Friday, January 22, 2010

Cabin and Kitchen Conversations

I was a real country girl today; spending all day visiting. Mountaintop Mary is planning on helping with the typing of Jack’s manuscripts, so we met at Jack’s house and had such a good time chatting with Jack in his cozy living room. It felt like we had our own little writers’ group going. Jack has thirty or so years of writing: poetry, children’s stories and romances waiting to be published. The first step is getting them all digitized.

I thought digitizing would mean re-typing every manuscript, as I did for Jack’s first book. When I began to scan a story to email to Mary, I was having trouble reading the impressions. Jack’s typewriter ribbon is old, and the words on the page are very light. This glitch made me look for a setting that would darken the copied text. I discovered that I can send his typing directly to a Word document. Now, all I need is help scanning, formatting, and editing to publish Jack’s second book. I just love serendipity.

After leaving Jack’s, Mary and I went up the hill to her house where she served me a delicious lunch of turkey soup with what her husband Don calls stuffing dumplings -- Move over matzo balls! Mary is quite the cook and baker; she even bakes her own bread. Since she doesn’t use her bread machine, she lent it to me. Having homemade bread could be dangerous to our waistlines; I guess we’ll be waddling next time we see our friends in Louisiana.

Mary and Don have been applying their experience in emergency medical care to Richard’s records. We should be able to get the information across to the EMTs after Mary and Don are finished fine tuning Richard’s medical history. How lucky we are that Don was a corpsman in the Navy and Mary was an EMT – and they’re willing to share their expertise with us.

Anita’s almost-ninety-year-old mother Eda had sent me a sweet note asking me to drop by for some of her most marvelous biscotti. I hadn’t made time before the holidays to bring them their yearly gift of roasted pecans, so I packed up the pecans and a jar of jam, and headed to their house. I also brought Anita’s husband Ray some Brunswick stew.

We sat at the kitchen table having a wonderful time talking about how much talent there is on this mountain. Anita makes absolutely beautiful quilts, and her mother does all sorts of needlework, in addition to her daily baking and cooking. All these talents to share, and we’re hidden in the hills. We really need to get artists’ retreats going up here.

Not only did I receive biscotti, Eda also gave me her recipe and an invitation to come back and bake with her. She served me her latest creation, Mexican brownies, and packed some for Richard – along with several grapefruits. With all of Eda’s baking, she uses lots of eggs. I can’t wait to introduce her to Mamie, especially since Eda has never had the opportunity to pick up eggs directly from under a chicken. I don’t think anyone should reach their ninetieth birthday without that experience.

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