A Weird Connection – Maybe

In a day when everyone is taking pictures of everything and google delivers boatloads of images with the touch of a finger, it was surprisingly difficult for me to find a picture of Paul McCartney and my grandmother together. And by that, I mean – impossible.

I am a huge fan of Paul McCartney. I am a huge fan of my deceased grandmother. About ten years ago, I realized that every time I’d see a picture of Paul, I thought of Grandmom Manning. Weird. She was not a fan. She opted to watch Hee Haw when he was rising to fame.

She was an amazing woman who lost her eyesight when I was a teenager. I barely remember her being able to see, but I do remember her kind, gentle manner. When she was a young, she taught ballroom dancing. I am told she was quite a cook and a more than proficient seamstress. Probably her biggest achievement was raising my dad and his siblings. Born in 1900, she always said she was as old as the years.

So where is the connection? I think Paul looks like my grandmother. Seriously, maybe we’re related! Here are some pictures. Do you see a resemblance? My dad’s family is huge, so, you never know! Maybe that’s why Paul has always been my favorite Beetle/distant cousin.

Grandmother Manning before she was a grandmother

The last picture I have of her circa 1987

I’m Not Getting Old – I’m  Just Getting More Creative in Linking Two Vastly Unrelated Subjects

When my granddaughter called to ask me what I remembered about President Kennedy’s assassination for a school assignment she was working on, it triggered something in me.  You may think it was the memories of the events of that day.  Of course, that happened; but what it really triggered was a cold, harsh reality.  I’m getting old.  Middle-schoolers go to people my age to find out about the past.  I’m somebody’s homework.

I explained to Mia that when JFK was shot I was seven years old – a second-grader.  The full impact was lost on me much like the reason why we had atomic bomb drills where we would crouch under our desks while the air raid siren blared.  On that day, though, I remember our teacher crying as she sent us home from school early.  I remember my parents being upset.  I remember being sad for Caroline and John-John; he was such a cute little boy.  It was strange to think that the president had a regular life as a husband and father.


IMG_4828The weirdest thing I recall as standing out in my mind was the newspaper.  The Evening Star had the words EXTRA, EXTRA across the top banner.  This was odd and unusual enough to me that I saved the paper and have it to this day.  Somewhere in the mind of that second grader was the realization that this was important and of lasting impact – a piece of history recorded for posterity.

But, this is supposed to be a blog about Life on the Lighter Side, so with that in mind, I’ll let you know that my being my granddaughter’s homework was not the only thing that has reminded me that I’m getting older.  As background, you should know that I am a huge Seinfeld fan.  My son, Scott, sent me a notice that Larry Thomas, aka the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame, was going to be dispensing soup in a Publix in Kissimmee, which is clear across town.  I was excited about going until I found out the time slot involved a return home during rush hour.  Sadly, I’ll never know the intense pleasure of having my bowl filled with mulligatawny by a stern-faced soup ladler; and I’ll never know if bread was included or not.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but just a few years ago I stalked Paul McCartney, I mean had lunch with a friend while trying to get a glimpse of him at his hotel where he was staying across town.  I also have driven across the state to hear my favorite author, Alexander McCall Smith, give a lecture.  So it broke my heart a little to know that I wouldn’t brave I-4 traffic in order to see a Seinfeld character in action.

Now that I think about it, it’s all about how you look at life.  Maybe I’m not getting old.  Maybe I’m simply having a season of personal growth.  You know, counting the cost and realizing the value of my own time.  Either way, it adds up to, “No soup for me!”  Ah, but I can always catch Seinfeld in re-runs and ladle my own bowl of soup.  Plus, there’s next to no traffic in my kitchen.  Sounds like a perfect plan.

Is It Still Considered Stalking if You’re a Nice, Harmless Person?

I am just now coming out of the fog that was last weekend – good timing since another weekend is upon me.  What on earth did I do last weekend that was so consuming?  Glad you asked.

We moved my father-in-law within his assisted living facility (ALF).  This required my sister-in-law flying in from Oregon for four days.  She had the job of relabeling all of his clothing and linens with his new room number plus various other organizational activities.  In addition, my husband, my son and two other men from our church joined together to do the heavy lifting and toting all of his belongings down the hall and around the corner from his old, north-facing room to his new, east-facing room.  This is more important than you might think due to the fact that he is legally blind and sunlight is such a treat for him.

Now you are probably asking what that has to do with stalking.  Was I stalking some elderly person in the ALF?  Uh, no, of course not.  Who would do such a thing?

And, why wasn’t I helping out with the move?  Because I had the day off.  This was a gift I suggested for myself several times until Bob offered that he thought I might need a little time off from serving his dad.  Great idea!  And, it’s a good thing, too, or else I would not have had time to go stalking my favorite celebrity.   Okay, stay with me and I’ll tell you the story.

I have a dear friend who lives in Seattle who was considerate enough to visit Orlando and stay at a resort near Sea World last weekend.  This was pivotal to my impromptu plan.  I was scheduled to pick up Margot in the early afternoon on Saturday.  We planned lunch and a little light shopping.

Before heading out, I checked my face book and discovered that a friend was at the Ritz day spa in that area and she had an encounter with Paul McCartney.  (Thank you, face book location services.)  He walked past her while she was holding her grandchild and he couldn’t resist reaching out and holding the baby’s hand.  That put things in motion for me.   I jumped in the car, put on my Beatles 1 CD, cranked up I Want to Hold Your Hand, and headed out.

I asked Margot where she would like to eat and she was pretty open.  I asked her if she would like to go to lunch at the Ritz Carlton and stalk Paul McCartney and she was open to that, too.  So, off we went.

I’m a bit of a novice at stalking people, but I thought I’d be pretty good at it.  After all, I am a mother of four children, so I’m used to trying to observe people when they don’t want to be seen or bothered.

There was a lot of security out front, so we figured we were in the right place.  We walked into the lavish lobby, scoped out the place and asked the concierge for the eatery options.  We were calm, cool and collected.  I’m sure nobody thought twice about two middle age ladies popping into the Ritz for lunch on a day that Paul McCartney was staying there.

Yes, that is a cloth cocktal napkin.  Fancy!

Yes, that is a cloth cocktail napkin. Fancy!

As we headed to our seats we noticed a gathering of his entourage and my heart leaped a bit at the thought that I was so close to people who may or may not be close to Paul McCartney later on that day.  Does it get any better than that?

Unfortunately, no.  That was as close as we came to seeing him.  We did enjoy our fifty dollar lunch and I got quite excited by the fact that my Diet Coke came to me all fancied up with a linen cocktail napkin.  (So that’s what they mean by putting on the Ritz.)

In conclusion, I didn’t have to help move my father-in-law.  I enjoyed a wonderful yet expensive lunch with my friend, Margot.  We saw a group of people who may or may not have been part of the McCartney entourage.  I drank a fancy Diet Coke on a cloth cocktail napkin.  Oh, and I didn’t get arrested for stalking.  Sweet.