Saturday, November 30, 2013

TOMATO ASPIC




Derby Day brought a great air of festivity to the entire week, and though we’ve never participated save having catered some few parties in the past (I trust it did not tarnish my G.R.I.T.S. Girl card that I had to look up the recipe for punchbowls full of juleps) I love reading and hearing about all the celebrations---especially the menus.



The air was scented with whole gardens of mint, and the great bright flocks of unbelievable chapeaux parading out into the Spring air were the opposite of fascinators, though they held a fascination of their own.   Tiny wisps of Seussian whimsy balanced above brows bowed before the bushel-hats of ladies walking like book-on-the-head modeling lessons, and MORE is certainly MORE on Derby day.



Even those architectural marvels are unable to eclipse the silver trays of little sandwiches, biscuits and ham, cheese straws, beautiful desserts garnished with even more of the mint, and of course, Derby Pie.



The one thing I have not seen in this year’s displays of lovely dainties is that familiar red ring of tomato aspic (known only as ASPIC, for recipes for any other kind are few in the South).   And, except for the beauty of the thing, shining on its nest of lettuce leaves, I haven’t missed it.



The flavor and texture of aspic is not one of my favorite delicacies, though in past years, it graced every luncheon which preceded bridge afternoons, Home Demonstration Club and myriad showers.    And for decades, many, many kitchens featured a shining copper ring mold as part of the wall d├ęcor.  



The stuff was cut into neat slices, quivering onto the lettuce with a little shudder.   But THEN there was the time that Mrs. Silverman wanted individual little molds for five tables---twenty chatty, smoking, lunch-devouring women, mostly with their own cooks (and old family recipes).  I could just feel their sharp watch and anticipation of one slip or drippage.



And I never had, until that day, had any misfortune with serving aspic (and wouldn’t have had THAT day, except Miss Katherine Rhodes had two too many sherries, caught that big ole headlight diamond in her ring in the Battenburg luncheon cloth, yanking two plates out of place, and sending nine pieces of silverware crashing onto the hardwood). 



Sousa himself and all his cymbals had not the reounding CLANG which stopped all those ladies in mid-word.



But ON those plates were the ready-to-sit-down-to little pillows of aspic, with their topknots of homemade mayonnaise and the sidesaddle tender yellow celery brush lying languidly against the Limoge.   And we all witnessed a miracle of physics/gravity/ angels that day.  Both plates slid, one almost tipping into the ample lap of Mrs. S. herself, and the other turned a lovely half-gainer in the air, to land neatly on the cushion of aspic in an unoccupied chair, with nary a bruise nor breakage to the heirloom china.



Laughter and applause rang out before the spoons stopped clattering, and I had my plenty-minded mother to thank that there were extras in the kitchen.   I’d been afraid that some of them might not “turn out,” and had made an extra four.



Then the ladies tasted, and marveled again; they did that little tp-tp-tp with their lips, tried another bite, and could not quite put their fingers on the flavor.   I’d made the aspic a new way---with Worchestershire, Tabasco, celery salt, and tomato juice that had been simmered with lemon zest, onion and bell pepper, and then strained. The Knox stirred in, the bowl cooled a bit, then a good measure of vodka stirred in before pouring into the molds. 



The ladies were avidly spooning up globs of solid Bloody Marys.  



Friday, November 29, 2013

BRIGHT DAY

 

It was an odd little gathering yesterday, just the three-of-us-of-the-house, for we’ll have our other Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday, when Sweetpea, et al., can be with us.   We had our Traditional dinner, with the whole preparation taking a mere couple of hours, from cornbread to dressing on the table.

 

We’d planned to eat about three, to give Caro time for a nap after her night’s work, and so I just started about one o’clock, in this surreal slowness, with a leisurely taking out of things, doing one dish at a time---mincing a nice sweet onion, sharing it between a little dish of corn relish with a rice-wine/sugar dressing, and the big dressing bowl.
 
 
I always say that the holidays begin when you put together the Thanksgiving dressing.   There’s something so just itself and so nostalgic about leaning over that big bowl of crumbled cornbread, minced onion and celery, fresh-ground black pepper and a little shake of poultry seasoning or several crumbled curls of sage, and inhaling that unmistakable aroma combination.  
 

 


 

The dressing was just perfect---a little bit crusty on top and bottom, and that thick tender middle layer of chunks of Sam’s roast chicken.  
 



 
 
 

I don’t remember a Thanksgiving EVER without snap beans on the table, so I put on a pot of Kentucky Wonders---a little bag I’d put in the freezer, from one of  Chris’ trips to the coast.   They went in with some onion and bacon, and after they’d cooked to that good slumpy Southern stage, I topped them with cubed Yukons, to steam and get smoothly tender.  

There were not a lot of the beans, but the whole pot, including the potatoes, had that familiar taste of old times, when almost everything we cooked we’d tended from seed to table.
 

 

 

The devilled eggs were a few minutes to make, and Caro had made a pan of wonderful roasted cauliflower on Wednesday.  Note the de rigueur neat pleats in the Ocean Spray.
 
 



This time, we ate upstairs, for Caro has been having a knee problem, and was hesitant to navigate the stairs.   Maybe thirty minutes before everything came out of the oven, Chris set up a little 2x6 table up in the sitting room, and I got out a little yellow cloth and some brown damask napkins.  He’d brought in a gorgeous bouquet of Fall flowers the day before, and they made a stunning arrangement for the big table downstairs, but were too large for our small table.   So, with the ones I’d set aside for having had broken-off heads or too-short stems, I put a few into a little yellow bowl. 

Chris and I took everything up in two trips, for the dressing and the acorn squash were already in the ovens up there.  

It just seemed as if someone else had labored in the kitchen, for we all sat down, fresh and rested, and had a good dinner with conversation ranging from travel plans to TV to what we’re reading, and mainly of all the Dear Ones we wished WERE at that tiny table.   I am convinced that if they’d all been here, that small space would have grown and stretched to hold the hordes, like the Weasley’s tent.
 
I didn't make dessert, for there is already so much candy-preparation going on, but Chris ran downstairs and got a big bag of chocolate-striped popcorn called Black & White.  I told them about the Thanksgiving in the Little House Books when the Ingalls and the Boasts had their dinner, then a whole big dishpan full of buttered popcorn for dessert.  




The preparation was enjoyable, the sunshine glowed bright on us, the unaccustomed setting added to the cheer, the food was good, and the company excellent. And to all of you who know me---really KNOW me:  the kitchen was clean and the dishwasher running within an hour after we left the table.

What a nice memory.  And the prospect of another on Sunday---very great thankfuls.
 


 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS




Would that you could join us at our table, in this season and day of Thanksgiving.   You are all high on my list of  Thankfuls.

 

I wish you bountiful blessings and the warm spirit of fellowship and family through all this Holiday Season, and my heart is with the wanderers and all those far from home.

 

 
 
rachel

Saturday, November 23, 2013

LEAVING

Linking today to PINK SATURDAY.
 
 
 

Luck Leaves.   The bush out back has long been our Luck Bush, ever since our oldest Granddaughter Gracie lived with us.  She’d go out with Ganner, select a nice leaf, and hand it to him through the car window, for Traveling Grace and a safe return.

 

Then it branched out to encompass one and all---visitors, the UPS man, the guy who reads the Gas Meter, and it just became family tradition.  When one of us was going out the door, another one would pick and give a Luck Leaf---about once a month, Chris would clear the little console spot of all its shattery shards, and we’d begin again.

 

 
 
 
The Luck Bush and the Weather Bush.   We’ve had the Weather Bush tradition and name a lot longer, for when it was just a small shrub, Chris would look out the window and gauge the day’s weather---seeing if the bush was wet, or icy, or blowing in a breeze.  And for several years, it was the home of an immense lady spider, dubbed Mistress Octavia, Ogress of the Weather Bush.  She lived way back inside, against the trunk, and I go pay a call now and then.  I could see her peeking out of her great funnel-labyrinth, and when I’d gently jiggle the tip of a limb, she’d come to the door to see what was for dinner.

 

 

Some of the bright trees over in the next neighborhood.   The area is much newer than ours, and not so shady and tree-rich, but the trees give their all to Autumn’s display.

 



And my very favorites---these caught my eye as we passed one of the big cemeteries.   We always drive along the back side, where reside the “above-ground graves” as we used to say in the South.  These stalwart trees, with their glorious burst of Autumn gold, look like eternal flames, or candles in the window.  Lights lit by loved ones, for remembrance and to light the way home.

Friday, November 22, 2013

NOVEMBER FRIDAY


It was a warm, bright November day, and my little boy and I had been out shusssshing our feet in the leaves in the back yard.  We’d just celebrated his birthday, and he was wearing a little denim jacket, his golden hair glinting in the sun, while we just whiled away the time.

 

We went in after a while, and he ate his macaroni and cheese, one elbow at a time, from the steel tray of his high chair, as each warm curl spread a tiny vapor halo around itself on the cool steel. We’d picked or picked up half a dozen or so rosy-turning pears into my upturned shirt-front from the trees out back, and I peeled and cut one into thin slices for his dessert.   It was an ordinary day.

 

I got my bath, got into a “nice” maternity dress for the trip to my once-a-month doctor’s visit, and walked him out to the Big House to his grandmother for the afternoon.

 

She was sitting in the den---unheard of in the daytime with the noon dinner dishes in the sink and food still on the table.  I think I was more astonished at that than at the news to come.

 

“The President’s been shot!” she said, as I put down baby, bag and purse.   I seem to remember sitting on whatever was handy, rapt to the screen and my heart beating fast.  I kept count of the time, for I dared not be late---those were the days when your OB was a Deity to be reckoned with, and you humbly listened and obeyed---and then we had to leave.

 

We heard the final news on the car radio, as we both sat in stunned silence for a long, long time, and that evening, saw the first of many, many re-plays of Walter Cronkite’s tearful words as he was overcome with his dreadful message.

Do you remember? 

  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

EYE-OPENER






This is the morning sight that greeted me one day last week---I’d been hearing good things about these marvelous machines, especially from DD#2 and my friend Jeanne, whose mornings are made exponentially more wonderful by having such a good cuppa right there at the push of a button.

 

We’d had a look a couple of months ago, in the appliance aisle, but passed up this kind for a reliable old percolator, without which we have not faced morning in quite a lot of years.

 

So when I wandered into the kitchen, not too observant, and not even wondering what the frogs would be up to that day, there was this great Star-Trek machine just sitting there, all comfy and making himself at home like family.   I was so surprised that I didn’t even NOTICE the great big box of every flavor-known-to-man, along with several teas and both light and dark chocolate cocoas, as well.


So we made cup after cup---experiments for the scientific good, you understand, as we learned the buttons and lights and which level was meant for which cup.  (Though Chris DID get a little carried away with the Reddi-wip can on his dark chocolate cocoa along about the third morning). 








Sweetpea’s after-school chocolate one rainy afternoon---she loves to place her cup and push the “butten.”   She's allowed a dozen tiny marshmallows, and uses them judiciously throughout the process.

 





Another morning, after he’d already left the house, I wandered in to find this dubious character, (put together by this permanent dubious character I live with, and YES that is a Sweet ‘n’ Low spoon.  And Smarty Pants had to stuff a bit of paper towel in the frog’s mouth to hold the spoon in place---that’s how seriously he takes his SILLY).



The charming sugar-and-creamer set was a gift from our Dearies, Lil and Ben, and are perfect for Autumn mornings, with the jaunty pineapple atop the little woven basket.

 

And how was YOUR morning?

Monday, November 18, 2013

TAKK




Sometimes in an everyday day there comes along a bit of lagniappe, beyond the bright sun down the stairs and the call from a long-ago friend---a charming and beguiling thing which just causes your breath to slow and all the sounds around you to grow still...   


This is one such, a lovely missive which has been somewhere in the world since I was four years old, and which, until now, had hovered unseen and unread, just beyond my vision, like a quiet sunbeam across the rug.    I’m not familiar with the writer, and I cannot wait to delve into her words---I’m afraid if I find her right this minute, I might just dive in like digging a spoon into a whole pie.


I just cannot tell you, so see for yourself.   A Thank You note for a Christmas gift from a friend, written by Sylvia Townsend Warner to Alyse Gregory, in December, 1946.    


Dearest Alyse,

Usually one begins a thank-letter by some graceless comparison, by saying, I have never been given such a very scarlet muffler, or, This is the largest horse I have ever been sent for Christmas. But your matchbox is a nonpareil, for never in my life have I been given a matchbox. Stamps, yes, drawing-pins, yes, balls of string, yes, yes, menacingly too often; but never a matchbox. Now that it has happened I ask myself why it has never happened before. They are such charming things, neat as wrens, and what a deal of ingenuity and human artfulness has gone into their construction; for if they were like the ordinary box with a lid they would not be one half so convenient. This one though is especially neat, charming, and ingenious, and the tray slides in and out as though Chippendale had made it.

But what I like best of all about my matchbox is that it is an empty one. I have often thought how much I should enjoy being given an empty house in Norway, what pleasure it would be to walk into those bare wood-smelling chambers, walls, floor, ceiling, all wood, which is after all the natural shelter of man, or at any rate the most congenial. And when I opened your matchbox which is now my matchbox and saw that beautiful clean sweet-smelling empty rectangular expanse it was exactly as though my house in Norway had come true; with the added advantage of being just the right size to carry in my hand. I shut my imagination up in it instantly, and it is still sitting there, listening to the wind in the firwood outside. Sitting there in a couple of days time I shall hear the Lutheran bell calling me to go and sing Lutheran hymns while the pastor's wife gazes abstractedly at her husband in a bower of evergreen while she wonders if she remembered to put pepper in the goose-stuffing; but I shan't go, I shall be far too happy sitting in my house that Alyse gave me for Christmas.


Oh, I must tell you I have finished my book—begun in 1941 and a hundred times imperilled but finished at last. So I can give an undivided mind to enjoying my matchbox.

(Signed)

P.S. There is still so much to say...carried away by my delight in form and texture I forgot to praise the picture on the back. I have never seen such an agreeable likeness of a hedgehog, and the volcano in the background is magnificent.










Sunday, November 17, 2013

AFTER THE STORMS


Our hearts and prayers are with all those affected by the storms today.  To all those who are mourning the loss of family, friends, home, pets, irreplaceable treasures or livelihoods, I’m thinking of you and wishing you healing and strength, comfort and peace.

Friday, November 15, 2013

TIP OF THE ICEWATER


I don’t eavesdrop.  I have this thing that you’re in a bubble of privacy when you’re out, and it encompasses you and them what come with you in a shell of  diplomatic removal,  not quite aloof, but apart, somehow.   I like my privacy, and I give everybody theirs, unless they’re shouting into cell phones or talking loud to impress bystanders-and-sitters with their importance, or just don’t seem to care WHAT falls into their conversation amongst strangers.    Then I unabashedly listen and think my thoughts, and perhaps whisper a discreet comment to Chris, or store up the scenario for later conjecture.

 

 

On our Anniversary, we sat next to two young thirtyish women who’d been college roommates---one was in town on business, and had met her friend for dinner to catch up on old times. 

 

Joel I’ll-Be-Your-Server-This-Evening was a runner---one of those skip here and there, appear at your shoulder and deftly set down things, anticipate the next need like magic that speaks of dedication to your work.   The ladies didn’t order dinner, but re-ordered bread twice, and he refilled their water a several times.    Couldn’t help but notice, for though they were not exactly IN my lap, they were certainly close as the next diner at any Thanksgiving---well within conversation range with both of us, and could have encompassed Aunt Gertie down by the devilled eggs without talking loud.


 

I mean, it was CLOSE---we were right on the end next to a pillar, and the waiter had swung our table out, making a small diamond of it, with a point toward the banquette, so that Chris could squeeze in.  That maneuver involved turning his back to the ladies, sorta shuffling left til he could bend a little and curve around the corner, now dangerously centered between, and presenting his rump for a moment within inches of their bread-plates and water glasses.

 


Meanwhile, I’m standing in the aisle, trying to avoid a table-point of my own, and squeezed around chair, making way for tray-lifted flitting waiters and lines of diners being led in to the tables beyond.

 

The young women munched and laughed and ordered more water, and “just a little more of that dark bread” extending to several baskets replaced and whisked away for more.   Our waiter was just the nicest young man, giving cheerful and helpful and solicitude in equal measure, trip after trip back and forth. 

 

“This will be my dinner,” one said.  “He and the kids can find something before I get home.”

 

“Mine, too,” the other said.  “I’m just not hungry enough to order anything.   I have to save room for that cheesecake.”

 

Finally came the dessert decision.   They debated the merits and delights of every single item on that big folio, from likes to dislikes to calorie counts to carbs to remember whens, and finally decided on one---a  $6.95 slice of some chocolate thing, with two plates and two forks.   And when it came, they asked the waiter to bring a sharp knife, so they could divide it into two equal slices, explaining for his trouble, “We both like the crust end.”
 
 



When we’d ordered, eaten, had dessert, finished and extricated ourselves from that intricate Jenga of tabletops, they were still chatting over “more of that brown bread.”  

 

Some inquisitive mote in my nature REALLY wanted to see the tip they left for such an evening’s constant munching and entertainment.   But of course, I don’t eavesdrop.   Wouldn’t think of it; we'd all but broken bread together.

 

 


 

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

INDIAN PUDDING

 
Internet Photo.   I DO LOVE the typo.
 

When I signed in early this morning, a title on the sidebar caught my eye with a warm flood of childhood memory.   The “Indian Pudding” immediately captured my imagination with a long-forgotten memory of a day in the Winter-time kitchen.    Even before I clicked to read it, just the words of the title conjured memories lost to the years---of the day I "made" an Indian Pudding.   I suppose I was about eight, already making biscuits and cornbread, and well trusted at the stove.

 

There had been a story in my "reader" about a little pioneer girl who was home one Autumn day whilst her Mama was quilting all day at the settlement house, and reading about her getting out the sack of meal and stirring up the fire in the wood stove---that just captivated me, as the coziest, most comforting  thing to cook on a frosty day.  Little Girl  stirred up the meal and water, and knocked pieces off the hunk of dark  "bought sugar" to season it.

 

And so did I---more authentically than you'd think, for our own box of brown sugar was always solid as a rock, and required several good smacks with my little hammer, and perhaps a whack on the tile floor, before it would let loose and give me enough sugar to use. I’d even been known to resort to taking it with an ice pick out to the concrete steps, and giving it a good punch through the box, hoping that the piece I’d freed might be the right size.

 

 I’m sure my own mother was at Missionary Society or off to get groceries, for I know I was alone in the house, and could feel every moment of the Little Girl’s work and planning and all the scents and stirrings of the age-old dish.   

 

I think I used water, plain cornmeal, a little salt, maybe a bit of oleo, and the little shards of sugar, which FINALLY dissolved as I stirred it in a pot.   After that, I think I could have turned out quite a creditable polenta, but we didn’t hear of that for quite some years yet.   The story had gone on to tell about her going outside and losing her one sewing needle into the grass, I believe, and how she was helped in her search by a young Indian girl, but that may have been a whole ‘nother tale.   You know me---I just remember the cooking.

 

But I quite remember opening the door of that big old white Tappan and gingerly  putting my hand in,  just as she did, even though 300 degrees was right there, as big as you please, on the oven-knob.   That’s what my Mother called a “slow oven” and that’s what was in the book. “Slow”  and “quick” seemed to be the only  two heats they had back in the days of wood stoves, and quite a few of the recipes in our own old cookbooks took it as a given that you’d stoke up the fire or damp it down, depending on what went in and how long you were baking it. (Of course, she MIGHT have baked the thing in the fireplace, and I got two stories mixed up.  No matter).

 

After the baking, it was really pretty, golden and crusted on top, but none of us really cared for it.  Mother and Daddy didn’t know we were having it, and didn’t really appreciate the atmosphere of the thing---all the hardship and hard-won food, with the woodsmoke rising and the cabin close and dim.     And all my romanticizing of the same surroundings and the cozy warmth and the sweet scents of baking in that long-ago place and time did not quite mask the fact that it was just meal and water, soft and mostly uninteresting, with my guesses and measures. 

 

 I took it to our neighbor, whose parents lived with her, and whose requested supper was mush about three nights a week.  They "made over" it as if it were manna, so I was quite pleased.   (And yes, Grandma P. DID add the usual sacchareeen tablet to her helping.  After all, it was “for diabetics” and thus negated all the actual sugar content).

 
Indian Pudding.    What a sweet, warm memory.     Thank you, Jane.  Yours looks scrumptious.

 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CHARACTER REFERENCES



Eleven Twelve Thirteen---a once-in-a-century occurrence---once in a lifetime for most.  

Five years ago today, my very first post went floating out into the vastness that is the THERE of things.   It seems that there should be a little remembrance or plan for commemorating the moment, but nothing comes to mind.


You know I’ve been a reader all my life, with books such a great part of the Who I Am, and though I DO know fiction from fact most days, I’m just posting a list of the folks who, by dint of character or spirit or heroic dedication or plain old good company or sheer brain power---though I think I might not LIKE a few of them, I’d still want on MY SIDE, when I needed them.   They’re all IN IT, Banner and Blade:


Charlie Allnut

Samwise Gamgee

Briene of Tarth

Samwell Tarley, Merry and Pippin 
Ree Dolly
Reacher
Gus and Woodrow

 Mal Reynolds and all the crew of Serenity
Ziva
Tyrion

Quigley--Orrin Sackett--Jesse Stone--Frank Reagan--Thomas Magnum
Poirot
Catniss Everdeen

Lisbeth Salander

Hodor

Ripley
Leon the Professional

Gibbs, Abby, Ducky
Neville Longbottom

Walt, Henry,Vic, Ferg, and {Hector} 
Boo Radley

Alan Shore, Red Reddington, Dembe Zuma, Mr. Kaplan
Ilya Kuryakin Reese and Finch, Shaw, Root, Elias, and Marconi
John Wick   Chuck Norris (and would HE not have made a splendid REACHER, for all 20+ movies, had the time been right)

Eliot, Nate, Parker & Hardison
Jessica Jones  Foggy Nelson
Miss Shambala Green 

Barney, Christmas, Trench, Gunnar 'n' 'em
NCIS, NOLA crew
Boo Radley and Atticus Finch
Tom Joad
Marge the Cop 
Jaqen H'ghar
Opie Winston
Wile E. Coyote
Gunny Bricker
Poirot
J.B. Fletcher
Golly
Raylan Givens (or maybe just his hat)   Boyd Crowder
Jason Bourne
Lady Olenna Tyrell

Penelope Garcia
Dr. Spencer Reid
Andy Dufresne, Red Redding

John Coffey--Paul Edgecombe--Brutal
 Mr. Wolf
 Nero, Jax, Bobby-Elvis, Tig, Chibs, and Miss Venus van Dam


Vincent/Hellboy/Clay Morrow

Ben Matlock/Andy Taylor
Lt. Dan 
Aibilene Clark
Andy Sipowicz

Vergil Tibbs
Louis Litt
Bobby Goren
Cobra Cobretti
Murdoch and Crabtree
Christian Wolff

Inigo Montoya

Menolly

Idgie Threadgoode
Molesley  

Rooster Cogburn
Michael Westen and Fi

Clarice and Hannibal

Mags Bennett

Randall McMurphy

Jack Burton
The Goonies
Joe West

Luke Danes
Jo March

Mammy at Tara

Edgar Roy

Rumpole

Arya

Mozzie

Clete Purcell

Ignatius J. Reilly

Tarzan
The Hound

Peter and Elizabeth Burke-best marriage on TV
Jeeves, though in our last days, we'd hope for the comfort of a Hoke  

Lorelai Gilmore

Frank Drebbin

Elizabeth Bennet

 Anybody played by Lorraine Toussaint, David Morse, Clancy Brown, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Roberts, Jonny Harris,
J. K. Simmons, Summer Glau, Kiefer Sutherland, John Corbett, Grace Zabriskie, Kate Beckinsale, Todd Lowe, Jason Momoa, Walken, Keitel, Spader, Bronson, Wentworth Miller, Jesse L. Martin,  or the two Grand Masters: Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones 

Those four teenage boys, strangers to me, who surrounded me suddenly on a silent Eighties street, emerging from the dimness, walking around me like a phalanx of Palace Guards as I passed barred stores and grim faces in the dark, then melted away when I was safely locked in my car and on my way.




And, of course, the realest “Character” there is.   Chris.

Monday, November 11, 2013

VETERANS' DAY




We proudly salute all our Veterans .

 
Their strength and bravery have stood true for centuries. We feel a surge of gratitude, of pride, of thankful praise for all the ones who take our well-being and our freedom so seriously that they live and die for it, and us.
 
And so I say "Thank you," to each and every one, and give a prayer of thanks for all of our service people, past and present---those standing proud in uniform today, those who have served, no matter what the term, those who have retired from their service, but remain ever soldiers, those lying beneath the brave small flags, and those known only to the angels and remembered in the hearts of those who loved them.



108  years
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

UNEXPECTED DOORS

Diary picked up from the battlefield at Shiloh by a friend's Great-Great-Grandfather, then carried on though his imprisonment at Ft. Warren, for the rest of the War.    Autographed by many fellow prisoners, and still treasured by the family.

Reading other folks’ blogs reminds me every day how my life has been enhanced, my spirits lifted, my experiences swelled in number and in  diversity ,  like rich fabric enhanced by the strange skeins and   colors and stitches of many gifted hands.  Each day my mind and eyes are filled with beautiful and creative and scenic and majestic and precious views of places and things, and especially of people I'll never see save for in my thoughts and imagination.

 


Think of how the whole world looks on---captivated, in awe of a single diary scribed by hands now still, or a little notebook of centuries ago, written in a long-forgotten hand, or even those little notations beneath pictures in those big ole flappy black-paged scrapbooks with the pointy-cornered Kodak moments of times and occasions and folks remembered by fewer as the days go on.

 
 
 
 
 
 

What if THEY had had this magical medium, to send out thoughts at the click of a finger, leaving behind reams instead of close-scripted, blotted pages in one small journal.   An ancestor settling our country, a pioneer matron who trudged with mixed weariness and hope beside those creaking wheels all the way to Oregon, or the folks-left-home awaiting word as the Wars claimed more and more folks away. 

 


 

 

   Imagine our joy at such remembrances of folks we've lost to time, and multiply by the joy we now have in all the people we'd never have met, and probably never will touch, in having such a diary of our own bygone days.   In some ways, it's better than a Transporter.

 

 
 
 
 
Next week marks Five Years since I sent out my first post on here, and there's still an awe and mystery to the sending and the receiving, the cause and the effect.  I'm just thinking about all my blessings today, I think, and you're high on the list, Dear Friends.