Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Mom, Margaret

Granny in Australia

Margaret Jane Kikendall Howatt

My mom went to be with the Lord on March 17, 2011, last Thursday. We have great confidence in her salvation by a faithful and loving Lord, so we do not grieve as those who have no hope, but we are missing her. She was unique and wonderful, a joy to those who knew her.

In a folder of her papers I found this list written on her Pooh Bear stationery:


Things I Have Loved

1. Winnie the Pooh

2. Edna St. Vincent Millay

3. Amy Carmichael

4. Jazz – Scott Joplin – Dixieland

5. Katherine Hepburn

6. Grant Wood

7. Franz Hals , Rembrandt

8. Agatha Christie

9. Men’s Quartets – Barbershop

10. Letters – writing and getting them

11. Bible study

12. Ogden Nash

13. Magazine illustrators – Jon Whitcomb, Al Parker

14. Onion skin paper and yellow legal pads

15. My family – children, grandchildren

16. Paper dolls


Sunday, March 6, 2011

I’ll Fly Away, Oh Glory

It was a great privilege for me to fly with my daughter and grandson to their home in Tunisia from our family home in Oregon.  Baby Noah had arrived unexpectedly early while they were home for a Christmas visit, and his Daddy had already flown back for his job, so after Noah was big enough to travel I accompanied the remaining two. 

I love to fly.  I love it especially when you can look down and see the landforms below.  I always wish I knew the name of that river, or what mountain range that is….I love seeing the swirls of circular fields plowed or the patchwork of agricultural lands with tiny Monopoly–sized houses along the boundary roads.  The mountain ranges and the watershed lakes are marvelous.  It is good to see creation in all its variety.

I have wished that I could have a GPS with me on these flights, or a moving map, that would answer these questions.  On occasion I have asked a flight attendant or even the pilot for information.  I like it when the pilot announces what we are seeing.  On this trip for instance, I thought we must be over the lakes of Minnesota when the pilot announced we were at the southern end of Appalachia.  Who knew there was so much water there? 

Even though it’s not a detailed map, I do appreciate the new computer maps on the backs of the seats above the tray table which show basically where we are.   It’s not that I need to know how close to our destination we are (in that case, the maps are infuriatingly slow in showing progress), it’s that you get the big picture.

First, I will show you a picture of coming in to land in Washington, D.C.  The snow on the ground made a collage of newspaper-like clippings scattered across a desk.11-02-04-12-27-09H

Due to turbulence, some of these pictures aren’t very good, but they tell the story anyway.  I was thrilled when I saw on the map that I was over Ireland, seeing “Shannon”, “Limerick” below me.  Then, “Glasgow”, “London” and just a hairsbreadth away from other possibilities: Istanbul, Addis Ababa, Kinshasa.  The romance of it all distracted me from being a helpful traveling companion. 

11-02-04-20-28-00H 11-02-04-20-23-39H 11-02-04-20-27-12H 11-02-04-13-53-04H My delightful companions


An exceptional traveler he proved to be, and it’s a good thing since he has a foot in 2 continents.  I can hardly wait until he’s back in this one!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scenes from Tunis

When I was in Tunis recently I saw an image that captivated me visually.  It was a fruit market at night, all lit up from inside with glowing jewel colors against the black night surroundings.  It was a neon Pop Art version of a stained glass window in a darkened cathedral---the colors were electrifying.  People seemed to be clustering around the lighted storefront.

Unfortunately, we were already late for a dinner party and although I was crying out on the inside “Oh!  Oh, oh” it was not the right moment to ask the car to stop for a picture.  Several more times during the week we drove by these open fruit markets but one evening the garage doors were shut, another evening we were past the curfew and were racing home through the empty streets trying to attract as little notice as possible.

On the occasion of this first photo (below), our dinner host who had come to pick us up kindly slowed so I could get a picture of the fruit stand, and everyone laughed that on this particular day there were only oranges. Not quite the vision I was trying to recreate, particularly missing the black night.  (A lesson I learned photographically is that you can never go back and find the same set of circumstances, but you can be very annoying to the ones you’re with when you try to capture the present ones.)

11-02-12-08-28-49H On another day a friend picked us up for dinner and I asked her to slow if we came to a fruit stand.  We came to this scene below at a traffic stop and I took it even though it wasn’t the picture in my head, that Hopperesque glow from the taverna. [“Nighthawks”]

 11-02-13-06-46-59H 11-02-13-06-47-03H

Then as we started to move forward I first noticed that the “store” was a pick-up truck,and then that the proprietor was watching me with the camera.  I gestured to ask if I could take a picture (which I already had) and he nodded and struck a pose. I am very happy to have this picture because it transcends all the nervousness of the political climate in Tunisia.  All week I had to be very careful not to upset or affront people by taking pictures.  They had just gone through a coup d'├ętat and the military, the police, and the secret police were everywhere.  So I liked this nice man even though we didn’t speak words.  It was just the touch of humanity, normal people meeting normal people, willing to be friendly, that encouraged my heart.

11-02-13-06-47-18H At the very next intersection we kept rolling past this scene below and I didn’t have time to ask anyone’s permission as we moved past.  You can see the people are watching the woman with the camera in the car (me).

11-02-13-06-48-10H One great thing about this photo is the freedom it represents, a new freedom for the people since the coup, to sell without a government license.  It seems the beginning of the rioting was when a young man, son of a farming family that couldn’t get the requisite license to sell their produce, took his wagon of foods to sell to the public.  Because he didn’t have a license he was arrested and his goods were confiscated.  In protest this young man set himself on fire and died.  That was the beginning of the revolution as I understand it.  So this picture represents free enterprise, although I don’t truly know if this man had been licensed previously or not.

I am joining up with Rebecca’s blog for “Foto Friday”.  You will see more delicious edibles over there.