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Archive for March, 2009

By Bob Chrisman
 

Aunt Annie Saluting, photo 2009 by Bob Chrisman, all rights reserved

Here’s to you, Aunt Annie!, image © 2009 by Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.




A cup of tea with sugar brings back memories of my first cup, the day my mother said, “You’re old enough to drink tea.” Sacks of pale orange “circus peanuts” remind me of the stale ones in Grandma Hecker’s candy dish. Homemade caramel-covered apples take me to Mrs. Wallace’s kitchen where I taste tested them the night before Halloween. Ritz crackers transport me to Mrs. Thompson’s house where we played Ring-Around-The-Rosie.

Certain recipes hold special memories. I bake scalloped potatoes topped with pork chops the same way my mother did and in the same glass loaf dish. When I make Hamburger Splatter, I remember the adults who my mother babysat when they were children stopping by for the recipe. My favorite holiday dish recipe is scalloped oysters. Aunt Annie, Mom’s youngest sister, made them every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I asked my cousins why their mom fixed such an exotic dish for such meat-and-potatoes people. Neither of them knew but thought a neighbor might have given the recipe to Aunt Annie. Oysters don’t grow in northwest Missouri. My mother and her sisters didn’t have unusual tastes in food. Yet every holiday dinner, sitting next to the freshly roasted turkey, the real mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole, and the fresh raspberry pies made from home-canned raspberries, we’d find the scalloped oysters.

I asked my aunt for the recipe. I didn’t want her to pass away without someone having it. “I don’t really have a recipe anymore. I just know how to make it,” she said. She wrote down the ingredients and instructions on a piece of notebook paper, which I lost the first time I used it. My recipe, which I carried in my head until now, captures the taste and consistency of the original.

Scalloped oysters remind me of family gatherings when my mother, her sisters and their husbands were in their prime. I remember long prayers while we held hands followed by huge meals, hours of card games, and the feeling of being loved.

Most of all I remember my Aunt Annie and Uncle Pete. They loved one another very much. They had an ease with one another and they treated each other with respect. She wasn’t always easy to live with (none of the sisters were), but Uncle Pete never fell out of love with her. I always thought, of all the sisters, Aunt Annie had the happiest marriage.



Uncle Vernon (Pete) O. Simmon in uniform, image © 2009 by Bob Chrisman, all rights reserved

Uncle Vernon (Pete) O. Simmon in uniform, image
© 2009 by Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.





Photographs from the 1940’s capture a dashing young man in a military uniform and a dark-haired beauty. They made a striking couple all of their lives.

After he returned from the war, they bought a little house on Garden Street where they raised their three children and hosted many holiday dinners. I always envied my cousins for the parents they had.

I grew closer to them as I aged. Many times I would leave my mother’s house and stop by theirs before I drove home. Aunt Annie told me stories about her sisters and the family, things my mother never mentioned. Uncle Pete would interrupt, when he could, to offer his two cents on the subject. I loved them both and came to treasure those times with just the two of them.

Uncle Pete died of pancreatic cancer in October 1996. His death broke Aunt Annie’s heart. They had been married for over 50 years. She went through the motions of living for about a year before she took sick and died in December, 1997. I think that he was waiting for her when she passed. If he had anything to say about it, I know he was.

Here’s the recipe for her famous scalloped oysters. I hope the recipe generates some good memories for you and your families.




Aunt Annie and Uncle Pete, image © 2009 by Bob Chrisman, all rights reserved

Aunt Annie and Uncle Pete, image © 2009
by Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.





Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters



1      1-pound loaf of Velveeta Cheese (sliced)
32    Saltine cracker squares (approximately one package out of a box of four)
4-5   8-ounce cans of oysters (pieces-and-bits or whole or a combination)*
2      12-ounce cans of evaporated milk**


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice Velveeta Cheese into slices about an eighth of an inch thick. Open four cans of oysters and drain off most of the liquid. (Note: Keep some to pour into the casserole to add more oyster flavor, if desired.)

Use a casserole dish that has a lid (even though the lid isn’t used except for storage of leftovers). Grease it with your choice of oil; I prefer butter.

Then begin the layering process:

Crush enough Saltine crackers to make a layer on the bottom of the dish. Next place a layer of oysters with some liquid from the can. Cover with a layer of slices of Velveeta Cheese. Pour enough evaporated milk to wet the layers. Repeat.

The amount of the ingredients given above makes about three layers. Top the dish with another layer of Velveeta Cheese. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and a warm brown, about 90 minutes (longer if you want it crustier).

This dish will serve at least 8-10 people and maybe 10-14 if plenty of other food is available. You can make smaller portions by using a loaf pan and only making two layers. I do that when I have no one else to join me. The leftovers make a tasty, if unusual, breakfast treat.


*The number of cans of oysters you buy will determine on how “oyster-y” you want the dish to be. I found that four cans make generous layers. I usually buy two cans of pieces-and-bits and two cans of whole oysters.

**You will have approximately 1/2 can of evaporated milk left when you finish. My youngest cousin says that she uses regular milk.

Hopefully you have a strong heart and clean arteries. Bon appetit.




Bob Chrisman is a Kansas City, Missouri writer who frequently writes memoir about his mother, her three sisters, and their influence on his life. His other red Ravine posts include Hands, Growing Older, Goat Ranch, Stephenie Bit Me, Too, The Law Of Threes, and In Memoriam.

We’d like to thank Bob for providing this recipe and the story of the aunt who inspired it. And thank you, Aunt Annie! We’ve been dreaming about scalloped oysters since last Thanksgiving, when Bob made mention of the dish in a conversation in the post Reflections On The Other National Bird.

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Breaking Bad Behavior

  • I’ve skipped my usual evening beer these past several nights. I get the craving right about 6, and if I’m cooking dinner (like I was last night) the craving is especially strong to drink a cold bottle of beer while I’m whipping up the chicken tenders and potatoes. But by the time we sit down to eat, the craving is gone and it doesn’t return until same time next night.
  • My new morning-computer-usage rule is that I don’t turn on the computer until a) I’m dressed, b) my face is washed, c) hair combed, and d) teeth brushed. Even if what I get dressed in is workout pants and t-shirt, I don’t allow myself to open the laptop until all of the above are met. Why? I was finding myself on too many weekend and weekday working-from-home days in my pajamas at noon with teeth still not brushed. Gross.
  • My other computer rule is to limit personal usage. Limit to what?, I don’t know, but just curb my time. No hanging out on the computer checking stats every twenty minutes, no perusing political blogs to see what every little move of Obama‘s is being scrutinized, no wasting oodles of time.
  • And on the positive side (no more Don’ts) I will make time for yardwork and painting. I have dreams about both—having a yard with lovely flowers and plants and producing several finished pieces of art for a May 1 gallery tour.



Speaking of Bad Behavior…

Have you ever been on autopilot while you’re driving and before you know it you’re singing along with a bad song? I did that the other day, found myself belting all the words to Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.

Make a new plan, Stan, you don’t need to be coy, Roy, now listen to me. Hop on the bus, Gus, yaaa don’t neeeeed to discuss muuuch! Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yo’self free.

So this morning I am sweeping the floor and generally picking up the house and guess what song is playing in my head? And guess what song has been playing in my head almost every day since I zoned out in the car and inadvertently started singing those words?

Yep. It’s stuck, on a continuous loop. It’s like I was hypnotized and now any time I go into a non-thinking mode, I find my mental airwaves broadcasting Paul Simon.

Aaack! How do I banish him from my head?? Please, someone, help! (QM, how did you finally get Easy Like Monday Morning out of your head?)



Speaking of Bad Songs…

I’ve taken to calling two friends of mine The Skipper and Gilligan. The Skipper is my friend Patty, and Gilligan is her little buddy, Agi. Yesterday Patty and Agi called me to have me tell them again why they are The Skipper and Gilligan.

“Because, Patty, you call Agi your little buddy.”

“And who are you?” they ask.

“I’m Ginger, or Marianne.” (It just depends on my mood. Yesterday I was Ginger.)

Then I proceeded to sing—complete with passion and sound effects—the entire theme song to Gilligan’s Island, which blew them away. Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…

Yep, I know the entire theme song to Gilligan’s Island, Beverly Hillbillies, and Green Acres. I might know others but those are the only ones I can think of now.

How ’bout you? Do you know by heart any TV series theme songs?


What are your Saturday morning musings?

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Grandmama Elise On Washington Road, Augusta, Georgia, August 23rd, 1958, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Grandmama Elise On Washington Road, Augusta, Georgia, August 23rd, 1958, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



What do you remember most about your grandmother? Was she tall, thin, short, heavy? Or maybe she changed shape over the course of your lifetime. Do you remember what she smelled like, or the color of her hair? Is your grandmother living? Or has she passed on after a life well-lived. Out of all the relatives that come to mind, grandmothers wield tremendous power and are often respected by the entire family.

Grandmothers are the Elders, the Wise Ones, the Matriarchs, the glue that holds a family’s odd misshapen tree together. Many writers and artists are influenced by their grandmothers. Frank Gehry’s grandmother was the inspiration for his personal symbol, the fish. He includes fish in his architectural drawings, makes fish lamps, and has even designed buildings shaped like fish.

One of his most famous fish sculptures is the Standing Glass Fish commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Its first home was the lobby concourse between the Walker and the old Guthrie, where it was built scale by scale and exhibited as part of The Architecture of Frank Gehry Exhibition, September 21-November 30, 1986.

After two years in the Walker concourse, the 22-foot sculpture (constructed of glass and silicone and supported by a wooden armature with steel rods) was taken apart in five sections and reassembled at its second and permanent home in the central gallery of the Cowles Conservatory in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Gehry made a number of plexiglass models to study the flip of the fish’s tail, the characteristics of its eyes, and the shape of the scales.

The brass plaque on the edge of the pond nearby, calls to mind Gehry’s fond remembrance of his grandmother’s fish:


In Toronto, when I was very young, my grandmother and I used to go to Kensington, a Jewish market, on Thursday morning. She would buy a carp for gefilte fish. She’d put it in the bathtub, fill the bathtub with water, and this big black carp–two or three feet long–would swim around in the bathtub and I would play with it. I would stand up there and watch it turn and twist . . . and then she’d kill it and make gefilte fish and that was always sad and awful and ugly.

        —Frank Gehry



Glass Fish Scales, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Standing Glass Fish, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by Liz. All rights reserved.Flying Fish, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by Liz. All rights reserved.

Glass Fish Scales, Standing Glass Fish, Flying Fish, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photos © 2008-2009 by Liz & QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


In dire circumstances, when money is tight or family tensions rise, grandmothers often step up and help raise their children’s children. Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943 and, though she moved to Cincinnati as a child, she returned in 1958 to spend her summers in Knoxville with her grandparents, John and Louvenia Watson. With explosive tensions between her parents difficult for Giovanni to handle, she chose to live in Knoxville for a time and attended Austin High School where her grandfather taught Latin.

It’s at this time that her grandmother’s influence profoundly shapes her life. According to her biography:


Her grandmother, who is involved in numerous charitable and political endeavors, becomes an increasingly important influence on her (Giovanni), teaching her the importance of helping others and of fighting injustice. When a demonstration is planned to protest segregated dining facilities at downtown Rich’s department store, her grandmother Louvenia cheerfully volunteers her granddaughter Nikki. In high school, Giovanni has two influential teachers: her French teacher, Mrs. Emma Stokes, and her English teacher, Miss Alfredda Delaney.


Her grandparents’ home stood at 400 Mulvaney Street in a neighborhood that’s long since been demolished, a casualty of urban renewal. In 1964, Giovanni’s grandmother Louvenia must move from her home at 400 Mulvaney Street; Nikki’s biography recalls the impact: Although her new house on Linden Avenue is nice, it lacks the accumulated memories of the home on Mulvaney, which Giovanni has also come to regard as her own home.

Nikki Giovanni often mentioned her grandmother when we saw her at the Fitzgerald Theater in January. She had returned to Knoxville on April 29th, 2008 when Mayor Haslam unveiled of a historical marker honoring Giovanni and the old neighborhood where her grandmother lived. It is now Hall of Fame Drive across the street from the Cal Johnson Recreation Center. It was on that childhood ground that Nikki Giovanni stood and recited her poem, “Tennessee By Birth.”


  Elise & Her Children, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1940s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Elise & Her Children, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1940s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Elise & Her Children, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1940’s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


My maternal grandmother (lead photograph) is standing on the dirt of what used to be Washington Road in Augusta, Georgia. Her neighborhood, too, has been long gone, sacrificed to the growth of suburbs and cities. She was a hairdresser in her 30’s when I was born. My father was “allergic” to work and could not (or would not) support our family. My mother left him at 18, a few years after their marriage, and went to work. During that time, I stayed at my grandmother’s home. When I was a child, we were always close.

I remember the smell of her talcum powder, the imprint mark she would leave when she dabbed her lips after putting on her lipstick, the sound of her laughter in the evenings, her snoring at night.


*     *     *     *     *

When you say the words “my grandmother,” who comes to mind? (Most of us have at least two.) Who was your grandmother? Was she the matriarch, a dowager, estranged from the family? What was her name? Did you call her Grandmother, Granny, Grandma, or Grandmama. Did she spoil you, was she strict, how often did you see her, what kind of house did she live in? Does she ever sneak into your dreams?

Get out a fast writing pen and write the words “My Grandmother.” If you have any family photographs of your grandmother, it’s fun to pull them from the archives. Then set your timer for a 15 minute Writing Practice and Go!


Della Elise, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1950s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Della Elise, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1950s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Della Elise, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1950s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Della Elise, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1950s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

For Della Elise, I Miss You, Augusta, Georgia, circa mid-1950’s, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Resources:


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, March 19th, 2009

-related to posts: Art & Architecture – 2 Reasons, WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS, The Dying Art Of Letter Writing (Postcards From The Edge), You Can’t Go Back, Nikki Giovanni – Hope at V-Tech

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In honor of St. Patty’s Day
a sampling of GREEN on red Ravine


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GREEN Scene

Green Frog Near Indria, August 2006, photo by Skywire, all rights reserved  Falling Water, 1935, by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mill City, Pennsylvania, July 2005, photo by Skywire, all rights reserved  Gargantuan Green, photo by Skywire, July 2005, all rights reserved



Posts


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GREEN Machine


Everything I Know About Green Green Remix with Paint


Posts


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GREEN Queen


 


Posts


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GREEN Cuisine & Routine



 


Posts




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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!



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Forbidden Fruit, range of wines to be tasted at Casa Rodeña in Albuquerque’s north valley, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





My definition of torture: A half day off from work to go to a company-sponsored wine-tasting event. God, am I a whiner or what?! Well, at least I’m not a wino, which I definitely was on the road to becoming.

My fondness for wine started in 10th grade. Annie Greensprings and the apple-based Boone’s Farms, so-called pop wines that peaked—in popularity only—in the 1970s. I was 15 or 16 and for one short summer steeped in the fake ID business. Yes, my boyfriend Corky and I, and Corky’s best friend, a wunderkind with graphics, set up a New Mexico drivers license processing station in Corky’s bedroom. Droid painted an exact simulation of the New Mexican goldenrod yellow and brick red background, Zia symbol and all. (This before the Department of Motor Vehicles went high-tech, with holograms to certify authenticity.)

In 11th grade I was invited to Elizabeth Z.’s dinner party. Elizabeth was a year older than me. She served lasagna in fancy plates on a linen-covered dining room table dotted with bottles of Liebfraumilch, a German wine that was almost as sickly sweet as Annie Greensprings. Yet, it had a name that looked nothing like the way it was pronounced, and the sophisticated Elizabeth was endorsing it. I figured it was the wine choice for people of good breeding and immediately co-opted it as my own favorite.

My love of wine and my continued devotion to cheap wines in particular, got stronger the year I moved to Spain. There wine was like water. You drank it starting at about 10 in the morning (at least people in my neighborhood did). We took our first break of the day, dropped into the little bar for a quick copa de vino tinto, a glass of red wine, and ate a little plate of peanuts or olives, or maybe if the tapas were good, a nice-sized serving of ceviche or a cured-ham-and-hard-cheese bocadillo.

Pepe, the guy who owned my favorite bar, La Llave, which sat one small step across the cobblestone road from my apartment, liked to share with me his private stash of wines made of apples or plums. They were sweet and fruity and reminded me of the time Dad tried his hand at making wine in the garage, one year when he grew too many Concord grapes.

In Spain I took to buying myself bottles of Cortesía, a sweet white wine, probably similar in taste to a Reisling. In addition to hanging out at La Llave, I often sat on the rooftop terrace outside my bedroom and indulged. When I got to finishing off about a bottle a day, I realized I had a wine problem. I noticed a small shake in my hands as I lit my first cigarette of the morning, and it became harder to convince myself to wait out the hours before breaking out that first glass of wine of the day. 

As the year progressed I became increasingly bewildered about what I was doing with my life. I’d gone to Spain to write, make art, and learn Spanish, but by eight months into it, I’d dropped out of all my classes, became part of and then later stop going to a still-life art studio, and spent most of my time in La Llave or holed up in my room writing letters, doodling, and drinking wine as I pondered my next step.







Fortunately, my body protested to my wine addiction long before my brain did. For about 15 years after returning from Spain, I continued to drink wine. I eventually learned about and started drinking good red wines. I mostly loved reds on the dry side—sauvignons, zinfandels, and pinot noirs—although I would also imbibe in the occasional chardonnay.

I never became as heavy a drinker as I’d been in Spain, although I had intense wine cravings. I allowed myself two glasses of wine each evening after work, and if I went to a party I allowed three, and on the rare occasion, four, assuming it was a long party and the drinks were stretched out over several hours.

Then what I call “my wine allergy” kicked in. Here’s what I noticed:

  • Morning aftertaste: The morning after having wine, even after having only one glass, I could still taste the wine on my breath. It seemed as though the wine were sitting in my stomach, and that all I had to do was exhale and there would be a lusty, boozy smell. It made me feel like I’d already been drinking from the moment I woke up.
  • Face blushing: Suddenly, the very first sip of wine caused my entire nose and the area just on either side of it to blush. My sinuses and lips would heat up, and I knew that whoever was looking at me was now seeing a red-nosed reindeer version of me. There was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. Eventually, halfway through the glass, my face would go back to normal, but the blushing was intense and embarrassing while it was happening.
  • Smell intolerance: Wine, even expensive bottles, took on a rubbing-alcohol scent. I stopped being able to discern a fruity bouquet or any aroma save for the overwhelming smell of something flammable. A friend could walk up to me, her goblet exuding its eau de vin, and all I could smell was something akin to ethanol.
  • Taste intolerance: Same thing finally happened with taste. It all tasted bad to me, like wine from a bottle that had been uncorked for months. My wine connoiseiur friends insisted I try good wines, assuming I was drinking the cheapo stuff (again!). It didn’t matter. Good wine, even great wine, tasted like hootch to me.








People tell me it’s the sulfites. I tell them I don’t know what it is, but secretly I believe it’s divine intervention and my body warning me that there’s not too big a step between me and alcoholism. My body can’t process liquor. The good news is that the allergy killed all cravings for wine. Just the smell in the wine-tasting room was enough to send me outdoors every once in a while.

I can still go to wine-tasting events, watch everyone swirl their glasses and check for “legs” while I eat more than my fair share of olives, salami, and cheese. When they inhale the wine’s bouquet, I sneak out, creep around the place and snap a few shots.

But I’ll let you in on a secret. Now my drink of choice is beer, and to tell the truth, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between wine and beer as far as my body is concerned. Already I’ve noticed some of the same “wine allergy” symptoms starting to appear.

So this is where I stand: on the edge of accepting that I’m not made for any of it. Maybe I started too young, or maybe I got the low tolerance gene that resulted in goofy-drunken-relative stories that both my parents have from their respective families (the great uncle who always showed up to parties drunk). I was a heavy drinker for the one year I was in Spain, but what little I drink now has a big effect, too big an effect, on my system.

I’d like to declare right here that I’m giving it up, too, before my body forces me to. And maybe I will, with all of you as my witnesses. I’ll let you know, but believe me, I just raised the ante on myself.





NOTE: Alcohol addiction is no laughing matter. I’ve actually been kicking around declaring myself alcohol-free for over a year. Somehow I can’t reconcile the fact that I don’t drink very much, yet my body still has an intolerance. It’s probably an excuse, but I think I’d be laughed out of Alcoholics Anonymous if I let it be known that I was trying to wean myself off of a beer a night.

Still, wean myself I must. And, if like me you are even slightly concerned about your own drinking, check out the sources below. You and I are not alone.




Resources

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Sage & John Cowles Convervatory, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Sage & John Cowles Convervatory, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In keeping with last week’s Writing Topic, hundreds of windows turn Winter inside out at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden adjacent to the Walker Art Center. Established in 1927, the Walker began as the Upper Midwest’s first public art gallery. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1988, is one of the nation’s largest urban sculpture parks and visitors to the Twin Cities don’t often leave without walking the 11-acre home to more than 40 works of art.

The Sage & John Cowles Conservatory on the western edge of the Sculpture Garden is a community contribution from philanthropists John Cowles, Jr. and his wife Jane Sage Fuller (who also had key roles in bringing the Guthrie Theater and Metrodome to Minneapolis). John Cowles Jr. was named president and CEO of Cowles Media in 1968, after beginning as a police reporter in 1953.

His father, John Cowles Sr., made the cover of TIME in 1935 when he and his brother, Gardner (Mike) Cowles Jr., bought the Minneapolis Star, then the 3rd weakest newspaper in the community. The brothers are descendants of a small-town banker, son of a Methodist elder in Iowa, who started out with little money until turning the Des Moines Register & Tribune and the Minneapolis Star Tribune into well-respected national newspapers.


According to a 1997 article in the Star Tribune:

John Sr. was president of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co. from 1935 to 1968, and chairman from 1968 to 1973. Through the influence of his newspaper and his own activities, he is credited with turning Minnesota from an isolationist state to an internationally engaged one, and leading the fight against the anti-Semitism that was openly practiced in the state when he arrived.


    RainGrate, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Standing Pink, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

RainGrate, Standing Pink, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Sage Fuller Cowles is a dancer from Bedford Village, New York, and the stepdaughter of Cass Canfield, Sr., one-time chairman of Harper & Row. In the 1950s, she danced on Broadway and television and served as president of Planned Parenthood of Minneapolis from 1957-59. Her approach to philanthropy leans to the holistic, and our community receives the benefit:

I needed to have a new definition of philanthropy. The Greeks came to my rescue. “Love of mankind” was in the dictionary and that suited me fine. Philanthropy is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about giving time, energy, commitment to some idea or cause that we care about. We can all be philanthropists fueled by our individual passions, and we can do a better job of identifying our passions if our early experiences give us confidence to pursue them.

If we focus on educating the whole being would it make a difference to the quality of our communal life? Would we grow a different kind of citizen?

     -Sage Fuller Cowles from Getting Ahead of the Curve: Engaging Our Youngest Citizens, April 2006


We take a leisurely stroll through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden every time we head to the Walker for a show. The main section of the three-part Cowles Conservatory houses Frank Gehry’s 22-foot Standing Glass Fish that you can just make out in the photograph. It also houses palm trees, pass-throughs covered in creeping fig, and striking seasonal displays in the Regis Gardens designed by landscape architects Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Michael Van Valkenburgh.

When we walk by Deborah Butterfield’s horse, Woodrow, we are walking on the same ground where a 1913 convention of the Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulture was held in Minneapolis’ old armory. It was there that Theodore Wirth designed temporary display gardens to show what could be grown in Minnesota’s wintry climate. They were such a success that they were kept in place for decades as demonstration gardens until finally becoming casualties to freeway construction.


     String Theory, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ghostwalker, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Palm Red, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


But the seed had been planted. Architect of the museum, Edward Larrabee Barnes, picked up the torch and designed the original 7.5 acre Sculpture Garden. In winter months (which in Minnesota can run from October to April), the cave-like city dwellers of Minneapolis and Saint Paul bask in places like Cowles Conservatory where walls of glass allow warmth and light to penetrate the Vitamin D deprived, sun-kissed face of a long dark Winter.



Resources:


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, March 14th, 2009

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We saw a rainbow that started here…


Bright, double rainbow that appears to start in the corner of the field, captured at dusk after a March rain, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


 


                              …and stretched across the entire sky…


Faint, rainbow’s mid-section, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





…until it landed there…(you might see it if you squint)


Fainter, rainbow’s end, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.






What do you see out your window?








-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW and Tonight’s Sky, With The Help Of My Computer

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