Friday, January 23, 2009


I took this from the public landing on Gwynn's Island on a day it was so cold you had to squeeze your eyelids shut to keep precious heat from escaping from your eyeballs. I was trying to zero in on this hidden skiff and zero out on those houses in the background, but it didn't work. (See previous statement about way too cold.) Plus the dock was slippery with a thin coat of ice, and with my luck I'd have ended up hind parts over tea kettle in the creek.

Speaking of things hiding in the grass (and we were, right?), here's a little something about daffodils.

Believe it or not, as cold as it is, and despite the fact it’s only January, there are daffodils starting to sprout in my front yard.

As I have mentioned before, my grandfather used to sell daffodils commercially, and we still have tons and tons of bulbs that produce flowers each spring.

My grandmother was heavily involved in the local Woman’s Club. Recently I found a copy of a 4-page speech she gave at a convention in Richmond, probably in the 1970’s. I will be sharing excerpts from this speech sporadically rather than dump the whole 4-pages out here at once. (You're welcome.)

Below is an excerpt:

“ ..I have a few comments, by way of introduction, that follow no particular continuity,*but which I felt may be of interest to you.

The daffodil story goes back many centuries, back to the tazetta-filled urns that decorated the temples of ancient Greece. (Tazetta, by the way, is a species, or one of the divisions, of the daffodil family. The name comes from an Italian word meaning “little cup,” and there are usually four to eight small cupped up tilted flowers per stem, grouped in a head, like the geranium.**) Well, so much for the tazetta-filled urns of ancient Greece.

Literature contains many passages from Chaucer***to our modern writers, all extolling these cherished messengers of early spring. The daffodil has meant Nature's annual rebirth for many hundreds of years over Southern Europe, when color once again erases the drabness of winter."

--Chesapeake Bay Woman's Paternal Grandmother

Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Non-Value-Added Commentary

* I see now where I get my rambling, unfocused, run-on-sentence-filled writing style now.

**Holy cow. She even has parenthetical expressions (or whatever you call these words that are strung between parentheses, which represent superfluous, nonsensical thoughts I usually have that only create sentences that stretch from Virginia to Idaho..) that are as long and rambling as mine…this is starting to scare me.

***I can’t think of Chaucer without thinking of a certain high school English teacher whose nickname was Wahoo. I’ve always wondered how that name came about. I'm almost afraid to ask...Also, it reminds me of the time I wrote an essay analyzing various characters in the Canterbury Tales. Except that essay wasn't for me. It was for one of my readers out there who was struggling with the whole Canterbury Tales thing.....

Attention: If Mrs. Wahoo is reading, please disregard that last statement. I was hallucinating when I wrote it. I think my brain is still thawing out from trying to take a picture while slipping and sliding on ice while walking down a dock at the public landing on the coldest day of the year.


Unknown said...

I can't wait to come to Mathews and see all the riches of the land. I love water, and It has to be wonderful to have all that and daffodils too.

Your grandmother, like your mother, has me convinced that the apple never falls far from the tree....ever!

Unknown said...

In case that didn't sound nice, it was meant to be a compliment.

Val said...

daffodils are one of my favourites. they bring cheerful thoughts - like your blog! very apprpriate :-)

Ann Marie said...

This may help explain things a bit..

the boys started it..

We also fruit rolled that poor lady..

Anonymous said...

It's kind of scary to think about what you will be like when you get old and your mind starts to wander:)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Chaucer was hallucinating when he wrote the Canterbury Tales. You are in good company....

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - You ought to visit in the spring when the fields are carpeted in yellow blooms. I'll definitely be posting some pictures of them. (And I took it as a compliment, thank you.)

Val - Daffodils are definitely my favorite flower for that very reason - that yellow just brightens everything, including my mood. (And that's sayin' something, them's some mighty powerful flowers.)

Ann Marie - Now it all makes sense. Perfect sense. I don't know why it's taken me over 25 years to understand this. I was probably too scared to ask at the time.

RC - My mind is a scary place and I'm predicting that if I make it to old age, there will be no functioning cell left to speak of. I think the hospital must have implanted a chip when I had my 2 children. This post-kids chip slowly, progressively saps all common sense and memory out.

BHE - No wonder I "get" Chaucer. I spend the better part of my waking moments hallucinating and mumbling to myself. See above about chip implanted by hospital. It's all a conspiracy.

These rambling paranoid thoughts brought to you by not enough caffeine. Off to the coffee pot now.

Mental P Mama said...

I was rather fond of Malaprop...and that is some strong DNA you got going there in your family;)

mom x 2 said...

I love love love daffodils! They are my absolute favorite flower! I bet they are beautiful when all in bloom!

You've been prized with the "HONEST SCRAP" award... you should come on over and claim it!

Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Anne Marie, that does explain a lot. I never knew where it came from either.


Anonymous said...

As BHE suggests, you will get better as you age...just like the wine that is drunk while reading Chaucer. So it's even more important for this 1st book to be written.

All of us can then say that 'we knew her when' and secured a rare (and now very valuable) edition of her early works - before she became famous....and a recluse down in Costa Rica (tended to by her pool boy).'s Friday. Day dreams are allowed on Fridays!!

ps. my word verification is 'thities'...can't make this stuff up :)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM - I resemble that remark (malaprop).

Momx2-Thank you so much, you're very sweet.

AMN - I know, can you believe it? I had no idea, I thought it had to do with the fish, UVA thing, but nope. Could not have been more surprised, but it all makes sense now.

RC - I'll hire you as the pool boy (btw you really need to get out more often, as I keep telling you), but first you have to secure the book, movie and/or reality TV deal for me. (The reality TV idea I have is incredible.) I am incapable of doing it myself. I can write up the pitch for you if you need one. Remember, aside from pool boy honors and the first edition of the book, you'll get front row seats at the premiere and a cut of the profits. ("Cut" is yet to be defined, of course.)

pjhammer_1965 said...

Bahahaha. I think Wahoo made everybody write that essay about the characters of "The Canterbury Tales" - she must have had a project for continuing ed or something. Funny how I grew to love some English Lit. because of Wahoo's class - good times.

Ann Marie said...

I never wrote that essay.. then again Phyl probably did it for me.

foolery said...

I think -- no, I KNOW -- that you could make a bus schedule not only interesting but wildly entertaining as well (though I've never seen the bus schedules in your part of the country; they may already be funny).

I have some jonquils or something that started opening just after Christmas. Not as pretty as daffodils, but a bonus for me, because if I do anything to them at all, I'll kill them, so I just leave them alone.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

PJH - I liked Wahoo but Mrs. Bland was my favorite because she made me laugh --unintentionally of course. (Did she cry during the reading of Our Town with your class too? It was an annual event, I do believe. Once the faucet was turned on, class may as well have been over.)

AnnMarie - There was a whole lot of Canterbury Tales and various Shakespeare plays that required pages and pages of essays....after we analyzed the stuff to death of course. Can't wait to see what you can do with that new camera of yours.

Foolery - If we had buses and bus schedules, I'd be happy to highlight the entertaining portions. I seem to find humor in almost everything, except clutter and ants.

pjhammer_1965 said...

Not too much laughing at Wahoo - that's fo show. Berky, not to be confused with Perky, although she was rather spirited, REFUSED to read "Our Town" to our class, as she had caught wind that we knew of her fits of emotion and would not allow us to laugh at her. There was plenty o' laughter at Saggy, aka Berky not Perky. Mith Gibbs was pretty funny, Ms. Snow was pretty hot, Mr. Brown was surprisingly good. The most comical of all time had to be the Dutch Princess - words cannot describe that show.

Meg McCormick said...

I think you should dig up some bulbs and include them in those swag bags you're working on for the Blogfest. (You are, aren't you?) Because I know we would all love to take a little piece of Mathews back to our homes!

Ann Marie said...

CBW I gave up on writing Essays for Wahoo.. she and I had different visions. For some reason MY interpretations of what I was supposed to think regarding what someone else wrote NEVER matched hers. Now don't get me wrong.. I had a respect for her and what she did, however, HOW THE HECK DID SHE KNOW what someone meant that wrote something 200 years ago???

Oh dear.. rant over.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Meg - actually that is not a bad idea. We have people that drive for hours to get here, and my parents just give the bulbs away. I'd love for y'all to take back a little bit of Mathews.

Ann Marie - Interpretations are subjective, I absolutely agree. I don't see how there can be a right or wrong answer when an individual is interpreting a form of art.

Anonymous said...

As I recall it, Mrs. Burke Bland was crazier than a bat. She really was funny! Maybe we made her that way? Maybe we didn’t! I guess I will never know. I do know that she spent many a day (Mathews Colloquialism) trying to identify the source of a droning hum which mysteriously emanated from the back of her class. Though I have to believe we filled her days with excitement and adventure ---I wonder if she ever figured out who put the pencil led in her keyhole or did like she ever find her plants?


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

PJH - I can see that I am woefully behind the times on the nicknames for teachers...I dare not ask about the Perky Person. Mith Gibbs, well, some things are better left unspoken by me. You crack me up.

B. - Speaking of cracking me up, you do, always have. I can absolutely picture you being the guilty party, and she would have been just the sort of person who would have taken time out to seriously contemplate just where in the universe such a sound (aka a student humming) was coming from, and what it meant, and what it could possibly mean, and what we could learn from it, and gosh I miss Mrs. Bland.

Thanks for contributing you I'm going to reflect on PJH's nicknames and see if I can match the nickname to the teacher. I obviously was not "in the know" back then. (Nevermind now.)

Karen Deborah said...

but your both so interesting! My mind goes in those rambling thoughts all the time. Maybe you should open a home for us in Matthews all of hwo write in run on sentences and can't remember things, and love to look at pretty scenery, and I'll be the cook. Whadddya think?
I have some daffodils blooming, love em.

Unknown said...

I just checked out Bossy's blog again. You are a hoot! I have a movie review to post, but I must say Meg's idea about digging up daffodil bulbs and putting them in goodie bags for Blogapalooza attendees would be fabulous. Then we can all blog the results. Of course If I drive to VA mine might sprout before I make it back to TX. Also, please dont use this as an opportunity to thin out your fiddler crap population. Hasta!

**this is a duplicate comment. I posted it on the wrong post.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

KD - I love your idea. We'd be in very fine company around here, waltzing around the daffodil field unable to remember what it is that we were looking at. We could definitely use your cooking skills. ("We" = "I")

Grandma J., you really do make me laugh. The combo of GJ and Bossy is too much for my laughter muscles to stand.

Anonymous said...

Daffodils, much like tulips, never cease to amaze me with how cheerful they appear, despite everything else.

BHE is right about Chaucer though...actually, I don't know if he ever wrote anything sober at all. *lol*

Anonymous said...

Wahoo was made up way before us. It was the name pf a famous wrestler. Mrs. Bland, too funny. She died a couple of years ago. She fell out of a window and never regained consiousness. SAd but true.