A It is 6-5-14; I amabout to be 93, and have had a very good year…trip to Lima, Peru arranged by good friends Carl Childers and Jose Delucchi (from that city, but works for American Airlines in Dallas). They have homes in Abilene, Texas (where Carl grew up, Arlington, Texas where he taught, and Lima where the Delucchi family lives. These are informal notes which I, Roy Helen Mingus Ackers, have remembered. Sometimes I refer to myself as MizCheevus, a name under which my Weekly Newspaper Column has been written for the past 14 years…..
A lung condition prohibits my visitation to the high mountains, but there is enough to see in the interesting city right on the Pacific Ocean. Here in West Texas we had the coldest winter and the day Carl picked me up in Abilene – 2-11-14 at 4:30AM we slipped and slid on the ice to the local airport, got on the only plane out for that entire day, and were on the only plane out of Dallas going to Lima at 5PM.
What luxury in the preferred Business Class – beautiful refreshments and seats that made beds with covers of turkey feathers. We landed in Callao, Peru at 1:15AM and went by taxicab to the condo of Joe, Carl, and Edith (Jose’s mother). Greeted with hospitality at that hour!
Breakfast of fresh fruit and juice, liquid coffee (from the bean) poured into our cups and flavored with leche from a pitcher. …this remained an item of interest for MizCheevus.
Lima has many different sections…we were in the San Isidro, Miraflores (famous Malecon – a cliff overlooking the ocean filled with parks, sidewalks, biking trails, exercise areas, and beautiful flower and garden areas. At one point a group of police men surrounded MizVisitor with a Welcome.
Lunch at Punta Sol – fish soup and Cusquena, Peruvian beer. Met Sergio, Edith’s 90-year old man friend, and Miriam, her sister and mother, who had helped us get those good seats on the plane in Dallas – they came to party with us. Went to the elegant Lima Country Club to enjoy our first Pisco Sour, the drink of Peru. Favorite bar/restaurant Como Aqua Chocolate, and met gracious owners Onno and Alejandra.
Foods: Lomo Saltado, a beef dish with tomatoes, onions, fried yellow potatoes, and rice. Our day at the Inca Market for some shopping. There was Larcomar – a nice shopping center built into the cliffs with a park on top of it. Then – to Barranco, an old beach town which still has the ambience – where Jose’s grandfather once owned some property – La Posada del Mirador – and is still in the family. Here a guitarist played and sang to MizCheevus.
Old Lima at night – the cathedral, presidential palace, plaza de arms; afterwards – to Parque de la Reserva to see the fountain show. On another trip to this old part, Carl was measured for a suit at a prominent tailor shop.
On Valentine’s Day we were involved in a fundraiser in the park where MizC had her picture made in a Heart frame. Went to La Rosa Nautica, a restaurant/bar built into the ocean over 100 years ago. There we met a monkey which was able to tell MizCheevus’ fortune. Midnight drinks at favorite spot.
A good part of a day spent at a beach house which Jose’s sister Antoinette and husband Jocho had rented for the month..there American food from the grill – sausage, steaks, ribs, etc. I was able to get into the water’s edge on a 4-wheeler driven by an experienced beachcomber..
We stopped by Renato’s house which was built into a cliff in Barranco. The elevator goes down to his apartment which has a great view of the ocean…especially at sunset.
Jose’s father has a farm where they grow tangerines, grapefruits for import; also, avocados, lemons, cherimoyas, rsspberries, lucamas for family. Trip to Vivanda, a local grocery store, to purchase Pisco and the mix to bring back to Abilene, Texas, as perhaps the most interesting of all. There were more prepared delicacies…milk in a paper sack…(less cost and just as good as it is served from a pitcher); more household items offered in one place.
Real Estate for comparative prices: That section of the City is full of highrises – Carl and Jose and Edith live in a 7-story building 4 blocks from the ocean and rent out five floors. We looked at a fancy apartment in a new highrise with a magnificent view of the water: 3 large bedrooms with private baths, walk-in closets, television room, living and dining areas, a large kitchen, laundry room and maid’s quarters, access to club room and swimming pool – cost of a little more than $200,00 .
Then – the trip home – onto the plane at 2:35AM to enjoy Peruvian squash soup with chicken and a triple sandwich with avocado, tomato, and eggs. Arrived at DFW at 9:00AM and drove to Abilene by 1:00PM. A long distance with happy memories of a beautiful country with natural resources.
My daughter Melinda Mingus MD and her husband Michael Weiss live in New York City and they have two children: Sam and Mary Ann Weiss.
In 2008 I went to see Sam graduate with honors from Green Mountain College at Rutland – his first college diploma; he did some social work, was advised, however, he would need more education in that field if he intended to stay in it. So – that he completed at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, and was a participant of 22 candidates in Master of Social Work in the School’s 213th Commencement Ceremony on May 17th, 2014.
Mr. Tom Sullivan, President of The University of Vermont, gave interesting Remarks which, I understand, may have been in a collection of Good Graduation Speeches on television.
One candidate in that group was from Texas -Theresa Marie Cardinale from Victoria, Texas. Sam gave a Reception at his home so some friends and members of the faculty could meet his “Memaw Texas.” He had asked her to please be amazing (that was a popular word that day – of course, he meant in a fashionable way).
Sam also rented a wheelchair for my use during the Commencement and for him to push me around to see sights in the impressive town of Burlington. It has maintained structurally attractive buildings which make up the campus and parts of the townsite. There are many sources of camping and outdoor sports supplies.
There is the”amazing” Lake Champlain – large and beautiful which provides views from different areas of the city.
The drive from Manhatan, NY to Burlington – although mostly in heavy rain – (with which this traveler was not too familiar) – was loaded with scenery – trees (not as tall, maybe, as Connecticut) and mountains with rounding tops.
It appears to be a beautiful state filled with natural resources and people who are concerned with education and quality of life – not trying to impress others with what they have or have not.
Sam’s sister Mary Ann graduated BA from Skidmore College in New York – then worked a year in Denmark for the University there, coordinating its International Student Program. She is now in Denver, Colorado, and could not leave her job to travel to Vermont in May.
My son John Mingus and his wife Kayren live in Houston. Each of them has children. John has three sons – two married with children; the other still single.
It is a blessing to have children and grands, even if visits are few and far between. That is the best need for modern technolohgy.
It all began when MizCheevus’ son John Mingus approached her in his telephone call (he calls Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays) with “My children & grandchildren would like to see you; they last had the opportunity in 2009, and there are two young girls whom you have never seen.”
The guilties set in, and MizC agreed to set the date for the weekend of Aug. 23-26 (five people in the family have birthdays in the month of August).
The first to arrive were: daughter Melinda Mingus, MD and her husband Michael Weiss, son Sam Weiss and daughter Mary Ann Weiss. They came early for a visit with Melinda’s aunt Frances Mae Sears, age 99, in Sweetwater.
The others trekked in: son John and wife Kayren; grandsons: Kevin Mingus and Amy Mingus with their four daughters – Claire, Olivia, Savannah, Caroline.
Kenneth Mingus and Cyndi Mingus with daughters: Gabi (a freshman at Texas State), Maryanna and Charisma, and son Kenny; and Matt Mingus. Also in attendance was Jan Mingus, mother of the Mingus grandsons.
This made a total of 21 who would be eating here and there. Sometimes, Sam Weiss picked up his guitar and sang ballads while the little girls wearing neatly pressed dresses, gathered around him, seated on the floor, and expressed “hero” glances.
At the goodbye breakfast, it was determined by all the event would need to occur more frequently, especially after the ll-year-old girl in the group looked at MizC and said “When will I ever see you again?” GGrandmother Mingus answered: “It may be a while since you live in Sedalia, Colo., but this winter when the winds are cold and we are reading our separate books by the fire, let’s picture each other and remember this good time together.”
Claire, the pretty young ballet dancer, seemed to take comfort in that. And that’s just one reason why it has to happen more often.
These out-of-town relatives provided MizCheevus with the need to be at MCM Elegante Hotel at various times during the day. While there. she saw Joanne Green, an old friend, and Janice Hollister, who was showing her jewelry exhibit. Also saw Steve and Linda Michael, who are renovating their residence and decided to have a fun trip to the hotel for good breakfasts and afternoon R&R.
Another place visited was Deutschlander Freshwater Catfish Co., in Buffalo Gap. MizC’s visitors thought it quite the place and liked the onion rings. It was there we met Paula and Blaine Bennett, who had driven over from Stamford, in Jones County.
Since the Reunion? The younguns are in school where their “smarts” will show up; young graduates are making decisions for their careers; parents are wishing (and praying on schedule or continuously) for wisdom; GG is working on an agenda where she will preside at a Reception honoring a late good friend of hers – Amber Cree – who -late husband Bro Mingus would have said – “Crossed the Bar” at the time of the Reunion.
My year 2013 has been the busiest right from the start – usually social events slow down until after income tax data is gathered up and taken to be prepared….but right after the New Year started, events got started – another
Dancing With Abilene Stars in January to benefit Hendrick Home for Children. Another huge success. Shea Lawrence was Chairman and will be for the next year, as well. Yours truly was one of the Judges. Photos are in Abilene Living Magazine – Spring Issue.
Also, Annual New Year’s Eve Dance to benefit Abilene Woman’s Club which was very successful; I put an item on the Auction Table entitled “Vintage Martini” which was purchased by 4 couples – 8 people. Here’s how I went about paying off on Sunday evening, April 28th, 2013, which date was agreed upon by the hostess and all recipients: For the “Vintage” part I had the guests meet me at 6PM at a most unusual architectural home (always the subject of conversation) where I had two models show them the owner’s designer dresses. The guests enjoyed their martinis and hors d eouvers while looking at the models and later looking at the house itself. Then, they came with me to my home nearby where they enjoyed different kinds of wines with menu selections furnished by caterer Randy Davis who lives in Dallas and in Abilene part of the week. I had a small party favor at each plate on the large dining room table w/black placemats, wine glasses, chinese red napkins in oriental holders, oriental china – all were compatible with my house decor.
Another Auction Item was placed to benefit the Philharmonic Orchestra; it was purchased by a family and its nature will be to entertain young highschool girls with a Fashion Journey; a date has not yet been set to fulfill this item.
But similar parties are scheduled for this month: two highschool graduation parties where the invitations indicate there will be Photoshoots with Hats. In other words, the girls wear my Hats and I will have a professional photographer take the photo of each girl in her hat and then place it in a little frame I furnish so that each guest has a ready souvenir of the memorable party. This year fascinators are very popular so I am contemplating using that type of headgear instead of the traditinal hat. All this makes a good- type party. Sometimes we use scarves to complement the Hat so that it will look well planned instead of haphazard.
I’ve done the graduation Hat Party for years, and have had many good relationships with the girls as they go off to college and even later in life.
On some days I attend about four club meetings and/or parties – usually changing clothes for each event – especially if a certain theme is observed. I attend the events to gather names for the little column I write weekly for Abilene Reporter-News. My Column is called MizCheevus, its purpose is to mention names of people I see or with whom I chat, and it can be seen on the internet www.reporternews.com, on Mondays.
Reading for Sunday School preparation takes a lot of time…..so, I am not idle, for long.
I need to record a birthday that was unusual….not being 91…..it was the type of invitation that was different. Since I have written a newspaper column for several years, I didn’t want to send invitations for fear I would forget someone, so I merely put in my column MizCheevus (which comes out weekly in The Abilenian Section of The Abilene Reporter-News) that I was inviting anyone who would like to come with Good Wishes and No Gifts to The Center for Contemporary Arts (our Modern Art Museum) on Sunday, August 26th, 2012 for my Celebration. That way I did not know whether to expect 0; 20; 200…..well, about 300 came. The Staff at the Center did not worry about it, as they are accustomed to greeting and serving the unexpected numbers of guests. A multitude of friends from various walks of life came with Hugs and Good Wishes. Photographers took good pictures – some in papers and in the current Abilene Scene Magazine (OctNovDec 2012 WWW.ABILENESCENE.COM – Birthday Wishes for Roy Helen! Page 38)
Celebrate Roy Helen Ackers – Help Celebrate the wit, wisdom, leadership, industriousness and downright loveability of our most lumiary gossip columnist, Roy Helen Ackers. Long a supporter of anything positive in Abilene, Roy Helen inspires us all to continue forth, do the right thing and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it. Wear a hat in her honor if you wish!
This is the invitation which went out when Abilene Preservation League had its Fundraiser -Roy Helen – An Abilene Original – at Hunter Welcome Center at Abilene Christian University for Thursday May 3rd, 2012 11:45 AM. This is a large assembly room and the tables were decorated with 70 of Roy Helen’s hats – each hat had a one-line summary of its origin. Most of her hats come from Abilene families; therefore, there is an historical continuity in the collection.
The idea was presented to Roy Helen by Bill Minter, Executive Director, of the APL, and his wife Lindsey. She felt she had not done enough for that organization to even be mentioned, but when they convinced her that they were trying to recognize someone who had been supportive of positive projects in Abilene, she accepted with delight because that is what she has tried to do for many years – since coming to Abilene in 1938.
Of course, many people worked on this luncheon event – Janet Payne and Donna Albus spent hours collecting the hats, learning their stories, placing them and having Dottie Lou Norwood narrate a video which was shown at the luncheon program. President Luke McMillan presided, and the big surprise was when Terri Burke – former Editor for Abilene Reporter-News – now with ACLU in Houston – came to introduce the honoree and tell how she became known as “MizCheevus” – the title of her weekly column in the paper. Many wrote messages which MizCheevus is just now rereading. Heritage Stewardship Awards were also presented for Renovation of certain properties. All of this is to say that everyone had fun and the sponsoring APL made some money!
Janet and Donna put together the coolest book showing Roy Helen and her hats – with Photo CDs attached – and had another party to present this memorable keepsake to the grateful reccipient.
Many guests attended – wearing hats – and they actually looked more attractive than ever. Business and social friends gave sponsorship donations and there was a Ticket Charge for the luncheon.
At ArtWalk Downtown - observed the second Thursday of each month – wherein restaurants, bookstores, museums, galleries, movie theatres, libraries stay open for special browsing and/or participating by families.
On February 9th at the Center for Contemporary Arts – there was a Reception (sponsored by Honorable Bob Hunter) to honor artists Jackie Morris Warmsley and husband Ray Warmsley for their exhibit entitled “Free at Last.”
This is a couple with deep Abilene roots – her parents were Alberta and Dr. Don H. Morris, who taught at Abilene Christian College for 29 years; her brother is Thomas Asbury (Tommy) Morris (whose son was the late Don Morris), life insurance expert; and her sister is Patsy Morris Carter of Lubbock, whose husband Bobby Carter is on McMurry’s University Board.
Jackie was an early art major and was later involved in prison ministry where she met her husband to-be Ray, who was serving time for something for which he was blamed; he was also interested in art. They married in 1984, and one of her paintings in the exhibit “Free at Last” expresses the emotion of her visits to see him at the prison. A beautiful lady (Jackie) is pictured just outside the prison wall with her goodbye to her lover on the other side as he returns to his confinement.
This painting will be purchased by Pam Estes Padgett of Granbury, daughter of Billy Sol Estes who made news items during the 60s; she expressed to MizCheevus the reminiscence it brought of her famous father’s incarceration for fraud.
Ray has been home for about four months, and his paintings are mostly portraitures of historical black people, which collection has been well received during this Black History Month.
It seems like Abilene is a town of Fundraisers – several a week it seems and all for a worthy cause. So far, my pick seems to be Dancing with Abilene Stars because it benefits my favorite charity in this world – Hendrick Home for Children. (Dr. David Miller; Barbara Dahl and Suzie Brecheen direct and work from year to year on details to organize and execute). An elegant party at the home of Don and Pat Fite honored all alumni (those who had danced in the two previous Fundraisers) and their families, and announced the ones who would participate in the January 12th event: Dr. Laura Bennett; Cade Browning; Feray Waggoner; Jeff Reid; Leigh Black Wesley Smith; Jennifer Grothaus; Dr. Mike Hart; Carol Hall; Don Fite; Jeri Skaggs; Chuck Doby.
Judges for the third year were: Neil Shultz; Billye Proctor Shaw Ray; Yanell Rieder; Roy Helen Ackers. They had the hardest time this year because everyone was SO GOOD.
The new things: The Red Carpet was out at the Civic Center – all might tread thereon, but it was especially meant for the (dancing) STARS. Five Professional Dancers- Jeremy Varner; Mary Elizabeth Walker; Jason Hernandez; Lindsay McGill; Lin Thompson; Event Chair – Shea Hall who brought in the most money last year (that’s a lot of experience).
Finally the results: Best Male Dancer – Michael W. Hart, MD (Stamford Memorial Hospital & Clinic); Best Female Dancer – Dr. Laura Bennett (Image Sculptors); Best Costume – Jeri Skaggs (Michael Joseph’s Haircolor Spa); Best Showmanship – Wesley Smith (Chick-Fil-A Mall of Abilene): Best Overall and People’s Choice (at one dollar per vote) – Chuck Doby (Cadco Architects-Engineers, Inc.). All dancers were winners for their mission.
This may have made $200,000 – and it just gets better!!!
MizCheevus has written about ARTWALK before…..that happens in Abilene, Texas on the second Thursday evenings in a month. Most stores stay open from say 5-8PM so that strollers – mainly families and lovers – can browse around – visit museums, hear music, eat snacks and/or dindin in restaurants, take advantage of freebies, and attend an interesting showing at our magnificent historic Paramount Theatre. This idea was born in the Center of Contemporary Arts Museum, but there is cooperation among all participants,
This ARTWALK on October 13th had an added attraction – at least Bird Thomas and Paris Barnett, with The Center, worked enough on the theme – The Abyss – and the costumes: they actually “made” a Mermaid Parade which gathered at Everman Park – there on North First Street by the old restored buildings housing The Abilene Cultural Affairs, Visitors Bureau, and The Grace Museum- and oozing up on Cypress Street to the Paramount where it vanished.
Their modern Mermaid Parade featured Sea Queen MizCheevus riding beside King Terry Stubbs on the seat of a striking black Mercedes convertible owned by artist Mike Lanier; and followed by their versatile talented court. (Maybe we can get a photo into this area).
Surely the plan came from Greek mythology wherein Sea Goddess Amphitrite, as female personification of the sea (mother of fish, seals and dolphins) rode beside husband King Poseidon in a chariot drawn by fish-tailed horses or hippokamdoi.
This sort of thing has to be for dreamers, but it was ONE FUN RIDE!