Saturday, January 4, 2014


Em wants to know what day in his life he'd like to revisit.

John immediately describes a family day at the Alocoa Swimming pool in Marysville, Tennessee -- picnicking, and devouring watermelon.

Em describes the day she enjoys turning back the clock to -- one of her most special days was the day when she met John Cullum at a swimming pool in Knoxville.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I'm looking out my window. It isn't the first Monday of the first work week of 2014, but it's time to get back to work.  .

It looks the same -- gray street, gray, white, and red brick buildings, lamps posts, parked cars, meters like sentries that demand how much -- $18.00 for a half hour of parking on our street (last year it was $14.) It's a busy business street in the heart of Manhattan.

Yesterday, in the buildings across the street, like last year and the year before, I could see marvelously decorated Christmas trees on quite a few different floors -- all large -- bigger than the trees I saw last year, and all appeared to have been expensively, creatively, labored over.

Soon, maybe even today, they'll be in the street.

And steel Dumpsters will be in street, piled high with cartons, gift boxes -- piles of red, green, gold, silver things -- ribbons, bows, labels, cards, protective tissue, wrapping paper -- so many pretty things everyone picked out carefully, purchased, debated over how to handle, then wrapped, tied, taped and fussed with.

Like the Christmas trees. After the holiday you can keep the tree up for a week or two -- you can pretend not to notice the branches -- green becoming brown and brittle -- browned, dead, pine needles beginning to cover the floor around the base of the tree, migrating, magically moving into other parts of the house that have to be kept clean.

Nobody wants pine needles on the kitchen floor. I don't want pine needles in the bathroom.

So, we'll move our tree into the hall -- trees are elevatored or carried to the street, and laid to rest ignobly on their sides at the curb.

Sometimes the tree lies there and brown turns to gray until the garbage trucks and the garbage men arrive and the remnants of what once was your marvelous -- oh, this is IT tree! -- are disposed of.

Ours was a lovely tree -- a little crooked, but it grew and grew somewhere to be ready for us to chose it, buy it, make it into ours.

Well, it'll be Ground Hog Day, then Valentines... hey, first day of spring, 4th of July, Halloween, in a minute it'll be Happy New Year two zero one FIVE!

Oh my goodness, I forgot to give a holiday present to our postman -- well, tomorrow I'll give a holiday present to the whomever delivers the mail -- the woman who replaced our friendly postman who retired wasn't friendly. Maybe she'll perk up if I say I'm Em, what's your name?

Yep, things have changed since last year, but if you know who people are, even my street turns into a chummy neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


JOHN CULLUM sings the song he wrote for Em's Talkery, Emily Frankel's blog.

The Cullums call the song 'HI FROM US."

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Emily Frankel, as each year ends, has asked John Cullum about his  New Year's resolutions.

John as usual, has hemmed and hawed  until Emily has announced something wifely -- that she'll has resolved to cook more dinners for him.

Recalling some of their old New Years Eve resolutions, the Cullums agree -- their best resolutions have been made, not on New Year's, but before the holiday, and during the new year, when something happens that requires a strong resolve to fix.

Yes, here's our resolutions -- plans for corn bread, dinners, projects  and leisure back in 2011. Change the number, dear friends. And resolve with us, hope with us that we'll have fun fulfilling them in  2014.