One of the attractions in Guanajuato Mexico are the mummy caves. It is a dark narrow corridor and the sides are lined with shelves holding mummified bodies, hundreds of them. They were moved there when people could not pay an $8 tax each year to keep their relatives in their graves. An epidemic of cholera killed so many that there was no room in the cemeteries and old bodies were disinterred and replaced with new ones. After 1958, there was a law passed that they were no longer allowed do this. The mummy caves are now a museum ~El Museo De Las Momias~ and one of Mexico’s biggest tourist attraction. Books have been written about it, movies made and even songs about the mummies. We visited there in the 1960s and after the shock of seeing what it was, we headed back out the door. It was a haunting sight. It was even more horrifying than the one bullfight we walked out of. We didn’t take any pictures but if you want to see for yourself, you can print this in your browser: El Museo De Las Momias
Today I am showing you a great dessert that we serve often.
This is a carved mallard duck, his name is Stanley. He came in two large chunks of wood and I used a carpet knife to make him look like one of the two real pet ducks I had for 8 years. It took me about 16 hours to do the work with the knife, then several days to paint him. By the time I finished, I was loving him just like the real Stanley. He is about 18 inches long~ life size. On the underside I wrote a note to remember what was going on with my family at that time and how old the boys were. (I have also written on the bottoms of drawers on my favorite furniture so I can recall the thrill of the day I got it and what time in our lives it happened, like a journal you could say). I got my two real mallard ducks in 1976, when they were two days old, I built them a duck house, they had the water trough and a big yard. You never know how wonderful feathered pets can be until you have had them. In the years since then, Debbie has had Katie Mae, Algeritta, Sarah Kate, and several others.(Sara Kate and Katie Mae were invited into the kitchen on Christmas Eve every year to enjoy a pint of fat earth worms from Wal Mart!) Anna has had the 21 peacocks and 7 pet chickies, there have been at least 8 parakeets through the years, most of them named Blue Boy. Birds make nice pets. They are beautiful and smart, most of all, they love you back~
This is the guest bedroom. The bed is about 18″ long. The posters are made from dowel pins and the solid pieces are mahogany. It sits in the corner of my bedroom. Once when Elizabeth Ann was two years old I was reading and heard her say “my bed’. When I looked up, she was sitting in the middle of it, patting the pillows and saying, ‘bed, my bed’. I was sure it going to come cashing down~ but it held her. When she got up and went to get something, I put some books under the mattress to prop it up so there would be no weight on the tiny legs. It always made me happy when she liked the little things. All of my dogs have been on the that bed, they recognize what it is. Missy would take naps there and hang off on three sides. I like little things. We all have that child side in us forever. Elizabeth’s 27 years old now. She is halfway around the world in Uganda, starting a wonderful new married life with John. I miss her. What a sweet and wonderful blessing she is. Love you ZZ!
This armchair is 8″ high and a copy of one in my living room that I have had for 45 years. We bought it from Bennett Brother’s of Chicago, a wholesale place that put out a wonderful catalog every year. They carried nice furniture, as well as jewelry and almost anything you could think of. The prices were ‘wholesale’. The miniature chair was easy to make, upholstered furniture didn’t take as much time to make as the wooden pieces. The lamp table was a copy of a real one I had. The books are a little block of wood, covered with pictures of books from a magazine, just cut out the picture and fold it over the wood. One book is True Women by Janice Woods, I scanned the book jacket and then reduced it down to the right size for the miniatures. No matter how tiny these things are, you can recognize the covers and read the titles. It is the same with photographs, I scan, then reduced the size and frame them in something like an ear screw that has the the stone taken out. Jewelry makes perfect little frames. This chair is like the one I sit in every morning to read the paper. I have said before how much I enjoy the morning paper~if I am not liking the way a story is going, I just turn the page. The TV news turns into a loud debate, Breaking News! Then the rest of the day, each commentator giving their take on it and explaining it to us dummies~I like the Standard Times and our wonderful local paper, The Eldorado Success~
I was driving the car by myself by the time I was eleven years old. Back in the day, it was considered ok, as long as you knew how to go forward and reverse and work the gear shift. Not everyone owned cars then so you pretty well had the streets to yourself. The first time I backed the car up was one morning when Mother drove down the block, parked and walked the milk cow back to the pen behind our house. Then she told me to go get the car. That was a big deal, I had to back it out of the barrow ditch and take it on home. (one of those ‘dreams of glory’ times) In fact I backed the car up twice that day. Later that afternoon, I drove over to Grandmother’s house and got too close to the mulberry tree in the front yard and hooked the bumper on the trunk. I was able to back up, but it bent the bumper so that it was pointing straight out tn front. Damage to the tree and damage to the car~I knew I had to go tell Daddy, he had a filling station in town and I drove on the back street to get there. The car was rocking and jumping and making a flapping noise, I was scared to death, I could hardly hold it in the road. I didn’t know how a bent bumper could cause so much trouble. Then when Daddy saw me coming, he ran into the street, waving his arms and yelling. (I mean really yelling!) He was furious. I had driven all the way to town with a flat tire, it was in shreds. (It was during WW 11 and tires were rationed.) He told me I would never drive that car again and I would never ride in that car again. I walked home feeling worthless and knew he wasn’t finished with me yet. That quirt did sting! (I did drive the car again and there are more car stories~ later)
I told you about Junior Monkey in an earlier blog, he was more than a one trick pony. It was something new every day. He was a Java monkey and had a long straight tail and his hands had prehensile thumbs, just like a human hand. (some monkeys just have five fingers and no thmb) He used his tail for balance only. He was able to do everything with his hands and do it well. When he had grapes, he would carefully peel each one, remove the seeds and fill his jaws up, then take them out and eat them. He liked grasshoppers and crickets. Whatever he ate, he worked on it quite a bit, he enjoyed playing with his food. It was easy to read his moods. If he was happy, his hair went flat on the top of his head, he tilted his head back, half closed his eyes and made a sweet chattering sound with his teeth. Sometimes he got mad, when he had your car keys or sun glasses, and knew he was in trouble, that hair on his head went straight up, eyes wide open, pupils tiny as pinholes, screeching and showing his teeth. Pretty scary, you didn’t make eye contact, just looked away and started ‘talking to someone’ who wasn’t there. Once I brought him to Austin to be in the water carnival at UT and afterward took him to a vet clinic to spend the night. The next morning when I went to pick him up, that guy was SO mad! Junior had opened the latch on his cage, then opened doors on several other cages. The room was destroyed. (I wasn’t the one responsible for locking him up) Once he ruined Mother’s kitchen with a sack of flour. The room was white and he was white. Junior liked his clothes and sat still while I painted his nails. He was interested in those nails, he would work all day on a hangnail. Monkeys like to groom each other (or anyone who is holding them). They are not looking for fleas, they don’t have those, but are picking tiny flecks of salt. This was always a loving time. When Junior went with Daddy to deliver fuel to the oil rigs, he wore green Phillip 66 overalls, and sat in the truck while Daddy was busy. He rolled the windows up and down, locked the doors, pushed all the buttons, (pulled the buttons off the radio) and sat on the steering wheel to watch and wait. He tore the rubber blades off the windshield wipers more than once. He was sweet and fun and we loved him, but as I said before, don’t ever consider getting a monkey. A puppy is a better choice~
I copied a chair that had belonged to Dan’s grandmother which was over 100 years old. The real chair was hand made and uncomfortable, the seat was too high, so I cut off the legs and made new mortise and tenons, put it back together and it is now (like in The Three Bears story) just right. The miniature is 12″ tall, my first attempt at carving. It is made from dowel pins and oak wood. Ron Sutto came one day and told me how nice it was, in fact he bragged so much about it, I was feeling just pretty good! After he left, I picked it up and said something like, ‘it is a pretty good piece of work’ ~ then dropped it on the tile floor and it splattered into a dozen pieces. (pride before the fall) I put everything in a shoe box and left it for a couple of months before I had the energy to rebuild it.This was the beginning of a passion for making miniatures.
There are many pictures of these babies, they were each one so special. I used one of the Kiddie Pools for their play pen. It was great, they had lots of room to play and couldn’t get out to roam around and get in trouble. Marci could jump in and nurse them and take care of them, then get out and take a rest without having five little crawly things all over her. I took them out two at a time to hold in my lap and tell them the story of their life and how much I loved them. We talked a lot. Dan held each one of them every day. Lots of people came to see them, even relatives from Dallas.These are some of my favorite pictures.
This has been my favorite blog to put together. It has been wonderful going through all the pictures and remembering all of these sweet times. I hope you like it too~
This morning twelve years ago, I woke to the cries of a new puppy, Marci was was having her babies! I turned on the light and there was this so very tiny little thing squirming on the floor beside my bed, Marci was already washing it and instinct told her she was a new mother. In the next hour, she had finished having five perfect babies. The x-ray had shown only four so the last one was a big surprise. I have never been so excited or happy, I was crying and thankful and so proud of Marci. From that moment on to many weeks later, I had the time of my life with these precious babies. I treasure this time I had with them and watched them grow into wonderful puppies with their own personalities. When it was time for them to go to their new homes, it was hard for me. Two were going to Albuquerque with Paul and Anna, one was going to White Oak with the Cravens, my sweet friend Pat would take one to the Pfluger Ranch, and I was going to sell the last one to help pay all the expenses. One morning I was going for my jog, feeling so depressed when the thought hit me! There was no reason I couldn’t keep one for myself! I already had Marci and Missy but I could have this sweet little puppy that I had known since his first breath. By the time I got home my mind was made up, he was going to be the old bachelor who would stay home with his mama forever. I was terribly happy that day. I can still feel the joy inside right now when I remember. ( I will be continuing with this blog tomorrow) Thank you Lord for these Blessings~
Happy Birthday to all The Babies
With Love from Marci Mama & Grammy