The Cow Parade

The show continues some two months after my last post. We’re here, finally here just outside our small town off our farm to market road Rick calls Buckhorn Boulevard. This week a huge snapping turtle has joined me for coffee. One day he walked up to the back porch, made his way closely around the perimeter of the house finding the taller grass Rick had not edged yet, and this morning he came back again making his way to who knows where — towards the back pond? He has a ways to go if his GPS leads him to another watering hole, nevertheless I have noticed he makes remarkable progress walking the width of the yard. I think he just may find the back pond.

We too, are making progress. What an adventure unpacking, cleaning cupboards, finding a new home for the things we want to keep. Even after the move we are boxing up loads of stuff we realize we don’t need here. Once here, it’s so much easier to part with it. I find it no problem here taking photos out of frames, putting the images from long ago in a suitable album to place them in; the frames are being stowed in a box marked Yard Sale. I tie an orange plastic ribbon around the boxes so Rick knows they go back to the garage for the country Yard Sale.

In the afternoon I watch a mockingbird gather sticks for a nest she is building. One twig is a tad long and she awkwardly flutters into the branches of the oak above her. I see a twig fall from the branches down to the ground. She returns to retrieve it and tries again. hmmmm…I don’t see it fall out of the tree again. Success.

Rick and I are finding the perfect space for my treasures. Remember Nooks and Crannies I Shall Miss? Sometimes we place and or hang things, then we find a better place. Don Crowley’s Morning Fire occupies the perfect wall in the great room. Michael Atkinson’s Emerald Lake with its aspen trees and river canyon find a place over the guest bed. The storytellers and singing mothers occupy a shelf by the fireplace. We are making this place our own.

In the evening between 6:00 and 6:30 like clockwork two bunnies come out to play. I see them while working at my desktop from my hexagonal table nestled in the corner of our bedroom with a window to the East and a window to the South. I run out carefully to the back porch to snap some photos picking up Rick’s camera as it zooms in so much better than mine.

Rick goes into town daily it seems to pick up plumbing supplies, crushed granite for the stone walkway he’s laying, the necessary screw or bolt to put things back together. One day we went to another town nearby to scope out Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply and the local creamery. We have discovered the local Mexican restaurant. They tell us they have been there for eight years. How can it be we thought they were the “new” restaurant in town?

Our dear friends from another state, drove down in their motor home after celebrating her mother’s 103rd birthday. What a great day we spent together in completely different surroundings from the city house. They left seeing our vision. My mother, brother and SIL come to visit. They comment on our progress and are satisfied Georgette and Rick are doing fine. In fact they’re doing more than fine. In spite of all the work, in spite of the fact the clay pipes have collapsed and require trenching to replace the old, in spite of the fact the kitchen sink was clogged, in spite of the fact the roof leaks, they see our vision. They now share our vision. First order of business, a new roof; then, the pipes must be excavated. Then a new water heater and water softener must be replaced. The kitchen needs attention, too.

The cows come up from the back pastures in the early evening. Sometimes they take a path around the west fence, sometimes they take the one over the south and east fence.

I love that our days are marked by the snapping turtle, the mockingbird, the bunnies and the cows.

It’s all an adventure. City parades usually occur in the morning; ours continues all day long. It is hard work, and we sleep soundly at the end of the day.

The cow parade, July 2014

The cow parade, July 2014



Well, it’s time for real life to take center stage and for me to step back from the blogosphere. I have to go away for a while. Sniff! It’s time to say good-bye to our wonderful house that we have lived in for the same number of years that Daughter 2 is old. It looks like the house is SOLD. At least that’s what the sign in the front yard says. Sniff, sniff.

I have loved blogging this past spring. A trip to VA. Returning to Washington DC. Meeting up with a blogging friend. My sister’s engagement. Participating in Rubbish Tuesday and Good Fences on Thursdays has been delightful. Thank you, Roan and TexWis. I can’t tell you how much these two memes have helped this mind and soul prepare to make this transition. I look forward to the familiarity of returning to our blogging community asap as Rick and I ease into the “new” of the country.

Funny how things work out. This is the best possible time to move. Those of you who follow me know I usually go away during the month of June. We’ve had other offers on the house but this one, the best one came NOW! I have to look up and whisper a prayer of “Thank you!” And I’m reminded this is not just about me, but the best timing for the buyers, my husband, grandson, and both daughters who will be helping over Memorial Day weekend when both share a birthday. We’ll all be together to say good-bye and share our birthdays together (grandson’s is in June as is mine) one more time here. I’m in awe how HIS timing has come into play.

This move reminds me that my chair has another feature…it rolls. It’s something I haven’t thought about much until now. But it’s time to pack up and roll away to a new location. I hope to be back in July.

PS The sign above was made by my husband two years ago this month for a church dinner theater performance. You are welcome to use it as needed if/when you have to go away to take care of non-blogging affairs. That way we won’t worry, just know you’ve stepped onto another stage for a while.

This was my walk to classes at the Sorbonne back in the day. I lived on the Ile de Saint Louis en L’Isle and walked behind Notre Dame over the Bridge l’Archevêché. So with interest I have noticed a story develop about this bridge and others.

Lovers, couples, tourists and romantics love them.

For some crazy in love romantics who travel to Paris, their destination is a bridge, where they attach a “permanent” memento of their forever love. They attach a lock with their names inscribed on it and then throw away the key into the river below. It’s a symbolic act representing they are forever locked in love. You can read about it here.

However there are those who are not so enamored by the idea considering it an insane idea that jeopardizes the architectural integrity of the bridge bearing tons of these metal locks. Others consider it a rusty blight on their city. They present a danger to boats of tourists below as lovesick romantics throw keys from the bridge to the flowing waters, a lock falls down or worse yet the grille to which these are attached should fall off and strike someone below.

The Pont de l'Archevêché is one site of the Lover's locks.  It connects the Cité where Notre Dame is located to the left bank.   Photo credit: Jan

The Pont de l’Archevêché is one site of the Lover’s locks. It connects the Cité where Notre Dame is located to the left bank. Photo credit: Jan

Link up with Roan

Linking up with Roan.

Here’s an encore of the Heritage Lilies. There were just a couple or three blooms last week and then they multiplied from one week to the next. They attracted the bees, too.

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I believe I can say with certainty now these are lilies. I thought perhaps they may be amaryllis belladonna. One reason I thought they could just be belladonna is that amaryllis belladonna originally from South Africa, thrive along the Gulf Coast where we live. But after surfing the internet and asking around, it appears they are lilies. This link helped me reach a conclusion to my question “What is the difference between amaryllis and lilies?

Thank you, Roan for hosting this meme.

On mangoes

a mango?
It’s smooth skin is
like no other for
me. Peeling it away
I smell its rich delicious
fragrance. Poking the long pronged tine
into its base, it grabs the firm seed.
Juicy and like sucking a paleta*
as a child, I remember Mexico.
The smell of tortillas fill the streets.
“Chicle” boys sell their chewing gum.
Recuerdo de donde vine.**
Striking a deal with a
vendor I don the
embroidered top.
Lupe’s soup.

**I remember where I came from.

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For “Rubbish Tuesday 2” I wrote an etheree with 10 lines. Since then I created another one starting with one syllable and increasing one syllable per line until I had written ten syllables in the tenth line. Then I repeated the process in reverse, writing ten syllables and decreasing one syllable per line to only one in the last verse = twenty lines total. Thank you to shoreacres for continued inspiration.


Our property’s proper address is on an FM road…farm to market road. They’re paved. Then there are the county roads which are simply dirt roads. Here are a couple of entrances to some county road properties.

Down the road from our property

A good gate and fence, cactus, a wagon wheel and a saddle down the road from our property.

Tex mail

Tex mail

Link up with Roan

Link up with Roan

Near the burn pile, behind the garage, and under an old broken pecan tree there lies the remains of the foundation of a house from long ago. These white heritage lilies bloom every year along the edge of that foundation and stay around as long as the cows in the pasture will let them. Our neighbor across the road says these bulbs are a hundred years old or more.

They say your heart is as big as your fist.

I asked my husband, “How big are the bulbs of these lilies?”

He put up his two fists. They’re Texas-sized for sure.

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It is spring again and different from other springs.

I love better to count time from spring to spring; it seems to me far more cheerful to reckon the year by blossoms …” Donald G. Mitchell author of Reveries of a Bachelor, 1850 and Dream Life, a Fable of the Seasons 1851. Reveries of a Bachelor was one of poet Emily Dickinson’s favorite books. (Wikipedia)

I knew something was up when she e-mailed me the photos of cherry blossoms taken from Steve’s camera.

Beautiful cherry blossoms from Steve.

Beautiful cherry blossoms compliments of Steve.

cherry blossoms 2
"Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, ..." D.H. Lawrence

“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, …” D.H. Lawrence

Then she posted a photo of these toes. I must go on record as her older sister of having introduced her to a professional pedicure back in the summer of 2000 to be exact. But no, I never got toes like these.

Yes, something was definitely going on this spring.

Yes, something was definitely going on this spring.

Then she posted photos of them bike riding around Tighman Island. It’s on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake in MD.

At the end of that weekend I heard the news from my mother through a phone call. “They’re engaged!” she happily announced.

Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be.  ~Robert Browning

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~Robert Browning

Whatever the occasion, Mom is there. This weekend she’s with my younger brother and sister-in-law at their youngest son’s college graduation in New Orleans. Best wishes to my sister, Happy Graduation to nephew and the parents, and Happy Mother’s Day to my mother who is always there. She never misses an event.

Who will be the new addition to our family? Remember Steve from “The Facebook Song?”
My thoughts are with my cousins David, Jon, Michael, Ann Deborah, Liz and Tina who lost their mom last November and Dee, Steve, Kate and Carolyn Ann who lost their mom in February.


As I sit on the lawn chair in the driveway watching grandson make his laps in circles, I look at our neighbor’s fence and think how much I will miss it and them when we move. The honeysuckle softens the rugged top edge and softens the wood. The vines sweep down in lovely lines.
They are good neighbors, the honey suckle and them. They opened their door wide open when daughter forgot her key to get into the house. They have listened to our darting in and out, our four cars parked in the driveway, and their bedroom window faces it! Such good neighbors. They were there when grandson was born, when daughter was married and Rick had a milestone birthday. They have been there across the years watching over the house when we were out of town and vice versa. You know. Good neighbors who have shared their honeysuckle with us.






Yes, Robert Frost says it very well in his “Mending Wall.” Thank you, Theresa for hosting us again, today.

Link up with Roan

Link up with Roan

Thank you to Roan for hosting this meme. So much good rubbish out there and what a great way to share it in all its glory.

We can text...or ring the bell.

We can text…or ring the bell.

An invitation

one toll
it signals
lunch is ready.
The neighbors may hear
and happen to drop by.
Good thing the cookie jar’s full
and there’s a pie in the oven.
“Beverly, please come share some tea with
us when you hear the bell ring. Bring James, too.”

This is an etheree. It consists of 10 lines with a syllable count matching the line number: line 1 = 1 syllable, line 2 = 2 syllables, etc. to ten. You can reverse the order 10, 9, 8…1, or go 1 to 10 then reverse the order 10-1 creating 20 lines. Have fun!

PS to last week’s post. Notice the color of the porch post. I may just leave the milk can “as is” but give it a good washing with a hose and sponge.

Just last week, I posted about observing bees on the bush by my porch swing in our back yard.

Then this weekend Rick and I attended another delightful choral concert “The B’s of Spring” by the Houston Choral Society last night. The evening started with a lecture on bees presented by the director of Houston’s Museum of Natural Sciences Cockrell Butterfly Center. Not only did we learn about the many varieties of bees, we learned some interesting facts:

*Bees pollinate 80% of 250,000 species of flowers.
*Pollination is how plants make more of themselves — plant sex if you will.
*Without bees there would be no fruits and certain varieties of vegetables.
*Bees can see more colors on the color spectrum than we can. In fact, it’s the color of flowers that attracts the bees to flowers.
*There are many varieties of bees: Mason bees, Leafcutter bees, Mining bees, Bumble bees, Carpenter bees, Orchid bees, Honey bees, etc. Not all bees make honey.

Although the concert foyer didn’t have live hives (thank goodness), the concert did present an array of B’s. Bach, Beethoven, Britten and Bernstein! And, there were the voices of the Houston Choral Society, a thirty piece orchestra accompanying, a grand pipe organ and organist, and a concert pianist who played the grand piano.

Here’s another fascinating fact about bees. One pound of honey equals the lifetime work of over 750 bees. One honey bee makes 1/12 teaspoon in its lifetime. When you consider the following musicians and composers, choral singers, instruments, directors, financial sponsors and members of an appreciative audience, I’d say our Houston Choral Society had something to buzzz about on Saturday night. [I've written about another one of their concerts here. We come because our friends Bob and Linda invite us to listen to her as she participates in the HCS and we love the music. It's a great night out for Rick and me.]

Presented by the Houston Choral Society.

Presented by the Houston Choral Society.

The composer of the first piece, Nikola Korsakov, does not have a name that begins with “B” but his “Flight of the Bumblebee” certainly qualified for fitting into the theme.
Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543” by J. S. Bach was played on the huge pipe organ of the sanctuary where we attended. It was a vigorous and physical piece with the organist playing the keys and pedals.
The evening continued with “Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30” by Benjamin Britten,
“Chichester Psalms”, Movement 1 by Leonard Bernstein and
Fantasy in C Minor, Op. 80” by Beethoven.

Monday, is Cinco de Mayo and it occurs to me there is another “B” this first week of May. Joe Baca, California representative, reminds us of the following:

“Every year thousands of Americans mistakenly refer to Cinco de Mayo as Mexico’s Independence Day.”

“Cinco de Mayo has come to represent a celebration of the contributions that Mexican Americans and all Hispanics have made to America.”

What is Cinco de Mayo if it is not Mexico’s Independence Day? It represents the upholding of the Monroe Doctrine in 1862 when 4,000 Mexicans won the battle of Puebla against the 14,000 troops of Napoleon III.

In its diplomatic language, the Monroe Doctrine states “The occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

Plain and simple, the Mexican people won a victorious battle over the French and delivered the message they could not be colonized, controlled or taken over by a European power. Mexican Independence Day is September 16.


These are some fences from Balboa Island, CA. Our daughter lived near there for five years and took us there several times. Loved the ferry ride! She also, took me to Disneyland about a year ago, thus the header.

Sweet picket fence.
Sweet picket fence

Bamboo fence in a garden.

I’ll miss visiting out there, but am so glad she’s back home in TX near us.

Link up with Roan

Link up with Roan

I know I can restore this. Sandpaper, a steel brush, some krylon, craft paint, thin brushes and the motif from a photo. Stay tuned.

I'm visualizing it newer.

I’m visualizing it newer.

Thank you for hosting, Roan.

I’m packing boxes, lots of them for this move so we’re ready to leave when it happens. I look at those encyclopedias. What to do with them? Do they go or stay? Rick and I boxed them up and he persuaded me to say good-bye. Good-bye to the World Book Encyclopedia and good-bye to the Funk and Wagnalls.

As I take a break from packing, I sit on the porch swing next to the blooming bush, and I watch the bees, wasps and flies feast on the tiny white flowers. It occurs to me that asking the question in my title is like asking these winged insects, “How many blooms are you going to light on?”

How many blooms will he visit?

How many blooms will he visit?

Busy little guy.

Busy little guy.

He was all over the bush.

He was all over the bush.


I remember the saleswoman came to our house selling the World Book Encyclopedia.

“If you choose the blue set, it stains,” she informed us.

I looked at the lovely white and red sets that didn’t stain and thought they looked quite handsome. But I knew it was my parents’ decision and not mine.

Of course, my parents chose the blue set. I don’t recall protesting, although it was a mystery to me, why they did choose the cloth bound, prone- to-staining set. At age ten I could see the red or white set just looked nicer. Only when I became a parent and investigated purchasing a set, I realized the blue set was cheaper less expensive. That was an ah-ha moment. As much as I thought everyone had an encyclopedia and should have one in their home, it occurred to me having one was a luxury.

Still you can’t put a price on knowledge. Knowledge is knowledge. Whether you had the Encyclopedia Britannica (maroon), Americana (navy blue), or the World Book (blue that stains, or handsome red or white), the World Book opened a “world” to me.

When Mother downsized, she passed the blue volumes on to us (unstained) and the World Book white annuals that updated years of worldly progress. (What? They didn’t come in blue to match our set? Another mystery to me that I had to get over.) Still, I was happy to receive such a family treasure and show our girls in a tangible way the pursuit of knowledge and nurturing curiosity would be encouraged in our home. I made it a game. What volume did you last pull off the shelf? Which volume is the largest? Which ones are the smallest? What is our state flower? You can look it up.

I spent many a “boring” summer afternoon in my dad’s study where the World Book encyclopedia beckoned to me. I chose volume “A”, a hefty volume and a”C, S” were other hefty volumes whose pages I turned forward and backward, or from the middle. Then, I became curious about “I-J”, two volumes in one. “What did they hold?” “J” revealed to me jewels and jewelry complete with photos. “A” taught me more about Alaska where my mother’s mother was living. “S” saved me when I remembered I had a major science project due the next day over a natural element. As far as I had gotten, due to my mother’s diligence, was to write to a company in Texas City about their sulfur plant and they sent me a gen-u-ine piece of sulfur. That was cool! Kudos to me (and my mother) for having written that company, and they had sent me a rock and information. So one day before the project was due, I knew sulfur was the topic of my science report. I survived the ordeal that ended past midnight for a fifth grader because of Volume “S” of our World Book.

Recently, I have written about Lady Bird’s china. The World Book imparted a curiosity in me about all things presidential, the presidents and the first ladies. I gave a cursory glance at the portraits of our presidents, but it was the first lady sections I devoured. I remember reading about Dolly Madison and finding the University of Madrid after James Madison’s entry. “Uncle Tony, Aunt J and cousins live in Madrid,” I distinctly remember thinking. French names like Rodin and Ronsard came before both Roosevelts, FDR and Theodore. The African country Batswana appeared on the left page and another Frenchman, Baudelaire on the right. Such quirky juxtapositions, and to this day I remember the oddest things. Years later French became my minor. I learned Teddy Roosevelt suffered from asthma as did my brother and I worried less about him knowing our former president as a young man survived quite admirably. The World Book explained to me what a rosary was. Read about Lupe here. The connections were endless.

The World Book held the promise of learning everything. It was there A-Z, 36 inches + on our bookshelf, all the world’s knowledge complete in our young view. It’s cousin, The Encyclopedia Britannica, was labeled the “book of knowledge.” I wonder if my siblings, parents, my husband and children combined read or touched every page. But today this whole wikipedia thing and millions of websites have thrown me off balance. How does one measure that? There are no pages before and after, but yes, there are footnotes and links to get lost in. Librarian after librarian at the institutions where I have taught warn that it is not a valid resource, whereas the World Book, other encyclopedias, newspapers, periodicals and reference books are. Search engines and the websites they send us to may be credible, yet we have to decide and discern whether to believe or not the millions available.

When my generation grew up, our only sources of knowledge were books, teachers, parents and friends. The encyclopedia was an item of luxury. We faced big limits in what we could learn, where we could be and who we could reach. –Vivek Wadhwa, October 2013, The Wall Street Journal

Blessed is the bee who knows what true nectar is and finds it in abundance.

Good Fences 5


Linking in with TexWisGirl” at “Good Fences”

One weekend in April.

Our good fence around the yard at sometime around the Golden Hour in April.

Our good fence around the yard at sometime around the Golden Hour.

Another weekend in February.
Another day looking over the back fence in February.

Another day looking over the back fence.

Afterwards. Later the same day in February.
Later in February.


Certainly Lady Bird Johnson served up brisket, bar-be-cued chicken and sausage. I bet she served up ribs, too. Add cole slaw or potato salad on the salad plates and peach cobbler on the dessert plates. The latter was probably made with the fruit from our Central Texas peach orchards. But what was on Lady Bird Johnson’s plates? I’m talking about the design of her place setting you can see at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

Answer: wildflowers, beautiful American wildflowers that I’m sure were inspired by her Texas wildflowers on the ranch in Johnson City, along the Guadalupe River and along the roads of the hill country. Her place settings were produced by Castleton China.

Image from wikipedia.  Plate produced by Castleton China.

Image from wikipedia. Plate produced by Castleton China.

View other Presidential place settings here and here and here.

It’s springtime, yay! Happy Easter! What’s on your plate for Easter dinner?

This is a tribute to Lupe and Gabriel García Márquez. Lupe passed away ten years ago and G.G. Márquez today. I don’t write about Mexico often although I do have a category dedicated to it. But if you have read One Hundred Years of Solitude, Cien años de soledad, La siesta del martes, Un día de estos, La prodigiosa tarde de don Baltasar OR if you have viewed the film Serendipity where the book Love in the Time of Cholera takes on the personae of a protagonist, perhaps you will understand why I had to write this post.

She came into the family in 1921 when my youngest uncle was born. They say she was 12 when she came to work for my grandparents and help maintain a brood of five children in Mexico City.

Fast forward many years later, she invited me to her room in the maids’ quarters of my grandmother’s apartment building. I was amazed at the school pictures of all of us that were posted on the wall of her bedroom. She knew things about me and my immediate family I had no idea she knew about. Moesje, my grandmother, had kept her abreast. It occurred to me at that moment in her small room that she probably looked at my father and his siblings almost as her children, and perhaps even considered us almost grandchildren. Oh, the ties that bind.

She loved all of us, all 25 cousins. She helped raise my aunt and uncles, and then she continued to love and give out her rosary prayers to their children. She had her own family, a daughter who earned a doctorate in chemistry and taught at UNAM, Universidad Autónoma de México. Her daughter brought her a grandchild.

One Christmas we were at my grandmother’s. She took me, my brothers and sister on a walk down the street. On the other side of a hurricanefence where there was construction going on there was a balloon. My younger brother saw the balloon and cried to have it. She had to have been in her late 40’s then, and yet she crawled under the fence where the wire had been cut and bent up to fetch him the balloon. As the older sister, I protested. No child should make any adult crawl through a fence to go get something frivolous. My brother got the balloon because that is what she did: meet the needs, wants, desires of the family she served.

After Christmas, we celebrated my father’s birthday on New Year’s Day. We sang the traditional Dutch songs. There was a repertoire of songs we always sang and then we scratched our heads and tried to remember which one we had left out. “La Burra,” she suggested, “Canta la burra.” We laughed until there were tears in our eyes. She was suggesting a song that had the verses “Hip, hip hurrah” and she had always heard “La burra.” When Dutch meets Spanish, what a wonderful translation it makes! What a wonderful, marvelous legacy she left. Magical-realism and I lived it.

Another time we went to Club Reforma to go swimming. All of a sudden my cousin in shallow water got lost, floundered in circles and seemed to be drowning. Dress and all this woman, later in her 50’s jumped in to rescue and comfort him. She was always there, a member of the family, looking after us as if we were her own.

Many years later, she prepared the most wonderful breakfasts, lunches and dinners for me. When I attended classes at the Ibero and UNAM, she always had the most beautiful lunches. I wanted to take a picture of a chicken soup with a leg of chicken, carrots and celery she had prepared. However, I didn’t have the flash or film at the time to take it, but I still remember that beautiful lunch prepared with pride and love. Her soups were the best. Some in the family commented her soups were too salty. To me they were delicious!

One evening I was challenged to analyze a poem for a Mexican literature class. The poem was by López-Velarde. One line referred to the “gracia desquebradiza de una mujer.” What is this “gracia desquebradiza?” I asked her. She stood by me and swaggered like a lovely young woman sashaying down a sidewalk. Ooooh…I got it! She captured the line, she captured the meaning for me.

We went to the family hacienda outside of Mexico City. I wanted to take a picture of this beautiful, petite woman who had given us so much and was such a household name in our family. My aunt who was with me at the time, warned me not to take her picture. I respected her warning. I didn’t dare take one close, but I must confess that I caught her on film as she left the kitchen on the second floor and I was on the opposite side of the courtyard. I wanted it for me to remember that soft gray hair pulled back, her dress below her calves, and her sweet skin of “canela”. She always had a superstitious belief that a photo would steal part of her. Very few have seen that picture and I would never publish it.

Today, April 17, Latin America lost one of its greatest sons, Gabriel García Márquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. I think of his magical realism, and think of Lupe who saw two worlds come together, la burra and hip-hip-hurrah, her life and raising the family of a Dutch diplomat. I think of asking her to join me for the beautiful lunch she prepared, but no, she didn’t want to. I respected that. I think about wanting to take her picture, in the open with her knowledge, but no, that wasn’t to be. I remember my brother insisting on that silly balloon…she didn’t have to go fetch it. I read Gabriel García Márquez because I knew he understood about love and loss, the superstition, inequality, and magic of it all.

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

In memory of Allie Karine Sullins

We love gravy in my household. My mother liked au jus, my mother-in-law made it thicker adding flour and milk (or stock). But how to make it without getting those lumps? When my mother-in-law shared with me her secret, I felt I had won the cook’s lottery. I watched her over and over until it became so routine, I knew I could possibly, just maybe duplicate her delicious and fail proof version.

Here it is. A recipe for lump free gravy.

You can change the amount of flour and liquid depending how much gravy you want to make. Here’s a recipe for four to enjoy.

Measure one or two tablespoons of flour into a Mason jar with lid. Add salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste and/or your favorite herbs. Pour a cup of cool milk into the jar. Now here’s the secret. Shake, don’t stir the flour with the milk. Shake, shake, shake. It will make a frothy mixture. Check the bottom of the clear container for no clump of flour sticking to the bottom. If there is, scrape away with butter knife and shake again until milk, flour and seasonings are thoroughly mixed together. Pour the frothy mixture into the cooking pan of drippings and stir combining the drippings. (If it’s turkey drippings you may want to use a basting dropper to aspirate/suck up the drippings from the roasting pan being careful to avoid fatty grease and squirt/release into the cooking pan. In other words, mix them the other way around. Milky mixture first, then add turkey drippings/stock to taste.) Stir, stir, stir. Cook longer for thicker gravy.

Thanks to this recipe, I can serve gravy without disappointment with biscuits, brisket, pork chops, chicken, turkey and ham. Yum!

1 cup of milk + 1-2T flour in Mason jar

Add milk to flour in the Mason jar. Shake, shake, shake. Ooops! There’s still a clump at the bottom. Scrape away with a butter knife and shake, shake, shake some more until frothy.

When thoroughly shaken and frothy, pour into drippings and cook to desired thickness.

Be careful: Don’t add warm drippings to the milk mixture in the Mason jar before shaking. If you do, the flour will expand and it will explode into a mess. Always, add the cool frothy mixture to the pan drippings separately (or for turkey when there is a lot of drippings, pour frothy mixture into cooking pan and then add the drippings to the frothy mixture).

Don’t shake with warm drippings in jar.


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