Father and Daughter

Here is a sketch from a past beach vacation, which is when our family customarily plays lots of card games. (We are all especially addicted to La Belle Lucie.) A doting father is so tolerant of a girl’s little foibles. Like cheating at Go Fish.

In honor of Ogden Nash (1902-1971), whose birthday it is today, I post his poem, “Song To Be Sung by the Father of Infant Female Children.” At one time my son wouldn’t have been amused by its depiction of boys. Now, as a big brother, he also has morphed into fatherly protective mode.

J&EGoFish

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
When little boys go by.
For little boys as little boys,
No special hate I carry,
But now and then they grow to men,
And when they do, they marry.
No matter how they tarry,
Eventually they marry.
And, swine among the pearls,
They marry little girls.
Oh, somewhere, somewhere, an infant plays,
With parents who feed and clothe him.
Their lips are sticky with pride and praise,
But I have begun to loathe him.
Yes, I loathe with loathing shameless
This child who to me is nameless.
This bachelor child in his carriage
Gives never a thought to marriage,
But a person can hardly say knife
Before he will hunt him a wife.
I never see an infant (male),
A-sleeping in the sun,
Without I turn a trifle pale
And think is he the one?
Oh, first he’ll want to crop his curls,
And then he’ll want a pony,
And then he’ll think of pretty girls,
And holy matrimony.
A cat without a mouse
Is he without a spouse.
Oh, somewhere he bubbles bubbles of milk,
And quietly sucks his thumbs.
His cheeks are roses painted on silk,
And his teeth are tucked in his gums.
But alas the teeth will begin to grow,
And the bubbles will cease to bubble;
Given a score of years or so,
The roses will turn to stubble.
He’ll sell a bond, or he’ll write a book,
And his eyes will get that acquisitive look,
And raging and ravenous for the kill,
He’ll boldly ask for the hand of Jill.
This infant whose middle
Is diapered still
Will want to marry
My daughter Jill.
Oh sweet be his slumber and moist his middle!
My dreams, I fear, are infanticiddle.
A fig for embryo Lohengrins!
I’ll open all his safety pins,
I’ll pepper his powder, and salt his bottle,
And give him readings from Aristotle.
Sand for his spinach I’ll gladly bring,
And Tabasco sauce for his teething ring.
Then perhaps he’ll struggle through fire and water
To marry somebody else’s daughter.

Ogden Nash

CakeSprinklesLucy



Night of the Shooting Stars

ShootingStars

I am sad to tell you that tonight is the night of the Perseid meteor shower. Sad because here we have pouring rain and crashing thunder; not the best conditions for viewing.

A meteor shower is the debris shed by a comet as it orbits the sun, and we on Earth pass through several showers of comet-debris during the course of each year. When one of the meteors happens to enter our atmosphere, it is traveling at such a tremendous rate (thousands of miles an hour) that it’s ignited by friction—giving the impression of a falling star—and generally burns up before it hits the ground. (Sometimes a meteor makes it all the way to Earth without being consumed, in which case it is termed a meteorite. A few very large meteorites have made impressive dents in our planet.)

The Perseids are the meteors of the comet Swift-Tuttle, through whose rubble we pass in August. They are named for the constellation Perseus, because from Earth’s perspective they seem to be coming from that direction. In mid-August in this hemisphere Perseus rises in the northeast at around 11 pm or so. This year, August 12th, starting at around midnight, is supposed to be the best time for viewing the Perseids. Ha! Well, probably some of you live where it is not raining.

To view a meteor shower, it’s best to get out of the city or densely populated suburb—in other words, head for an area without lots of artificial light. In past years we have set the alarm clock (sometimes the best time is 3 or 4 am) and then gone out to sit on a deck, or lie on a rooftop, or stretch out in a big treeless field on a blanket (or, if in Vermont, shivering under the blanket) and then waited, gazing at the night sky.

Some years we’ve seen many, many. Other years (as above) we’re not so lucky. But go do it anyway. How often do we even take time to look at the Milky Way? That in itself is a rare and wonderful experience for the frazzled urban person. The additional sight of sparkling shooting stars sailing across the night sky is seriously magical.

CakePink2Douglas


Beach sunrise

YellowSunrise

Part of a series I painted when we vacationed each summer at the beach. We hope there’s more of that down the road.

My husband’s surgery went smoothly. Now it’s time to rest and heal. Many, many thanks, dear ones, for all your kind words and healing thoughts, for emailing and calling and visiting the hospital and taking care of our daughter and providing sorbets for his sore throat!

CakeSprinklesCarol

CakeRedRosesCathy

Boat-builder

Tomorrow my husband is scheduled for heart surgery. Here he is a couple of years ago, reading a boatbuilding book, because until his heart problem was diagnosed he was (when he had time) in the process of building a small wooden boat and restoring another. I am trying not to be anxious, and we are all hoping surgery will go well enough that he can eventually return to this project he so loves. Please send your good thoughts and healing wishes his way.

J&BoatBook

CakeBerries2Dorothy

River Farm

J&E-RiverFarm

Our family spent a morning along the Potomac River at River Farm, the 25-acre headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The AHS provides gardening information through programs for adults and children, and is a very lovely setting for a quiet stroll. River Farm itself has an interesting history, which I will cover in more detail in a later post.

CakeShellsBryant