Wednesday, December 19, 2012

That Was Then, This Is Now!

Me, as the flower girl, age 4, in my cousin Susan's wedding on Saturday, December 16, 1962.   Sorry for the picture quality but I was taking pictures of pictures in a photo album in a softly lit room full of candles.
The wedding party, adorned in satin, lace, deep red velvet dresses and black tuxedos.  I'm the short one, to the left of the bride, with the  frown on her face yet, (probably a good thing for me that you can't make that out so easily) still bravely holding on to the beautiful white fur muff which became one of my most prized possessions for many years.

I really enjoy reading the "Time-Warp Tuesday" installments on my good friend and fellow blogger, Karen's ( site.  She always gives me a good dose of pleasant memories and happy nostalgia to think about so, I thought I'd do my own "Time-Warp Tuesday."  Only, it's now Wednesday so, I think I'll call mine, at least for today, "That Was Then and This Is Now Wednesday."  Even with that explanation for a blog entry title, I'm already late in talking about it since this really has to do with this past Saturday, December 16, and the 50th Wedding Anniversary party for my Cousin Susan and her husband Bob.  I  had the good fortune to help celebrate it with them, and the rest of our family, not only this past Saturday, but also fifty years ago as the four-year-old little girl you see in the pictures above.  Yep! That's right.  I was in the wedding party as her flower girl.  I know, I know--even with the visual, if you know me, it's hard to visualize me as a flower girl, even at the age of four.

Susan as the beautiful and very happy bride.

The father of the bride, my Uncle Glen, walking his daughter down the aisle.
Flower girl (me)  and ring bearer (my cousin John) walking down the aisle, together.  The only thing I truly remember  is going faster than John and turning around to tell him to hurry up.  Gosh, I was bossy even then!
The year was 1962 and Susan, the beautiful bride and her handsome groom, Bob, with nothing but good fortune ahead of them, came together on a chilly mid-December evening in a candlelit church surrounded by loving family and friends looking on while casting warm wishes and glad tidings their way.  My cousin, John, one of Susan's younger brothers, was my partner in crime as the ring bearer and contrary to our very serious facial expressions, I'm told we had a good time.  Of course, that was after I cried through the wedding pictures (and probably ruined a few good ones, to be sure) because I was a very tired little girl who just wanted to go home and go to bed.  No such luck, I had to stay and party the night away.  You know, the more I write about this, the better I remember just how good my four-year-old life was!  Scratch the no such luck part.

Fifty years later, still the happy couple with their handsome son, Rob.
Fifty years later, the ring bearer, John, and flower girl, me, have aged a bit but I think we still make a pretty good-looking  flower girl and ring bearer duo.  We are available should you need us for your own wedding events.
Bob, me and Susan.  What a blessing it was for me to be a part of their history together.
Anyway, fifty years later, we toasted Susan, Bob and their wonderful son Robbie and celebrated their life together and all of their good fortune, once again, surrounded by loving family and friends this past Saturday evening in a candlelit room on a lovely old estate in Geneva, Illinois. If only Susan's parents, my Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Glen, both passed away for many years now, had been there to celebrate as well.  Yet, I think I saw them out of the corner of my eye, mingling and laughing with the other guests there as the champagne was poured and the cake was cut, once again, in the candle light of a chilly mid-December evening.

My Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Glen, proud and loving parents of Susan, the bride, the oldest of six siblings.  With that many brothers and sisters, how did I get to be in the wedding, you ask? Well, I had the good fortune to be just the right age at just the right time.  Susan's has two younger sisters; Kim who was a bridesmaid in the wedding and Vicky who was an infant at the time.  The other three siblings are boys, Buddy, Micheal and, of course, John. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Fifteen days until Christmas and counting.  The trees are up, the stockings are hung and, the Christmas cards, welllll, the Christmas cards will get written sometime, I'm sure.  Looking out at the herb garden, I see a tangle of tans, browns and mahogany's with undeniable spots of emerald greens that make the December garden come to life. Four of these herbal bright spots are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  They not only brighten the sleeping garden but also they bring their flavors and scents inside.  After all, can you even think about that roasted Christmas goose (a.k.a. the turkey, in my house) without these four crucial ingredients?  Yet, there is so much more to these legendary garden mainstays that stretch beyond even the summer song's "Scarborough Fair."

Take parsley, for instance, cold resistant and still so very abundant in the garden and it comes with all sorts of benefits such being  packed with plenty of the vitamins A and C as well as calcium and parsley always dresses up a salad or pays a perfect compliment to fish and poultry.  I think the prettiest parsley is the curly kind but the more flavorful parsley is the flat-leafed or Italian kind. There is never really any need to nurse along a pot of indoor parsley, through the winter on the windowsill, as it will almost always provide the gift of beautiful leaves from your outside parsley patch for whatever your culinary needs may be.  In the language of floriography, parsley has always stood for joy and celebratory feasts.

Then, there is sage, which long ago was regarded as an herb that could cure almost anything.  Even it's genus name, Salvia officialis, means "health" or "salvation."  Sage is no longer known as a cure-all but can you imagine your turkey stuffing without at least a pinch of it?  Sage's presence in the garden year-round provides a healthy dose of grey-green folksyness and legend, too, such as, "sage promotes a happy home" and "where sage thrives, the woman rules."  With benefits like that, who would not choose to grow sage in their garden?  Certainly, not me, as sage always comes with wishes for long life and good health.

My favorite of these four essential herbs is rosemary, sometimes called the "Christmas Herb." It's rich heritage is steeped in all of the festivity of the season.  Rosemary's evergreen and fragrant stems are wonderful tucked into Christmas arrangements and those lovely standards and topiarys you see at garden centers and Blooming Hill got their start long, in history, ago as tiny tabletop Christmas trees.  They are still often brought inside and decorated while their piney, minty fragrance wafts through the house and mingles with the sweet cinnemon and citrus smells of holiday baking.

Finally, thyme, perhaps the oldest of these herbs, and maybe even the oldest of all herbs, and most assuredly the most classic, cannot be left out of this conversation.  It's green, earthy fragrance has often been described as the "dawn of paradise," coming in flavors of lemon to caraway to licorice. Thyme can be present in almost everything from meat and poultry dishes to cough syrup.  It can also help soothe indigestion, improve eyesight and relieve your headache.  This elegant little herb is an ancient symbol of energy and magic and, as much as bees love lavender, their very favorite herb seems to be thyme.  In fact, orchards were traditionally planted with thyme to ensure that bees would come in vast numbers to help pollinate the fruit trees.  Beyond that, thyme is believed to be the herb that dressed the Christmas manger for Baby Jesus.

This magical combination of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme bring whimsy and wonder to the December home both outside and inside.  Just take the time from all of your Christmas must-do's to run your hands through these herbs, or even open up your spice jars tucked away in your kitchen cabinet and breathe in their enchanting fragrance.  Then, you will see what I mean.