Monday, December 27, 2010

Lemons & Lemonade

A Grand Legacy

I grew up one street away from my dad's folks. A stone's throw, a hop, skip, and a jump away - though usually I just rode my bike. 
They were always very attentive and welcoming. As a child, I spent many a night at their home and I loved it! Grandma baked and sewed with me. Grandpa played dominoes with me & took me on "dates" (to grab a pizza or play 9 holes - a.k.a. Jessica's opportunity to drive the golf cart.) Because of their attentiveness to my brothers and I, we grew up very close to them.
I recently had the opportunity to take a few pictures of the life that my grandparents built together:

Grandma's filing cabinets - they came home with Grandpa & Grandma painted them (or faux-bois-ed them---before faux bois was cool, I might add) to match the decor! Resourcefulness. Grandma is my resourcefulness guru! (Note- these suckers were made in the U.S. of A.!)
 (El Hole Punch - not much of a story here. But it's so stinkin' cool looking... I had to share!)
(Above photograph) A bit... that's right... a drill bit. A real one! Next time you're pumping gas, think of this little fella who made it possible for you to position a nozzle in your gas tank and squirt away! (Below photograph) This is a geologist's microscope. Notice the vintage bottle of lime with the aged, peeling label that  is tucked away to the left! Grandpa, though not officially educated to use this instrument - used this scope to check out the bedrock and see what the chances were of hitting the black gold! Little souvenir that he kept all these years.
This is an old roughneck's wrench... I love its rough surface and how the cobwebs have managed to permeate the corrosion. It just adds to the character.

Before Gray County was Gray County....
This is Grandpa's thinkin' chair. I'm sure his elbow rested thoughtfully on the arm of this chair as he made some difficult decisions and you can almost see/feel the support that a good armrest will allow a thoughtful man.

This is my dad's chair, actually. It sits on the other side of his desk from where he is seated and it even has a twin. Anyhow, it's pretty well worn but it's more beautiful now than it was when it was squeaky and shiny. Dad's friends, colleagues, and business associates have sat in these chairs and shared jokes, stories, good news, and bad news. These chairs have been good to their people.
Grandpa's portrait - he was in his early sixties when this was taken and though it is a wonderful portrait, he's never liked it. It certainly isn't the Grandpa I've grown up knowing, but I suppose some portraits aren't about capturing the person inside. Some are to convey position and power. If that's the purpose of this portrait, then I'd say it does the job well! But the grandpa behind this frame is a man I've never actually met. A portrait of my grandpa would stop at the chair because his hands and knees would have hit the carpet before the shutter even snapped as he played with my brothers and I. You might see a tuft of silver hair peeking over the back of the chair, but that's about it!
Grandpa = Wyatt & Grandma = Velma. Hence the name Wy-Vel. Kind of a professional tribute to their union. I dig it!
So after I left the office, I ventured over to Grandpa's house. Our visit began in the kitchen and I noticed his cup of coffee from breakfast. I was reminded where I get my love of coffee. To these people, coffee is to morning what butter is to bread, and the good kind. The kind fresh out of the oven that still has pockets of steam when you cut it that are perfect for melting a slab of sweet cream butter!
 And after dinner, Grandpa suggested that I photograph this pitcher. It's special to him and to my father because it's a piece of his childhood. Grandpa's own Dad brought this gift home to his mom, and she poured the family buttermilk from it. Even Dad remembers this pitcher. It's a beautiful heirloom for the Lemons family.
 But this is pretty special too... Art class isn't what it used to be. Grandpa made this in grade school for his mama... and even painted it himself!
 My handsome, handsome Grandpa. Yeah, I can see why Grandma was smitten with him!
 And Grandpa's sisters!
 You know, I've sat at this kitchen table chair for breakfast - and get this... it was STEAK & EGGS! Yep. My grands are old-school! Deliciousness and naughty - wrapped into a beautiful sun-streaming-in windows, love-filled, what-is-2%-and-why-does-it-taste-so-good morning at my grandparents!
 Character - tucked in between books. Some people say that the contents of your fridge is a window into your soul. I disagree... I think the contents of your bookshelf come WAY closer!
 And this is Grandma's recliner. She doesn't live at home anymore. She has dementia and lives in a nursing facility. Grandpa visits her every day and brings red roses with him every few days so that grandma has something beautiful that she's loved her whole life. Grandma is still the sweetest thing, though. Despite everything, her good nature is worn on her sleeve - just as it always was. That's the thing about wearing your heart on your sleeve. When good, strong, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly kind of people do it, it's just simply beautiful.
But this is her chair. It's been her chair as long as I can remember and I am warm and fuzzy about the way it looks as though she just got up out of it.
 Grandpa wondered aloud why in God's green earth I would wanna take a pic of the mess on the end table. But honestly, this is a spot that's been lived in - or lived on. There's a water ring left on the wood, and crossword puzzle pens, and receipts. This is the meat and potatoes of life and that's what I want to remember.  This is the good stuff. This... right here. If I ever wanna see a version of the grands that I don't know, I can hit up a frozen portrait.
 And this is my grandpa's nightstand. A sign of times a-changin'  - a cell phone charger cord (because he's had to get one of those interrupting gadgets now, and a bottle of allergy pills because if you live in the hill country and enjoy the trees, you're gonna need these little pills to survive it.
 Their old-school, old scale. I used to weigh dolls, books, and soda cans on it.
 Grandpa has this fabulous old gentleman's chalet. When he used to wear dress clothes, his church jacket would hang here. Along with pocket change & handkerchiefs. And Grandpa explained to me that it's 'messed up' because he put his mother's mausoleum key when it must've been wet onto the tray. It etched itself into the grain of the wood and darkened over time. But I love it. Because while we were standing in his room, talking about his mama's mausoleum key, she was in the very room with us.
 My Uncle Wayne (God rest his soul) and my Dad. And the fact that their baby portraits are hung over the intercom is something I adore as well!
 I am one of the lucky ones. A couple of married people cherish me enough to keep old ballet recital portraits of their grand-daughter on this very dresser. They also keep school pictures of their grandsons, and snapshots of their great-grandchildren here. We are proudly on display because they love us and because we belong to them. I am honored. Simply honored.
 And this is a bit of light. Wanna know why?
Because my Uncle Wayne (God rest his soul) passed away when I was a toddler. He was a pilot and his plane went down. His grieving widow took his collection of drill bits and gold-plated them. Then she wired them to be lamps and gave a set to her mourning in-laws. Now these lamps are treasured pieces and Uncle Wayne's light shines through the lamplight.
 Once upon a time, my mom and Dad took a cruise with Uncle Wayne and Aunt Anne. My brother and our cousins stayed with Grandpa and Grandma and they missed their folks, despite the incessant spoiling of their grandparents. So they mapped the cruise ship itinerary on this map using little colored foil star stickers.
 Grandma also liked to do crafts. I think I must get that from her. I adore a good craft! This lemon tree is needle point.
 Grandpa's favorite rocker. He picked it up somewhere; he doesn't remember where, but it is surprising how nice this feels against my poor, weak back.
 Grandma's powder room decor and a reminder of etiquette. I shall never be the impatient folk!
 Generation Station, I call it.
Here, I see my Dad, Grandma Mom (Grandpa's Grandma), James Thomas Lemons (his daddy), his mama, and Grandma's mother.
 Grandma Mom's spectacles - We need to remember our loved ones while they are alive and long after they're passed. They are a window to our past and a window to our future because they have molded and shaped who we are.

Jessica Lemons-Reynolds maintains exclusive copyrights to the photographs displayed in this post. If you would like to save an image or obtain a print, please ask permission as these are my grandparents and these photographs are my personal work - my personal therapy. Thank you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On A Night Before Christmas...

On A Night Before Christmas...
Two Mommies went out on the town. 
They brought with them cameras & lenses & and excitement of a shoot down! 
Hoping they'd find the perfect venue 
and shoot something different - something that's new. 
They started in Lakeway, considered Oasis. 
But knew they'd need to buy dinner there - time spent is wasted. 
They blew by a dad's house because family is free. 
And check it out - all they shot was a tree! 

So on they went, Genevieve thought they were lost.
In the backseat their tripods were carefully "tossed."
Lo and behold, lights called out with sparks - 
and their car brought them to 
the grandest of parks! 

So what do you do when the park is a zoo?
Do you stick it out or go find something new. 
We'd already been and photographed the lake - 
so we settled on splitting a funnel cake. 

Everyone knows spinning beneath is what the Zilker tree is for. And if the grease of your funnel cake hasn't nauseated you - the spinning will for sure! 
Alas, we came up with a trick - if the camera does the spinning, you'll never get sick! 
And since I have a lego-maniac at home, the second shot is for my boy. 
See what mama comes up with when your camera is your toy!

But Zilker wasn't our only stop - so much more to see! 
Maybe our night had a theme - suppose it was 'the tree'???
What nocturnal tree creature is curious to a fault? 
You can tell this curiosity- because "Who-hoo" he calls out.
(Kevin's favorite building in Austin is the Frost bank. It looks like an owl!)

So - enough of this cheesy rhyme - I'll just finish up with a couple of capitol shots. Notice I spelled it the capitol - not the capital.  

By the time I opened the front door, it was 2 a.m.
But it was fun & worth the exhaustion! Lots of fun and lots of laughs. 

Next post coming very soon and it will be all about grandparents. Mine to be exact. :) 
Stay in good health, and for God's sake - get some sleep! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Smashing, my dear... just smashing!

We lacked the energy (or the approving mood of the baby) to give her the smash cake on her birthday-birthday so we gave it to her today. It is quite obvious that she takes after her daddy on cake smashing. 

She actually avoided the cute little (edible-delicious-none-too-nutritious) green circle with cotton candy pink piped edges! 
When she finally decided on a little nibble, she methodically started at the little pink fondant number "1" - are ya seeing her daddy in these little choices?... I sure am!

Pretty good stuff, ain't it?!

And she loves that daddy  of hers.

And he loves her too.

And you know when Hurricane Gianna has had enough of the camera and is on to new and better 'one-year-old' things.

Proud mama... out.