Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tibbits Opera House

The events of human life, whether public or private, are so intimately linked to architecture that most observers can reconstruct nations or individuals in all the truth of their habits from the remains of their monuments or from their domestic relics. (Honore de Balzac)

I took this photo when I arrived in the late afternoon to get ready for the evening.
Last night was a spectacular night at the Tibbits Theatre in Coldwater. The reception
began at 6:30 which was a gathering of board members, a senator or two from Michigan, the Mayor, the architect, and patrons.

I was a meandering storyteller always looking for a light for my cigarette as I spread historic information through the party. The bartender really did try to give me a light, but I had to decline.

The dedication was next in the lovely theatre upstairs. I had a front row seat next to the Trine Band and right up against the 1882 stage. Folks lined the stage area as the speeches began. They were passionate, artistic, and for anyone in the arts, they were empowering. Christine Delaney, the Executive Director, was the other star of the evening.

The premiere of the film, Old Buildings, The Restoration and Preservation of Tibbits Opera House, followed. It was also passionate with the history of the Tibbits and the restoration of the facade. The restoration was completed by craftsmen using the small copper and woodworking shops in Michigan.

The evening concluded with champagne and an invitation to go outside for the lighting of the building and the releasing of hundreds of white balloons. The lights were originally gas lamps, but are now, of course, electrified.

I took this photo as the Tibbits Opera House was lit up, but before the balloons!

Needless to say it was a wonderful evening. I loved doing my research. I felt like a one-woman show as I meandered about telling stories.

Here is the link to this week's column about this evening. As always, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Lady of Shalott and my Drowned Garden

Dear Readers,
So here are the photos of my drowned garden. It was just late week that I sat on the white chair and recited Daffodils to you by Wordsworth. The following pictures were taken just days apart. First came five inches of rain which flooded my gardens, (let alone my old cellar!), then came the ice and snow.
Just when I thought I was know, water gone, ice thawed, here came the rains again. I could not post another daffodil garden as it is once again under water and the fleeting snow of the day. My garden lives at the mercy of our long lost spring. I believe they cannot survive this last bout of weather.
As I stood looking out my kitchen window today, my mind went immediately to Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (1809-1892) He was born in England and attended Cambridge University. He became a writer as he feared the gloom that might follow him from his father: epilepsy, alcoholism, violence, and madness.
His story is long and complicated as are all of my featured poets this month. He did eventually become the poet laureate of England for a half a century...not bad for a country boy of eleven children.
My favorite poem is The Lady of Shallot, famous by Anne of Anne of Green Gables. Enjoy!
The Lady of Shalott
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Part 1
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go
Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.
Willows white, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle embowers
The Lady of Shalott.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Poe and the Lyrid Meteor Showers

Poetry month still lingers with the fragrance of some newly cut grass by my neighbor and yesterday's campfire.

I am sorry to be so late in announcing the Lyrid Meteor Showers which will finish up by early dawn tomorrow. There is a chance, however, to seem them yet late tonight until the early dawn. The waxing rays of the moon makes it a little more difficult this year, but why not try?

I suggest waking up before dawn, putting on the coffee and sitting out on your stoop and watching for the last of the showers.

These showers originate from the tiny constellation of Lyra, the Harp. This constellation represents the lyre of Orpheus who, when playing, would woo in any mortal or god. Not bad for a constellation, I say.

Please enjoy this photo from EarthSky.

Evening Star
Edgar Allan Poe
(Verse 1)
'Twas noontide of summer,
And midtime of night,
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, through the light
Of the brighter, cold moon.
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.'

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

This morning I took a stroll around my garden. Having just arrived home after a week's visit with my son, I was thrilled to see the daffodils in full bloom.

I took my chair out to my garden on this beautiful morning and soon I was thinking and reciting Daffodils by Williams Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth was born in the Lake and Mountain district of England on April 7, 1770. His mother let her children wander through forests and gardens all day long. His love of nature came from those early days.

His story is long and complicated, as are all poets.

I hope you enjoy this poem on this lovely April morning.

As always,
Lou Ann

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Pickers and Huffers

Dear Friends,

This weekend was clean up week in my small town. It seems like a mundane know toss out a mattress here or there, a broken chair from the attic, an old TV or lamp. However, it was a party here in my neighborhood over the weekend. The weather was warm and beautiful and everyone, and I do mean everyone, was out hauling dusty, dirty old stuff from somewhere in the belly of their lives.

Neighbor was helping neighbor toss out the trash and we gathered in the streets to chat and talk about it. We also watched as the pickers were in full swing. Truck after truck trudged down the road picking up this or that, cutting off cords for the wire, taking old chairs to repair and picking up a treasure to set on the mantle.

A lovely group of women descended upon my junk pile and we had a great time visiting. I told them to come back to my garage sale if they thought this was fun.

My neighbor and I talked of the pickers as in poetry, as in Carl Sandburg. How could we not speak of him?

Carl Sandburg was the greatest of poets, and if you are reading my blog you already have an appreciation of him!

Here is one of my favorites:

I am glad God saw death
And gave Death a job taking care of all who are tired of living;
When all the wheels in a clock are worn and slow and the connections loose
And the clock goes on ticking and telling the wrong time from hour to hour
And people around the house joke about what a bum clock it is,
How glad the clock is when the big Junk Man drives his wagon
Up to the house and puts his arms around the clock and says;
"You don't belong here,
You gotta come
Along with me,"
How glad the clock is then, when it feels the arms of the Junk Man
close around it and carry it away.
Carl Sandburg
Also this weekend one of my favorite music groups, The Jug Huffers, were in Angola at the Pint and Slice for Saturday night. There was a great troupe of us in the small restaurant on the square for several hours just loving the evening.
We ended the night with a kazoo sing a long as the Huffers had enough kazoos for everyone. It was a great night and fun to walk home under the cool April skies as well.
Here is a picture of The Jug Huffers. I might point out they also play mandolin, banjo, guitar, accordion and the fiddle. The Jug Huffers are also my square dance band so give us a call!
As always thanks for reading, and to Robb, yes I love The Fog!
Lou Ann

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Ridin' the Rails with hobo poetry!

Waiting for the train at the old Angola Depot!
Photo by Karen Homan

April brings showers and the waking up of our gardens and windows wide open during the twilight hours.
In my small town the train whistle can be heard at night as it travels its way from East to West. I love this romantic part of our lives...riding the rails, traveling by train.
Today's column is about hobo poetry and keeping the tradition alive.
Enjoy and as always, thank you for reading.

Click here for this week's column and go take a train ride!

Enjoy this video of Woody Guthrie singing Hobo's Lullaby!


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Rupert Chawner Brooke

Rupert Chawner Brooke

Years ago I was gifted a wonderful book, "Stillmeadow Daybreak," written by Gladys Taber.  The inscription inside the book simply says: To Mommy From Adam.
Even when my children were young they knew I loved poetry and essays. I still love this book. Thank you Adam.
As I was glancing through it this morning I found a short excerpt from one of Brooke's poems. Apparently Gladys had access to one of his notebooks. Here is the poem:
All things are written in the mind
There the sure hills have station; and the wind
Blows in the placeless air.
And there the white and golden birds go flying;
And the stars wheel and shine, and woods are fair.
Rupert Chawner Brooke
I did not have knowledge of this poet until I came across this piece in my morning studio so here are a few facts I have found. I think he might become my new favorite poet!
Brooke was born in England in 1887. W.B. Yeats called him "the handsomest young man in England." It was also said that he went skinny dipping in a moonlit pool in Cambridge with Virginia Woolf.
He died in 1915 as a result of a mosquito bite while traveling. He was known most of all for his war poems.
As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Woman in the White Dress

Welcome to National Poetry Month! I issue you an invitation on this lovely, but still chilly, day from the Midwest.

On Wednesday, April 3, I will be speaking at Trine University on Emily Dickinson. We (the audience and I) will explore her life as a woman, a poet, and a gardener. The event is from 3:30-4:30 in Wells Theatre with a Q and A to follow. I would love to see you in the audience and there are even little gift bags, if you happen to be there!

Emily Dickinson has always been one of my favorite poets. You can find her work online, in libraries, and in books. One of my favorite poems begins as such:

"I'll tell you how the Sun rose-
A Ribbon at a time-
The Steeples swam in Amethyst-
The news, like Squirrels, ran-
The Hills untied their Bonnet-
Then I said softly to myself-
That must have been the Sun....."
Emily Dickinson
Today's photo was taken in my garden on Easter. What a nice surprise I found as I brushed away the leaves.