This may turn out to be my first book report in about a decade. Luckily, I don’t have to stand in front of the class stumbling over reading it with a garbled speed while my cheeks turn red. (I was never very good at speaking in front of people.) I hope I get an A. *fingers crossed*
Little Heathens is Mildred Armstrong Kalish’s story of growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. I read it for the first time last year. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it (plus, it has some good recipes in it). The official title is Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. That really sums up the whole book.
They grew their own food. They planted it, maintained it, and harvested it. Once the harvesting was done, they prepared it. They knew all the ways to keep it from spoiling and all the different ways to utilize it in a recipe or meal. They didn’t think food just came from the grocery store. They didn’t eat artificially flavored or “produced in a laboratory” foods. They knew what they were putting in their bodies.
I want someone to surprise me in the kitchen with Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me.” I want to silently move with someone to “And I Love You So” by Perry Como. I want Fred Astaire to serenade me with “Cheek to Cheek” while I sway with someone. I want to dance. More to the point, I want to slow dance.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Catch Me If You Can, you might recall the scene where Frank’s parents dance in the living room to Judy Garland singing “Embraceable You.” That is what I’m talking about.
The only partner dancing I’ve been privleged to partake in.
The best dancing I have done was with a little man. It was a tradition we had carried on for three-and-a-half years. He would run up to me on tip toes, arms stretched up, saying, “Boompa, Kimmie, boompa!” Boompa is what he called “our” song, “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como. And you know, he’s the only man I’ve ever found who would dance with me to Perry Como. Hmph. He may have been a little man, but he was light years ahead of most grown men.
Outside of a spontaneous moment at home, I want to attend a dance. That may sound a bit juvenile, as if I’m waiting for Homecoming or the Prom, but I’m referring to those dances held in the community. Ones with a real band, not a DJ. Ones with tables to sit at having a drink and chatting with friends. A place where the songs range from those get-in-close songs to the pick-it-up-with-a-little-swing songs. These would be varying dances, the 1950s-60s to big bands, think Glenn Miller (Yes, you read that right, I said Glenn Miller!).
Crunching leaves, gentle breeze, warm sun, and birds chirping. This is what could comprise a glorious day having a picnic. Remember those?
*Photo by Graeme Weatherston
The idea of an “old-fashioned” picnic conjures the vision of people in their car, driving until they find a nice spot alongside the road to pull over and cop-a-squat. Picnics now are more the local park variety. Which is nice, don’t get me wrong, but a bit restrictive. No glass
Scene from Mad Men
bottles, no alcohol (come on, wine!), and too many other people around. Think Mad Men Season 2. Just don’t flip the trash off the blanket and leave it on the ground.