Sunday, October 11, 2015


I really love this new fridge---I find myself being really persnickety with wiping down the first drop to appear on the door, or giving a good polish to whichever glass shelf or other I’ve just removed something from.  (The mishap with the laid-down flat Rubbermaid gallon of home-cooked figs-in-syrup was a fluke, in which I’d obviously not tightened the big-as-a-saucer lid with my not-as-strong-as-they-once-were hands---that was a MESS, I can tell you, and we hope that will forever be the Worst Thing That Happened To the New Fridge).

But just the other day, I removed something from the top shelf, I remember---during which I must have caught another item, a two-cup Tupperware, knocking it out and down all those feet for a WHACK on the projection which is the freezer, and to the slate floor, where it popped open and went EVERYWHERE.   I just kept looking down around my feet, where the ever-spreading cloudy-green pool just kept spreading around my big old pink Minnie Mouse clogs, with big clots of blackish-green islands moving slow as icebergs as the liquid moved ever wider. 

I stepped ever-so-carefully for an old towel in the laundry room, dropping it like Batman’s cape to cover the onslaught before it fled beneath the fridge.  I just kept looking at the muddy-pool, with my only thought being the lovely pan of shiitake that Caro had made for supper a couple of nights before, but it just wasn’t quite right.
Neither the BLOB nor that slime so beloved of ten-year-olds and Kid's Cable shows has been such a noxious green amalgam of distasteful chunks and goo, and I just could Not Place what it really was.  Now, we call a pot of any kind of greens a "Mess" in the South, but nobody could have predicted this.

Haven’t we all had those surreal moments of surprise, as we are so caught off guard that we might interpret something as one thing, and then see a total something else as our eyes try to make sense of what it might be.    And then I knew---it was COLLARDS---the last of that big bowl with the wonderful pot likker that I’d made several days ago, and kept transferring the dwindling supply into ever-smaller storage.  

I got it all swept into the little short-handled dust-pan, down the disposal, with the floor cleaned, mopped and shined, then showered to get off all the splashes.  Just as I started to put my shoes back on, a strange look to the left one caught my eye, and I looked down to see a neat collard bow, sitting right up there like a $500 clip on a Laboutin.   

Appropriate d├ęcor for a country cook like me.   Just call me Minnie Pearl Mouse.

Friday, October 9, 2015


We’re missing our Friday Library Visit today, because Ganner’s over toward school, and is picking up Sweetpea.   They go to hardware stores and Sam’s and stuff, and that’s sorta a fair division of labor AND company, all around.

We’ve been going together to our dear Library, she and I, since she was in one of those little seats you snap in and out of the car to carry, and we’ve made our way through a great number of the books, from the little cloth numbers loved and squeezed, through the thick-paged small ones with a tiny story told in tiny words, (WHERE'S the BEE?   There he is!), on to read-mes that carry on WAY into time for bedtime prayers.

She explores the tree-house, the little phone booth where you can sit and have a story read over the phone, the bins of puppets and games and puzzles in their sturdy numbered bags.   And she still loves the “little” stuff---a sweet mama-llama puppet with a tee-ninecy baby stitched to her side, and the little-fingers puzzles with big bright-coloured wooden pieces.

Last time, she spent a lot of time at the colouring table, making percentages of pies and kites and arches.   Then then, in a nod to times gone by, she came over with a thick round plate pie-wedged and shaded, with small divots lined in dingy Velcro. 

“What would you like on your PIZZA?” she asked.   I consulted the puzzle-pieces for the menu.

“Vegetables,” I said, as she began to apply peppers and mushrooms.  Then, knowing Ganner’s propensity for meat on his pizza, she rounded up all the pepperoni and started to stick them on like map-pins.

She thought for a moment, then went back to the puzzle-bin.   In a bit she came back with a little blue whale, perhaps from some sea-faring scene.

“He likes anchovies, but they don’t have any,” she said.   “Will this do, you think?”

Indeed I did.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Just gazing back a little on long-ago musings, and since I’ve had a few requests for Translate-to-English for some of my Southern Idioms, a little redux from exactly six-years-ago.    The Welcome Mat’s still out:

Do come and sit at our table---you're welcome any time. The coffeepot stands ready, the tea kettle can reach a cheery boil in the time it takes to reach down a teapot, and there's usually something sweet in one cake dome or another.

You may or may not understand the language, for it's foreign to many of our visitors, at least the first time---we speak Southern, and it translates easily.

Some of the things you hear may be:

I Wishta gosh-----I do sincerely hope.

I hopeta shout----- I couldn’t agree more; it's as fervent as my hope of Heaven.

Hind Wheels of Destruction-----My first MIL’s description of either a messy house or the looks of a lady whose grooming left something to be desired.

Omtombow-----I am speaking of . . .

Hissy fit-----Angry outburst ranging from actual hissing at the object of wrath, when others may overhear, to a screeching, plate-throwing tantrum. Usually indulged in by females, but a Good Ole Boy, who has witnessed these all his life, may surprise you with quite a creditable one of his own, on occasion. Such as being on a charter boat and having the marlin get clean away. With his $700 Star Chair Rod.

Screamin’ heenie-----Ditto, but starts out full-blown, without any of the hissy buildup.

Slick over cloudy-----Raining and gonna get worse.

Come up a wind-----Started to storm.

Commenceta rainin’-----Began to rain, especially spoken by someone WAY out in the field when the storm started.

Takin’ on-----Crying or wailing or gnashing of teeth.

Don’t let on-----Do not dare speak of what I just told you.

Havin' a Dog in the fight-----An interest beyond curiosity in whatever’s happening. If the proceedings will affect you personally, you can complain, speak up, or sue. Otherwise, hush up about it.

Lit a shuck-----Ran fast, usually AWAY from something. Paralleled by Bat-outa-Hell.

Puttin’ on the dawg-----Putting on airs; or dressing, entertaining, or purchasing beyond your means.
Puttin’ the big pot in the little one-----Entertaining a big crowd.

Might could-----Perhaps I’ll be able to.

Ditten GO to-----Did not meant to.

Don't know Pea Turkey-----Has absolutely no knowledge of the person, place, happening or idea. (but is usually willing to talk lengthily about it, anyway)

Ain't seen Hide nor Hair of him-----Have not been in his presence, nor have I even waved at him in the road

A Coon's Age-----A LONG time, as referenced by the supposed years of a long-lived raccoon. Spoken mainly to someone you haven't seen in a while----Why, I haven't seen YOU in a coon's age.

Drunk as Cooter Brown-----WAY past inebriated, up into the territory of the mythical (or factual) Cooter, who seems to be the epitome of tosspots

Great Day in the Morning!-----Exclamation of surprise, shock, or admiration, depending in inflection

Shine-----Moonshine---the clear, distilled corn squeezin's sold in quart jars from the back of pickups, or WAY down country roads; take a left at the dead Maytag and flash your lights.

I DO declare!-----Exclamation of mild astonishment. I'd totally forgotten the froufraw when my Sis' college roomate was all up in arms that her Not-from-the-South Sister-in-Law was about to name the new baby niece Heidi Claire. Poor thing just didn't know. I don't remember how that came out.

I Swannee!-----I DO declare, but exasperated or amazed.

You DO beat all-----Also depends on the inflection and voice---can be a form of approval, in expressing admiration or thanks. In an exasperated tone---getting close to ON MY LAST NERVE.

Which brings us to various levels of anger:

There's spittin' mad, and there's "it flew all over me," and there's "I could just pinch his head off," as well as "so mad I could fly." REALLY bad occasions are reserved for "I could just go to bed and eat Velveeta right out of the box."

And Chris' personal favorite: The famous last words of Good Ole Boys:



Thursday, October 1, 2015


The Tellin’ Tree two doors down is flaunting her sun-kissed rosy cheeks for the past few days, letting us know that FALL is approaching with these even-cooler days and nights.  She's always the first to blush, the first to swirl down her leaves, the first one we head for to scuff our feet through the piles on the sidewalk.  

September was absolutely glorious, with all the sun-filled days, the cloudless blue stretching overhead with nary a thought of gray, and the temperatures just begging us to be out and about.

The sounds outside during this dry, cool time have been of slow-breeze drifts of leaves, just beginning to do their earthward dance, settling onto the arid crispness of already-sere lawns and skittering down the drive and sidewalks toward the unabashed ivy, green as always, wending its way across the lawn at a yard’s pace a year.   It’s still all green in the yard, but of a subtler, more subdued hue, with a lot of yellow to the mix, especially in the rampant grapevine stretching from house to garage to outbuildings to trees.   I swear, that stuff is really a strain of kudzu, transported up here on our shoes or tire-treads, covering our landscape like an abandoned homestead in the South---those old silver-gray buildings, bushes, long-chuttered-their-last John Deeres gone to rust---all engulfed in the green tide until the whole landscape is like one of those baby-toys made of soft fabric, with the little farm buildings and trees and fields just gentle lumps on the landscape.

I swear, if the whole Earth fell apart, our little piece of it would be just sitting here, all of a piece, in a monkey-barrel hug by all the grabby-toed ivy on the ground, and tenacious tendrils of grapevine---one big wad like those Come-See balls of  rubber bands advertised on saggy signs along highways the Interstate passed by.

There’s a comfort to the changes of Fall---a settling-in, a tamping-down, as if the energy of all that Spring and Summer growth and activity has smoothed into completion with the changing of the moon.  There’s no more grabbing of towels and sunblock in a rush to head for the pool, or great need to keep the flowerbed weeds at bay, or the nudge to pick whatever’s overgrowing the garden.   That season’s winding down so fast now that I can kindle only a faint wish to go some weekend in search of a pink pumpkin, a gallon of cider, a great bouquet of colourful dried corn and shucks for the porch.

But today’s the long-awaited DAY.  October’s officially here, and the calendar has ticked into FALL.  I just settle in every year, with a little putting out of Orange, or a swag of bright leaves over the door, and the days just fly past.  I find myself three days before Christmas, with so much undone, unmade, unsaid, and wishwishwish it were October again.

And I swear, this year, I’m gonna make the most of it.   Out and about to enjoy the weather and the colours, wonderful scents of something in the oven, lovely pots of soup and stew, pans of fragrant bread and pie.   I vow to use it up, drink it in---rather than wishing it back.


Friday, September 25, 2015




And guess what recipe I found in the long-lost recipe box?

I love you so much I’m DANCIN’!