April 22 BRIGHT SQUARES

April is proving to be quite the month.

April is Bright Squares month. The host of this photo challenge is Becky of The Life of B. And today is her birthday! So let’s all give her a big Hip Hip Hooooray!

Today, the theme of self’s Bright Squares is Bright Smiles! Just look at these people who began lining up in front of Horn Barbecue in Oakland about half an hour before opening (11 a.m.) It was rather chilly, but no one complained. Because Horn, which opened just before the pandemic, is definitely a success story. The best melt-off-the-bone spare ribs, the tenderest brisket, the BEST mac’n cheese, the BEST bread pudding.

Before you go, diet for a week. You order by the pound. Self’s friend Nikki is one of the assistant cooks (and she is a fabulous cook). There she is, standing beneath the sign. It’s a very industrial area of Oakland, with huge warehouses and also homeless encampments. But there are also cheerful corner juice stands, and other intrepid food trailblazers like June’s Pizza, just a few blocks away.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Flower of the Day (FOTD), April 21: Abutilon

It is hard to take a picture of abutilon. Self should know: she’s taken dozens of pictures over the years. There’s not one that’s a keeper.

But for some reason, she’s decided to save this one. It’s nice, the contrast of pale orange and the speckled leaves. This grows in her backyard, without any shape at all. It’s just there, sprawled in the shade of a massive, old holly tree.

The host of the Flower of the Day Photo Challenge is Cee Neuner.

Contempt

And, doesn’t this just take the cake? The lone miner who doesn’t take to drink after the mine closes, but who continues to work industriously at any part-time job he can find, then secrets his wages in a kitty under his bed, is the object of the worst contempt. He has no family, he doesn’t drink, so what is he saving all that money for?

Life is like this, and not just in Glasgow.

LEEK, p. 196

SPOILER ALERT but since it seems quite a lot of you have read Shuggie Bain then just a re-cap of the one precious call Leek makes to his sister Catherine, who moved with her husband to South Africa.

(Self almost wished he was calling the Art Academy to say, Sorry it’s taken me two years, but I accept your acceptance!)

“Catherine, it’s me, it’s Leek . . . I’m sorry. It’s Mammy’s phone. Yes. She’s here actually, she’s standing right next to me.” He looked Agnes up and down suspiciously. There was a pause. Agnes could hear Catherine raise her voice in agitation. “Don’t worry, I never. I promised you I wouldn’t. Do you like South Africa?” There was a pause. “Oh, he’s fine. Nearly died up the Pit but he’s fine. Still a bit funny. You know, funny funny.” There was laughter on the other end . . . “Right, anyway, Catherine, is Donald there? No, I wasn’t checking. It’s just, I’ve got some bad news. It’s just, well, Granny is dead.”

Leek reminds self of another stoic kid, Niall in du Maurier’s The Parasites. And that novel almost destroyed self.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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