Tuesday, September 1, 2009


A week or so ago, I wrote about my affinity for the color pink. I love pink! What's not to love, though? It is cheery, and feminine, and makes people smile when they see it. It looks wonderful on women from newborn to the nursing home and everyone in between. It is always in fashion and just has a personality all its own.

And then there is blue. Blue...the color of the sky and water. The color that is probably the most often cited as the "favorite" - and the one that seems to branch out and blend beautifully since it is a primary color. It is strongly represented in the Crayola 64, and it truly runs the gamut from dark to light, bright to pale, and a whole lot in between.

Blue can be close to purple...or close to red. It can blend nicely with green, or look appropriate opposite orange. It is one of the three colors on the grand ol' flag, and is the same in French as in English, although they spell it weird. You just have to love it, right?

Well, blue has some not so nice connotations associated with it including the description of depression ("feeling blue"), snobbishness ("blue bloods") or a sign of distress ("turning blue"). There are some positive ones to offset these including "blue chips" to represent the best stocks, "blue skies" to represent something happy, "once in a blue moon" to describe something extremely rare, or "blue ribbon" to signify that something is the best. Granted, Pabst tried to shanghai that one...but whatever.

For me, the color blue reminds me of my Gammy...my mother's mother. She loved the color blue, and had blue eyes, and a blue bedroom that always smelled like powder to me. She adored blue hydrangeas, and grew them in her backyard. Everytime we'd go outside she would remind me that someone who worked for her, sweet Ethel, called them "high geraniums". We'd laugh, and I rarely say the word without thinking of that.

As a child, I was born with blue eyes, and most of the people in my family are blue-eyed. I look at the beautiful eyes of my children, who can trace them back to my mother and her mother before her. When I held my nephew, Alex, for the first time, what struck me (other than the fact that he was a beautiful baby) was that he also inherited the blue eyes of our family.

When I went to school, I remember the Blue Horse notebooks, and remembered that if you saved your Blue Horse points, you could mail them and redeem them for something. I never did this, but I always wanted to. I remember watching Disney movies with bluebirds circling around, and Cinderella's dress was none other than...blue.

Later on, I lived in blue jeans, felt the ice cold water of Perk's Pool during the summer months, and drove my baby blue 1973 Mercury Comet during my teen years. Every car I owned from 1979 when I turned 16 until 1999...was blue. In fact, the recap tires that were on the Comet matched just perfectly, and I had no idea that I was driving on a wing and a prayer...especially as I drove up and down "Roller Coaster Hill" somewhere in the outskirts of Thomaston, GA. I sang "Blue Bayou" in Lee High Singers and still detest the song...although I've come to love the memories and no longer gag when I hear it.

And as I've written before...seeing a blue gumball in a machine in Macon, GA at age 20...let me know that a tide was turning in my life. To this day, if you give me my choice of gumball...I will always choose blue...unless I am about to see people and I'm worried that my teeth will be blue, but whatever.

Later, blue turned into the color of the suit of my first job interview...at a bank. An industry that has taught me - among other things - that it is good to have customers sign their loan paperwork in blue so that you can determine which documents are originals.

As a young bride, I tried (unsuccessfully) to make biscuits and turned on the "Smurfs" every Saturday morning. Why I was so enamored with this cartoon is totally beyond me. Although I am (thankfully) over that phase now - and still can't make biscuits - I still can hear that annoying "la la la la la la...la la la la laaaaaa" song in my head. And just for the record, Brainy Smurf totally got on my nerves...but not as much as Smurfette.

Later, I looked into the eyes of my two babies - both blue eyed - and one that I completely immersed in blue...and loved every minute of it. He was a foreigner to my mother...who was a mother of girls...but his dimples won her over in the hospital. Plus the fact that he looks a lot like her hasn't hurt that connection a bit.

Several years later, we enrolled them in a school with the colors of navy and red. Since 1996, we have had blue tee shirts, uniforms, shorts, banners, and every imaginable spirit booster for the high school in this house. When Jill cheered, she had blue on her uniforms, and when Brian played middle school football, I watched him wear the team colors. A friend helped me survive cheerleading tryouts at the Blue Burrito restaurant. And when Jill was in 10th grade, a lovely young man with very blue eyes was a part of our family for a time.

I look at the color blue as a calming influence. It seems to me to be the color of safety and assurance. The color of familiarity and peace. I think of blue as the color that best represents family and continuity.

And on those days that I am feeling blue, I could easily let the gray take over. But, I can just as easily see the celebrations on the 4th of July, the football team at my children's school continuing their winning tradition, or open a fresh jar of blueberry jelly in my mind...and turn the gray to bright, brilliant blue.

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