Friday, April 23, 2021

In the Hall of the Texas Mountain Laurel King

I used to like some of Grieg's Peer Gynt music, especially "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Insofar as classical music goes, or really any music, I am a peasant, munching on a piece of black bread, soon satisfied. I like a bit of this, a bit of that, now and again. Things that bring finer sensibilities to tears somehow hold no interest for me. I would say my favorite music is the soundtracks of A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and White Christmas. Fie! I am not very interested in music old or new, but I like to hear church bells ring and birdies sing and rain hit the windows in bursts. And I love to hear old-time "declaiming," much as depicted in the Anne of Green Gables novels. 

Has anyone else tried to watch the newest "Anne of Green Gables" series? I couldn't. It was so strange and coarse and had a strange social agenda, I felt. 

purple-blue blooms of Texas Mountain Laurel

When I was young, it was quite falling out of fashion, but you could still enjoy hearing someone declaim - not sing - a favorite poem or passage as part of an evening's entertainment. I think sixth grade was the last time we were taught to declaim a poem.

At church, I can't stand the singing. Oh, how horrible of me! But I can't. Hymns set my teeth on edge. The guitar player and his earnest singing make me bite my knuckle so that I don't howl along. 

We have a very old Italian priest who sometimes acts as concelebrant at Mass. Not only does he look like an ancient tom turkey, but his voice reminds me of what a lovelorn old tom might sound like, too, warbling up and down the scales and teetering on the edge of the black keys, and never making the leap over to the whites, but falling perpetually into the cracks between them. His voice is a turkey gobble spliced into the sound of a rubber-soled shoe on a gym floor plus the honk of a rubber-ended tricycle horn, all at once; zusammen. And I like HIS voice as he brokenly chants the litany a thousand times better than the sound of the choir or the solo soprano's lilting tones.

What in the world has this post to do with Grieg's music? Well, we have a lovely small tree out here called a Texas Mountain Laurel, and I took that photo to share. And then my mind started up with its loose associations. The name Texas Mountain Laurel conjured up the dwarves in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and their King Under the Mountain story, and then Grieg's music "In the Hall of the Mountain King." 

The blooms of the Texas Mountain Laurel remind me of wisteria, with a similar scent but with a strong overlay of grape Kool-aid. They are about done for the year. From one week to the next, they are there, and then they are gone.

Koolaid! When I was young, we drank "Cherri-Aid," from Ann Page, better known as the dreadful A&P house brand. Oh, it was foul stuff. Once my mother accidentally bought a packet of Kool-Aid, and after tasting the difference, she just couldn't go back to Cherri-Aid. If I recall ko-reck-ly, Kool-Aid was 5 cents a package, and Cherri-Aid was 3 cents, but my father shouted that the extravagance of the 5-cent Kool-Aid was going to put us "in the poorhouse." Oh, he was so mad, for years. The Depression severely wounded some people.

I started wondering about these prices I remembered so easily. And that led to this screenshot of an old ad. Yes, I was right. My long-term memory is perfecto. My short-term, no bueno.

old A&P ad showing cherri-aid and kool-aid
Told you!

Some bloggie friends wanted to see the "nature table" I put up at school, so I have some photos, below. I have some seeds of the Texas Mountain Laurel on the table, but out of the reach of the kindergarteners. At work, I am morphing more and more into being what I call "the permanent substitute," seeing me subbing for several hours each day while the regular teachers do this or that or run errands or cry into their lattes because they are Young Tender Things and their husbands or boyfriends are So Mean. I have absolutely no interest in teaching again, and that is falling on deaf ears. What? Deaf ears! WHAT? DEAF EARS! WHAT??? DEAF EARS, I SAID!

So, we shall see what we shall see! 

I hope this Friday finds you as fit as a fiddle and ready for a riddle -- also from The Hobbit:

"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid."

And what is it? Oh, you guessed it! An egg! Well, of course you would, because you are all good eggs!

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly


  1. I remember the A&P but did not know it was Ann Page. I remember going with my grandmother and getting 8 o'clock coffee and seeing the big grinder. (I still drink 9 o'clock coffee. Sorry you are not enjoying your job. But love your nature table.

  2. I love the nature table...I would have fun trying to id things and learning! We ate fake ice cream that was really cheap...called Mellorine. My husband said he had never even heard of it. hahahaha! And we drank store brand cokes that tasted so bitter and fakey! But hey...we saved money! lol

    1. My parents also ate fake ice cream, the "ice milk," until when I was in college. I brought them a half-gallon of Breyer's, and they never looked back! They loved the real ice cream so much.

  3. I love your today’s post.
    Made me laugh especially the priest singing! The Laurel really look like wisteria , I like it’s colour.
    Here the school are closed !
    I wish you a good weekend .

  4. The name of that music, sounds as if it would be great! Must look up a uTube of it!

    I have read that the *new* Anne of Green Gables, is notttttttt goooood. And I sure agree, from your words.

    Imagine a "social agenda*, in this lovely old story!!! The *Woke* People are everywhere!!!! Bahhh-humbugggg...

    I see how you went from the tree, to the music!!! -smile-

    Mmmmmm..... About the work???? Do not let it morph into more, than you were hired to do!!!!!!

    Everyone will take advantage of you, if you LET them.


  5. no wonder they loved the nature table, it is fascinating and I would love it too. i feel sad when i find lizard mummies in our house. if i see one inside i put it out but sometimes i only find them when they have died. they get in but can't get out

    1. I know, the little geckos and lizards are such silent, sweet creatures, so delicate.

  6. Oh yes. Your substitute teaching is getting to you. I feel dissatisfaction in the tone of your post. You are usually so upbeat. I hope you can feel a bit of pleasure to counterbalance.

  7. Ha Ha, I am chuckling over this post...trying to understand it all, but enjoying it none the less. Yes, real Kool-aid is the BEST. No other can pass the TEST! I haven't had koolaid in YEARS, and now you have me wanting some!!! It really made good popsickles in those tupperware popsickle things. Oh, I SO agree with you regarding the new Anne of Green Gables on Netflix. I tried to watch it. My hubby even sat down with me because I wanted him to understand why my mother named me Pamela ANNE with an E because I had red hair. But we could not sit through that new show. It was so depressing and yes, full of social issues innuendos. Totally ruined the real sweet and happy spirit of Anne in spite of her circumstances. My husband called it 'dark', and I agreed. I want to get a copy of the original one with Megan Fellowes and keep it forever. Your nature table is wonderful. Subbing is not for the faint of heart or weary. I've tried it and failed. Not my cup of tea at all. Love music, however, and I love church hymns. We sing happy songs of praise and joy mostly, and they make me want to rejoice with the very rocks that will cry out if we don't praise Him. Yes, this was fun. Sorry you are not having a great time, but I hope this all cheered you up. Have a blessed weekend my friend.

    1. I had forgotten the Kool-Aid popsicles! Thank you for that memory spark!!! How wonderful to have your middle name as Anne with an E, as a bow to that wonderful heroine of the Green Gables novels!

  8. You put so much thought and work in to your nature table. Just lovely.
    We never got Kool Aid. I think it was that the sugar cost too much. My mom was the original thrift queen...long before it was cool.
    What a great post. You should be a writer. You definitely have a gift. You and the Cranky Crow. Oh, what a team you would make.
    So sorry to hear about the job. The school year will soon be over. Will you make it until summer vacation?

    1. Oh yes, I will last it out until summer! It is important for the kids to have a bit of continuity, I think. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. I miss Cranky Crow already...I had forgotten about the cost of sugar! We had the Kool-Aid very watered down and with much less sugar, and I bet that was actually better for us!

  9. I do not like singing at church because I am an awful singer. My fav Christmas song is White Christmas. I could hit replay all day on that one. Janice

    1. My voice would make a banshee cry! I have such an awful voice! Is yours truly awful as well?

  10. I like your nature display. It's too bad you don't particularly enjoy your job. I hope at least it pays well. Hang in there. Summer break is coming.

    1. It pays peanuts, Granny M! PEANUTS! It is for the Glory of the Lord, but a few more coins would be most welcome!

  11. Darling Holly,

    How well we remember the nature tables of our primary school days and how much one learned from the exhibits placed there. We can remember being both intrigued and alarmed in equal measure at the various offerings with certain children constantly intent upon providing the most horrid exhibits!!

    It does sound as if you are rather being taken for granted and that must take the joy from the work. To offer a little and then be expected to do more and more becomes tiring and overwhelming. Still, we are sure that there must be a reward in the ever curious minds of the young students. Roll on the end of term!

  12. Oh how I love the scent & color of the MTN. Laurel. Even the seedpods are awesome.

    Another great post. You and I "think" in the same way.


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