Let’s Count 2021 Mar edition

0 – number of times I’ve wished that my sister was still alive since she died two years ago

0 – number of years I’ve seen Crystal Lake frozen before

1 – number of people I know (within two degrees) who have died of Covid; number of friends declining the vaccine

1 – number of memorial services that should have taken place in our family and didn’t

1 – number of neighbors out Saturday morning without a mask (a bearded 20 – something wearing a Patriot’s hat, JOGGING)

1 – bed sized quilt finished this year

1 – number of quilts lost en route to Australia

1 – number of identical answers in NYTimes and Boston Globe crossword puzzles today. (This morning: heft. This happens with a freaky frequency).

2 – number of chairs on the curb Saturday morning; number of auto-immune disorders I have that don’t bump me up in the vaccine queue

2 – number of poll working gigs I’ve turned down since March 2020

2 – number of personal international trips cancelled since this time last year; number of African American Museums donated to

3 – number of nightmares where I don’t have a mask; there’s also been a spate of wedding dreams lately

4 – number of masks lost en route to California

5 – number of haircuts I’ve given my husband

5 – minimum number of times I’ve asked, “what does 50% more contagious even mean?”

6 – number of phone calls with my brother since he got back to LA

7 – number of people I know who’ve had Covid

7 – number of vaccinated family members

8 – number of trips to a grocery store in a year

12 – Flickr albums left to download before I stop paying pro fee

19 – number of hours fasted between dinner and today’s lunch

A few dozen – the number of times I’ve missed my sister since March 2019

At least 20 — number of times I have cursed WordPress’s block editor OUTLOUD (ask my husband)

40 – number of minutes walked Saturday morning before one hip really hurt

43 – number of years I’ve had hip pain

89 – number of masks I made since March 2020 – three sold and the rest given away (or kept) (or lost in the mail)

200 to 800 – number of phone photos I aim to delete every week

1,000 – number of photos Flickr will allow without a pro fee

4,000+ – number of photos on my Flickr feed

8,000 – the number of steps when my Fitbit offers a vibrating graphic congratulations

10,000+ – number of pictures on my phone

Number of friends who have been vaccinated? All of them? Well, not Rieko, Barbara, Barbara, or Jane. BUT EVERYONE ELSE

Number of times something I ordered from Amazon arrived and I had no fucking idea what was in the box — I’m not telling you!

Number of times in the last year I’ve crowed while serving a plate of food to husband that it was restaurant fare — I’m not telling you that either!

Number of times when I crowed that I was serving restaurant grade food and it WAS restaurant grade? ALL OF THEM (and you thought I was a creature marked solely by self-doubt!)

I also refuse to disclose how many uninspired duds were served up!

Lastly, a contest on walk yesterday: $2.5MM – my guess for sale price of house near lake (above); K’s guess – $3.1MM; listing price – $2.95MM. He wins! note: there is a house between this house and the lake and the road is fairly busy

Enjoy your Sunday. I’m curious what some of your Covid-specific numbers are. Do you know anyone who has died? How many people do you know have had it? Have you?

Squeeze the balloon

Writing with others three mornings a week definitely lessens my need or impulse to show up here. I have to figure that out. For today: a completely disjointed post.

I’m ready for it to be warmer. It’ll be easier to wait for the “EVERYONE ELSE” category of vaccination then. I’m hoping.

If you can find Maddow’s final segment from last night, do. I’d share the clip but couldn’t find it — maybe next week? It was about the impossible becoming possible. A Catholic story, a tale of heroism and altruism. It was a real antidote to the epic assholery being reported about the GOP. That party… Gawd.

My paid manuscript consultant has finally taken up my book again. I’m trying not to think too hard about how loooonnnng next steps take. In the meantime, work set in Colorado is “coming through.”

Lawrence Durrell once said he didn’t know if he had a novel or not until he’d written over fifty pages. Well, I have much more than fifty pages already and I still don’t know. I swore I’d work from an outline if there was a next novel but that doesn’t appear to be an oath I’m keeping.

Reading about the bomb factory in Rocky Flats is research. Hair-raising.

It’s Saturday. I’m gonna eat breakfast today! Have a great weekend.

The Black Stallion — fan fic

It sinks, the ship. Engines failed. First, the ominous thudding. Casual concern. Benign stories shared. Oh, it’s just this. It’s probably that.

But then the cataclysmic cracking tore through the boiler room. Panic. Fire. The Arabian stallion breaks loose. The father loses sight of the son. He, the son, has gone overboard. He paddles on, the boy, in darkness and fear, eventually washes ashore in a fugue and near death. Asleep in the foam.

Stallion keeps head above water, too, emerges onto the same beach, regal but weary and spooked. He is tangled in ropes.

A new day. Shock filled with sun and water. A briny renewal. Boy releases horse from the tangle. It is the first of many salvations.

They play tag, the horse and the boy. Hide n’ seek. But two lone souls marooned together eventually find each other. Need each other. Or at least, they did. Found and needed each other.

They don’t know where they are, but then do any of us, really? In fact, they are blessed. For without society’s distractions, empty duties, hollow misses of relationships and the debris they leave behind, these two can dwell in essence. It is a boy and a stallion on a beach. The boy knows his father is gone. The stallion knows he is, for a time, free. After one sideways approach after another, sniffing and stalling, and with strategic use of the sea itself, for no way the boy stands tall enough to mount the horse otherwise — the boy finally finds horse’s back. The stallion allows.

Hang on!

It is a paradise of sorts. Sunshine raining down on hungry freedom. Shushurring ocean lullaby. A spangle of stars in lieu of thought. Curling, approaching, retreating foam takes the place of memory. What life? What family?

What else does a boy or a horse need?

But they are found and being found, forced into vests and pants with zippers or into gated stalls and bridles. Value recognized instantly when it came to the four legged – there is no hiding his majesty, a form bred for speed, manifest in beauty – but the brilliance now residing in the boy goes at first unnoticed.

He, the boy, sleeps in the backyard. The walls and ceiling are too close. His mother worries and tries not to take it personally, and fails. She sniffs his sheets — is it something she’s done? Omitted? She makes macaroni and cheese more often.

Fortunately for horse and boy, and mother, too, a mensch at the stables puts two and two together. Putting two and two together in this instance means putting horse and boy together. Together, again. He, the trainer, knows horses and in knowing horses, has insight into people as well – especially people who bond with horses (or is people with whom horses bond?) Never mind, he sees the boy’s brilliance immediately and knows the boy needs the horse. Shows him the mechanics of saddle and reins. The uses of speed.

The story unfolds in neighborhoods where houses with sweet porches line the street and on the race track. A rowdy, dusty, clamor of speed and anticipation. Triumph but also accommodation. Races are won, relationships built to last.

A disaster. A companion. A mensch. What looked horrible turned inside out by providence or destiny or something unnameable but big. Maybe it was just the taste of elemental freedom that changed the course of a life. After all, how many of us experience liquid grace and cross-species communion as salvation? And how many of us will be saved a second time by someone who sees us for who we’ve become?

* * *

If you google The Black Stallion, you’ll find any number of trailers.

Names of the enslaved in Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s will

In the spirit of ‘saying their names,’ the names of the enslaved “property” in Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s estate are listed below. Black people were enumerated in testamentary documents along with furniture, horses and mules, jewelry and land, making clear their status as chattel.

[The names listed in bold on the list are names I’ve used in my novel (in its second edit now)].

It’s also worth noting that at the time of her marriage to Charles Pinckney (May 27, 1744), Eliza’s father included about two dozen enslaved people as part of her dowry. The record tells us that Quashee (aka John Williams) was a matter of dispute between Eliza’s father and her fiance. Both men wanted him and for good reason — he was literate and an extraordinarily skilled carpenter. Eliza’s husband-to-be won out and Quashee went on to oversee and help build the newlywed couple’s new home on East Bay.

To read more about the fascinating life of Quashee, who eventually became a free man and amassed a fair amount of property, including slaves and then vanished from the record (my theory being he became too successful for whites to tolerate), please see Andrea Feeser’s book, Red, White, and Black Makes Blue / Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life.

Also note: it’s a mistake to think that slaves named after days of the week were so-named out of a heartless, objectifying inattention on the part of auctioneers and owners, much like some names were based on slave trading ships (see recent post about Phillis Wheatley). In some African cultures it was common. For instance, Cudjoe (variants: Cuffy, Joe) means Monday; Quashee, Sunday.

Hercules – slave

· Abraham – slave

· Monday – slave

· Barack – slave

· Juno – slave

· Betty – slave

· Jim – slave

· Frank – slave

· Mary – slave

· Tyrah – slave

· Smart – slave

· Elsey – slave

· Serah – slave

· Solomon – slave

· Prince – slave

· Hanay – slave

· Rachel – slave

· Mary – slave

· Jacob – slave

· York – slave

· Fortune – slave

· Doll – slave

· Joe – slave

· York – slave

· Celia – slave

· Daphne – slave

· Joe – slave

· Cuffy – slave

· Susan – slave

· Lucy – slave

· Elsey – slave

· Milly – slave

· Peggy – slave

· Ned – slave

· Binah – slave

· Peggy – slave

· Rose – slave

· Juno – slave

· Joe – slave

· Henry – slave

· Jenny – slave

· Thomas – slave

· Jacob – slave

· Bella – slave

· Betty – slave

· Hercules – slave

· Nelly – slave

· Betsy – slave

· Pindar – slave

· Caty – slave

· Pendar – slave

· Juno Henry – slave

· Harry – slave

· Ann – slave

· Pendar – slave

· Grace – slave

· Johnny – slave

· Joshua – slave

· Tenah – slave

· Nathan – slave

· Jack – slave

· Stephen – slave

· Bess – slave

· Ceasar – slave

· Robin – slave

· Adam – slave

· Binah – slave

· Caty – slave

· Sue – slave

· Cudjoe – slave

· Doll – slave

· Hannah – slave

· Dublin – slave

· Charity – slave

· Lucy – slave

· Grace – slave

· Prince – slave

· Sarah – slave

· Frank – slave

· Harriett – slave

· Abraham – slave

· Raleigh – slave

· Celia – slave

· Coleman – slave

· Ishremael – slave

· Polly – slave

· Ishramel – slave

· Henry – slave

· Gibbe – slave

· Meene – slave

· Ellen – slave

· Bella – slave

· Maria – slave

· Gilbert – slave

Added by Lowcountry Africana · July 4, 2010

PS photo was taken at Boone Hall Plantation.

More snow

Last night:

Woke to snow this morning. It’s since turned to rain.

Watched a gripping movie.

Then, while making another set of collages for the Paris Collage Collective weekly challenge, a spooky combination [of an old fabric layout and an Assisi interior] popped up. Sometimes I forget to “lock” one of the pictures and the random generator button makes for welcome surprises.

A little spooky.