Thursday, October 18, 2007

Maids of Muscatel

My wife Annette and two of her long-time friends Tina Simms and Jackie Boles have planned a shopping trip to the Tanger Outlet in Locust Grove, with lunch at Denny’s. My wife wants to buy some new shoes. I was invited to join them, but as much as I love their company, I need to do some things that just can’t wait till another day. Among other things, I’ve got a blog to write. Furthermore, I bought a new pair of jogging shoes at Wal-Mart just a couple of weeks ago. Not that I have done any jogging in this millennium. I can barely walk. But my new jogging shoes help me stay afoot, and I think they will do me for a while in the shoe-shopping department.

Tina Simms is a retired Georgia public school teacher, a poet, and photographer. She is my advisor about blogs and does several of her own, including one for the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women and another for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She loves nature photography, and her beautiful color photos of birds, bugs, plants, and flowers will take your breath away. I knew Tina’s mother before I ever met Tina. Her mother was Violet Moore, the well-known middle-Georgia correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Violet Moore telephoned in many of her stories to the newsroom of the Atlanta Journal, and I was among those who would type out the copy as she dictated it. Obviously this was in the days before e-mail and other modern conveniences.

Jackie Boles was Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University in Atlanta until her retirement. Jackie told me recently her journalistic idol is George Orwell. “Years ago,” Jackie explained, “the Hare Krishna asked me to be their faculty advisor because they had to have one, and several other faculty declined. I thought and thought about it. I finally asked myself, ‘what would George Orwell do?’ I decided he would sponsor them; so I did. A number of people complained, but I argued that if they obeyed the rules of GSU, they had a right to have an organization. They used to bring me flowers that did not sell; the flowers were a little wilted, but it’s the thought that counts. One time they brought me a little package of vanilla wafers. I always believed that Orwell stood for something. How many politicians stand for anything, anything at all?”

Don Boles, Jackie’s late husband, had a nickname for Annette, Tina, and Jackie. He called them “the Maids of Muscatel.” This was in honor of great dinner parties at Jackie’s and Don’s with many bottles of wine that were not brought from the Connoisseur Cellar. Don was a performing magician and a member of Toastmasters. He was a pamphleteer and had his own printing press in the basement. I am confident that he would be king of the bloggers today. Don was a piano tuner by trade, among other things. He was a dedicated musician, a violinist with the DeKalb Symphony. He noted that I could sit in his living room and sing Hank Williams songs all night long, and I only knew three chords on the guitar. “That’s all Hank knew,” Don said. He put me on the mailing list of every musical instrument craftsman in Georgia, and I received these great brochures with photos and descriptions of the beautiful things that can be made from a piece of wood.

There’s nothing like old friends.

(Originally posted 9-28-07)

Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter

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