Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I had a lovely e-mail this past weekend, from my Dear Cousin Maggie:

Well, as my MewMaw used to say--"this is a fine howdy do".  I've been sitting over here daydreaming-- unable to concentrate much on work.  We've been back and forth to Jackson for several week-ends now helping one of my Treasures (Hubby Fernando’s aunt) move her things from her house in Jackson.  She's been living with the other aunt in Paxton for over a year now and has just recently sold her house in Jackson.

And so I've spent a few week-ends in Paxton staying with the older Treasure (90+ years young) while Hubby helped box and pack things in Jackson.  Paxton is the tiny town where he grew up; where folks still drop by for coffee and sit a spell, where sidewalks lead to the town square with art shops and antiques, a little book store, and a big old Courthouse; where folks still leave a basket of tomatoes on your back porch and bring over peach pies for sharing.   It seems rather like heaven to me---these sidewalks and big front porches---these visits and love shared.  I've never lived in a town that small where everybody knows your name.  I'm sure it must have its downfalls; but, in the meantime, I've dreamed up a life there.

I'm attaching a little daydream of mine---about a Yellow House.

Hope you like the little story.

Love you as many as the sands by the sea

(And attached was a two-page, beautiful story about their life in the Yellow House.   I hope to publish it one day this week).
My reply:

Oh, Sweetpea!!!   That just takes my heart!!  I cannot tell you how sweet and inspiring this is!!!

I just love this story---it is magical and loving and romantic and would appeal to the cooks and the gardeners and anybody who loves a sweet moment in time.   I hope you'll let me print it as is, and let my friends see what a sweetie I'm KIN TO!!!   It's just what I need right now---it's just so hot and dry and ugly outside.

Do think about letting me print this on the blog!!

Love tall and wide,

And in return, on Sunday:

Hi darlin,

So glad you liked my little yellow house story.  Living in the suburbs of a larger city where neighbors never come outside just makes me long for a different life.  I'm not sure I want to grow much older living without folks coming over for the first cup or dropping by a bag of tomatoes and sitting a spell.  It's just too lonesome--this life here.  Of course, Fernando is my very best friend and best I could ever dream or hope for but every time I go to Paxton, I want the sidewalk neighborhood where everybody knows your name.  How was living where you grew up?  Was it the dreams I dream of small town living?

I sent all the little pictures for the story over in separate e-mails.  I am just sooooo challenged when it comes to computer things and didn't know how to send all at the same time.  Well, you know me, I still like the old Underwood typewriter.

Have dough rising on the back porch for tomorrow's bread, and pickle juice boiling for puttin up sweet pickles.  Orange, yellow, and red tomatoes ripening on the back porch also.  It's that busy, busy time of year again.

So good, to hear from you, as always.  

 And, of course, you can use the story.  I'm delighted you liked it.

Do love you as sweet as the gallons of sugar I've put in these pickles.

From me to Maggie on Monday:

I can just SMELL those pickles!!!   That was the sweetest letter (no pun intended), for I could smell the scents and feel the kitchen heat, and just the aura of a loaf rising out on the porch---I cannot imagine a better morning.

That was just the dearest story---I've read and re-read, and when Chris gets home tomorrow, I'll have him get all the pictures sized and put in my album so I can use them on the blog.   You think YOU'RE Underwood---I still have my slate and chalk!

It's 82 today, It's Eighty-Two to-DAY!!   Now you'll be singing the Howdy Doody song to yourself all day.

Sweetpea and her Mama and Daddy picked me up for lunch yesterday, and we went to The Jello Store---a nice cafeteria with long rows of shining, colorful cubes on the salad bar.  We both had RED---mine with peaches in it.   We came out to a spatter of rain---first since June, I think, and it really came down for a while---don't know, but I hope it rained all night.   Haven't been out yet.

I'm looking forward to using your sweet story---I love your writing style and your dear way with words---the love just shines through.    And parts of our e-mails would go beautifully in the post, as well, if you don't mind if I work them in.

much, much sweet love to you all, like bubbles in yeast,


And from Maggie, yesterday:

WHAT A DAY!!!  This has been just an awful day.  I fell asleep on the couch with the ballpoint pen in my head (just carry it around either in the back ponytail or behind the ear all day long) and woke up with the couch just covered in circles and circles of black ink.  And the worst thing is that I haven't had the couch very long.  Everyone said try hairspray and I sprayed and blotted and re-blotted for what seemed like an eternity and the ink just sat there.   

And the raccoon came in the screen porch sometime in the middle of the night and took bites out of my tomatoes sitting out there ripening. When Fernando came downstairs, I was standing at the kitchen sink weeping and told him about my big ole mess and he said it wasn't anything that important.  It was just a thing that could be replaced and please don't cry anymore.  I was still upset and said that so many things had gone wrong already this morning that if the bread on the back porch didn't rise, it would just be the life of me.

 He laughed and said----
"THE BREAD DIDN'T RISE.  HERE SHE LIES."  And that set me off to laughing so hard, the tears fell from sheer laughter.

And the Lord looked down and said, "Isn't it good.  Isn't it very good to be married to someone who acts so Christlike.  So full of grace?"  And I said, "Yes Lord, it is indeed very good."

Well the bread did rise and I'm still alive (ha).  But I do need me a whole day of lying around just reading before I do any more damage.

Do love you so


What an EPITAPH!!!   No wonder you "died" laughing!!


And so, when Chris has a moment to catch his breath from all the catching-up after five days away, will come the Story of the Yellow House, from my Dear, Dear Cousin Maggie.

Photo by finecooking


Chesapeake said...

What a wonderful correspondence. I'm so looking forward to the story.

If I were in the same town as Maggie, I would bury her with tomatoes right now. Sharing the bounty is just part of gardening.

mississippi artist said...

Can't wait for this story. Loved the back and forth e-mails!

sparrowgrass said...


PS--tell Maggie that rubbing alcohol will take the ink out. Lots and lots of rubbing alcohol.

steelersandstartrek said...

Tell Maggie that if she used a Visa or Amex card to buy the sofa and it has not been too long, they will sometimes replace it for FREE. I know The Child had a camera (mine) stolen from a hotel four or five months after I bought it and with proper receipts and wailing and lamenting to the credit card company they covered its replacement.

Now, that aside, it is a charming exchange. I cannot WAIT for the actual yellow house story. Tell! Tell!

Patsy said...

Loved it and sure the yellow house story will be fun. That is just what I did yesterday read a book all day.

Kim Shook said...

One of my favorite forms of fiction is epistolary - letters, emails, journals, etc. They just draw me in. Just naturally nosy, I guess. I'm loving this, Rachel!