Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Never Apologize for Making and Effort to Serve Others

Dear Helen Hartman,
       I had friends and family over during the long weekend and I planned all sorts of fancy foods - what a disaster! I considered sticking sparklers in some of the dishes and pretending they were for decoration not digestion. Everyone was nice but... 
   Love a quick excuse I could have made for the mistakes or should I send out a note of apology?

Dear Loved One,
          Helen is stumped that when you have an issue with bad taste, why would you think of her? Whenever this happens to Helen, she thinks of her Aunt Ileene!
My Aunt Ileene - who else could look this good holding up a painted potty? Not me, and I have tried it, believe you me.
No, Aunt Ileene was not a bad cook or a bad dresser. In fact, whatever she did, she did in STYLE.
Can't say for sure it was exactly the year and model, but this is basically the kind of car Aunt Ileene and Uncle Junior drove around in. Jealous yet? If you're not the you're probably a fashion don't waitin' to happen, my friend.
Ileene was the family beauty with a huge personality and a knack for making an entrance that made sure she got all that humility nonsense out of the way right off the bat -  so let that rain of compliments begin!
Pretty is as pretty does... but FABULOUS does as she darn well pleases.
 She crossed the threshold in a perfectly matched outfit, cute shoes, her jet black beehive tied down safely with a nylon scarf and her enormous earrings sparkling.
Helen is already planning outfits to match these new finds - first I got to figure out how to get my hair REALLLLLY high on my head to balance it all out, though. Has any of you got a step ladder, a super sized can of Aqua Net and a rat tail comb? If so, bring 'em on over.
Where ever she went Aunt Ileene would walk in, take out her cigarette, pat the poof of her beehive and announce: “I don’t know why I even came out today. I look like hell.”
BTW, this inspired our family motto: 
 Ingresus, vos similitdo infernus
Which means; Come on in! You look like Hell!
"WHO is that?"     "I don't know, but she looks like hell!"    "Hmmm, must be a relative then."
What does that have to do with your mess of  a meal? Well, Aunt Ileene made amazing potato salad and ham salad which she always presented to us with the disclaimer: “I don’t know what went wrong this time. It probably ain’t fit to eat.”
"If there's something at the table that you can't stomach, just smother it in gravy."

"My in-laws are coming to dinner tonight... we'll need more gravy."



It's all subjective, ain't it? And if you need further reassurance that bad taste is all in the eye or mouth of the taster, a couple of ads from Holiday magazine July 1948.
Before there was Viagra there was wondercrotch.  Worst Super Hero Name EVER!
Amelia Earhart LUGGAGE?? There is a very bad joke about luggage that won't get lost but Helen would NEVER go there... but Really?

 The point can be summed up in the words of Saint Julia (Child – yes, Helen has her own list of personal 'saints', don’t you?)
 Never apologize and never make excuses
(and at this point I find a zillion different ‘quotes’ about what followed but I recall reading in one of my favorite books ever My Life In France the gist of it is, your mess may be the best thing someone ever ate, and/or apologizing makes others instantly think less of what you have made).

You tried, you served, you learned. Let it go, Loved One. Starting with that meal you may have put yourself on the path of being as well loved and remembered as Aunt Ileene.

Joining Rednesday at It's a Very Cherry World!  
And Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style (what could be more wow worthy than Aunt Ileene?) 
And Share the Love Wednesday at Merry Vintage Style 
and now also What I Love Wednesday at Lollipops.

31 comments:

  1. Hello Helen:
    We have lost track of how many meals have had to be cast aside as inedible in our pre-cook days, but we always found that compensation in the form of alcoholic drink worked miracles.

    Your Aunt Ileene sounds like just our kind of person, such style, such wit and such a hairdo. They obviously threw way the mould after they made her!!

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  2. I love the family motto and also Wondercrotch! My mother's rules to live by are 'Blood sweat and no regrets' and 'never trust a man in a yellow tie'. But then she thinks salad cream is lower class.

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  3. Good advice - especially "lesson learned." I finally learned the best party is the simplest party - chips and dips, easy fruits, yummy AND easy bbq meat, and lots of fresh veges to munch on - followed by cookies, ice cream or a tasty cake and everyone will be happy from the grandkids on up to the elderly parents. :) Happy next party and happy Rednesday.

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  4. Thanks Helen, I needed to be reminded of Julia's words of wisdom after a recent party where 4 out of 20 invites showed up. The food turned out fine, but there was sure a lot of it!

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  5. Love your family motto! I may need to adopt it. That red car is fab.

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  6. I am literally LMAO (which is so much better than dieting) at the family motto and the picture/caption that followed. That is, without a doubt, the most priceless thing I've read in months. My grandmother was exactly like that...everything she cooked, sewed or even tainted with her very presence in the room wasn't fit for anything. She was a pro at fishing for compliments.

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  7. And your Aunt Ileene and I could have styled and profiled together in our Chevy Impalas...she in her bright red 1960 model and I in my bright red 1964. We would have been quite the pair.

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  8. Sometimes we have to learned to those who are way older than us. They would say been there than that ^_^ And often that is so true. ^_^ Thanks for the visit!

    Red bud

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  9. Bestest family motto amor, your right. Red car is so cool.

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  10. Ooooo... I like Aunt Ileene! She sounds like a hoot! Loved the story and advise and pictures.

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  11. Thanks for visiting y'all! Aunt Ileene would have been please by all the attention!

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  12. Dear Helen,

    I just wanted to let you know that I have given you a "Lovely Blog Award." My post will go up tomorrow morning at 6am (Arizona time).

    It is just because I love your blog! I am totally not trying to be creepy (though I admit that saying that sounds a bit creepy)!

    Have a lovely day (in a totally un-creepy way)!

    Tanya @ Greetings From the Asyslum

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  13. I simply loved the photo captions...and oh yes your aunt Ileene :)

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  14. That family motto is just brilliant, I might have to adobt it as my own. I love the never apologise bit, too.
    Wondercrotch? Goodness, did Don Draper come up with that one? x

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  15. LOVE the name of your blog! LOVE the blog banner! And your posting is HILARIOUS! I'm a new follower!

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  16. That car, Wow!! we used to call it an aeroplane car which the children of a timber tycoon got driven to school in

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  17. Thanks Tanya!

    Loving the comments - esp shared mottoes - Never trust a man in a yellow tie... it's sound advice!

    Jori - too cool about your car. How much fun is tooling around in THAT?

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  18. Welcome PJ! Off to check out your blog as well!

    Ann - it does look like a special car, doesn't it? The thing was Uncle Jr. drove it into the 70s when a lot of people didn't realize how cool it was, he knew.

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  19. The family motto cracked me up.

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  20. Oh gee, reminds me so much of my Mom, who was outgoing, vivacious, didn't care what people thought of her, and made a potatoe salad I miss terribly on holidays like Fourth of July.

    Bravo to the forward thinking women of our earlier generation!!

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  21. Love the red Impala. We had a white one just like that in 1969. The magazine adds are kinda crazy!!!. And your Aunt sounds like a real hoot.
    Ann

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  22. You crack me up! For years I always (ok, almost) apologized for the house being messy when people would "pop" over. Maybe that should be the other way around. hmmm. . just a thought! But, I finally got over it and now I say, "I would apologize but it's always like this!"
    Thanks for making me laugh.

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  23. Love it! You bring back the days, for sure! Love the red car!

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  24. What an interesting red show today. You treated us to a wide range of things.

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  25. Love your response to drop ins Holly. I just have annoying dogs. That cuts down on visitors. Thanks Patti and LV

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  26. I love this! Just had to text your "Pretty is as pretty does..." quote to my daughter and sisters. We're quite the fabulous girlie bunch and I knew they would appreciate and understand. Thanks for your wit and wisdom! :)

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  27. Ah! This post is a nice cool breeze on a hot summer's day! :)

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  28. Hear Helen

    A wonderful post and your aunt absolutely charming and original.
    As an aside, I read your comment on the Hattatt's blog and literally spilled my coffee on my shirt
    "all hat an no horse" in your reference to a cowboy.

    That cracked me up
    Thanks for the genuine laugh
    Helen Tilston

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  29. Another good time just getting absorbed in your wonderful wit, and don't we ALL love an Aunt Ileene?

    I finally DID manage to see your Follower spot, by coming in on another server, but when I clicked to join, I was signed in as SIS, who'd been here last week. And I didn't want to be HER on your board (well who WOULDN'T want to be a size eight blonde, and fun as all get out---but that's neither here nor there).

    So, til I figure out how to get her signature off MY screen, I won't be able to follow---I'll just have to thumb the page and pretend.

    rachel

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  30. Thanks y'all - Rachel ya know, I love having followers but all in all, I do this for the joy of it all so love to have your drop in whenever you can. The whole blog thing is still new to me and learning so much but no thoughts on what's happened to you - hmmmm. Maybe Aunt Ileene is haunting my follower list and causing trouble!

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  31. Hey Helen I love your Aunt Ilene's attitude! Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday--hope you'll be back this week!
    Mary

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