Posts tagged Red Dress Club

Memories from Log Cabin Kitchens

 

 

I could smell the fragrance of the thick molasses all the way in the upstairs room my brother and I shared. My grandpa’s molasses making trays and tools were still tucked under the shed, waiting to be washed today before the bugs went crazy.

The lightning storm that had crept up suddenly the night before had almost ruined this years molasses run, be together, our neighbors, my father and brother finished the load.

I don’t think any one who has never gone through the grinding of cane stalks, the shuttling of the sugary fluid through the zig-zag trays, or stood sweating in the August heat should be allowed to savor the incomparable taste of warm biscuits slathered in molasses!

When we were young, our family had a joke. If you asked for ‘lasses, that meant that you were asking for your first serving. If you anted a second service you asked for “molasses!”.

Not many people get to see the metal trays set up for molasses making these days They didn’t see horses turning the machine that grinds the stalks of sugar cane, they don’t watch the paddle moving the molasses along the divided trays above the flames. Indeed the love of molasses has nearly disappeared in some areas.

Oh, go on to thee store, buy a bottle and try to imagine the making of molasses I have described, use the little honey stirring devise to drizzle the molasses on your canned biscuits. I guarantee, you will get a glimpse of the way grandpa make then as you close your eyes and savor the first bite!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Special Place

Red dress 3-31-14

Not far from my son’s high school, sits a mansion, Biltmore House, which was built by George Vanderbilt in the 1880’s. This was during the time when the wealthy seemed to be having a contest to see who could build the largest house. Many were in new York and on Cape Cod.

For some reason, this picture reminded me of the trees lining the way to the front of the house though to  see the beauty of nature leading to a comforting barn rather than a mansion was much more of my taste.DSCN1812

However, I must commend Mr. Vanderbilt and his family for their appreciation of nature, to help in starting Pisgah National Forest and the Forestry Movement as a whole. There are museums and fish hatcheries open to the public along a beautiful stretch of mountain highway, filled with the wonderful rumble of waterfalls, trails lined with wild flowers and nature preserves where we can still see what the beautiful Blue Ridge looked like before the retiree with money filled so many hillsides with their homes.

A line of deciduous trees is particularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves put on their grand show for a few weeks. Often, in spring, wild flowers decorate the area around the trunks, enhancing their beauty.

When I see a photo that reminds me of a location so very different than the red barn and the Biltmore mansion, it makes me realize that, in our hearts, the rich and the poor, the have and have-nots are not all that different in what they find attractive to the eye or soothing to the soul.59100010

I try to appreciate those, like the Vanderbilts, who saved thousands of acres from development (this was before income and property tax days, of course) donating and helping develop these areas that will be kept wild forever. The sound of a bubbling brook, the quiet of a deep green forest, unusual rock formations, accidental encounters with wild animals, all enrich the days of both the young and old.

It is doubtful that money will allow me to fulfill my dream, yet I keep dreaming.
“If I could just let this farmer know that I would not develop his precious farm before the developer comes up waving tons off money to a man who raised a family on $20.00 a week… If, if, if. I will keep trying, a will my children, and who knows, one day there may be a grove of trees and a barn, perhaps an old farm house with my name on it and my heart in it.

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Winter’s Fate

She wiped the tears upon her dress.

“I’ll take no more.” She did confess.

As he stood staring at the sky. He whispered to her, “Darling, why?”

“You leave when autumn’s just begun with furs, and grains and many guns. You stay until the melting snow drives you back home, more crops to grow.”

“I must.” he told her, gun in hand. “to sell our furs and crops again.”

“It does not take four months of cold to travel there and back, I’m told.”She glared at him with angry eyes as clouds approached in autumn’s skies.

“But weather makes the trip back home to dangerous to make alone.” She listened not to his protest, and brushed the dust from her worn dress.

“The children need you, so do I.  I cannot bear to watch one die, the way I did this season past, with no one here to help the rest.”

“I know.” He bowed his ruddy head. “I’ll find some other way instead.”

“John Griffith takes the trail nearby.” She told him through her misty eyes.

“Then I will ask if he will go, with me, through ice and cold and snow.” He walked to her, the children came. They gathered there, out of the rain.

“Tomorrow, I will go to town and look until I hunt him down.” He smiled and drew her near his chest.

She felt the heat of his warm breath, and knew this winter, they would stay, but not alone, sick and afraid.

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Tomorrow May Never Come

Andre sat on the grass at the edge of the field. The last game was almost over and they were tied for the championship. His mother, Shawna, came over and quietly put her arm around him. “It’s ok, baby.” she whispered, “you are playing great!”

Andre got up, threw his baseball glove on the ground and stomped away. Tears rolled down his dark, refined cheeks as he put his hands to his head ad let out a loud, angry roar. His mom knew when to back off, Andre was like that. When he got too upset, the best thing to do was just to leave him alone.

She walked back to the bleachers, waiting for the long game to end.

Sitting in the grass again, Andre tossed a baseball from hand to hand. “Why?” he said to God, himself, maybe no one. “Why John? He was everyone’s friend, a great sport, a talented player.” Taking a deep breath, Andre slammed the ball down, and shouted, “Dammit, he was 15 years old!” Andre didn’t cuss. He took himself very seriously, he had plans, class, he had been raised right.

John had been his best friend. They had played ball together since they were 5 years old. Three weeks ago, the team was in the next to last inning and John had made a terrific double and stole third. When the next boy struck out, John had walked into the dugout and told Andre that he didn’t feel good.

“Just sit this last inning out, John.” Andre had suggested. Nothing happens in right field anyway and we are way ahead.

“I didn’t come to sit.” John smiled and headed out to practice throwing the ball with Andre before the inning started.

Suddenly, a mom on the bleachers touched Shawna’s shoulder and said, “Is something wrong with John?”

Shawna looked out on the field to see John running towards home, his mom running to him. Suddenly, a cloud of dust rose up as John collapsed and fell.

His mother was screaming . “Call 911! Call 911!”

The ambulance took forever. It must have gone to the wrong field, the Fire Department was right above the field. No one seemed to know what to do.

Now it was the championship, without his best friend.

Andre tried to block out John’s big family sitting at the hospital, rocking back and forth, praying, crying, waiting at the hospital, then the a doctor calling them into a private room.

When John’s family came out, holding hands, they were crying, holding hands. “Hes gone.” John’s mom whispered. “Gone.” She was in shock.

Andre looked at the scoreboard as he walked to to home base. He was the last hitter in the tournament. The championship was in his hands. He swallowed the tears that had choked him, took a deep breath and nodded that he was ready.

“This one’s for you, John.” he whispered as the ball sailed over the fence.

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Stranger in the Night

DSCN2196She sat shivering under the thin cape beneath the glow of the gas light, tears trailing down her cheeks. She felt no one cared whether she lived or died, or for that matter, even existed. As she looked around the corner, she saw a well dressed man approaching her. A chill of fear went through her as he approached. He reached down and placed a handful of currency in her tattered glove. “The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight.” he quietly spoke. “What does that mean?” she spoke to herself. She stood up, wiped her tears and realized someone did care. She just wondered who it was.

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A Country Girl Meets the Big City

Arriving on Cecelia’s block had been quite an adventure. Everything looked the same. Rows and rows of tall brown buildings, each apartment with its private fie escape-seemingly the only thing “private” about the north-eastern metropolis. The noise was so uncomfortable, everyone seemed to be in such a rush. Honking horns and sirens filled the background. She had resorted to parking blocks away at a price high enough to buy a good meal in the Carolina’s, where she lived. Why hadn’t she just invited her cousin to her house where she could have at least have experienced a breath of fresh air!

Arriving on Cecelia’s block had been quite an adventure. Everything looked the same. Rows and rows of tall brown buildings, each apartment with its private fie escape-seemingly the only thing “private” about the north-eastern metropolis. The noise was so uncomfortable, everyone seemed to be in such a rush. Honking horns and sirens filled the background. She had resorted to parking blocks away at a price high enough to buy a good meal in the Carolina’s, where she lived. Why hadn’t she just invited her cousin to her house where she could have at least have experienced a breath of fresh air!

She walked quickly into the entryway where four elevators and some vending machines resided. Pushing the button to the fifth floor, she looked cautiously around her, hoping to see nothing that dwelt in this checkerboard city. As the door opened, a man emerged. Just a regular man, she sighed in relief as she went in and he emerged.

She took the note card with her cousins apartment number on it out to refresh her memory. “519” it said, as she began looking from side to side on the hall. At last she found it and breathlessly knocked at the door.

“Sophie!” her cousin said as she opened both the door and her arms. “It’s so good to see you! Welcome to my humble abode.”

“Humble?” thought Sophie, “we’ll see.”

She walked into the apartment and was pleasantly surprised. In contrast to the outdoors, it was surprisingly individualistic. The colors were bright and welcoming. The space, though relatively small, was well arranged and felt roomy. She began to feel better, more at home.

She thought of her home in the mountains, the sound of the trees whooshing in the wind, her dogs barking at squirrels in the woods, the long dirt driveway, the peace and solitude.

“What drew people to a place like this?”She thought. Money? Friends, and education, a boyfriend. She sighed and whispered, “who knows?” to no one.

Cecelia had gone to pour them a cup of coffee. This would be an interesting adventure. Next time, Sophie smiled, she would be inviting Cecelia to her house.

She walked quickly into the entryway where four elevators and some vending machines resided. Pushing the button to the fifth floor, she looked cautiously around her, hoping to see nothing that dwelt in this checkerboard city. As the door opened, a man emerged. Just a regular man, she sighed in relief as she went in and he emerged.

She took the note card with her cousins apartment number on it out to refresh her memory. “519” it said, as she began looking from side to side on the hall. At last she found it and breathlessly knocked at the door.

“Sophie!” her cousin said as she opened both the door and her arms. “It’s so good to see you! Welcome to my humble abode.”

“Humble?” thought Sophie, “we’ll see.”

She walked into the apartment and was pleasantly surprised. In contrast to the outdoors, it was surprisingly individualistic. The colors were bright and welcoming. The space, though relatively small, was well arranged and felt roomy. She began to feel better, more at home.

She thought of her home in the mountains, the sound of the trees whooshing in the wind, her dogs barking at squirrels in the woods, the long dirt driveway, the peace and solitude.

“What drew people to a place like this?”She thought. Money? Friends, and education, a boyfriend. She sighed and whispered, “who knows?” to no one.

Cecelia had gone to pour them a cup of coffee. This would be an interesting adventure. Next time, Sophie smiled, she would be inviting Cecelia to her house.

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An Ocean of Trees

Somewhere in the shadows of his dreams, the young man drifted in and out of the haze. Trees seemed to be every where, he looked around and everything looked the same. Here and there a branch would be different or a limb wold be broken off, but nothing in the real world went on and on without variation!

The, within his dream world, he thought of the ocean, how it went on and on, the waves crashing, the winds pounding, shells sprinkled about. There were a few things that went on and on without variety. But what did it mean? What was the purpose of this dreams.

Within the mist of dreamworld, he recalled what he had been thinking of as he went to sleep. What would I like to be when I am grown, what do I love? He thought of hikes he had been on, the whispers of the forest, the gentle breaks in its continuity. Its peace, the way it drew him back, time after time.

Suddenly, his eyes opened- “An OCEAN of trees!” the forest was like the ocean, simply a different entity. It went on and on, it was tranquil, yet mysterious. Forestry, that’s what it was, he would study forestry! Somewhere in that never ending topic, he would find himself. His eyes softly closed again.

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Victorian Romance

She slipped down the stairway that emerged from the lowest level of the castle. Surely Papa would be busy by now and that lazy idiot guard of his, Hathaway, would likely be in a drunken stupor at his “post”in the cove-like area at the bottom of the stairwell.

Hopefully, Jesop would have had equal luck getting out of his home on the other side of the valley so they could meet up where the bridge crossed the ravine between their families fortresses.

To have to go through this ridiculous, and quite dangerous routine to meet up was beyond pathetic.

After all, she was 17, and would spend the summer in London during “the season” this year, (an obvious excuse to find suitable husbands for the daughters of the well to do in the area). My goodnesss, he was 26, the oldest son of a prominent banker, already working at the bank and being well trusted and trained by his over-protective father.

But, still, this lamplight adventure continued on into its 5th month, ever since the ball held in Sheldon Hall at Christmas, when Isabelle had literally run into Jesop, trying to get away from the party into the carriage house where rumor held it that a much more interesting gathering was being held by the younger set than the prim and proper event having been so meticulously scheduled by their parents.

She had laughed nervously, that cold night as she tripped over her maroon gown heavy made with many layers of cloth and held out stiffly by whalebone settings, sneaking down the last set of stairs to where the guard had already been taken care of. Jesop had heard her attempt to come quietly down the stairs and had waited, in the shadows to see who it was. .

Having liked what he saw, Jesop helped her up and they raced through the courtyard to the carriage house which was already filling with young couples who had gotten the message. “thought the grapevine” that the real party would be held.

Just as Isabelle reached the edge of the bridge, Jesop appeared and whirled her around in delight. “How are you, my love?” He whispered as she reached up and kissed his cheek. “Quite well,” she said breathlessly, looking back to make sure she hadn’t been followed, and watching to make sure that her lamp was not too near her hair or dress.

Jesop held her hand as they returned to the secret room they had discovered not long after meeting, where they could build a small fire in the grate and enjoy each others company for a little while as the moon shown down outside. Most likely it had once been the quarters of a groomsman or such.

Suddenly Jesop turned as the wooden planked door began to open. “Papa!” Isabelle whimpered, as she saw the tall stately Earl Montford walk in. Jesop and Isabelle looked at each other with a look of sheer terror.
“Well,” laughed the earl as he put h
is cane aside and walked towards the fire. I see there will be no need wasting our summer in London “during that horrible ‘season’ society insists upon having, seeing that you have already made a quite suitable choice of companions.”

Isabelle and Jesop looked at each other with sheer relief.
“Yes, Papa. We have.” smiled Isabelle, here heart still pounding.


I assume nothing inappropriate has been going on these past five months,” the Earl laughed.

“You knew?” stuttered Jesop, shivering, even in the light of the warm fire.

Surely you don’t think I became an Earl through my stupidity!” he laughed. “I expect you will be announcing your engagement as soon as possible,” He stated.

Oh, yes, papa, Isabelle said as she hugged her father with relief and delight.”

The warm spring moon was full and bright as Papa followed the young couple back up the moss-covered stairway and into the main house. Though the young couple didn’t see it, papa’s eyes were bright and his smile filled with delight. He remembered well the night his father had caught him with Isabelle’s mother and all the wonderful years that had passed since he was first witness to both his fathers wisdom and love.

She slipped down the stairway that emerged from the lowest level of the castle. Surely Papa would be busy by now and that lazy idiot guard of his, Hathaway, would likely be in a drunken stupor at his “post”in the cove-like area at the bottom of the stairwell.

Hopefully, Jesop would have had equal luck getting out of his home on the other side of the valley so they could meet up where the bridge crossed the ravine between their families fortresses.

To have to go through this ridiculous, and quite dangerous routine to meet up was beyond pathetic.

After all, she was 17, and would spend the summer in London during “the season” this year, (an obvious excuse to find suitable husbands for the daughters of the well to do in the area). My goodnesss, he was 26, the oldest son of a prominent banker, already working at the bank and being well trusted and trained by his over-protective father.

But, still, this lamplight adventure continued on into its 5th month, ever since the ball held in Sheldon Hall at Christmas, when Isabelle had literally run into Jesop, trying to get away from the party into the carriage house where rumor held it that a much more interesting gathering was being held by the younger set than the prim and proper event having been so meticulously scheduled by their parents.

She had laughed nervously, that cold night as she tripped over her maroon gown heavy made with many layers of cloth and held out stiffly by whalebone settings, sneaking down the last set of stairs to where the guard had already been taken care of. Jesop had heard her attempt to come quietly down the stairs and had waited, in the shadows to see who it was. .

Having liked what he saw, Jesop helped her up and they raced through the courtyard to the carriage house which was already filling with young couples who had gotten the message. “thought the grapevine” that the real party would be held.

Just as Isabelle reached the edge of the bridge, Jesop appeared and whirled her around in delight. “How are you, my love?” He whispered as she reached up and kissed his cheek. “Quite well,” she said breathlessly, looking back to make sure she hadn’t been followed, and watching to make sure that her lamp was not too near her hair or dress.

Jesop held her hand as they returned to the secret room they had discovered not long after meeting, where they could build a small fire in the grate and enjoy each others company for a little while as the moon shown down outside. Most likely it had once been the quarters of a groomsman or such.

Suddenly Jesop turned as the wooden planked door began to open. “Papa!” Isabelle whimpered, as she saw the tall stately Earl Montford walk in. Jesop and Isabelle looked at each other with a look of sheer terror.
“Well,” laughed the earl as he put h
is cane aside and walked towards the fire. I see there will be no need wasting our summer in London “during that horrible ‘season’ society insists upon having, seeing that you have already made a quite suitable choice of companions.”

Isabelle and Jesop looked at each other with sheer relief.
“Yes, Papa. We have.” smiled Isabelle, here heart still pounding.


I assume nothing inappropriate has been going on these past five months,” the Earl laughed.

“You knew?” stuttered Jesop, shivering, even in the light of the warm fire.

Surely you don’t think I became an Earl through my stupidity!” he laughed. “I expect you will be announcing your engagement as soon as possible,” He stated.

Oh, yes, papa, Isabelle said as she hugged her father with relief and delight.”

The warm spring moon was full and bright as Papa followed the young couple back up the moss-covered stairway and into the main house. Though the young couple didn’t see it, papa’s eyes were bright and his smile filled with delight. He remembered well the night his father had caught him with Isabelle’s mother and all the wonderful years that had passed since he was first witness to both his fathers wisdom and love.

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A Child no More

Suddenly, I must look at this person I gave birth to, love,  nurtured in a completely different perspective.

One day, my child is playing in the sand, rolling cars or dressing baby dolls. Without realizing how time has rushed by, I realize I am now looking at a person that I may have given birth to, but has become a unique person of their own making

You, wrapped in a soft blanket,
tiny, tight fist, ready to fight this evil world.
I hold you to my waiting breast
as you unfurl your fist and
hungrily taste life for the first time.

My whispered words to you
as I gazed onto your face
for the very first time-
Hello, little lady, or
There’s my young man.

Now, racing through my mind
come priceless memories,
first smile, first words, first step.
So many new pages
fill your book each day,

Always hoping the story never ends.
I see you growing,
Instars in a journey
that will take you to places
I have never been.

You dance and change
so quickly I can’t keep up,
More amazing with every step.
I see you as a chrysalis,
wanting to soar.

I close my eyes tightly,
Life’s pages ripple by.
I’m afraid to let you go,
Will you stay near,
Will you be here at all?

I watch silently, in awe
with aging, tight fist
as each of you ascends
into your own unique
and always perfect butterfly.

A tear rolls down my cheek,
soft blanket in my arms.
I can no longer hold you,
in those arms, but always
in my heart, my soul, my dreams.

Whether you fly
off into the heavens
or stay near  me
on this earth,
You are, and always will be

The best of me that I could give.

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