This is my grandmother, Catherine Maude Rhyne Boggs Postell. (We just call her Maw Maw.) Among her many talents - which includes cooking macaroni and cheese, mowing her lawn, keeping her home oppressively warm, and exhorting me to wear warm clothes - music is the chief.
Maw Maw can't "play" the piano, per se. She's never had formal training and she can't read music. However, she can bang out hymns like nobody's business. She learned to play by ear as a child and has continued to play throughout her life. In addition to her work on the keys, Maw Maw also has a natural knack for singing the alto line that I've only recently come to appreciate.
In 2000 (?), I took my 4-track recorder to Maw Maw's house and had her lay down a few tracks. Naturally, she elected to perform a few gospel numbers. I had her record on her Lowry organ, both because of the churchy quality and because, as far back as I can remember, her piano has never been in tune.
After recording Maw Maw's vocal/organ tracks, I went back home and embellished the tracks with guitar, harmonica, percussion, and vocals. The finished - and admittedly humorous - recordings are below. I hope that you'll enjoy!
Just A Closer Walk With Thee
More recently, I recorded some footage of Maw Maw playing at my parents' house. My wife Kelly, aunt Cathy, aunt Rhonda, and (unfortunately) I make up the choir. Check out the video on YouTube
My grandmother's Christmas card this year was so Christmasy and grandmothery that I thought I'd post it here. May it warm your post-holiday spirit.
To set the stage - the card has a cow on the front. The text inside says "Merry Christmas and a Happy Moo Year." Maw Maw added the following:
Back in the 50's, we had a cow just like this one. Her name was Ann. I worked from 2PM til 11PM and I had to get up in the morning and go to the barn and milk that ol' huzzie. Cathy, Rhonda, and Tommy (my dad) wouldn't drink the milk, so I had to go to Winn-Dixie and buy milk.
I told Tom (my grandfather) I quit milking. He sold the ol' huzzie and that was the end of Boggs Dairy.
Grandma Boggs (my great grandmother) didn't like it but I didn't care what she didn't like.
This is a true story.
Maw Maw Catherine
PS - I can tell you plenty more if you want to hear it in person.
I asked Maw Maw about it over lunch at my Aunt Rhonda's house on Christmas day, but she didn't have much to add to this anecdote. Instead, she told us about the time she bought shoes for my great-grandfather. He was a substitute mailman, you know. Other than that, he was a lazy no-count. They lived in the little house back on the other end of the farm. He didn't have a car, so he had to get my my grandmother to buy the shoes. So she did. She drove all the way to Gastonia. You know - they didn't have malls in those days...
Sorry - I think I just lapsed into "Maw Maw". I noticed when I started nodding off...
I love my grandmother more than anything. Her peculiarities are what make her great...and are what keep us in stiches every holiday. Learn more about Maw Maw by visiting her MySpace.com page.
I wrote similar letters to countless professional athletes when I was a kid. My dad and I used to pick a handful of likely prospects and reel off 10 letters in a single sitting. (Watching my dad write "My name is Eric Boggs. I'm 10 years old." in a simulated 10 year-old's handwriting was pretty darn funny...)
Just like the author, I - or we - always used the "you are my favorite player" line and expectedly realized a significant conversion on letters targeted to the mediocre players. Craig Worthington of the Orioles, Brian Noble of the Packers, and, especially, Richard Anderson of the Hornets are some of the no-names that come to mind.
Richard Anderson was a scrub for the Charlotte Hornets. I remember him as a complete stiff that subbed into the game for mop-up duty when the Hornets were getting slaughtered, which happened more often than not. My dad and I called him "Wrong Way Richard" for some reason - I guess because we thought he was so terrible. This seems kinda harsh after looking at his career stats and realizing that he stuck in the league for 6 years...
My dad jokingly suggested that I write one of my letters to Richard, so I did. I remember laughing my 10 year-old butt off writing a letter telling Richard that he was my favorite player and that - get this - I thought he should get more playing time. My dad and I thought it was an absolute riot.
As we hoped, Richard wrote me back using the SASE I provided. He wrote a gracious thank-you note, that I've lost, and autographed the card I provided. (I still have the card.) Surely Richard realized my ruse, yet he still replied. Nice guy, that Wrong Way Richard.
In addition to Richard, my efforts also netted some pretty big fish, including Don Mattingly of the Yankees, Kirby Puckett of the Twins, and Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns. I also received a lame "join my fan club" packet from Dan Marino, which was the first in a long line of disappointments from my childhood football hero - including the "Ace Ventura" cameo, the Isotoner Gloves commercials, the Atkins diet commercials, and the awful commentary on CBS Sunday afternoons, not to mention the whole "no Super Bowl" ring deal. Another post for another time...
My handlebar mustache was awesome. Kelly's "Shawna Robinson" racecar shirt was awesomer.
The morning after I shaved my mustache, Kelly woke me up to say "Eric, can you run out to the Wal Marts to get milk for the babies and 50lb bag of dog food."
Hilarious because her delivery was impeccable and because she described a seriously redneck trip to Wal Mart.
(*Note - we have neither a dog nor a child.)
Andrew dressed as your's truly. Kelly let him borrow my high school basketball practice jersey. Gabby dressed like Kris Lang - former UNC basketball player and Kelly's 1st kiss, as Gabby's tat so eloquently reminds us. Highest of high comedy.
I was lucky enough to be in town for one of his games last week. I spent the game in the press box helping him spot plays and second guess the coaches, players, officials, etc. It was just like it was a Sunday afternoon and we were watching the Packers - all the way down to the Favre-esque interceptions, the arm tackling on defense, and the heinous margin of defeat.
I took a few quick videos over the course of the night:
Evan Boggs, report to the press box. We were testing the equipment and my brother Evan would not cooperate with my father's request that he step out into the stands for a volume check. Dad zinged him good.
Caleb Tidwell. This is how it went most of the night. Lots of looking around confused, trying to figure out who actually made the tackle, assessing down and distance, and then making the call.
Dominque Carter. I thought this was a pretty good call from Dad.
The other guys in the video are Dad's friend Ronnie Hudson and Dad's cousin Mark Hovis. They've had a great time calling the games all season.
After miraculously surviving the initial trauma, spending 2+ months in intensive care, and then enduring 4 long months of recovery in a hospital and long term care facility, Carl is coming home on Wednesday, October 11.
Carl still can't walk - but he can stand and manage to transfer from his bed to a wheelchair. He'll have a hip replacement in early 2007 that will put him on his way to a full recovery. According to his orthopedic surgeon, Carl has very good chance to learn how to walk again and to live a completely mobile life.
It is difficult to describe what Carl's return home means for me, or, more importantly, for Kelly and her family. Thus, I'm not going to try - at least not right now. The end-all, be-all "Reflections On Carl's Accident" blog post is still percolating.
Suffice it to say for now, many did not expect this day to come. It is a miracle that Carl is alive and it is a miracle that he and we have experienced such an outpouring of love and support from our friends and family.
On to the call to action...
Kelly and I set up PayPal account to accept donations on Carl and Ginger's behalf. Click here to read how Carl and Ginger will use the funds and how you can donate.
(I had to embed the link elsewhere because WordPress strips out the important stuff from the URL.)
Thanks for anything you can give and thanks for reading.
He bought a Wahl clipper set a number of years ago - complete with a hilarious how-to video. Ever since then, he's incessantly begged to cut my hair and my brother's hair. ("You need a haircut boy!")
In a moment of weakness, my mom let my dad cut my brother's hair. If I recall correctly, mom had to take Evan to our regular barber to clean up my dad's mess.
Fast forward to a year or two ago - my hair was especially shaggy on Father's Day weekend.
My dad's Father's Day gift? The opportunity to give me a buzz cut. Note how he took the liberty of leaving me with a mullet:
This was easily one of the best gifts I've ever given my father. We laughed like crazy the whole time - mainly because he was so meticulous throughout the process and my brother kept telling him everything he was doing wrong. ("Shut up! I'm a professional!")
I reprised the gift with rousing success this year. Happy Father's Day, Dad.