Suzy Says

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To a T


   Jan 18

To a T

Kathleen, the belle of Motown, has gifted me with, among other things, the letter T. I have to write about 10 things I like that start with the designated letter. If you want to keep this going, and/or were too late to celebrate Delurking Day on January 12 (like I was), let me know in the comments or via email at speakall at earthlink dot net and I will bestow a letter on you. Cheaper than a knighthood, and you don’t have to dress up.

Tiara: Good thing you’re sitting down, since you will be amazed to learn that I always wanted one. Still do! I wish my mother had emotionally scarred me by entering me into premature beauty contests instead of the way she did. Then I’d have a showcase of sparkly coronets instead of a collection of neuroses. I’d almost certainly wear one every day, even when I was working or doing the dishes. Maybe especially then. As Marilyn Monroe put it so memorably in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: “I just love finding new places to wear diamonds!”

Toast: Who doesn’t love the smell (and taste) of hot, buttered toast? Not to mention cinnamon toast. Or French toast* with pure (not artificial) maple syrup? Or a toast to the occasion? What’s not to love?

Tiffany: What girl hasn’t longed for one of the distinctive blue boxes with the white bow? Can you think of Tiffany without thinking of Audrey Hepburn, so stylish and beautiful in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (though I have always understood that it was incorrect to add the apostrophe “s”, since it is Tiffany & Company)? If you haven’t read the Capote original, do it. Do it now. I’ll wait. I’m waiting for a little blue box anyway.

Trips: The best were always with my father, who was pretty much the perfect travelling companion, planning all the details and unflappable, no matter what happened. Whereas I always hated getting there and back, but loved being somewhere new and different, or old and loved. I will never forget the many adventures we had together, in France, Italy, even Russia. I look back at buying wine from French growers; bats wheeling in the evening sky as we sat outside the ch√Ęteau we were staying at; going three days in a row to visit the Hermitage, trying to take in its wonders; walking the quiet streets of San Gimignano after dinner in the soft autumn air; seeing Dad’s face light up when he met me at Heathrow, reaching across the barrier to enfold me in a hug.

Train: The only civilized way to travel. No metal detectors, no feel copping in the guise of security pat-downs, no need to do an awkward strip of clothes and shoes or drag one’s iBook out of its stylish case. No traffic jams, no terrifying take-offs or landings (some more terrifying than others), just scenery to admire and room to move around. Admittedly, not as gracious as it used to be, but you can still enjoy the grandeur of Grand Central Station (and its Oyster Bar). I love it that our next President took the train to Washington this weekend, following in the footsteps (or train tracks) of the great Mr. Lincoln.

Thanksgiving: The best day of the year. Gathered together with family, eating fabulous food and drinking wine (or my brother’s home-made cider) and remembering how lucky we are to have each other. There’s pie, too. And no shopping stress.

Toronto: I lived there for several years, and I have an enduring nostalgia and appreciation for it (not to mention the Leafs and the Jays). There is a neighborhood in Toronto to suit everyone. It has world-class shopping, restaurants (Dhaba and Pearl Harbourfront, I think I miss you most of all), and quality of life. While rivalling LA for urban sprawl and possibly air quality in the summer months, it is also a walking city with plenty of green spaces and good public transit (except, you know, when you’re waiting for it in the heat or cold). The people are wonderful: diverse, kind, creative. It’s like a flat San Francisco with extreme weather extremes.

Twain & Trollope: Can I put two (another T!) favorite, almost contemporaneous writers, into one? One comic, one serious, both witty. Both had ideas about social change and reflected them in their writings, which were prolific. Twain’s works need no introduction, but Trollope’s might. One of his works which is still very relevant today is The Way We Live Now. Fun fact: Trollope invented the pillar box!

Twins: Since you’re still sitting after the tiara entry, you will be in the perfect position to hear that I am, in fact, a Gemini. Gasp! My sister and I are 9 years and 9 days apart, which we think makes us some kind of twins. We are both such twins. She is the twin of my heart – the good twin. I think you know what that makes me!

Turner: Joseph Mallord William, to be precise. If you don’t know him, you should. He was an impressionist decades before Monet ever thought of it, working with light, shadow, and beauty. If you are ever in London and do not go to the Tate** to see some of his greatest paintings, or the National Gallery to see what is one of my favorites, Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway, I’m sorry, but I just can’t be your friend anymore.

*Or “pain perdu” in actual French, which I think means “lost bread”.

**Bonus points for having lunch in the Tate’s excellent restaurant, with its exquisite mural by beautiful, doomed Rex Whistler. If I had gotten “W”, you would have gotten both Whistlers – Rex and James Abbott McNeil, of “Whistler’s Mother” fame (though I prefer his stunning Nocturnes). As it is, I almost put in “trompe l’oeil” for some of Rex’s most beautiful work, at Plas Newydd and Mottisfont Abbey. If you find yourself at Salisbury Cathedral, take the time to visit his crystal memorial crafted by his brother. You won’t be sorry – or forget it.

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One Comment

  1. Joy says:

    Another very interesting Blog entry. Thank you for this. Among other things, your various trips sound really wonderful.
    Glad you admire Turner – a favourite with us too.
    You must find yourself a Prince so that you can get yourself a fine tiara. Mind you, you could get yourself one for Halloween and go around with your favourite little lady!!

    jx

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