Dear Sunday Letter buddies,
I’m back! Sorry I missed writing my Sunday Letter last week. I attended an author and publisher conference in Florida which threw me off schedule. Hopefully absence really does make the heart grow fonder? 😚
Way Back Friends
While in Orlando last weekend, I had lunch with one of my very first friends who lives there. Carrie and I go all the way back to Head Start in Mississippi County, Arkansas. As in 1968. Yeah. We’re way back friends. (Head Start was Kindergarten for rural kids who needed a “head start”. I suppose it still is?)
What’s a perk of small town living? When a group of kids start elementary school together and thirteen years later graduate high school in the same alphabetical order.
We keep in touch via social media and occasionally get together, usually at high school reunions. Every time we do, it’s like slipping back into a favorite pair of jeans, the sort that fits perfectly, never pulls or tugs, always feels comfortable.
Friday, while scraping paint from around a doorway and listening to an audio book about a hockey team, it came to me, the secret to these first long-lasting friendships. We were part of a team.
We grew and learned together—playing jacks, eating lunch in the cafeteria, memorizing multiplication tables, using the card catalog, baking average-tasting casseroles in Home Ec class, wading through confusing lines of Shakespeare. Losing the big game brought a collective pain so deep the whole school mourned. And yes, on occasion, we experienced the absolute thrill of victory.
We knew all the same people—parents, teachers, preachers, coaches, principals, Mr. Puckett at the grocery store. Together, we ran side-splitting suicides in the new gym and jogged to the Keiser Experiment Station as part of track practice. Through all of it, larger life lessons were at play.
Way back friends are the glue that bridges past and present. These are the friends that connect us to who we are when we strip away our titles and duties. They knew us before. Before we drank coffee, dyed our hair, went on our first calorie-counting diet. Before we married, divorced, had children, experienced death of pets and parents and innocence. And the value of that bond is immeasurable.
Nothing is Inanimate
Oh my gosh, it hurts my heart to see DISCARDED stamped on a library book. John and I had lunch at a new-to-us barbecue place this past week called The Bar-B-Q Place. The pork was excellent, and I award bonus points for quirky Razorback decor and a shelf lined with a few musty library books.
Sometimes I imagine nothing is inanimate. That everything has feelings. A dying plant. An old piece of furniture.
Like everything, books have a lifespan. I know this. But slapping DISCARDED across the pages is so final and borderline rude. Wouldn’t RETIRED be nicer?
Anyway, while I enjoyed my pulled pork and potato salad, I read The House that Nature Built. And for a moment, the book was very much embraced.
Back to School
Ring, ring goes the bell.
This time of year, there’s a certain back-to-school buzz in the air. Especially around the University of Arkansas where sorority pledges are already chanting in large groups and sidewalks are chalked up with news and deals and cheers of Woo Pig Sooie. The first football game countdown is on. Groundskeepers trim and weed as the whole campus beats with a feeling of anticipation.
Next week, my niece moves into her dorm at U of A. She’ll be a freshman, and I’m a little jealous. To be standing at the door of those magical college years… Sometimes we don’t appreciate things until we look back on them.
Did I mention my husband is a student again? He started back to college during the first summer term in May. The first go around, he graduated in 1980 with an accounting degree from U of A.
Wanna know the best kept secret of Arkansas? When residents reach the age of 60, they can enroll TUITION FREE at any Arkansas state university. (Click HERE for more info.)
Yes, John is 60. Certain perks do come with age. And even though I have a few years to wait (not many!), I’m already thinking about my next major.
Having a new garden bed to design makes me as excited as anything.
This is the side yard of our tiny rental cottage which my Momma will soon be calling her part-time home. We took out the back portion of an old driveway, and now we have the perfect spot for an herb/veggie/butterfly garden.
Here’s the before picture. (Actually, the real before would be the driveway followed by a mountain of busted concrete, but I can’t find those pictures.) I seriously need to organize my photographs.
Stay tuned for during and after pictures. Big changes coming. Yay!
School Kitchen Tip:
The School Kitchen: The housekeeping duties in the school should be divided among the pupils in groups of four. One should have charge of the supplies; another of the fire and stoves; a third of the sink and general dishes, and the fourth of the sweeping and dusting. These assignments should be changed from time to time so that every pupil may become proficient in all parts of the work. Each pupil should take care of her own table and utensils.
Many of the latest school kitchens are marvels of convenience, having enameled sinks with hot and cold water, portable ovens and ample storage room at every group of two tables. But equally good work can be done with less elaborate equipment, and principles can be learned without any, if the practice work be done at home. (The School Kitchen Textbook, Mary J. Lincoln, 1917, Chapter XIX Equipment)
Have a great week, Sunday Letter friends.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Chuck Berry, School Days