which the 10-cent cup of coffee has risen on the menu.
Cinnamon toast, though, is a special thing. It is and always has been one of the comfort foods from the early childhood years. Not only was it sweet and smelly-good, it was a particular treat because, in our house, it wasn’t just a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on top of your toast. That’s usually all you get at the diner, if you can find it on the menu at all.
Real cinnamon toast is a labor of love from mother to child.. White bread. Yes, I know, but this is one of those few instances where nice, flavorful, healthy, filling multi-grain just doesn’t cut it. Butter. Real butter, cold from the fridge and sliced ever so thinly to fit like puzzle pieces to cover the top of each bread slice. Sugar. Plain old white sugar, a generous sprinkle atop the nice yellow greasy butter. Cinnamon. We never had the fancy gourmet stuff, just McCormick right off the grocery shelves, with little holes in the top of the can that let us kids darken our treats to suit ourselves. I have to say my sister’s usually turned out a beautiful overall tan color, while my contributions were less aesthetic and more enthusiastic.
Eight slices fit perfectly on a cookie sheet. Into the oven at 350 degrees until the aroma made it impossible to leave them there any longer. Mine never quite made it to what some people consider “toast”, being more along the lines of “hot cinnamon bread”–I always begged Mom to let me take mine out early. It had to be at the exact point where the oven heat caused the butter to melt and the sugar to puff up and the cinnamon to release its fantastic fragrance, but the bread still lacked crunch. Perfect. Sister’s went back into the oven for another minute to crisp toasty brown on the bottom. She always did have strange tastes.
All in all, cinnamon toast probably didn’t take more tha a couple of minutes longer than getting out the toaster, popping slices in it two at a time, and spreading mundane butter and jelly. But cinnamon toast days made us feel special and loved, especially if this wonder occurred on school days, and most especially if it was instead of oatmeal.
I hope your mom made you cinnamon toast. I hope you make it, with love, for the people you love.
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.