Aug 12, 2014

Does Anybody Want A Drink Before the Storm?

Does Anybody Want A Drink Before the Storm?

Just had one of those unpredictable summer thunderstorms pass by, and this one even impressed me. One and three quarters of an inch of rain in thirty minutes. Had to run out and clear debris from the drainage swale on the east side of the house as water was beginning to back up in a menacing manner. Soaked to the core, if I have a core, in just seconds. I have been in thunderstorms in Illinois, Missouri, Hawaii and Tampico, Mexico and this one was their equal in intensity, if not duration.

I was graphically reminded once again as to which windows leak, and made the empty promise (again) to fix the problems once the rain stops. It is now raining lightly and after a short tour of the south and east gardens I have no desire to venture further west nor north. Unless the bamboo groves recover I will have many new canes to cure and store - had to stoop to navigate the pathways - and as many of our garden paths are topped with cedar chips there will be a few hours of 'chip retrieval' taking place in the next few days. Most wood floats of course and chips the shape of spinnakers sail merrily away without much encouragement. Several pathways have a 1-2 foot bare undulating ribbon of eroded soil down the center, which, when followed to where the water was finally allowed to dissipate its energy, ends in a swampy lagoon of wood chips and silt - all of which will have to be wheelbarrowed back uphill. Why do I see myself as Sisyphus?

So, I've opened a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and taking a cushion and a fluffy towel to dry off a seat somewhere I'm out into the dampness to sit, contemplate, and make the long list of things we need to do tomorrow. Wonder how the flats of Lewisia liked the drowning?

Aug 1, 2014

Where are the lunch counters?

Where are the Lunch Counters?

[and I don't mean those individuals recording quantifiable statistics of a given population.]

Growing up, or coming of age, in the 1950s continues to provide me with more pleasant memories than I can process. Tonight, despite the heat and humidity, we are having 'Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches' with mashed potatoes and gravy. What brought this on? Well, our potatoes are beginning to sprout and the small roast I barbecued two weeks ago is probably past its 'eat by' date by several days (if you accept such an idea). It looks and smells perfectly OK, which is the way I determine if a food product is edible. What is all this malarky with the best by date? I was going to have stir-fried vegetables from the garden with rice and tofu, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. But, thinking about dinner made me wonder if there are any department, five and dime stores that still have a lunch counter. The kind where you can get a fried pork chop dinner, or liver and onions, a grilled cheese, or hot roast beef sandwich, an egg salad sandwich, french fries, a slice of apple or cherry pie [ice cream optional] and a malted milk made right before your eyes, or a banana split. Without effort I recall those innocent, trouble-free, happy times. Mom, Dad, and we three kids sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths or Newberry's waiting for Norman Rockwell to stop by. Norman Rockwell knew where the heart and soul of America was to be found and thankfully captured much of it. To me, as a struggling adolescent, eating at the lunch counter was always a special occasion. I think, sitting there, not in direct eye contact with any other member of the family, made me seem somehow 'grown up'. Today, I can't think of a place local, or even in Portland, Oregon, where such an experience can be had, and more's the pity, more's the pity.