Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feasting With Friends, Florida Style

Before we celebrated US style Thanksgiving in Florida (the Spaniards celebrated Thanksgiving at St. Augustine long before those latecomer Pilgrims set foot aboard ship) we had cane grinding in the autumn to share the work and feast with friends:


     As the shadows lengthened, the men began gathering around the tables like wasps drawn to sweet fruit, cozying up to their women, and trying to talk them out of some of the food before the feast officially began. Ma Ivey ruled her dirt yard like an empress and wasn't above slapping a reaching hand with a wooden spoon when they drew too close. Finally though, the last of the cane was put through the mill and the syrup cooked down, and as the night sky filled with stars the feast began to a chorus of tree frogs and crickets serenading the workers. They lined up before the platters of roast pig and venison, quails, turkey, and doves. Even a possum or two joined the potatoes in the smoldering coals.
     There was fish stew and slow-cooked turtle, gator tail and fresh bass, and plenty of home-brewed ale and scuppernong wine to wash it down. The ever present corn was there, too, as meal, mush, bread, pone, grits, and "roasenears," cooked in the hot coals. Julia grinned to herself. There would be plenty of cobs for the privies after tonight's feast.
     The children and old folks were served first, then the men, then the women took for themselves, the fires from the pits and fat pine torches lighting up the yard. By the time Julia had her plate filled--and Rand had gotten his second serving--the men were rosining their fiddle bows and bringing out the banjos and whistles.
Rand made room for Julia to sit beside him, and held up an object in his hand.
     "Look, darlin', I got the wishbone!"
     "And that means...what?"
     "It means you and me got to make a wish."
     He showed her how to grasp the bone, and warned her it would take some strength to make it snap since it hadn't dried out yet.
     "So give it a good tug, and make a wish."

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving, with plenty of feasting with family and friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I have often heard other writers say that thinking about writing is not writing, researching is not writing, complaining about how your book is progressing is not writing.  Only writing is writing.

Having said that, I freely admit that with the visit of my best friend (all the way from Australia!), Thanksgiving, and a family friend's son's wedding coming up, I'm not writing much this week.

I am doing some thinking about writing my next book, researching the next book, and trying not to complain that I need to get started on my next book so I can talk about its progress.

Once Thanksgiving and the weekend is behind us, I will be doing some writing.  I've done enough research to this point that I feel like I can gather my notes and get cranking.  In the meantime, if I don't get back to this blog sooner, have a lovely Thankgiving with plenty of good food and good times.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taken in Madison, Wisconsin during Veteran's D...Image via WikipediaToday is Veteran's Day, and Armistice Day.  I want to thank the men in my family who served, and fought, at Pearl Harbor, in the South Pacific, in Viet Nam.  I want to thank the ones who were in the Air Force, the Army National Guard, the Naval Reserves.  I want to thank the young man next door who baby-sat my boys, and when he was grown enlisted in the Marines and served in Iraq.  I tell my now-grown sons, "When your kids whine, say, 'You think you have it tough?  My babysitter was a Marine!'."

So thank you, all of you who fight and serve for our country.  Our job now is to fight for you and ensure you get the benefits and help that are your due.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

“I am not sure I should have to always do what you tell me to do, or not to do, Dr. Murray. I know you are a natural philosopher and learned, but in America they let men vote equally, the stupid ones as well as the clever. Not that I am stupid, I am just not as learned as you are. While we are here on this island, just the two of us, we should be voting as equals, don’t you think?”

He looked at her in astonishment, setting down the gourd.

“I am amazed, Miss Farnham, that a properly brought up Englishwoman would take the riff-raff in America as her model for appropriate behavior."

--Castaway Dreams, Darlene Marshall (WIP)

Be like Daphne.  Do the American thing and vote today.