Friday, December 30, 2022

Still Life with Robin: And the Winners of the 2022 CP Listies Are....

by Peggy Robin

Last week we left you in suspense. So many great nominees, but in each of the eight categories, only one will be able to show off that golden Listy on the mantel. It can go right next to the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, or Tony. If only Mel Brooks or Rita Moreno could compose a memorable Listserv post, he or she could earn a coveted Listy and could add an "L" to the EGOT and have a LEGOT!

Memo to today's winners: Start working on those other 4 awards now... You've already got the LISTY, the first leg of the coveted LEGOT.

Now we find out the names of our most talented posters! 

In the category of Best Giveaway, the Listy goes to.....
Marc, who propagated Swedish ivy from a plant that had its origins in the Obama White House. But that was only part of the story, which had deeper roots, going all the way back to the JFK White House in 1961. To see photos of the historic plant behind the seated president, go to Message  , where you can also click on the links to the accompanying articles that cover the journey of the ivy over the past half-century. Just as the potted ivies were bestowed upon a few lucky Cleveland Park Listserv members, so we bestow the Listy upon Marc for Best Giveaway of the Year.

In the category of Best Animal Story, the Listy goes to....
Wasabi, the teacup Yorkie, who ran off one day and was brought back to safety through the kindness of strangers. While the Listy is awarded to the poster, Sandra, who sent in several of the messages that reported on the search for the lost dog, we wish we had additional Listies to give away to the random strangers who stepped in to bring about the happy ending. These amazing helpers are described and credited in Message   ). We also wish we had a chew-toy version of the award to give to the miniature Yorkshire terrier himself to take home and put at the head of his doggie-bed. There's a glamour shot of Wasabi, the highly photogenic star of this story, in Message .

In the category of Best Query, the Listy goes to....
Don on Garfield, the author of the Case of the Curious Spoon (Message  ). As if in anticipation of receiving this award, Don has already posted an acceptance speech of sorts -- see Message in which he humbly thanks everyone who helped to solve the mystery: "Many thanks to the amateur sleuths on this listserve who investigated the case of the curious spoon. There were numerous solutions propounded (berry spoon, jam spoon, salt spoon, absinthe spoon(!), grapefruit spoon) but none seemed to quite fit the bill.....The Sherlock Holmes Award, however, must go to those savvy few who suggested that the implement is a cheese spoon favored by Victorians to consume Stilton cheese. Anna and Vera in particular produced photos of such spoons which indisputably resembled the mystery piece... Thanks again to all in who joined in this little adventure." But the grace note at the end of this story was supplied by a different poster, also named Don (of Woodley Place), who noted: " Today the internet was used to spread accurate and useful information. Mark your calendars! It won’t happen again soon."

In the category of Most Creative Advice, the Listy goes to....
Sim, whose beaded doorway curtain made from old wine corks was the surprising proof that the question, "Recycle or Compost Wine Corks?" was not a binary choice. There was a third way: Repurpose them! See the photo of her elegant creation at Message .

In the category of Best Long Discussion Thread, the winner was --by popular acclaim-- the discussion about beloved, classic cookbooks, which began just a few weeks ago (December 18) with a query from Karin, a poster seeking a Christmas present of an "old-style" cookbook to give to her millennial niece. That unleashed a flood of recommendations and raves for old favorites like The Joy of Cooking and The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Many more followed. People were writing to tell me this was the best Listserv discussion ever -- and that was while it was still going on. What a well of love and memory and food trivia sprang from that initial post! Posters wrote about the cookbooks their mothers and grandmothers used and marked up with notes, the dishes they made that still call up flavor-memories to this well as some that were, shall we say, not so hot. There were strange digressions into the skinning and cooking of game, such as squirrels and feral pigs, segue-ing into a consideration of  the several different varieties of feral pigs. Best of all, there were tributes to departed family members, who had used the cookbooks, whether they did so with skill and talent, or just with love. If we gave out a Listy for Best Long Thread in the Listserv's history, this would be the front-runner! While there were 24 messages in the thread, the Listy goes to the OP (original poster), Karin in Message   .

Now, for the first time, The Cleveland Park Listserv recognizes a poster who has consistently posted messages of high literary, historical, cultural, educational, or inspirational quality. It's the first annual Lifetime Achievement Award. We are proud to present this special Listy to Eleanor Oliver, who joined the Cleveland Park Listserv within its first few weeks and has been a prolific and informative -- and entertaining! -- poster ever since. Here's an excerpt from a recent post (November 20, 2022, Message  , reminiscing about a neighborhood cafeteria in the 1960s: "We often walked up to McLean Gardens for dinner after work. There was a huge Hot Shoppes Cafeteria in the administration building on Porter just west of Wisconsin. I remember the cafeteria counters were L-shaped  with an enormous hunk of roasted beef in the right-angle between the two counters. Hot Shoppes called it “Steamship Round of  Beef!” A guy in a chef's get-up and flashing knives stood behind it and carved off  large, incredibly thin slices of roast beef of any degree of doneness that you desired from almost raw to well-tanned leather until he covered the plate; he then splashed a ladle of au jus over it and you were set for the evening." So vivid, you can almost smell the steam rising off the roast!

And now....going all the way back to June 2000, here's her good-citizen reminder to vote in the election on November 7, 2000: "Dear Neighbors: I would like to urge each and every one of you to vote tomorrow.  If you vote at Precinct 27, I'll be there to hand you your ballot. We usually have a high voter turnout, but we are not the best in DC. We can always do better. See you at the polls. Your friendly neighborhood ballot clerk, Eleanor Oliver" [Message   on Nov 6, 2020, presented in its entirety]

In between these two posts, there are hundreds and hundreds of messages, giving recommendations, opining on neighborhood controversies, providing voter information, and of course, taking us on lovely, long nostalgic walks down Memory Lane. But we can't live in the past. Here's how Eleanor put it -- perhaps a bit ruefully: "It is gone now and so are the Hot Shoppes cafeterias. Too bad, but that is progress, and we must expand our horizons with the times." Wise words -- they're among the many that made Eleanor the runaway popular choice for the CP Listserv's Lifetime Achievement Listy of 2022.

Now we come to the penultimate Listy of 2022, the Photo of the Year. We are please to award this to Jen Packard for showing us our neighborhood landmark, The Washington National Cathedral, bathed in red and blue light - shown in Message  on June 22, copied from her June 21 Tweet (tweeting as @jpackardphoto)


At last we have arrived at our Grand Finale, the 2022 POST OF THE YEAR! This was a difficult choice. So many worthy nominees. Let us recap:

o  The 100th anniversary of the Knickerbocker Theater disaster of 1922. On Jan 27 Josh posted a notice about the commemoration of this terrible, tragic event: 28 inches of snow caused the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater to collapse, with the loss of 98 lives. (Message #183842  ) Seven posters sent in follow-up posts with stories of friends and family members who were touched in some way by the disaster, either luckily missing the event or losing a loved one. A night to remember.....

o  A Life Saved on Klingle Bridge. Warren gave an eyewitness account of an incident in which an older woman was seemingly intent on taking her own life by jumping from the Klingle Bridge. A young couple stepped in to attempt to talk her down, while others called 911. The poster stayed back and observed, having correctly gauged that it would not be helpful to have more people attempt to intervene. The police arrived and managed to get the troubled person into an ambulance -- and we are left hopeful that she will receive the mental health care she needs. The story is calmly but movingly told by Warren in message #187415 on May 4. 

o  Meet Christian Warrior of Cleveland Park. There are some people you see all the time in the neighborhood but you never really SEE them. This message introduced you to one of those people, Christian Warrior (as he's renamed himself), a formerly unhoused person, who now has an apartment nearby and serves the community by regularly sweeping up litter along the commercial strip of Connecticut Ave. In this warm and beautifully written profile by Cassandra, of Cleveland Park Main Street, we learn about Christian Warrior's love of rap, soft rock, and dancing. Cassandra's post (Message #195456  on Dec 2) touched many Listserv members, some of whom wrote in to the Listserv to thank her -- and thank her subject -- for letting them get to know this neighbor.

o  French president Macron knights long-term Cleveland Park resident. Leila was the one to post about this extraordinary event. While in DC to meet with President Biden and attend a grand White House dinner in his honor, French president Emmanuel Macron gave out Knighthoods - Chevaliers of the Legion of Honor - and medals to five American nonagenarians who fought in France during World War II. One of them was George Idelson, who until quite recently, lived on Newark Street -- and is well known in the community for his leadership of the CPCA and his activism in a wide variety of local causes. Whether or not Leila wins a CP Listy for her report of this high honor, we add our own congratulations to George Idelson, and we say, "Merci de votre service à la France, à la democratie, et à Cleveland Park!"

The last nominated message stood out for its simplicity, its generosity of spirit, and its applicability to all of us on the Listserv during this holiday season, and all year round. And so the 2022 Listy for POST OF THE YEAR goes to Brian's Thanksgiving wish. Here it is, in its entirety: "To the old ones and the young ones, the bikers, walkers, and drivers, the smart growthers the responsible growthers, the preservationists, the old guard and the newcomers, the developers and the anti-developers… To all the different folks in Cleveland Park and Woodley Park….. Wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We are all fortunate beyond measure to live in this vibrant, wonderful neighborhood." [Message #195117 ]

To the Winners: I have your Listy, made out with a name plate, to be picked up at your convenience; just let me know when you can come by and I'll email you the coordinates. If you can't stop by, send me your address and I'll be happy to mail it to you. Email me at [clevelandparklistservmoderator @ gmail dot com]

There you have it....the 2022 Cleveland Park Listies are over, and we will now begin collecting posts for consideration in the Listies at the end of 2023. Wishing you all good messages in the year to come!
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

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