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9/20, 9PM





Saturday, November 30, 2002
5:40 AM      

We'll be on our way to the airport soon. The funeral is Sunday night, and the choir will sing. I'm sure it will be a moving and beautiful ceremony.

Ever Thankful (In Memory of Martha Denard Joseph)

6:08 this morning someone
called to let us know from now on,
you’ll only sleep.
We had no more means to keep
you here. You had said your goodbyes,
and floated away in dream time
between nurses’ calls.

We used to reach you after 11
by long distance. There was a way you’d always
answer the phone: “hail-oh?” Rivers
and interstates we travelled over,
past a blooming Atlanta skyline,
and across Lookout Mountain,
tankful by tankful, just to see you.

Water lines near the ceiling marked the names
of floods. Like a hostile acquaintance
you’d say “Betsy took that.” But storms never
took your house -- with its floors that thundered
at the footfalls of excited boys;
a place that smelled so good
at Christmas time.

The first question to answer was “Did y’all eat yet?”
There was red beans and rice, smoked sausage,
sweet-as-candy coffee, maybe cabbage, or gumbo.
Plants loved you, eggshells in their pots.
There were aloe vera and snake plants,
pepper plants and elephant
ears ... oh, and that time I burned my eyes.

Mom speaks of you as “Mother”.
She always spoke to you as “Ma.” Never
would any of us have been here if not for you:
the trunk that connected leaves and branches to roots.
You were there at weddings, graduations,
and yes funerals -- George and Edward both gone
too soon. (No mother should have to bury her child.)

Yours was the wisdom of King Solomon.
There are things your eyes have seen:
Selma and Montgomery, hard times after ‘29,
the long walks to visit the Hôtel Dieu -- the kind
of things that would weigh heavy
on some faces -- yet your eyes reflected only
two things: pride and love.

You were a rock resting on the rock of your God
singing His praises every day.You breathe no more,
so it’s a surprise to find you here very much alive, wearing
a rich fabric of memories woven over 90 years,
and telling us how nicely you’ve settled into your
permanent home in each of our hearts...

- With Love, 11/29/2002

[ link | e-me ]

Monday, November 25, 2002
9:13 AM      

Well, the call came in about 6:30 this morning. Granny passed away last night. When the phone rang, my first thought was about Granny, but I dismissed it, and got annoyed that somebody, probably a wrong number, was calling at that hour. But it was mom. I hadn't really expected it. Seemed like Granny was getting better, even though that's a relative term.

I can still remember Granny as a vital woman. I have a vague memory of her coming to visit us on the train from New Orleans when we were very young, living in Norwich, NY. Later, I spent a summer with her and Uncle George in that house in the Lower Ninth Ward, that was the central point of so many of our visits to New Orleans. At some point, Granny started using canes to help her get around. They were mere curiosities to me - fascinating carved objects, rather than evidence of advancing osteoarthritis. Even when the disease was giving her trouble with her legs, she got a specially-equipped car so she could continue to get around on her own. If she made no other trip in that car, she made it to church every Sunday for years.

For several years now, Granny has lived with my parents, and my mom has taken extraordinary care of her. There was never a question of nursing homes. I don't know the last time Granny got to see her own house in New Orleans, but it's been a long time since I have. I imagine it looks very different. I'll probably see it this weekend.

I'm glad that she didn't suffer a lot. Mom and I were talking just the other day about how she'd heard of people who went onto feeding tubes and wasted away to a point where the feeding tube was their only connection to life. At that point, there is no quality of life, and removing the tube becomes an agonizing situation. Mom didn't want that for her mother. Fortunately, it never came to that.

I feel a little sad, but not profoundly so. It means I'll never have another conversation with her, even though it had gotten hard to converse. Even near the end, she would still come up with things that amused and amazed us all. I will miss her. I remember saying good bye to her on one of our last visits together. I said "I love you," and her eyes lit up. She touched my hand gently, and said "I love you, too."

Rest in peace, Granny.

Granny didn't like having her picture taken much. This is one of the better pictures from Kevin and Tyra's wedding in Las Vegas on 8/26/01.

[ link | e-me ]

Sunday, November 24, 2002
4:22 PM      

There was a good biography of Stanley Kubrick on TV last night. Had no idea that he had been such a noteworthy photographer before he took up filmmaking. Made me want to go back and see a lot of his films, especially Barry Lyndon and The Shining.


Just finished putting a client proposal to bed yesterday. Friday, I had some cool fun building a Flash animation complete with a combination of tweening, frame-by-frame and movie clip based animations. I used a combination of shape and motion tweens, working with both type and objects to put the whole thing together. Can't post a link just yet... I'd rather let the client see and comment on it first.

When I put the sample file up on Saturday, I was a little concerned about whether the potential client would have the Flash 6 player (only 30-50% penetration so far...). I needed a good sniffer, so I dug around on the Macromedia site for their Flash deployment kit. It's actually better than I imagined. The dispatcher code has a companion extension for Dreamweaver, where I just point and click my way to setting up the whole thing. Not only does it set up the detector page, but it writes the necessary external support files. Now I have a detector page that will redirect the visitor to the proper installer if it's needed. It was all a matter of a few clicks and an upload. Not bad at all.

I'm very happy to see that the dispatcher code doesn't have any problem with Mac IE5. It's always a little maddening to go to sites where the detection script doesn't properly recognize my browser.

Seeing the whole Macromedia Extension manager in action, I'm now intrigued to take a closer look at what's available. There are more than just Dreamweaver behaviors I can pull down — Flash has some, too.

[ link | e-me ]
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