Saturday Statues: St. Louis

This is my contribution for the feature Saturday Statues by Suvi.

On a visit to St. Louis, Missouri, history buffs will appreciate the Old Courthouse. In this courthouse the infamous Dred Scott trial took place. There is a museum and displays that tell the history of the Dred Scott case. In front of the courthouse is a statue of Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet.


Another historical site in St. Louis is the Old Cathedral,a short walk from the Old Courthouse. This cathedral is still in use but the Basilica of St. Louis is now the main Catholic Cathedral. While the basilica is full of luxurious mosaics, the old cathedral contains several statues of saints and the holy family, beautiful in their simplicity.

Madonna and child
Virgin Mary and Jesus
Joseph and baby Jesus


WPC: Partners

There are different types of partnerships throughout life. As children, we pair up with a “best friend” or two. In school, we are taught to work with others and often are assigned to work with partners. As adults, we may have partners at work (such as law firms, where the name of the firm consists of the last names of all the partners) and we may find a “life partner” – i.e. a spouse. All sorts of endeavors are accomplished by partnering with others; it’s called “teamwork.”

I have chosen pictures for this challenge that involve two people in different stages of life.


As a former teacher of bilingual students, I often used Reader’s Theater, which the kids loved, to improve their reading and speaking fluency. Here are two second grade boys who worked on one short play together to perform in front of other classes.

These boys (cousins) in my class were the only ones to memorize their play! It was such a natural fit for them!

Children do a lot of things quite naturally with a partner. Here are two kindergartners who are proud to show off the scene they made out of blocks. (Another partnership creates their own structures behind them.)

These bilingual kindergartners were sweet & cute and I loved their buildings!

I was in charge of an ecology club one year, and we had a paper drive competition between the classrooms. The students in the club partnered up to do different tasks during the drive. Here are two boys helping each other with taking the recycling bins full of paper out to the container behind the school.

Chris and Stratos unload the cart.
5th grade boys unload the cart.


In my home town, Christmas trees are set up in a downtown plaza, and different groups of school kids decorate a tree with ornaments they’ve made, as a competition between schools.



Recently we hired two young men to paint several rooms in our house as well as our front porch. One of them is semi-professional and the other is his apprentice. Their partnership works well and they did a professional job!



At my niece’s wedding, her brother and his father-in-law paired up to play music at the ceremony.

Tom on sax & Alicia's dad on guitar for Amazing Grace
Sax and guitar duet “Amazing Grace”


Friends of mine recently got married, forming a new partnership in mid-life.

Bride & groom gaze at each other with love.
Bride & groom gaze at each other with love.


Finally, here is a funny picture to illustrate a different sort of partnership: Another niece at a wedding, holding, in one hand, an “adult” cup, which contained an alcoholic beverage, and in the other, the sippy cup of her toddler son, half-filled with milk. It’s an illustration of her life: the competing interests of being an adult and caring for a child.

Jen says, “This sums up my life – a gin & tonic in one hand and a sippy cup in the other!”




Thursday Doors: Old Town Tallinn

I just found out about the Thursday Doors photo challenge, and I am eager to participate!

Here are some doors in Tallinn, Estonia (taken Aug. 2015):

                                     Each side of the entrance to a souvenir shop:

Amber shops were ubiquitous - amber is a major product of the Baltic Sea.
Amber shops were ubiquitous – amber is a major product of the Baltic Sea.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Old Dominican Monastery
Old Dominican Monastery

CFFC: First Birthday party

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week is Events. Last weekend my husband and I attended a first birthday party for our grand-niece, Rosemary. My niece (Rosemary’s mom) told me that 60 people had been invited – all family!  Probably 40 at least were in attendance at this special event. Most of the attendees were on her husband’s side; there were only 15 members of her (our) family there.

Last time I saw Rosemary, she was a tiny baby that I held in my arms. Now she’s an active one-year-old, walking and inquisitive about everything. Somehow I think she knew the party was for her because all these relatives were crowding around her when she ate her birthday pie and when she and Mommy opened gifts.

After everyone had gathered, noshed on hors d’oeuvres, had drinks, and chatted for awhile, it was time for dessert. For Rosemary, that meant her first blueberry pie, which had a number 1 candle on top. She felt the crust first, then dug her hand in. Yummy! (I don’t think I was the only one hoping that we wouldn’t be sharing that pie with her!)


After that, while we ate our own dessert, Rosemary had her clothes changed, and when she returned it was time to explore: my husband’s feet! Funny, that big toe wiggles up and down! I’d better check it out…

She was also fascinated by the pink balloons that were floating around.  Hmm, it feels different than a ball – it’s squishy and it stretches!

Rosemary explores a balloon - the texture, how she can pull its 'skin' apart

Her favorite gift was a book that made animal sounds.














It was a fun day, but that one-year-old surely was exhausted afterward! So were we!


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Doors

I’ve been waiting for this topic to come up in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge! I love to photograph doorways and have a whole photo file dedicated to doors, (although I don’t have any pictures of drawers). There is such variety, beauty, and personality in doorways. Each tells its own story. Here are some of my favorite doors:

Doorways in Europe:


KODAK Digital Still Camera
Ruin of an old church, Sigtuna, Sweden


Entrance to a “gang” in Lubeck, Germany. “Gang” means entrance or go; these lead to alleyways lined with houses and gardens.

Bisbee, Arizona:

Chihuly glass in the entryway!
A Chihuly glass sculpture is visible at the entrance to the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Saugatuck, Michigan: The most beautiful bathroom facade I’ve ever seen, and colorful doorways:


In a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona
Discovered in a Tucson neighborhood
Mission San Xavier del Bac (south of Tucson), Arizona


The Griot Museum of Black History, St. Louis, Missouri
Charleston, South Carolina
A friend awaits in the doorway of a Charleston, SC home.

Ten Lessons From an Old Chestnut Tree

This is a wonderful contemplative “conversation” between a person and a chestnut tree. I love trees and found these lessons to be so universal. These truly are things a tree can teach us!

boy with a hat

Painting of an old chestnut tree

The other day, I was enjoying my morning walk around the neighborhood when, quite unexpectedly, it began to rain. I had no umbrella, and home was streets away. An old tree beckoned to me, waving a branch or two, a chestnut by profession. I found shelter under its wet branches and settled there, meditating, waiting for the rain to abate. It wasn’t long before the tree began whispering to me, in that leafy, rustling way peculiar to trees.

“How about some tips?” quoth he. “You look quite lost to me.”

“Tips from a tree?” I marveled.

“Why not?” he creaked. “After all, have not all published books been once upon a time good trees? Don’t you think there’s some wisdom in the paper, too, or do you think all the wisdom’s in the ink?”

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When I’m 64

It’s my birthday today. I’m now the age of that famous Beatles song that has been covered by so many artists. My brother-in-law belongs to a barbershop group, and many times I’ve heard them perform this song. This recording is not my brother-in-law’s group, but instead an international collaboration of When I’m 64….
The singers in the barbershop rendition are:
► Sonny Vande Putte (Belgium) – Lead
► Dieter Verhofstadt (Belgium/Suriname) – Baritone
► Dan Wright (USA) – Tenor
► Julien Neel (France) – Bass

When my husband turned 64, my bro-in-law’s quartet sang this song to him. However, he was lucky because his birthday is on Valentine’s Day and the quartet was out singing to people all over the Northwest suburbs, gifts from their sweethearts. However, today the members of the quartet are all doing something else, including my b-i-l, who’s in Indiana for his grandson’s graduation. So I content myself with renditions on YouTube and reflect on how much of this song really applies to me.

When I get older
Losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I’d been out
Till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy
Mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride

Doing the garden
Digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard
Drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely wasting away

Give me your answer
Fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

This song of what one’s life might be like at 64 was a vision of four young men for whom 64 was very far off indeed. Although two of those lads from Liverpool have long passed the age of 64, two, unfortunately, never had a chance to reach that age.


When I’m 64 is actually a cute love song. A young man is asking his girlfriend to commit to a long-term relationship. He wants her to grow old with him and imagines a distant future life together, when he is 64 (she is older, too, but her age is unknown/ unimportant) and the things they might enjoy then. He asks her to reflect on whether she wants to have a relationship that will last into old age, whether she’ll be content with an old man, will she still love him.

The interesting things mentioned in this vision of “old age” are accurate in many aspects:

  • A relationship in which the man is older than the woman may become dull after awhile and maybe she will want to seek excitement with a younger man vs. long-lasting love, the dream of most people as they age.
  • An older man  might be handy (stereotype) and be able to fix things around the house for her.
  • The coziness of their empty nest life – she “knits a sweater at the fireside” (another stereotype) and they can go out for drives on a Sunday morning. These are things older people might enjoy more than young people, or that the former have time for and the latter don’t.
  • Gardening – some young people like to garden, but as young adults many don’t have a house of their own or a place to grow plants. When I walk around the neighborhood, who do I see gardening? Usually, but not always, older people! senior-man-gardeningAnd I have a garden now, too, which I started about a decade ago. It’s soothing and satisfying to dig in the dirt, nurturing plants that come up every year, in a predictable cycle. And I appreciate nature much more now than I did when I was young. I pay attention to it now. I even write poetry about it occasionally.
  • A cottage – something my family had for 50 years. 284A cheap vacation, comparatively speaking. Many older people are on fixed incomes, although most 64 year olds who are not comfortable financially are still working.
  • Grandchildren – yes, that is something to be expected at 64 – assuming one has grown children by then – although I have no grandchildren and may never have any. Grandchildren are nice to have, because you can babysit them, enjoy them, but then send them home with their parents afterward! grandma&grandchildrenMost of my friends and contemporaries have grandchildren that they love to indulge and talk about, and show pictures of those sweet youngsters to their friends, that they have stored on their cell phones. I wish I had one or two “on my knee”, to read to, to cuddle with, who would love for me to visit. I do have several grand-nephews and grand-nieces, whose company I enjoy (for a limited time!).