by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
August 12-16, 2004
TODAY IS NOW; LIFE IS WHAT'S NEXT
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Okay, so what is today? Today is the day we got a dog. BoPeep is the fourth Old English sheepdog we've had since 1958. Because she had blue eyes, we named the first one, "Lady Limehouse Blues" on her AKC "papers" but we called her "Limey." The next in line was BoPeep, then BoPeep, Jr., and now BoPeep III.
We thought long and hard about getting another one. After all, their life span is at least 15 years and we might match her trip to the Rainbow Bridge to our own trips to the Great Beyond. Maybe, maybe not. But, we need her. And, apparently, she needs us. This little lady has one blue eye and one black. Amazing! You might surmise she's not adoptable because of that. And, yet, we chose her exactly because of that.
So, that's today, and that's now. Life is what is next. I wish I could predict what is about to happen. My grandchildren are reaching voting age, our children are right in it, listening to candidates, taking sides, wondering what is best for their growing families. I'm part of their lives but I'm not "in" them.
This morning I was wondering how long BoPeep III will take leaning to "use" her papers. That was my big concern just an hour ago; this is now. Our son is in St. Petersburg with his wife, three young children and one on the way, a dog and a cat. They are packing the van with enough supplies to get them on the road and out of the path of Hurricane Charley, bearing down on Hurricane Bonnie who cut a swath through the Florida Panhandle earlier today.
Everything gets out of the way of Mother Nature when she's on a rampage. Even our Editor, Joe Shea, knows he's also in the path of Charley, whether or not he takes to the hills, well, I don't know. Watch this space. [Full details of the approaching storm and the near misses at www.american-reporter.com.]
While all these issues vie for space in the corners of my mind, I'm also covering three trials: Kobe Bryant and what's her name; Scott Peterson and his mistress, Amber, wired and talking as if she still thinks he's the handsome, unmarried, stud -- instead of the leading, but unannounced, perpetrator in the disappearance and probable murder of his pregnant wife.
A newer trial is the murder of a "happily" married man who hid his true credentials to enter medical school in North Carolina right up to the night before he and his pregnant wife planned to move there. Apparently, rather than face the ignominy of friends and family when they would also discover the deception, he shot his wife in the head as she slept. That would keep her quiet, he thought in what is no doubt his demented mind.
Then a fast forward from the bloody crime scene through the mattress disposal, the body wrapped and carried to dumpster, a call to 911 to report the missing wife, a new mattress, then a naked race through a motel wearing sandals. True enough, you can't tell the players without a scorecard.
I didn't even mention Michael Jackson. His trial is delayed and the accusations are beyond my imagination. But, I did give passing thoughts to why Michael Jackson, his parents, siblings and others exiting his gold bus outside a courthouse in California all wore white with gold arm bands and trim. Jermaine Jackson wore a flowing cape.
There used to be a newspaper feature called "There Outta Be A Law" and I thought of that when I saw the Jackson clan, calmly submitting to the electronic wand scanning their frames for possible weaponry, and wondered just what the judge would think.
Well, it turns out it doesn't matter what the judge would think; the important consideration would be the jury. There was no jury present for this court hearing. If there were to be a jury ushered in after the principals arrived, then the judge could, and surely would, demand appropriate dress.
Remembering that "today is now," in this present moment this is now a house full of evacuees and a home happy to see them. There's nothing like an emergency aborted to gear up for a party. And, then ... there's nothing like a death notice to bring you down again.
Julia Childs died. To me, Julia Childs (never just Julia, always her full name) was old when she first came into our living room, yet hearing she was two days short of 92 was a surprise. She really had impact on the lives of those raising children in the 60s and 70s.
Most of us were "depression babies" ourselves and our early poverty left us ill-prepared to serve fancy roasts or a rack of lamb dressed with colorful "panties" with a side of mint jelly. Tomato Aspic? Oh, noooo. Not at our house during the 30s with many at the table and exactly one frankfurter each -- and this was Saturday night, where the old Boston tradition of franks and beans with sauerkraut was observed. It was a treat.
Along came Julia Childs. "Well, that looked easy, I can do that," not at all minding that she wiped her hands on her apron, or, heaven-forbid, double dipped with her stirring spoon. She was real and she introduced "Cassoulet" to the American kitchen. This fancy sounding dish was really what graced the tables of French peasants, just as our popular Pizza is the food of Italian peasants.
From then on, we had Cassoulet at least once a week. The only difference Julia Childs made was calling it "Cassoulet." It was made of sausage, ground beef, ground pork, beans, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, and goose livers. As the flavors "married" it became better and better. The following days it was microwaved for after school snacks. (Okay, so my specialty did not have goose livers. I just couldn't do it!)
Our year of the Cassoulet was the same year the Betty Crocker Bake-Off was won by a mother who created "Hungry Boy's Casserole." The ingredients matched, but somehow it lacked the spirit Julia Childs brought to our table and a huge part of our family lore. When she said, "Bon Appetit," we relished what she put before us.
That was then; today is now, and life is what's next.