Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Saturday, September 26, 2020

I Dreamed the Impossible Dream

Rose Center Theater Courtyard

The last time I saw or heard live music was March 13 at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton. I'd gone to see "The Great Gatsby" right before the pandemic quarantines set in here in Southern California. Though I've had plenty of opportunity to see Broadway play DVDs and listen to jazz, Broadway and classical musical online and through CDs, I hunger for the real thing...seeing and hearing the performers in a theater.

 Rose Center Theater here in Westminster has been a dream come true. After no productions since last winter, a week ago they debuted a live presentation of "The Wiz" in their courtyard, normally reserved for weddings, receptions and other celebratory events. This, indeed, was a celebratory event. Seats were set six feet apart, patrons kept their masks on for the entire hour performance and the performers sang their hearts out. Hand sanitizer was provided and ushers showed us to our seats, depending on where we wanted to sit. We lined up in advance, groups six feet apart. 

 Last night, I went again for "Man of La Mancha." Beautifully and hilariously staged with an appreciative audience giving performers a standing ovation. 

Weekend after next, Rose will be innovative again, with an outdoor movie, "Waiting in the Wings." I intend to go. It's been the answer to my prayers, just a mile from me here, safe from Covid-19 infection possibilities. So I can't chop on popcorn while I watch? It's worth a few sacrifices and I could lose a few pandemic pounds.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Are Angels Still Singing in Scotts Mills?

 

Scotts Mills, September 12, 2019

One of my former journalism students sent me a piece a day ago about those fighting fighting to save Scotts Mills, OR, from the encroaching Beechie Creek fire that had destroyed nearly 200,000 acres in the foothills of Mount Hood. Wildfires surrounded the region, forcing evacuations of the entire town. Wildfires surrounded the region, forcing evacuations of the entire town. 

 I lived in Scotts Mills as a girl. Here's what I wrote about that town that after I finally went back in 2007. I visited a second time two and a half years ago when I went to Oregon for the total solar eclipse.

 And the Angels Sing

For decades I’d planned to return to Scotts Mills. I’d learned something there once, but couldn’t quite recall what it was.  At troubled times, I’d muse and mull, but that will-o’-the-wisp memory flickered just beyond my perception.

At the close of WWII, my family, like many others, fled Los Angeles in the paranoia over potential nuclear submarine attacks.  They headed for Oregon’s Willamette Valley, miles from the Pacific.

For three years we lived in this hamlet of fewer than 200 people, in our two-story Victorian house with a wooden staircase, a root cellar and a barn.  In l948 we scurried back to Los Angeles.  My family bitterly regretted their hiatus from city life.  I hadn’t wanted to leave.

Grandma had grumbled about the dark clouds, fog, and drizzle that cloaked the area.  Tracking the weather on her kitchen calendar, she claimed the sun peeped through the mist only nine days one entire summer.  Daddy, who played cornet in the sweet swing of style of Bunny Berrigan, rounded up a trio to play at local dances, privately grousing about having to include a schmaltzy accordion for keyboards, which didn’t seem quite right on And the Angels Sing, his signature song.

Mama lamented her suburban coffee klatches, and on weekends would bribe my big sister and me into playing Chinese checkers with heavily-sugared cups of her favorite beverage.  Grandpa reveled in growing parsnips and endive and teasing my little brother with garden snakes, but even he muttered about having to drive seven dang miles to Silverton to purchase his Old Crow from the state liquor store.

For me, a curious 8-year-old, Scotts Mills was Wonderland, Oz and NeverNeverLand all rolled into one.  I picked wild iris, blackberries, and crab apples.  I could earn a dime for a comic book by taking Grandma’s shopping list and wicker basket to the general store for items she’d forgotten to buy at the Silverton Safeway.  I could spot what Daddy said was the Andromeda cluster at night, and he promised when winter came we might see the aurora borealis. I could even earn money at the town store's pharmacy by stripping cascara bark from trees along Grandview Street.

I learned something new every day that first summer.  Grandma taught me how to dogpaddle in the dam and to ignore my classmates’ claims of spotting cousins of the Loch Ness monster in its murky waters. Daddy taught me always to wear a long-sleeved flannel shirt on the mornings when it was my turn to carry wood to the box next to the kitchen stove.  Mama taught me to watch for broken glass when I waded in Silver Creek, and some sneaky opening Chinese checker ploys.  Grandpa taught me how to identify poison oak and make vinegar compresses, but only after I came home blistered and weeping.

When school started, I skipped third grade, since my reading scores indicated that I could do fourth grade work. I had missed multiplication and long division, so my teacher, Miss Magee, spent endless after-school hours helping me understand times tables and what to do with remainders. 

The three-room schoolhouse lumped grades three through five together.  Younger and smaller than my classmates, I was shy and nervous.  I sat with grade four in the middle row, where classmates on each side could jeer I sucked my thumb, chewed on the ends of my pigtails, and gnawed my pencils.  They called me Terri Termite until Miss Magee held a pointed discussion on The Golden Rule.  I worshiped Miss Magee, and studied hard so she would be proud of me. 

I learned outside of school, as well.  The town had been founded by Quakers, and just a few blocks downhill from our home on Grandview stood a Friends Church, built in l892.  Every Sunday I would trudge off to Sunday school, intent on earning my first New Testament, offered as a prize for four months of perfect attendance.  I craved the pocket-sized book with the red leatherette covers, so I would set out even on rainy mornings, ignoring Grandma’s predictions that I’d catch a cold or the dreaded flu. 

 In the basement, we would listen to missionaries tell exotic tales of their work in East Africa.  “I’m going to be just like them,” I’d tell my family.  “I’ll see jungles and monkeys and teach children how to read.”  From the missionaries too I had learned how to pray for others, and not just myself.  I prayed that my classmates would grow in grace enough to stop teasing me and other vulnerable children, such as the boy with the hare lip.

 After we returned to Los Angeles, I got caught up with junior high and high school, boyfriends, youth groups at a variety of churches, and not too much later, even marriage and a child of my own.  But the values I learned from Miss McGee and the Friends Church remained with me, perseverance and discipline, compassion and social justice.

Finally, in spring 2007 I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Oregon School Counselors Association annual conference in Bend, Oregon in October.  The slated theme was “Global Vision, Local Action.” I’d been invited to talk about my adventures all over the world with the Peace Corps.  I had not returned to Oregon since l948. When I looked on the map I saw that Scotts Mills was just a few hours drive from the conference center.   I began making plans.

 Idiscovered that the Scotts Mills Friends Church had a website, so I wrote, mentioning how the church and Miss Magee had influenced me.  The webmaster knew the Magee family and put me in touch with the children of Barbara McGee Hays, who had died of cancer in l972.  Soon I had letters from them, saying they would be at the church when I came in October.  

 I drove over early from the motel in Silverton and sat quietly in the rear pew.  The pianist played a few quick practice notes, and I recognized the song.  I reached for the songbook before me, and flipped through to find the old hymn, Be Still My Soul.

 I opened the Bible, and found the verse that had eluded me.  “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.  I smiled.  It was so simple.  I relaxed and the words “center down” popped into my head, the long forgotten but basic premise of the Friends Church.  What I had learned as a child was to clear my mind of chatter so that I could be receptive to a spiritual message. 

 After the minister arrived, he approached me and asked if I were the woman who had contacted the webmaster.  He invited me to say a few words when the time arrived for offerings.  “We don’t always have much money to offer,” he explained, “but we always ask if somebody has something personal to offer.”

 When it came time, I raised my hand and stood.  “Who is this strange lady?” he asked, smiling.  “Not so strange,” I answered.  When I got to the lectern I looked out at the congregation.  “The last time I stood on this stage was Easter, l948,” I began, “nearly sixty years ago.”

 After the service Miss Magee’s grown children chatted with me. Amazingly, my fourth grade teacher’s son had done some international missionary work in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and knew the Peace Corps director who had been there when I had conducted an international workshop on HIV/AIDS prevention there in 2003.  We agreed to remain in touch.

 I toured the town’s museum later that day, and chatted with one of my former classmates who lived across from it.  He remembered how the children teased.  When I learned to center down, I found I no longer needed to chew my pencils.  I hope the boy with the hare lip learned to ignore the taunts.

 As I drove back to Silverton I found myself humming my father’s favorite, And the Angels Sing. 

Bunny Berrigan

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Please, Mr. Postman



When I picked up Neil Postman's 1985 landmark book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, the librarian who brought it out to me at my Westminster CA local library commented that it was classic Sociology 101.

I'd taken Sociology 101 in 1957, decades earlier, when we were still astonished to be learning about white collar crime. I'd read Postman, his books on semantics and childhood, but not this particular book. Now I'm glad I have.

From Wikipedia, here's a brief synopsis of the origins of this work:
"The book's origins lay in a talk Postman gave to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1984. He was participating in a panel on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and the contemporary world. In the introduction to his book, Postman said that the contemporary world was better reflected by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, whose public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement, than by Orwell's work, where they were oppressed by state control."

I thought reading Postman's book would help me to better understand how a failed casino builder and reality television host could ascend to the presidency of the United States. It certainly has.

In the preface, Postman's son, Andrew, asks us to recall 1985 when MTV was in its infanccy. And then think about how fast we have become bombarded with technological diversion that there's little time left for reflection. Rarely do you see a group of young people sitting around and chatting. Instead they hunch over their cell phones texting, swiping or playing games, ignoring those on either side of them.

Because I spent a decade in developing countries, 1987 through 1997, without TV, telephone, or nearby movie complexes, with few available newspapers or current magazines, I continued to rely on books and handwritten letters for information and diversion. It was only when I returned to the States and moved to Arkansas in 1998 that it struck me how much our culture had changed.

Though computers now sat on every desk, we went to each other's offices for discussions. It wasn't long before we began to email one another, though our doorways might be thirty steps apart. Then, by 2005 I learned my stepgrandchildren rarely checked emails...they communicated through their cell phones. A year later Twitter had been created. All this in a twenty-year span since Postman's book first came to public notice.

Chapter 9 of Amusing Ourselves to Death, tellingly is titled, "Reach Out and Elect Someone." In it he discusses how TV commercials have devastated public discourse. "By bringing together in compact form all of the arts of show business...music, drama, imagery, humor, celebrity...the television commercial has mounted the most serious assault on capitalist ideology since the publication of Das Kapital." Postman argues that Americans, even in 1985, had begun to accept political commericals as "a normal and plausible form of discourse."

Even those who aren't crazy about combat sports, such as American football, watch the Super Bowl to see the new commercials.

Now our national elections might hinge on which candidates spend the most dollars on commercials. Huxley had predicted this. Postman had nailed it. And our current White House incumbent is more preoccupied with "ratings" than with rising numbers of deaths in the USA related to Covid-19.

Postman posits that TV "presents information in a form that is simplistic, nonsubstantive, nonhistorical and noncontextual: that is to say, information packaged as entertainment. In America, we are never denied the opportunity to amuse ourselves.

I often see posted on Facebook, Twitter or commentary on news articles, in relation to politics, this message: "Time to grab the popcorn and sit back and watch the show."

"The show." The circus has come to town.

We may well finally have succeeded in amusing ourselves to death.






























Sunday, July 19, 2020

Fevers: Thank You For Being a Friend



I spent yesterday evening social distancing and drinking wine with a friend I've had since the early '80s. We reminisced about some of the places we've visited together and adventures we've shared. When I came back to my apartment I began to remember other friends from the past.

I remembered Arthur Gold's song from the '70s that later became the theme song for "Golden Girls," and even listened to its rollicking rhythms on You Tube. Remember this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voNEgCKzves

Then I recalled a story, "Fevers," I wrote about a decade ago for a book about unsent letters...and how it involved a boy from junior high. Though I usually write nonfiction, this one really is creative nonfiction, since I've fictionalized the name of the friend...but not the incident. I called this story "Fevers." I don't think it ever was published...and I'd forgotten about it until now.


Dear Stephen: 
I wonder if you even remember me, let alone the time we both got into a lot of trouble because of something you did when we were in the seventh grade. Even though it was decades ago, I still remember all the details of that day, and want to thank you for those memories.

We were going to have a test, and I woke up early and pressed a palm to my forehead, wondering if I could convince my mother that I should skip school. I wanted to stay home and sip chicken soup and listen with her to her daytime soaps. That sounded like a lot more fun than taking Miss Warren’s geography quiz.

Does this ring a bell with you now? Do you recall how we’d been studying bodies of water? I’d told you that I was all right so long as we stayed on land. I knew that Montpelier, Vermont, was the nation’s smallest capital, and Pierre, South Dakota, was the second, and that the two cities names didn’t rhyme, even though they looked like they should.

We both knew all the countries and their capitals in South and Central America, and most of those of Africa, so long as they stayed put and didn’t change their names. But there was something about the world’s bodies of water that stymied us both.

We remember how we’d rattle off the names of the oceans and point to them on the classroom globe. But The North Atlantic Drift, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the Indian Ocean Gyre…I’d told you that these seemed more like chants to me. You laughed and said you thought that they didn’t even stay in one place. We agreed that the words had a nice poetic rhythm, but since we couldn’t find them on the map we joked that we weren’t even sure they really existed.

When Miss Warren claimed we all had to become sea savvy to pass seventh grade geography, I whispered to you that I could hardly wait until we moved on to history. You’d nodded and grinned. Is it coming back to you,yet?

 I’d told you that I didn’t understand sea fever. I never longed to go down to the sea because I found it all confusing.

We studied together after school, but it didn’t seem to help. What was the difference between the Gulf Stream and the Gulf of Mexico? I told you that so far as I could tell, one flowed out of the other, but which was which baffled me. And why they were both in the Atlantic Ocean simply didn’t make sense. When my family visited the Baja California coast of Mexico we camped at the Pacific. When I squinted out across the waves, I’d pretend to try to spy the coast of China, not Spain!

I still remember, Stephen, how my mother came into the bedroom and peered down my throat the morning of that quiz. Even as I write the word “peer” I smile, recalling how funny we thought it was that South Dakota capital was pronounced “peer,” not like that Pierre who got eaten by a lion in that Maurice Sendak book. It was our little joke.

 Miss Warren had reassured the class that Pierre was just one syllable as we exchanged puzzled glances. Not a one of us really believed that, but she seemed so sincere that we nodded solemnly and repeated it after her. Peer, South Dakota. “It’s not pee-air,” you had whispered, and we both giggled.

That morning y mom claimed I just had hay fever, and pulled some clothes out of my closet and told me to get dressed. She blamed my sniffles and sneezes on spring pollen. So I went to school.

Right before class you and I met in the hallway and talked about the previous night’s game. We both had Dodger fever and agreed how this might finally be the year we won the pennant.

Then we sat down at our desks, and you winked at me when Miss Warren told us there would be ten questions on the quiz. She said she’d read the clues one at a time, and give us a minute or two to write our answers. She warned us to remember to keep our answers covered and added that though this was the honor system, she wanted to help us all stay honorable.

At first I thought I would be doing all right, scribbling my answers quickly. Polar ice caps, English Channel, Angel Falls, Lake Superior. Finally, there was just one more clue.

Miss Warren said it was about Ponce de Leon discovering something in 1513, and the Spanish ships using it when they sailed between Spain and the coast of Florida.


I decided it had to be one of those gulfs…but couldn’t remember which one, the Gulf Stream or the Gulf of Mexico. I finally wrote down the latter. Then I looked up. You were staring at my paper. I was certain you had copied my answer before I could slap my hand over it. And my answer might be wrong.

We started our reading assignment while Miss Warren corrected the tests. I began to forget about you as I lost myself in the fascinating new chapter about atolls and archipelagoes. They might be in water, but they didn’t move around.

Then Miss Warren called out our names and told us to come out to the hallway with her. She asked us which of us copied the other, and said we were the only two in the room who wrote Gulf of Mexico when it should have been Gulf Stream. She said she didn’t think it was a coincidence that we sat next to one another.

We were dead in the water. I began to consider the possibilities. If I told the truth, that I saw you copying me, our budding friendship would be at an end. And you were the only boy in seventh grade who shared my loyalty to the Dodgers, the only boy I could talk to without stuttering and stammering. Plus you had such a cute smile.

If I lied, and said I had copied you, I’d get an unsatisfactory in conduct and my parents would ground me forever. I made a silent vow that if you told the truth I would name my firstborn child after you. Or if the baby were a girl I’d call it Stephanie.

Just as I started to open my mouth, you jumped in and confessed that you’d copied me. Miss Warren acted really mad that I hadn’t covered my answers and gave us both a stern reminder about how she did not tolerate cheating. You promised never to copy my work or anybody else’s again. I forgave you on the spot for getting us both into trouble.

We both passed geography in the spring of l949. And that fall the Dodgers won the pennant. I want you to know that I’m a woman of my word, and about a decade later I named my firstborn Stephen.
 
A few years ago I went to our high school’s 50th reunion. You weren’t there, but your ex-wife was. I wanted to ask about you and how your life turned out, but I could tell she wasn’t pleased to hear me mention your name.

I still like the sound of your name, though, and think of you more than you’d guess. After all, I named my son after you. Just thought you’d like to know. It was my way of thanking you for telling the truth rather than letting me stay in trouble. And thanking you for being a friend to a shy little girl.

Did you ever suspect back then that I had a crush on you? Or did you think it really was all about the Dodgers?   Love always, Terri
 




















https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voNEgCKzves

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Oh, Beautiful for Spacious Skies...

Thanks to the Good News Network for Sharing This Today:
Today’s Independence Day marks 244 years since the birth of the United States, so in celebration of the holiday, we’ve gathered 21 inspirational quotes on the essence of liberty, freedom, justice, and independence, the principles on which the country was founded:

1. “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” –Samuel Adams
2. “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” –Napoleon Bonaparte 
3.Without freedom I am a slave in shackles on a ship lost at sea. With freedom I am a captain; I am a pirate; I am an admiral; I am a scout; I am the eagle souring overhead; I am the north star guiding a crew; I am the ship itself; I am whatever I choose to be.” ―Richelle E. Goodrich
4. “Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a state of mind – a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of country plays a part, but it’s not merely love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients. Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all. And it’s a recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings.” ―Vera Nazarian
5. “This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” –Lyndon B. Johnson
6. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” –Ronald Regan
7. “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
8. “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” –George Bernard Shaw
9. “May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” –Peter Marshall
10. “The history of free men is never really written by chance, but by choice; their choice!” –President Dwight D. Eisenhower
11. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” –Nelson Mandela.
12. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” –Albert Camus
13. “For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?” –Ralph Waldo Emerson 
14. “I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” –Wendell L. Wilkie
15. “Liberty is a constant battle between government; who would limit it, people; who would concede it, and patriots; who would defend it.” ―Samuel R. Young Jr.
16. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” –Thomas Paine
17. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” –Voltaire
18. “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” –William Faulkner
19. “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.” –John Dickinson
20. “All honor to Jefferson – to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.” –Abraham Lincoln
21. “Listen to me, there is freedom in love. Every day should feel like independence day.” ―Evy Michaels

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Food for Thought, But Nibbles Only


When you're writing flash nonfiction, you don't spend any time on appetizers. My story, "Proof of the Pudding," which appears in this new book, cuts directly to dessert, specifically

Grandma Gertie's famous recipe for apple bread pudding. Enjoy!

Proof of the Pudding

By Terri Elders

My spouse, Ken, spotted the package of banana pudding mix I’d set on the kitchen counter. “No pudding in any guise,” he warned me.

“Oh, I thought I’d mash up these soft bananas and stir them into that mix. You like banana cream pie.”

“Make banana bread instead. I don’t do pudding.”

I added pudding to a list that already included cabbage, sweet potatoes, and deviled eggs. But I regretted Ken’s refusal to taste the down-home dishes Grandma had taught me to cook, the nostalgic nibbles I dearly loved. He even declined fried zucchini.

This was the same man who bragged he’d savored snails in garlic sauce, purchased from a street vendor next to the Eiffel Tower. He’d lamented that he couldn’t find quark, a kind of yogurt cheese he favored when he’d lived in Germany. And Ken never pushed away any kind of fried meat.

A devotee of Miguel de Cervantes, Ken collected Don Quixote paintings and images. He’d complained about his hero’s diet, described in the opening pages of Cervantes’ 17th century Spanish novel as sparse, monotonous and unpalatable.

“If Quixote and I hung out, I’d insist he try a chicken-fried steak,” Ken said. “That would help fatten him up.”

I disliked having to toss out a dish that didn’t please his palate. Ken knew I hated to throw any food away. My years in the Peace Corps had taught me it’s unethical to waste food.

One spring as we weeded the front yard, I’d held aloft a dandelion, lamenting that I couldn’t remember how Grandma had prepared her “mess o’ greens.”

“She wilted the dandelion leaves in bacon grease, and added onion and garlic,” I began, dreamily recalling the delicious aroma. “I think she added a dash of vinegar. Or maybe it was pepper sauce.”

“It would be a mess, all right,” Ken had retorted, yanking the weeds from my hand and tossing them into the wheelbarrow.

I usually went along, but when it came to bread, I balked. I believed that letting bread grow moldy amounted to blasphemy. Bread, Grandma had taught me, was the staff of life. Every crumb had value. Stale loaves could transform them into croutons to sprinkle on French onion soup, or crumbs to pad out meat loaf, or cubes to stir into stewed tomatoes.

One morning I noticed that some of the apples I’d stored in our pantry when they’d ripened on our trees the past autumn had begun to look dehydrated. I also saw we had half a loaf of more-than-a-day-old French bread.

I thumbed through my recipes and found Grandma’s instructions for apple bread pudding.  Aha! Maybe I’d claim it was Brown Betty. Grandma had made that, too, but it didn’t contain milk and eggs. Ken wouldn’t know the difference. After all, in Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes had immortalized the adage, (in one translation, anyway) “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Sometimes Grandma served her bread pudding with a sauce, either vanilla or caramel, but since Ken scrunched up his face at syrupy toppings, I’d garnish it with whipped cream, which he loved.

“Ready for dessert, honey?  I baked something this afternoon.”

Ken favored me with his lopsided smile. “What’s it called?”

I scooped out a couple of servings into custard cups. I had difficulty telling even a little white lie without turning crimson, so I averted my face. I squirted whipped cream, cooking up an evasion.

“Oh, it’s something Grandma used to bake. It’s an old-fashioned dish, like a Brown Betty with apples.”

Ken ate every bite. “It’s paradisaical,” he said. “I’ll take seconds. What’s it called again? How do you make it??”

I bit my lip and handed him Grandma’s recipe card.

“Bread pudding?” Ken sputtered. “I thought you said it was Brown Betty.”

“Hmmm. I must have pulled out the wrong recipe. Still want seconds? It’s a pudding. That you don’t do in any guise.”

Ken grinned and handed me his bowl. “Guess I can’t say that anymore.”

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, I’ve heard. Wait…did Miguel de Cervantes say
that? No…I think it was Grandma.

 This is book will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Woodhall Press. (Temporary delay in publishing because of pandemic.)