All-Singing, All-Dancing Founding Fathers — 1776 THE MUSICAL!

If you haven’t seen 1776 yet, I highly recommend it. Two warnings, though:

  1. It’s very long.
  2. It’s very addictive.

What’s not to like about beautiful, stirring speeches, hot-blooded quarrels, and rum?

Okay, I’ll tell you what’s not to like, IMO: Blythe Danner in her pre-Boniva days singing the only song we consistently fast-forward through. But, other than that, what’s not to like?

You got your William Daniels as John Adams, you got your Ben Franklin waking up for the drinking and whoring, you got your hugely tall Thomas Jefferson being intimidated into writing the Declaration by diminutive Mr. Adams (Adams: “I’m obnoxious and disliked.” Jefferson: “Yes, I know.”), you got your John Cullum before he was Holling on Northern Exposure and way before he was Big Mike on The Middle.

Lest you think it’s just holiday fluff, I give you this clip and plenty to think about:

See you tomorrow.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character must choose between two deeply desired outcomes.

MA

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Yankee Doodle Boy #ThrowbackThursday

Not A GangsterLevysLooks a little like Hugh Laurie, doesn’t he? This is George Kelley Leister, my maternal grandfather, all lit up like Levy’s, as we say in Louisville when you’re dressed in your best. (Levy Brothers was a store, now The Old Spaghetti Factory, bedecked with strings of white lights.)

ANYWAY, he was born on the 4th of July. Everybody always asked him if it wasn’t awesome, to have everybody shooting off fireworks on his birthday, and he had to admit IT WAS NOT. Other people got to be the focus of attention on their birthdays, but his birthday was always overshadowed by celebrating the Fourth. His birthday cake was always decorated red, white, and blue, and his presents were often wrapped in fireworks paper or flag paper.

He was as patriotic as the next guy born in 1910 with the drumbeats of two World Wars echoing in his ears, but — my birthday, my birthday, it’s my birthday, you know?

One time he loved it a lot. When he was 66, he and Grandma (Donna, this is his second wife, Ruby, not your Aunt Lily) moved to Corning, New York when my mother took a transfer up there. I went along to have a look when they went to scope things out in 1976 (Bicentennial!). The morning of July 4th, we were in the motel dining room waiting for our pancakes and it came up before the waitress that it was Grandpa’s birthday. A few minutes later, the waitress came out with a stack of pancakes with a lit sparkler stuck in it! “We gotta July 4th birthday!” The whole room broke into applause. Grandpa, a shy, self-deprecating man, was embarrassed, but it was a pleased embarrassment.

Grandpa and SaraAnd here he is with our #4 daughter, writer-archeologist Sara Marian Deurell, of whom he was proud and of whom he would be even more proud now, to see what a fine human she’s grown up to be.

Polaroid pictures were great in the moment, but they don’t stand the test of time very well. He’s doing something I remember his doing with me when I was a wee li’l squirt: reading. It was all the stories he read and all the stories he made up (like the one about the little squirrel who didn’t look both ways before trying to cross the street and paid the ultimate price for his inattention) that planted the seeds of storytelling in me.

Thanks, GK. Miss you always, but love all the memories you left to keep me company.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write a character who was born on a date everybody remembers for some major event other than the character’s birthday.

MA

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Food and a Hot Flash — bomp bomp #vegan #recipes

Today is the first of the month, which means a new Hot Flash on the Hot Flash page.

It’s also Wednesday, so I’m sharing food.

Delicious Veg

Delicious Veg

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not a vegetarian!

The other day at church (yes, I attend and no, the roof doesn’t fall in), a friend said, “I thought you were vegetarian! Seems like every food picture you post on Facebook is vegetarian stuff.”

OKAY YES I POST FOOD PICTURES ON FACEBOOK!!!

I said no.

Her husband said, “The vegetarians ought to love me. I saw a deer eating some of their vegetables and I shot it and ate it.”

I was like, “Well done, that man.” We don’t even bother to plant a garden anymore, and now they’re starting in on the flowers.

ANYWAY, this is fried potatoes, roast okra, and boiled kale.

FRIED POTATOES

Cut the potatoes up into little cubes. Heat some oil or vegan margarine. Dump in the potatoes and stir them around to coat them. Sprinkle them with Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt and stir them again. Turn the heat down to low and cover them for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the cover off, increase the heat to moderate, and cook uncovered, stirring often, until the potatoes brown (about 10 more minutes).

Roast Okra

Toss the okra in oil and salt. Put in a shallow pan in a hot (450F) oven for about 30 minutes. The okra is really better when it’s small, but these were the smallest we could find at the farmers market. We planted okra last year but guess who ate it.

Boiled Kale

Wash the kale and tear the leaves off the stalks. Or leave the stalks on, if you like them. Stuff the kale into a pot just big enough to hold it. If the kale doesn’t have any water clinging to its leaves from its bath, add a little. Add salt, a little oil, a clove of garlic, some salt, and some chopped onion or onion powder. [If you don’t want to do this vegan, you can add some chopped bacon instead of the oil and garlic. ALWAYS DELICIOUS.] Cook over moderate heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook it longer if you like it totally limp.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: An animal destroys something your character has earmarked for themselves.

MA

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