Lonesome Jake and Pretty Kitty

Part of the reason I was so excited to go to AJ6BP was to see my grandparents, Mama Kitty and Big Jake.

You may remember Mama Kitty from the infamous Christmas card series I posted this past December.

If you haven’t seen those Christmas cards, please take a moment and look at them now. Then join me in asking this important question: is it even legal for a woman of her age to look that good in lingerie?

She rocks those high heeled white boots in a way that I could simply never do. Because though her genes have been passed along to 3 daughters and 7 female grandchildren, there is simply no one like her.

To keep her connected to the increasingly digital family news, my Mom helps her navigate the internet. Here she is checking out my cousin Charles and his wife Rachel’s first baby:

(and there’s aunt Jacquie’s notorious living room furniture in the background of the shot)

Her daughters have inherited her elegance, her taste in clothing, her bright smile and good looks, and her knack for pulling off wild jewelry and a great hat.

Case in point: aunt Jacquie’s amazing earrings. I think those are parrots, to the tune of 2 per ear.

Sadly, though I love big earrings from time to time, somehow I ended up with a large head that just looks bizarre in most hats. Why, Darwin? You’d think that the more hat-worthy heads would, by natural selection, triumph in this fashion-obsessed world.

But moving on to Big Jake!

Big Jake? But my name is Gandalf.

I fight the evil dominion of Sauron on a daily basis.

I also enjoy a good mixed drink!

You want some?

If you think Big Jake’s (I mean Gandalf’s) hair and beard are slightly out of control, you ain’t seen nothin,’ my friend. See, at one point many years ago, he vowed never to trim his hair again and thus take his unruly mane to the grave. A few years into this promise, he was looking either like a bohemian French artiste . . . or a homeless man.

(Note: this didn’t last until the grave, because a certain doctor made the decision to tame his unmanageable locks during a certain surgery.)

In fact, one of my clearest memories of my sister Heidi’s wedding a year and a half ago involves a very straggly-haired Big Jake. I was one of the bridesmaids, and we were all dressed and ready for the ceremony. The wedding was starting in 20-30 minutes, and we girls were taking some final pictures of Heidi in the hall outside the sanctuary while the guys helped Mike prepare his soul. Or whatever it is guys do right before a wedding. I heard footsteps; I turned around. “Oh my gosh!” I thought, with a sharp intake of breath. “There’s a homeless man coming towards us! We’re just a bunch of defenseless girls wielding bouquets! I need to alert someone!

And then I did a double take and realized it was my own grandfather, who moments later was pressing a couple hundred dollar bills into my hand. See, he’d heard I had an interest in photography and was determined to help fund the purchase of a camera.

A few months later, I bought my Nikon on craigslist. A few months after that, I started this blog. And more than a year after that, here we are, with posts fueled by pictures regularly taken with that very camera. So I guess you could call him one of the patrons saints of this blog. Or, I mean, patron wizards.

Now that I think about it, most of my memories of Big Jake involve him pressing either money or alcohol into my hands. And railing on me for not wearing high heels, to the cries of “If you got it, flaunt it!”

I love you guys, Mama Kitty and Big Jake! There is no one like you, and never will be.

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19 Responses to Lonesome Jake and Pretty Kitty

  1. I remember Gandalf’s crazy hair days. That was actually my first thought looking at his pictures – wow he looks so well groomed! :-) I have never met another couple like your grandparents. :-)

  2. But what I REALLY need to know is what that thing on the table with all that bacon on top is?

  3. I am also curious about the bacon. I also love your grandparents. I am amazed by how sharply groomed Big Jake is as well. When did that happen? Sounds like a great story. I have also had money pressed into my hand by Big Jake as a reward for showing up at a public place in a skirt and heels. Your grandparents are totally an inspiration to me. Also- you look gorgeous!

  4. I really must meet these people!!! I’m totally charmed already! :)

  5. Pam says:

    Jenna, how can you describe your Mama Kitty without bringing up the large portrait of her naked, partially draped body hanging in the…bathroom? Haha. You’re right, they are 100% unique and wonderful; and that blood runs through all of you girls in one way or another. Thanks for the fun reminders. Love your family.:-)

  6. Veronica says:

    How do you make your posts with family photos so interesting? You are so clever. :) This isn’t related, but I keep thinking it each time you say your hair is brown and after seeing it again in a photo above, I remembered that I wanted to say it. It seems like you have more of an auburn color going on, or that it’s trying to be auburn but just hasn’t quite made it yet. If you ever dye your hair, I think you’d look great playing up the red in your hair a little bit.

    • Jenna says:

      You are so observant! Yes, I do have some reddish highlights in my hair that only show up in the sunlight. I’ll take your suggestion to heart, and if I ever start dyeing my hair, I think I will go towards a redder brown. In fact, I’ve been thinking about henna nad how cool that would look ever since you posted that tutorial on how to dye your hair with it at home.

      • Veronica says:

        Well, the cool thing about henna is that it washes out over time, so you aren’t permanently stuck with it until it grows out. But I bet it would look great with your coloring! I always say that henna flatters those with natural red in their hair already.

      • Oh, you should use henna! It is great stuff, I have been using it since I was sixteen. I plan on getting around to a post on it one of these days. It is super conditioning and fun, albeit messy- so the summer is the time to do it, preferably outside.

  7. june says:

    The bacon is simply sitting on a serving platter. And those are meringues that Mama Kitty has in front of her. What? You’ve never had meringues and bacon for breakfast? Then you’ve never truly lived.

  8. “I fight the evil dominion of Sauron on a daily basis… I also enjoy a good mixed drink… you want some?” Best set of photos and captions EVER!!! I laughed so hard. Like, in my head because I’m working the front desk right now, and kind of chuckling on the outside too. But SO hard my head hurt. :)

    • Jenna says:

      Yay! I’m glad to provide some serious cackling to someone besides myself.
      And thanks for coming to our last gig! Your presence there (along with your lovely wife) was a real encouragement to all 3 of us. =)

  9. Oh, and that blue lounge jacket is rockin’!

  10. NanaBread says:

    You have the coolest grandparents. Ever.

  11. Eleanor says:

    I think the bacon patter is a serving platter but it can go in the oven to keep warm and has drainage areas for grease. Bacon and meringues are standard any time food at Mons house for big family gatherings. The over all idea is feed everyone well and all problems will be fine…really there is also chocolate in there some where and ice cream. Most severe stress is handled with brownie badder by the spoon full…..

  12. Mads says:

    OH man, a grandpa stuffing 100s and booze into your hand? SO LUCKY

  13. okielicious says:

    How delightful to “meet” your grandparents. (That last photo shows how delighted they are with YOU.) What a fun family! The AJ6BP re-cap was great (“Roger” that!) — and the Christmas Card series was a HOOT!

    By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your head. You just haven’t found the right hat!

  14. Jacquie Erwin says:

    Great comments, and the last one TAKE TO HEART….and HEAD. You just need to try on more hats. We will be doing a purge of the some of the felts. You must try some of them, along with berets.
    Super pix and writing!

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