Thursday, May 21, 2015
Ladies of a Certain Age
One of the goodies that appeared during My Dear Sister's recent whirlwind visit was a disc of family photos that she's had scanned. The person who did the scanning did his or her level best to read the backs of those photos that were inscribed, which is helpful, but sadly this formidable lady is described only as "Auntie Harriet."* Just think; here she's very likely just about the same age as Jane Fonda. Getting old isn't what it used to be, although in Auntie Harriet's defense, she's less shy about showing her hands than Madonna.
This comparison comes to mind because I've been starting through the just released series Grace and Frankie, in which Fonda is as usual preternaturally vibrant, although in ways that are newly amusing and frequently really quite touching (there's a moment in the second episode in which she does nothing more than walk away from the camera in what is suddenly an old lady's gait that is vastly moving). The cast is superb - how can it be anything but joy to watch Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen spar (and, in the case of the last two, cuddle)? Both Fonda and Tomlin play - and play with - stereotypes, but they do so with a dry wit that is infinitely refreshing. If the writing is less so, it's better than much of what passes for quality entertainment and at least assumes a certain level of sociocultural sophistication, which is in itself a welcome change of pace.
Still, I can't help wonder what Auntie Harriet would think of all the show's goings-on, from peyote-fueled self-discoveries to the use of what amounts to suspension-bridge technology to create an illusion of youth - knowing that she'd first have to recover from the stroke induced by the program's basic premise.
As for me, I'm happy to be entertained.
Thanks to all, by the bye, for the lovely birthday wishes. I sailed through a very busy weekend in fine form, not only having two - count 'em! - restaurant dinners but in the middle hosting a little dinner to take advantage of our new grill. A month ago I would have been shattered, but instead thanks to just that little bit more napping, all went swimmingly. To sit in a pretty garden on a warm May evening, having a a glass of excellent Sancerre and some even better scallops, surrounded by dear friends and family, was a little miracle to relish.
And - and who can say that convalescence is dull? - I have a new favorite food: summer muesli, which is a fancy word for oatmeal soaked in milk and yogurt, tarted up with any few of a variety of extras, and left to sit in the fridge overnight. If I'm not careful I'm going to turn into one of those tiresome people who go on all the time about flaxseed and green smoothies (which we're also trying, I have to admit - I'm becoming addicted to our new Ninja, having turned out a very creditable gazpacho for Saturday's dinner party).
So what's keeping you busy as we head into the long Decoration Day weekend?
* While writing, I was reminded of the only relative I've ever heard referred to as "Auntie," and I wonder if this is she. My grandmother told tales of an "Auntie Breckinridge," generally while looking at a rather fine Sheraton dresser in her living room, which bore (and still bears, in my brother's back bedroom), a distinct burn scar above one drawer, the result of said Auntie having quickly, on the occasion of an unexpected visit from her minister, to stash her pipe. I suppose it's not impossible; the only other thing I really remember about Auntie is that she was married during the War of 1812. I should probably try to get that dresser back.