Friday, January 29, 2016

Florence, S.C.


From an email that I wrote this morning.


"I worked at Singleton’s Men’s Shop after school and summers for years. The J&J lunch counter, Roney’s, and the Sky View were my go-to spots for teenage and college years food consumption—when I wasn’t back at my mama’s getting clothes washed and country cooking. Reindeer Lane, the Christmas Parade down Evan’s Street, The Fair and hotdogs at the Civitan or Optimist food booths out there, the Southern 500 parade in Darlington, meeting “Goober” at the Florence airport and getting Bobby Richardson’s—the Yankee’s 2nd baseman from Sumter—autograph one Sunday when he spoke at College Park Church. And hearing my  mom and aunt Kat say they weren’t going to wash their necks for a week after Marshall Dillon—James Arness hugged their necks when he was the 500 Parade Marshall one year. Getting dragged to “town” (Gladstone’s/Furchgots) with my mom and aunts because there was nobody to watch over me on Saturday when I wanted to play. I thought I was going to die at five years old—having to “behave myself” while they tried on dresses ALL DAY. But then I’d get a dollar to spend a Woolworth’s or Kress and all would be ok again. Phil Nofal’s for cowboy boots once a year—when school started. Santa Claus was at Sears every year.  This is my Florence."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016

Happy New Year everyone. I've never been keen on making New Year's resolutions and nothing has changed in that regard. But I am going to try and post something here on my blog at least once per week in 2016. Why? Because I miss my blog. I miss writing stories that begin with a pair of socks and somehow traverses my childhood, cars, b.b. guns and cocktails before concluding. My dashboard has been so cluttered with life stuff and my focus has been so compromised over the last year-and-half that there's not been the energy for randomanalia and impertinabula over here.
And of course, there's tumblr--the MSG of blogging. I can't prove it but I do think that tumblr poaches some of my juju that would otherwise be directed here. Plus it's just easy and mindless, like MSG. F.Scott Fitzgerald used to poach his novel caliber drafts and ideas and sell them to magazines as short stories when he was pressed for cash. Some argue that he might a had another novel in him had he not stolen from his own cash register of material. With that said, the main was still one hell of a conjugator.
But I do have things that I want to write about. Things like LFG and my missing Piggly Wiggly t-shirts. We had several versions of the iconic pig and they're currently AWOL. Damn.
And I am going to write about my buddy and surrogate father, "PoPo Baker" who landed on Omaha beach on D-Day plus one. 
And I've got at least two stories about Chelsea and my boy Jimmy Whistler whose infamous White House (the hansom is stopped in front of it) was the talk of Tite street and then some.
And then there's a story about small paintings. Like this one by a young whippersnapper originally from Northern California who made his way to London and Paris and the tutelage of Whistler. He died at age 37 from blood poisoning after being accidentally stuck by a hat pin at a dance. I kid you not. Damn I love sleuthing and uncovering the proverbial back story.
And our boy over at The Old Law is about to be the daddy of a little girl.
And I declared on tumblr that I had no additional advice for him after Tommy Tevlin et al showered him with great wisdom. But then I remembered Meg Meeker's book. It's a must read.
West Evans street in my hometown. I never wrote a proper story about the haberdashery that spawned my sartorial addiction. I was busting to write it not long after my mother died. The fact that Toad and I stood in the entryway of this hallowed spot one night was a key motivator. And by the way, where the hell IS Toad?

Ok. So sit tight and let's see if my once a week commitment is sustainable.

Onward.

ADG II

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Boutonniere in One’s Lapel


Fiorello. Or piccolo fiore. A little flower. Two of my favorite writers and sartorialists had decided views on such little adornments. George Frazier wore his with elegant restraint. And Frazier devotee Richard Merkin sported his with predictable Merkinessence.
It seems that sometimes Merkin would comply with the tight-bud restraint characteristic of Frazier’s boutonnieres.
A less preening unfurledness rather than a full-bloom Oscar Wildely bunting. Unfurledness. Yes. It’s now a word.  
But then in typical Merkin foppishness there seems to be a full-blown, Full Cleveland floral throwdown on his lapel.
Flower and pocket handkerchief in tandem? I’m on the record as not being scared of making things as fuzzy as possible. I’d have three vents and eleven functional button holes on my sleeves if my bespokers would let me. Sh_t, just vote a straight ticket when you fill out the order form. Check the top box and give me the whole enchilada on the menu. I’m kind of the Ekeko of sartorial options. Just load my lucky ass up with one of everything.
Merkin spoke of the lesson that his surrogate daddy Frazier tried to teach him about flowered lapels.

“George Frazier was the most elegant man I’ve ever known, a columnist and journalist who wrote for the Boston Globe. He didn’t have much clothing but everything he had was impeccable. There was no room for any mistake. And it wasn’t self-conscious. It was at one with him. Every so often I would wear both a flower and a handkerchief and George always chided me for it. He said it was disturbing to have put the two things together. He was right. It’s just a spot of color that accents the whole totality. And it shouldn’t be two spots.”
I’ve never worn a boutonniere other than when a funeral or nuptials called for it. I’m not sure why but it’s certainly not because I’m worried about coming off as too foppy. 1985...with a toothpick in my hand. Musta just popped one of those gnarly wedding reception meatballs in my mouth.
Case in point regarding my fearlessness poor judgement is the unavoidable Thurston Howell the Turd affectation that’s de rigeur with wearing an ascot has never worried me. The cinched security of having my neck dressed in chilly weather trumps for me the unavoidable affectation. Shut up.
Oh, but I did clip a remaining bit of flora from a patio flower pot and slip it into my lapel a few months ago in prep for a good friend’s life celebration. I also wore a pocket handkerchief in tandem and she would have approved. It’s the pink linen one that I wore in my jacket when I drove newborn LFG home from Sibley Hospital.

Maybe I’ve never worn a flower in my lapel because they aren’t handy. Perhaps I would have developed a floral habit if I’d passed a flowering plant every morning as I headed out the door for work. Nowadays unless I’m seeing clients I don’t even have to get dressed.
So what’s all this about boutonnières?  Recently a young lady requested that I order one. That young lady was my daughter, LFG. My not so little girl had her first real date. A fine young man asked her to a semi-formal dance and as far as I can tell it was a sweet and chivalrous gesture.

And she needed a flower. Here’s the text from LFG, asking if I’d placed the flower order for her fella. Boutonniere ain’t real easy to spell so I reckon “bout thingy” is as good an effort as any.

This is old news but I’ll repeat it. I only have one child and she is the most important thing on this earth. And to say that I’ve been in denial about the inevitability of  things like growing up and going to high school and getting learner’s permits and having crushes and getting her heart broken and yes, going on dates; is a breathtaking understatement.

Denial aside for a moment…I’m so impressed with this young man and how he went about asking my daughter to accompany him to the dance. My LFG jumps in my car after school with a bouquet. It seems that the gentleman gave LFG a dozen roses between classes and asked her to be his date. He’s not my boy but I’m proud of him.

I was telling a guy who has five daughters about LFG’s first date.  And he shared with me a technique regarding how to convey to a young man a father’s sentiments on how he wants his daughter to be treated.
So this is for you, mister chivalrous man who has so impressed me by the way you asked my baby to be your homecoming date. And if our paths cross in the future, my challenge to you will be even more pertinent.

Whatever you do to my daughter, I’m going to do to you.

Treat her with dignity and respect and I’ll treat you with dignity and respect. Open doors for her, literally and figuratively and I’ll open literal and figurative doors for you. Make her laugh and I’ll make you laugh. Be kind to her always and I’ll always be kind to you. Try to be patient and give her some slack even when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it and I’ll offer you my patience and latitude. And have my daughter home by eleven.

Onward.

ADG-2 

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