When I was a kid, veterans used to stand on street corners and sell little fake poppies to wear in your lapel to honor all those who served and died in the Armed Forces. I always wondered why they sold poppies. I just Googled it. It is an ancient symbol, that is all. Poppies help ease suffering, so maybe. . . .
I never see those vets with poppies anymore.
Today, I will prepare a Memorial Day Feast for my mother--hot dogs, hamburgers, beans and chips, beer, etc. We will be stuffed and there will be lots of leftovers. We only do this on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Maybe on Labor Day, too. I can't remember.
Yesterday I sat with my mother and her neighbor who is also 90. We always talk about the old days. Yesterday we spoke of poppies and picnics and then got to ice cream. The homemade kind. We remembered putting the ice and rock salt in the ice cream maker and churning it until our arms ached. I remembered that I had an ice cream maker and said I would make some this summer for all of us. There is nothing like homemade ice cream we all agreed. But you have to eat it fast because it melts more quickly.
I have been meaning to make a mango drink these past few weeks. A boy at the sandwich shop was confused about what I wanted to drink when I ordered mango juice.
"A mango smoothy?"
"No. Just juice."
He didn't understand. That's because, I learned, I'm the only one who gets mango juice. It is not on the menu. The owner just knows I like it. So the boy gave me a mango juice smoothy with nothing but ice and mango juice. It was pretty good. So yesterday, having purchased mango juice the day before, I pulled out the blender.
But wait. I'm messing this all up. I need to tell you about the refrigerator first. It is a mess. I just keep putting things in it. All kinds of things. The bottom shelf, for instance, is full of film. When I got home from the grocery store, I tried to make room, but it was impossible. I pulled out an old box of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers that I have no idea how long they've been in there. Old, open jars of dressing, too. Several. Old half eaten chocolate bars. Some ancient cookies. Then I reached in the way back on the top shelf. What was this?
What? I never. . . oh, shit. . . these were Ili's. I was embarrassed for myself. Really. How long? But this happens all the time. There is still some of her stuff in the bathroom, and if you recall, it has been completely rebuilt. I'm still using some facial products she left. I'll reach into a drawer and. . . voila! Something of hers will appear. It's not that I am making a museum. I just don't organize much.
This week, I will have to empty the refrigerator, wash all the shelves, and start fresh. I will.
But yesterday, I decided I would put the Hemp Yeah! in my drink. I couldn't believe how much fiber and protein it contains. Old Ili. I didn't appreciate.
So. . . I put ice in the blender, poured in some mango juice, and hit the switch. So to speak. I tried a taste. It was o.k. but I had an idea. I added a little milk and the hemp. Oh, yea. This is all I'm going to eat this summer--or drink--after today. It is a summer treat.
I texted the photo to Q and asked him if the Chlorofresh would still be good. Sure, he said, try it. Why did I ask Q? How would he know?
I will try it and see. It will clean me out one way or the other.
Sooooo. . . . I told my mother and her neighbor that I would make mango ice cream.
Whew. It was a long and bumpy road to get there. I'm not at my narrative best this morning, it seems.
I developed film yesterday and hung it to dry. That picture at the top tells the tale. That is the photo I took the day before of my mother with the big Liberator camera. Obviously I have mastered the process.
The process of no focus.
WTF? I can't figure this one out. She was in perfect focus in the viewfinder. I'm wondering if the film holder didn't seat properly. But if it hadn't, there would be light leaks.
I don't know. I thought to try again. I put my new Chamonix camera in the car and was coming back to get the Liberator when the cat showed up. She doesn't come around as much now. There are other cats that are claiming her territory. This has happened since my neighbors have gone on vacation somewhere. They've been gone a long time, and their cat has not been out. In addition to being the most beautiful of cats, he is a badass and is constantly prowling the territory keeping the other cats away. And he looks out after the little feral one. Without him, she seems helpless. She is a nervous wreck and can only manage to come out for food every once in awhile.
When I saw her, I went in to get her food. And I forgot all about the Liberator. So when I got to my mother's, I had only one camera. O.K. I set it up first thing, got her out back, and took two shots. I took two more of her sitting in her chair.
AND. . . when her friend came over on her tricycle, I took her picture, too!
How about that. I will develop those in a little while. God please. . . fingers crossed. I just wonder what mistakes I might have made this time.
When I got home, I had no Campari, no Margarita juice. . . so I decided to make a Perfect Vodka Martini. I don't drink martinis, really, but when I do, they must be Perfect.
I swore to myself that I would not take a picture of it and send it to my friends. I swore. However. . . .
When it was gone, I remember why I don't drink martinis. C.C. says that is why they call it liquid marijuana.
Now it is time to prepare for the day. It will be a lunchtime thing, and I still have to get gas for the grill and buy a few more things at the grocers. And I have to develop film. And I need to clean the place up. All surfaces are covered with photographic paraphernalia. Besides, the Wrecking Crew comes tomorrow. I need to get a head start.
I'm hoping to get this big camera technical stuff down. Right now, I am not even thinking about aesthetics. I'm just snapping the photo. Composing with these cameras and getting people to stand or sit a certain way, paying attention to everything in the frame, all of that is yet to come.
O.K. It's time to begin. Have fun today. It's the unofficial start of summer.