Saturday, July 01, 2006

Blissful exhaustion

I am recovering from my favorite week of the year: Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, and it has left me delirious, exhausted and somewhat in pain. The pain is mostly from a banjo playing injury I incurred the very first square dance on Monday night. I think it must have been the banjo gods trying to wean me from using my left index finger too much.The blister continues to grow after that forty minute tune, six days ago.... and I have learned how to play with minimum use of said injured finger.

Each year Cowan Music School has become more and more akin to a family reunion. It is a small gathering that grows just a little each year. So many of the people who come to the school feel like cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I love the balance of children with adults and the nurturing spirit that seems to envelop us all. There's no competition to be the greatest musician or to play the fastest or the most like Art Stamper. Everyone is here to play, listen, learn and visit. It is the happiest I ever feel. The only bad part of the week is when it comes to an end.

Last week I learned that Judy Branch has secret healing powers. Early in the week I was suffering with a tension headache. I retreated to Judy Branch to recover, and I got an urge to work in my garden. The very moment I knelt on the ground and put my fingers in the soil, the headache lifted. I wonder if that magic soil would heal my banjo injury.... Perhaps I'll give it a try this evening.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

13 Aprons

I returned from my Grandma's to Judy Branch with a bag full of aprons.

Yes, aprons. Nine aprons to be exact. Each handmade, and each with its own distinct character. I found them in Grandma's hallway closet, and I entertained her at the "hospital" with a fashion show that took her back in time. I chose old jewelry to go with each apron and arrived at the rehab center with all props in hand for a evening's worth of entertainment. (Granny's recovering from a fall that broke her arm, and that's one of the many reasons why I set out to visit her last week.) I modeled each apron, and she told me who they once belonged to and who most likely made them. On several occasions she had to closely inspect the stitch to see if it was left or right-handed. The aprons belonged to and were made by great aunts: Mammie (maker) and Ruth (wearer, whose figure was much like mine apparently), Great Grandmother McCandless (maker), Great Grandma or "Nanny," as I always called her and, of course, Grandma. Nanny embroidered her apron. Together we examined the stitchwork and design, the stains and the holes and recreated a history for each and every apron.

I learned that the women of Grandma's life always tried to give her aprons because they thought she should wear them. But she never would. Unless some of the aprons were hand-me-downs or used by others, I think she may be telling me a little fib. We won't dwell on details, though.

The aprons now belong to me, and for some reason that just makes me incredibly happy.

Just a few years ago, I discovered the great usefulness of aprons and had begun a small collection for myself (total: four). Now, with my inheritance, Judy Branch is well stocked with 13 aprons. What a great excuse to make a mess in the kitchen!