A Victorian Picnic

The Historic Hubbard House in Mankato just completed a renovation and restoration, and they invited me to play for their Victorian Picnic celebration in the garden. Fun. There would be picknickers in costume and revelers of all ages.

"And we want you to dress in costume, too!" said Jessica Potter, Historical Society Director, the week before the event. Of course. I should have known. I should have asked. I should have said, "I will only play if I don't have to dress in costume." I've dressed in so many crazy things while playing the harp (angel wings, full Renaissance regalia, scratchy 40-pound beaded evening gowns and other attire not so appropriate to mention in such gentle company) that I thought my costumed harpist days were over.

Oh, silly me.

I put off searching for a costume until the day of the event. Lo and behold, in the back of my closet, I found my high school graduation dress. It was a Jessica McClintock. Remember Gunne Sax, girls of the '80s and '90s? Those vintage-inspired, drop-waisted, huge-collared, puffy-sleeved, floral-print dresses that were all the rage to wear for everything from proms to Sunday church? Yep, I had one. At some point, Mom had removed the leg-o-mutton sleeves for me, but it still had all the markings of a Gunne Sax. And it still fit (I noted with not a little pride). I threw on a straw hat (oh, this delicate Irish skin) and some Mary Jane shoes and called it good.

When I arrived, I made it clear that under no circumstances should ANYBODY take my picture. To the great disappointment of the historical society photographer. No. Hand in front of camera lens. Anti-paparazzi.

The next day, the Mankato Free Press came out with a beautiful article about the event and gorgeous photos, but I guess the paper's photographer didn't hear my edict of "ABSOLUTELY NO PHOTOS OF THE HARPIST IN COSTUME."

Thank goodness I'm only in the background, but STILL.

Viva Gunne Sax.

photo: Mankato Free Press


Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

The dirt and I will be one.
Look at all that basil. Come September, there will be a pesto-fest.


Happy Birthday Ethel

She turned 90 years old today. 90 years. I've only known her for about 15 of those years, but they've been some of the most blessed and rich years of my life.

Her family gave her a lovely party "down't the church." Ethel reminded me of the party every single day for three months or more. Yes, I'll be there, I kept telling her.

But what I didn't tell her is that I would be bringing the harp. She was genuinely surprised and then thrilled when she saw me wheel it in. "What, are you trying to kill yourself all at once?" she asked me, knowing I had played the night before and would play later that same day. (That's Ethel-speak for "Wow, thank you for being here!")

We had a great time talking about memories, birthdays, friendship and how Ethel has touched our lives. And I had two pieces of cake before I packed up the harp to head to the next event.

Happy birthday, my sweet friend.



...spring has come to the garden.


Mothers and daughters

It was fresh and bright — a perfect May morning for a drive. The destination? Mapleton, Minnesota, and a mother-daughter brunch.

There was the smell of perking church coffee and delicious food as several generations (great-grandmothers to tiny babies) of ladies gathered to celebrate mothers and daughters.

There were pretty dresses, too!
(Would it be a party without them?)