Thursday, July 27, 2006

O Leisure, Where Art Thou?!

Last night after a ferocious Windex battle with a battalion of ants, I stood at my kitchen counter packing the kids' lunches for today. Having just returned two days before from a nice four-day weekend with them, I had to jump back into work with the kind of immediacy that more than broke the reverie of the days we had just spent in what we learned is called simply "The Bluegrass." Add to that the relative ugliness of Northeast Ohio compared to the green lush hills and hollers of almost Appalachia, and the pall over what was formerly known as "summer" is complete.

As much as I prefer to be busy and really believe I am not making better use of the free time I have, it's becoming more clear that after working, parenting, and keeping house (and not very well), there just ain't a whole lot of it. This is the story of most working Americans today. There never is enough time for thinking, dreaming, cultivating hidden talents, pursuing advanced degrees, really engaging your children or friends or lovers, furthering pet projects (like this blog!), reading or writing a book, or whatever floats ones boat -- oh, add boating to the list!

The best part of traveling, I think, is not the getting or being away, but the who you get away with. I love traveling on my own, but the time with my kids or other loved ones is what really makes those escapes extra special. A few weeks ago I spent a day at Jamboree in the Hills (photos to come), a pretty gosh-darned humongous country music festival. It wasn't the chance to see Mr. Nicole Kidman onstage or the attraction of spending a 95-degree day on a muddy hill with 80 thousand other drunk country music fans that appealed, but the time I got to spend with my brother and his family. Even with all the "stuff" that goes on in families, it was still a wonderful time spent in a beautiful part of Ohio with people I love.

And I think summer used to be more of that, more "downtime" to catch up with friends and family. Shannon posted some beautiful pics a while back of our last trip to Nags Head -- in fact, I think in one frame you'll see my family before we busted it up -- and those trips really captured it. I hope those days aren't gone forever. And I hope that in these troubled times, with a world absolutely wild with war and greed, and everything many of us work for slipping and sliding into and between the cracks, we can all grab on to some vestige of summer, or what it meant, a time to lay in the grass and dream.

Here's a guy you probably know, a former country star and head of Skaggs Family Records. This truly fun tune, "Sis Draper," is actually based on an old fiddle tune (most mando tunes are) called "Arkansas Travler" -- hence the line, "She stepped up and sawed one off/And uncle Cleve dropped his jaw/Said she's the best I ever saw/She must be from Arkansas." Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder recorded this Guy Clark song on their award-winning album, "Brand New Strings." It really gives you that kick-back-and-enjoy-summer feeling.

Skaggs has been playing mandolin since he was about seven years old. So he had like a 33 year start on me. Big deal! I can catch up, in my leisure time!

Sis Draper

Kick your shoes off in the corner mama
Tuck the babies all up snug
Sis Draper's comin' over, we all gonna cut a rug

When you see that lantern swingin' yonder
Comin' up the Holler Road
Them dogs'll get to barkin'
Ought to tie em all up with a rope

You boys better get in tune
Sis Draper's gonna be here soon
Don't shoot no dice nor get too tight
If you're gonna pick with Sis tonight

She came down from the Boston mountains
There was lightnin' in the air
Honey on them fiddle strings
Magnolia in her hair

She's a diamond in the rough
If you can't see the shine that's tough
Play all night for the likes of us
Sis Draper's got the touch

She'll play all night if she feels like it
Have some fruit punch if you spike it
Sis don't care who don't like it
See, ol' Sis has got a hell of a bow arm on her

She stepped up and sawed one off
And uncle Cleve dropped his jaw
Said she's the best I ever saw
She must be from Arkansas

I think Grandpa used to date her
Grandma says she still hates her
All the fellas stand up straighter
In the presence of Sis Draper

Sis Draper is the devil's daughter
Plays the fiddle Daddy bought her
Plays it like her mama taught her
She's a travelin' Arkansawyer

Put her fiddle in a box
Said it's getting awful late
She's on her way to Little Rock And Little Rock can't wait
So we all stood out in the yard
Hands all full of watermelon
Watcher her leave and watched her go
Wishin' I was in that wagon

Sis Draper is the devil's daughter
Plays the fiddle Daddy bought her
Plays it like her mama taught her
She's a travelin' Arkansawyer


At July 30, 2006 4:14 PM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

Ants? Windex? MM, what kind of picnic do you think you're running? :P Just kidding. Mom always bleached down where they were coming in at, and spread borax into cracks and crevices. Tended to stop them dead. Personally, I'd say hit your local herbalist and get some tansy. Ants hate the stuff. Sprinkle inside and out.

At July 31, 2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

lol...believe me, Neuro, it's no picnic! Actually said ants appear to have retreated but thanks for the tip on tansy...will definitely have some on hand just in case any survivors return with friends.In the meantime, maybe my practicing will be enough to keep them away!

At July 31, 2006 5:57 PM, Blogger My Boring Best said...

Now, now. Those ants are probably "good people."


At August 01, 2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Oh I know. But, sharing a shower with one ant, s'ok. Three hundred ants sharing lunch with A., not ok. When it's Mommy vs. Ants, ants will lose every time.


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