Monday, July 12, 2010

Maclay Gardens on a Sultry Evening


Sophie and Leslie


My sister Kris, my niece, Sophie, and I did a photo shoot at Maclay Gardens yesterday when it was literally 100 degrees outside.

I went over to Kris’s house to get ready, and my nephew, Jake, who’s six, was embarrassed because he was running around in his underwear when I arrived.

Later I said, “Jake’s being mean today. He wouldn’t even say hi to me before.”

And Jake cried, all put-upon, “Because I was naked!”

Aunts can be so annoying.

We headed over to Maclay Gardens (a beautiful public garden lush with Spanish moss), and as the sun was setting, we were trudging about under the live oaks, taking pictures, sweating, dreaming of icees, and pretending to be characters from Toddlers and Tiaras, Sophie’s favorite TV show.

Sophie was Madisyn, a feisty pageant contestant, and Kris was her mother, Kelsey. "Madisyn's a real pistol, " Kris-Kelsey said. "She's a fighter, and it is paying off for her. We've been doing pageants for like two years, and so far she's won a gift certificate and $200 towards college."

I won't go into any more of the dumb things we were saying, but we stayed in character pretty much the whole time--until we came to a big field full of stinging nettles. For some reason, Sophie was terrified of the nettles—perhaps because I likened their sting to an electric shock.

“Carry me!” she cried to Kris.

“Are you high?” Kris said.

Sophie is nine and a bit large for carrying.

She was wearing a fancy brown satin dress (her Christmas dress), with a crinoline . . . and little high heels . . . and a florescent green Silly Band around her ankle.

Kris was mad about the Silly Band. “Well,” she sighed. “I guess I’m going to have to airbrush that out.”

The best part of the day was when we finally got our icees. Kris and Sophie served themselves beautiful, artistic ones, in tall, clear cups. They looked like parfaits—with frosty layers of banana and cherry and blue raspberry. . . . We stood around drinking them and talking about "spray tannin'" in our Toddlers and Tiaras accents. By then, the fireflies had come out and were all around us.



Photos by Kris Kimel, www.kriskimelphotography.com

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