Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Of Peonies and Afabit

I know my postings have been quite scarce for a while -mea culpa- and I suppose many of you thought that I have been off on a wild toot in some exotic local and had been kidnapped and held for ransom, eventually seducing my swarthy captors and enticing them to kill each other in fits of jealousy and passion for my sole attention.
Well, yes, all that has happened recently but more importantly, I just had the dining room at Chez Moose painted. (I know, squeals abound)
The color is called “Lady Honoria Dedlock Peony” -it is the same hue of pinky peach as my Grandmother had in hers for years, (She referred to it as Hyacinth pink) it is also a color that I admired on the walls while having a rousing romp in the Gothic revival library with the new head gardener in Arley Hall. (a divine English country house owned by Viscount Ashbrook)
This particular shade is also the exact color of walls in the grottoes of Markus Sittikus von Hohenems summer palace Hellbrunn in Salsburg, the color of a particularly memorable piece of salmon I had at the house of Edward Albee and Jonathan Thomas in Montauk in 1978 when I was seventeen, a dead ringer for the color in the diadem of Empress Theodora in the mosaic on the right apsidal wall in the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna and the same color as the fancy party dress my childhood friend Afabit wore for a solid 6 years.
Afabit was a little girl from “back of town” who got her moniker from the fact that she was called so many names by so many people, a literal alphabet of nicknames.
Sister Taffy called her "Sunshine", Mrs. Russo called her “Ladybug”, the corner grocer “Cookie” called her “Candy Cane” -because she always would save her pennies to buy as many as she could after Christmas at a deep discount- Mr. Jackson called her “Peaches" and Mrs. Legendre called her "Tee-Lilou"…. the list goes on.
Afabit and I were friends ever since the infamous “My name ain't Cat Food” debacle. She not only was the only one of my friends at the time that indulged my fantasy that I was a deposed Chinese princess, she was also the one that help remove the corn-rows from my hair after I pissed Irene Price off half way through having my hair plaited by inferring that she was full of beans.
Afabit and I would meet at the city park and play on the playground rockers we called “The Duckies”- they were over-sized animals on large springs that were set into the ground, there was a duck, a chicken, a horse, a cow, a sheep and inexplicably yet marvelously thrown into the barnyard theme, a lion. She would take the duck and I would sit on the chicken, talking and wobbling to and fro for hours, telling each other fantastic tales until it started getting late, as we both had to be “On the front steps when the street lights came on."
When we were both about seven, Mrs. Giacomo, a nice lady we knew, lost her daughter in to one of those childhood disease that were spoken of only in hushed tones among the grownups, German measles maybe. In a lovely act of charity she gave Afabit some of her daughters clothes, including a perfect silk taffeta dress with a deep portrait collar that sat slightly off the shoulder with a wide sash. The intense color of the dress more than complimented Afabit’s cafĂ© au lait skin and when she wore it, which was often, she was the image of perfection.
Afabit used to flounce around in that dress with an air of divinity mingled with a touch of superiority. I loved it because when she wore that dress it would assure that she would invariably sit me down like the student to her teacher and teach me some old sayings that her Grandpa used to tell her, things like , “Without the fur you can't tell the difference between a mink and a coon hide.”, “Don’t be tryin’ to dry today’s cloths with tomorrows sun.” and "If she's High yella, she'll steal yo fella..."- she also taught me old Billie Holiday songs and how to shoot dice, and how to say saucy things in Creole French... -stuff that I still find myself smiling at when I think of them.
That same fancy party dress that hung on her like cheap drapes at seven, became quite scandalous in its fit by age twelve, when Aphabit began blossoming, quite early, into who we all knew would be a stunningly beautiful woman. About that time Afabit up and moved away with her mother, to Mississippi I heard, and I never saw her again.
But the day after I heard she left, I went down to the city park to look for her, on the ducks head was the sash to her fancy party dress, neatly tied in a bow.


The Duckies
1 1/2 oz Myer's® dark rum
1 1/2 oz Malibu® coconut rum
1/4 oz peach schnapps
1/4 oz blackberry schnapps
1/2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice
1/4 oz pineapple juice
Shake well with ice and pour into Hurricane glass. Add a floater of Myer's dark rum for an additional kick.

1 comment:

Blair said...

Glad you're back doing the longer blogs - that was a beautiful entry!

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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man