Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

They're now pumpkin pie!

Goodness, it seems like mere weeks ago that I posted a little Thanksgiving message on this wee bloggie with a photo I shot in Scotland last year of something that caught my eye in a shop window in Inveraray.

“Pussy’s Prayer” depicted two sweet looking kitties, a butterfly, and a ball of yarn, with a homespun verse about the simple gifts of love…the unquestioning kind our furry companions give of so generously.

It reminded me of the importance of taking note of, and being thankful for, all that warms and enriches our lives, whether with love, pride in accomplishment, travel, good health…all the good things that make this journey positive, and make up for the bumps and jolts along the way.

I’m not sure I like the fact that writing that last Thanksgiving blog item, a whole year ago, seemed so unsettlingly recent. As in: Where does the time go? I mean, I just got back from another lovely trip to the UK and, now that I’ve finally started to use the Organizer that came with my photo editing program (installed in 2009!), I realize how tiny a percentage of the photos taken in London and various places in Scotland last year have seen the light of day – i.e., gotten edited and printed or otherwise shared…or even just more fully enjoyed by the guy who shot them, as mementos of the travel experiences he so enjoys. They’ve been lurking in my hard drives…or in slide boxes…or negative sleeves, just waiting to be (re)discovered.

Same for so many others from recent travels or even local or area shoots. But call up a search and moments later hundreds appear on out of, umm, nowhere. Will I ever get to organize and enjoy them all and, equally important, share them with others?

Dawn is nearing,
Time is fleeting,
Mind if I win obscenely big in the lottery and buy me more free time

Well, Cole Porter did write the first two lines, for Frank Sinatra to sing to Grace Kelly in "High Society." **

I often reflect on how glad I am to have been part of an era that produced Cole Porter, Lerner and Loewe, Stephen Sondheim, Oscar Peterson, Frank, Ella, Gregory Peck, Deborah Kerr, broadcasters like Jay Andres, gracious airline travel where you were greeted by name even in coach…Lionel Trains that brought families (get ready for it) together.

But not so sure I like this particular part of the aging process, where everything seems to be happening in compressed perspective (to use a photographic term)…

However, considering the alternative, I think I’ll just jot down some things I’ve been mighty thankful for in AD 2013.

About that aging process…Dang, I’m so thankful my knees still let me crouch down behind a camera for extended periods… oh, yes, and straighten up when I’m done…

I’m thankful my house has just one sewer line…which means it is unlikely for the rest of my natural life that I will need to blow $12,500 on something as unappealing and unglamorous (in terms of what those bucks could otherwise buy) as replacing one, as I had to do in July. But, by golly, was I ever thankful – for several weeks after the adventure – that every time I took a shower or made other use of running water that I would not come downstairs to find a half inch of water in Mewer’s bathroom…or hear that ominous, ugly gurgle from the floor drain of my utility room when my trusty Whirlpool was doing the wash.

I’m thankful for the special trust I’ve enjoyed with a worldwide audience that wishes so deeply to learn English…and that I can help them to do so, while learning American history, with my “Making of a Nation” programs on the VOA Learning English broadcasts and web site. I don’t talk about this aspect all that much, so I was happy at how spontaneously the words came as I was accepting my Finalist plaque for Best Narration (for "Nation") at the 2013 New York Festivals Awards last June. That felt very, very nice…and I was happy I was able to make a celebratory week of it in reacquainting myself with the power and vibrancy of New York City and putting the cameras to most enjoyable use. (Perhaps I’ll even get to share more of those images…one of these days.)

As Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote to Leonard Bernstein’s music for (the New York set) “On the Town,” 
We’ll catch up…some other time.

Well, maybe.

Meantime, that week in Manhattan (and Brooklyn) and above…and below…really rocked. I’m ever so thankful for that wonderful time…and ever so gratified by the honor that occasioned it.

Ditto, the Finalist honors at the Association for International Broadcasting that occasioned yet another delightful sojourn in London earlier this month. Oh, yes, and thankful I was able to put it all together in (yikes - still can't believe it!) the time between the last trick-or-treaters on Halloween night (when I called United and Lufthansa) and departing the following Monday evening.

I’m thankful for the friends I have made through these rambles, as well as through the experience of sharing my photographs on my Foto-Community pages. And, as these commissions of bloggery can sometimes take unexpectedly “circuitous” courses, I’m thankful for your interest and Job-like patience in reading them.

Indeed, (in my best voice-over voice):

In a world of texts, tweets, e-blasts, and God knows what else passes for “written communication,” some brave troglodytes still use more than their thumbs...and boldly offer…the ANTI-TWEET!"

Thank you, dear reader, for your willingness to defer instant gratification by joining me here.

Mewer in the bay window of Mewer Manor
And one last Thanksgiving note. I am so thankful to enjoy the company of my furry, talkative yet insightful and intuitive, gray and white sidekick, who adopted me on an October afternoon in 2004 at a Virginia shelter. Mewer was either three or four at the time and he still acts like a great big kitten. He had his annual 10,000 mile check up at the vet’s while I was in London and the doc says he’s in good shape. They love him over there. Guess you can tell, I do too.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. 

And, as I wrote in this space last Thanksgiving, please consider adding the love of a shelter pet to your family this Holiday Season.

Steve and Mewer

©2013 Steve Ember
** and since I quoted, well, two lines of that wonderful Cole Porter tune, let me say I am also thankful that a YouTube subscriber posted this sublime moment between Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly in "High Society," so that I may share it here.

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