Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oeufs en Gelée

From his usual spot at the foot of the bed, in the left corner, the cat lifted his head made eye contact with me and blinked twice. I laid my book down (Julia and Julie, turning out to be quite a disappointment after a wonderful movie and a marvelous "My life in France" read) and listened.

A strong wind is blowing in from the west. At first I thought it was my husband, fallen asleep watching the UK-Florida game (as equally disappointing as the Julie/Julia book) stumbling around seeking the bath room in a semi-conscious state. "Joe!" I called out then remembering the last time catching him only moments before he confused the front door with the door to the bathroom, the cat and I rushed to the living room.

He was safely and peacefully sleeping through the trouncing.

I opened the front door and the cat and I stepped outside. A brilliant half moon lit up half the sky, the other half shrouded with the hastening rain clouds. The wind bringing dry brittle leaves to dance at our feet, the weeping willow tree across the street throwing her long arms up in and down, around and around in a frenzied gyration.

The humidity that I have been living with for months and months blown away to the east. Autumn is making her entrance.

The cat refuses to come back in.

I sit down at the computer and write this post and think about Julia Child and the horrible description of aspic and wonder why anyone would want to eat cold jellied chicken when you can have luscious pan fried chicken with white gravy......

The dishes call, the cat remains outside, the book lies on the bed waiting to be taken back up and Joe talks in his sleep.......

Friday, September 25, 2009


The bookcase hugged the whole wall with the aisles holding several more. Ah, the wonderful aroma of old musty books at the Goodwill. I began to touch the spines while quickly reading the titles and moving down the row when my fingers found "Kentucky Hospitality". My interest was piqued and I pulled it down. Pay dirt! A 1976 recipe book, sans cover, but filled with stories about making hooch in the "hills" and Mint Juleps in the parlor. $2.99 - a bargain!

Further down the same bookshelf I found another discarded jewel, the Farm Journal's Country Cooking, 1959 - also sans cover, but at $2.99 I had to have it.

I was distracted by a couple in one of the aisles with a baby nestled in one of those carriers. I smiled as I heard them laughing softly and as I turned to get a better look at the baby my smile froze.

That couple were working together, one pulling books from the shelves and the other hitting them with one of those ISBN scanner guns. The hair on my neck practically stood on end.

My impression is that these are not book lovers seeking treasure, but treasure seekers only. I shuddered and began to quickly scan the books working diligently before they hit that wall.

Christ, I don't know why it aggravated me so. They are only trying to make a living off of true book collectors. Maybe beginning a college fund for the baby. Yet, something is so wrong about that picture!

Later on I picked up a book, The Golden Key, published in 1976 - a reissue from the 1967 first edition with new reproductions of the pictures. It was small and appeared as if it had sat unattended and unread, untouched for a very long time ending up as junk at the Goodwill. The spine was a dingy color, different from the dust jacket. I liked the illustrations and I especially like the words of J.R.R. Tolkien on the inside book jacket. No ISBN. 50 cents. I added it to the small pile in my arms.

When I got home I felt compelled to look up the value of the book on Abe's Books.


I chuckled when I imagined them picking it up and putting it down unexamined because it did not have a visable ISBN.

Suckers! That smile returned to my face.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Just a Chance Encounter

I stand in the corner away from the lights of the displays, my nose in a regional cook book trying to memorize the ingredients to a Peach's & Cream recipe when I look up and lock eyes with him.

He begins to amble towards me, holding out a slip of paper with a single word scrawled on it "Sha kon o hey". He begins speaking to me as if we had just resumed a conversation - "...means blue smoke in the mountains Sha-kon-o-hey, it's Indian. It's how they saw the Smoky mountains. It's a Dolly Parton album and I have been looking and can not seem to find it."

I pulled our special and exclusive Dolly album from the carousel and began to run down the list of songs, "Nope not on this one, you may have to jump on the Internet to find it."

He was at least 75 years old and I was tempted to suggest one of his children or grand kids find it on Amazon. Something about his wispy raspy voice made me lean closer in to him to understand his soft words.

"Where are you from?"

"I'm from central Kentucky. Where are you from?"

"I'm from West Virginia, I have an Uncle who practiced medicine in Lexington, a GYN guy, his son too".

For some reason - I do have this effect on men - he took out his wallet and began to show me photographs. "This was me in 1950", a very good looking young man with an "I know it all" smirk on his face, dressed in a military uniform. "Korea?" I asked, "Yes, both Korea and Viet Nam."

More pictures of a striking young man leaning against a spiffy old car! All in chrome. "I bet you wish you had that car now!" I exclaimed. "It was my Aunt's. Know how much she paid for it? 1800 dollars. People thought she was crazy. But it was loaded with chrome.

"Ever see a tin type?" He pulled out a small two inches by two inches and handed it to me. It had some wear and tear to it, I flipped it over and there was the date, some time around 1850.

"Your Grandparents?" I asked trying to do the math quickly in my head - "Yes, Grad Dad fought in the Civil War. He was in the Calvary. Fought in Gettysburg. Old Jeb Stuart(!!!!!) finally arrived and he brought my Grand father with him. Grandpa was captured and spent the rest of the war in a prison. Treated him real bad, those Yankees didn't feed them much. He got scurry. Got out two days after the war was over. He didn't care too much for Lincoln."

The door to the front area flew open and his wife came in and collected him. I followed him to the door.

"Be on the look out for that album" he said he was lead away.

Wow! You never know what stories reside within people.