Three Ingredients II – 12: Lentils, Cumin, Roast Lamb

Sanctuary

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

The first time I remember hearing the word I was a small child watching a very old black and white film of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and it had a lasting effect on me.  Not just the movie, but the wordsanctuary, the sound of it, the meaning and the concept.  Sanctuary resonated with me, even at that young age, on a core level.

There are many reasons why writers write. Some want to leave something behind. Others hope to inspire the masses. Some hope to exercise the ghosts of the past, or at least come to terms with them.  Others want to share their struggles in order to help a stranger with theirs.

For me, it’s an escape.  I build imaginary places that are my sanctuary.  My safe place.  And that’s what I want this blog and the serials to be a sanctuary where each of you will know you are safe from the worst parts of life, even if only for the length of your stay here.Episode 12

I hope I never cause anyone to feel judged or threatened in any way through my stories.  I don’t kill off beloved characters.  That’s not part of my personal sanctuary.

The ingredients for this episode are from Daniel at Willy Nilly To and Fro ~ The Philosophy of Inanity.  Daniel’s beautifully woven tales will take you to a place far apart from your daily life, I’m certain.  Please take time to get to know his blog. Prowl around at your leisure. You might even meet a wee Scottish dragon there.

And now I give you Episode-12.  Bon appétit!

12.  Lentils, Cumin, and Roast Lamb

It was the wee hours of the morning.  All three of us were cold, wet, and exhausted.  I had nearly drowned.  Yet what were we doing?  Moving furniture… that’s what.

There would have been enough space in the living room for both Andy and me to sleep, but 1885 Illustration of the lentil plantMattie Maddox wasn’t about to let the two of us sleep in the same room.  As if we weren’t too exhausted to be making whoopee… and as if we would in the first place.  Andy wasn’t my beau.  He was my friend.  I couldn’t even imagine Andy Avis that way… and I didn’t think I wanted to either.  It just felt wrong.  Andy was more like a brother than a beau.  That whole line of thought sort of gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Mrs. Maddox had a tiny sitting room connected to her bedroom, and that’s where she wanted me to stay.  I really wanted to sink into the cozy looking chair.  It had a ruffled slipcover with an unusual print done in greens and yellows showing pods and flowers of peas, beans, and lentils.  Later Mattie told me that she did the artwork for the fabric.

However, I didn’t try the chair that night.  Rather, Andy and I moved furniture around to make enough room for me to have a pallet on the floor.  We moved a sturdy artist’s easel, a dress form, the chair, and Mattie’s heavy treadle base sewing machine.  It was a beautiful piece, black with gold leaf designs.  The treadle base was made of swirly wrought iron — that’s what made it so heavy.  I would have appreciated the sewing machine more if we hadn’t had to move it three times.

Wearing a nightgown borrowed from Mattie, I finally crawled into the thick stack of soft quilts.  I was asleep before my head touched the pillow.  However, one thing we had not taken into account the night before was the lace curtains.  The sitting room faced east, and the new day dawned brightly through the lace.  So I woke with the rising sun.  I was awake, but my body was not ready.  I didn’t expect to be sore all over.  My muscles must have clenched and strained while I tried to fight my way to the surface of the Atlantic when I fell overboard from the ferry the evening before.

1919 Nightgowns adAn unexpected sneeze escaped before I could stop it.  I hoped I wasn’t being rewarded with a cold for my unintended dip in the ocean.  I also hoped my sneeze wasn’t loud enough to wake anyone else.  My ears strained in the early morning silence.  Ah!  It wasn’t so silent after all.  In the next room I heard Mattie Maddox snore softly and then turn over.  I heard those small sounds despite the much louder sawing of Z’s that came from Andy Avis all the way in the living room.

I sat up cross legged in the middle of my pallet of quilts, and looked around the little room.  The night before I was too tired to pay much attention to it.  It seemed to be filled with small mementos of Mattie’s life.  Spotting a photo album just out of reach, I crawled to it on my hands and knees.  I sat back down on the quilts and started looking through the album.

There were a few really old pictures, even some tintype photographs.  I wasn’t sure if those would be Mattie’s parents or grandparents.  An older woman in one tintype resembled Mattie, but her Gibson Girl hair and attire were from too long ago for the woman to be my hostess.  As the clothes in the photos became more modern, the number of pictures per page grew.  That was to be expected.  It used to be a big deal to get your photograph done, so nobody had very many back when that album was started.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell

Finally I saw a picture of a girl that looked like a young version of Mattie.  A boy stood arm in arm with her and they both smiled broadly.  However, a closer look showed me that the “boy” was a girl wearing the tomboy style of clothes.  That’s how Daisy, the ghost woman, dressed the first time I met her, though at the time I didn’t know she was a spirit.  Could the girl in the picture be Daisy?  It was maddening!  The girl wore a hat that cast a shadow on her face, and I just couldn’t tell.

I was so busy turning the photo album every which way, trying to get a better look at the girl’s face that I didn’t hear Mattie get up.  I was embarrassed to learn that while I had been fooling around with the pictures, she had been up working on the clothes Andy and I had been wearing.  She had steamed and pressed Andy’s clothes and they looked good as new.  He was all grace and compliments as he took them from her.  Then he ran as fast as he could, out of the room to change.  You see, he was wearing one of Mattie’s most feminine robes.  I promise that I didn’t laugh at him.  Seriously.  No, really I didn’t laugh.  Well, not much…

Buster Keaton 1923

Buster Keaton 1923

“Pip dear, I’m afraid your dress isn’t laundered yet.  I did Andy’s clothes first because I didn’t have anything I could loan him.  You on the other hand can use one of my dresses,” she said and I tried to keep smiling.  Mattie must have seen through me.  She patted my hand.  “I know it will be horribly matronly on a young lady like you, but that’s better than a saltwater stiffened, dirty, torn frock, isn’t it?” she said with a hopeful tone.

I assured Mattie that I’d be most grateful for the loan of a dress, and I tried to put the dowdy style out of my mind.  Andy and I needed to go to that church and rectory with the stained glass window like the one Daisy showed to us.  Maybe the “proper” dress would encourage them to share whatever they knew.

By the time I finished changing into the very non-flapper dress I heard Mattie cooking breakfast.  I felt guilty all over again.  It just wasn’t my nature to let someone else do all the 1923 Peoples Home Journalwork, especially when I already felt like we were imposing on Mattie.  It didn’t matter that she had insisted.

Andy soon got even with me for “not” laughing at him wearing a ruffled satin lady’s robe.  Before we got to the kitchen the smoky aroma of cumin reached my nose.  It was a pleasant scent, but I wasn’t expecting it at breakfast.  It turned out Mattie’s grandmother was from Mexico.  She treated us to her family recipe for huevos rancheros.

Mattie said she didn’t get to entertain very often, and she insisted on using her good china and having breakfast in her lovely dining room.  I was used to eating at the kitchen table.  Wearing a borrowed old fashioned dress and sitting at the gleaming mahogany table, I felt a little awkward.  So it was hard for me to bring up the subject of Daisy.  How would I bring up a spirit?

I finally realized that I didn’t have to talk about that part.  I didn’t handle it smoothly.  Even Andy did a double take when I just blurted out my question.  “Miss Mattie, did you ever know a woman named Daisy? It would have been a long time ago,” I asked bluntly.  “I need to find out what happened to her.”

My hostess looked like she really had seen a ghost.  Her face went still and expressionless.  Then tears streamed down her unmoving face.  Mattie picked up a napkin and blotted her face as if nothing had happened.  She stood up and carefully placed the napkin on the table.

“Ya’ll wanted to see the rectory and that stained glass window,” she said calmly.  “We’d best get on over there before the vicar gets on his rounds.  I think you’ll want to talk to him,” she said and went to get her pocketbook.

vintage queen of the mayAndy and I looked askance at one another and shrugged.  I was certain that Mattie Maddox was acquainted with Daisy the Dainty Dish.  I had assumed they were friends of some sort, but after Mattie’s reaction, I didn’t know what to think.

Either Mattie was athletic for her age, or my question had truly upset her.  She walked so fast on the path to the church that Andy and I barely kept up with her.  She didn’t say another word until we reached the church, and then she spoke to her friends, not to us.

I wasn’t expecting so many people to be at the church.  However, I reminded myself that several of the passengers on our ill-fated ferry decided to stay the night.  There was a good bit of bustle and activity.

Suddenly Mattie grabbed my arm and pulled me along with her.  I caught Andy’s hand to make sure I wasn’t getting into some kind of trouble alone.  Then I spotted the clergyman and knew where Mattie was taking us.

“Vicar Varley,” Mattie called out to the obviously busy cleric.  His expression was a rather harried, but he greeted us with a smile.  “These young people want to know about daisies,” she said, emphasizing the word and raising her eyebrows.

The vicar’s face blanched.  He took us to a stone path that led to the rectory.  I could see the golden and aqua blue stained glass window.  It caught the morning sun, and glowed in a way that was not unlike the image Daisy showed us.Stained Glass 2

We took a few steps down the path.  Then I heard an upset and familiar voice behind me.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!” Granny Fanny exclaimed.  “Just what do you mean by running off to this island, and with a man to boot!  When I heard what happened to that ferryboat I was scared to death.”

“But Granny,” I began.

“But nothing young lady!” Granny cut me off.  She’d brook no argument, not when her dander was up like that.

“But Granny please!  Let me explain,” I tried again.

“And to think I made a perfectly good roast lamb dinner.  Why it might have gone to waste if not for that nice young policeman who stopped by to tell me where you’d gone,” she complained as if we wouldn’t have eaten the leftovers.

“So Hank let you know everything was okay?  Then why are you so upset?” I asked, though I probably should have meekly kept my mouth shut.

“You didn’t get my permission.  You can’t just to traipsing off to wherever for an overnight stay!  It’s not proper. What do you think that will do to your reputation? No respectable girl would do something like that. I can’t condone it.  And then I heard what happened to the ferry!” she said.

young Lucy blueGranny was working her way to a full-fledged rant.  This was bad.  Really bad.  Hopefully nobody would let it slip that I’d fallen overboard and nearly drowned.  I’d never hear the end of it then.

Unfortunately Mattie Maddox tried to come to my rescue.  And yes, she mentioned me getting thrown from the ferry when the freak storm hit.  Granny Fanny’s face turned all colors.  I thought she might kill me for not drowning.  I took a deep breath and braced myself for the next wave.

“Paisley, I can’t put up with this kind of nonsense,” my grandmother said in a cold voice.  I don’t care whether I’ve made a passable cook of you or not.  I’m sending you back to Florida to live with your father!”

***

Video:  The Galloping Gourmet – Huevos Rancheros

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Three Ingredients II – 11: Red Currants, Baked Beans, Polish Sausage

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

Am I in an odd “place” or is it just the weather? The moon? Solar flares maybe? Could it be this week’s ghostly ingredient from the Jar of Spooky Things?

I can’t define it — this odd mood, so I may as well just roll with it.  However, be warned that it might make this episode of Cookbook-2 a little peculiar too!

Not everything writers do is influenced by the nature and contents of our mood, mind or memories. Some characters have nothing at all to do with our personalities or pain. And some do. However, I think most of what we write is influenced by our experiences. It would take a talented writer indeed to fully remove self from the words.

So for most of us, a piece of the heart, the soul goes into what we write. The same Episode 11is true for great cooks — a little of their spirit and a lot of their love is stirred into everything they prepare.  Take a tour of A Pug in the Kitchen, and you’ll see an example of how true that is.  Suzanne supplied the ingredients for this episode.  Her blog is packed with great food and clear instructions. But what makes it a truly special place are the touches of real life, the bits of her that you’ll find in each recipe and post.

And now, a brief reminder of where we left things last time…

Bon appétit!

***

Saltwater and rain drenched everyone.  Passengers screamed.  The captain shouted for calm.  Huge waves poured into the small craft.  Thunder roared.  Lightning blasted the darkness, eerily illuminating the terrified faces around me.

A double pronged bolt of lightning fractured the sky right above us.  The boat launched into the air again.  That time I lost my grip.  I felt myself lifted off my seat and into the air.

***

11.  Red Currants, Baked Beans, Polish Sausage

With Supernatural

Esther Williams

Esther Williams

It was a big soft cushion of black velvet.  I settled against it as I floated down.  Down.

The world was so quiet and peaceful.  I relaxed and drifted further into dark serenity.  A gentle downward motion cradled me.  Peace.  It was a wonderful calm feeling.  I never wanted to let go of it.

Then icy cold stabbed through me, jolting my arms, my legs with abrupt freezing pain.  Shocked, my eyes bulged open, but I couldn’t see.  The world around me was black and empty.  Suddenly I realized that I couldn’t breathe.

I finally understood that I was under water.  My arms and legs floundered as my mind told them to move, to swim.  However, in the shock of the cold depths, my body didn’t listen to what my brain said.  My muscles seemed confused, trying but not succeeding to comply with mental demands.

Something scaly brushed past my legs.  I twisted in the Atlantic, still descending.  Then I felt a soft caress, like a hand on my shin, gently pulling me even farther down.  I swung out my leg instinctively.  A bubbling chuckle answered my kick.

1920s La Vie Parisienne Mermaid by hérouardIn the darkness I saw a glimmer reflect from opalescent scales and a broad fishtail.  Bright green eyes were unexpectedly locked with mine.  I saw a beautiful face that could have been either male or female, surrounded by a nimbus of long floating green hair.  The face loomed closer and I was kissed passionately.

At first I struggled in fear.  Then I realized that my lungs were filling with air.  He backed away, and I saw his bare chest, marked with what appeared to be strange tattoos.  I stretched out my hand beseechingly.  I tried to plead for help, but only succeeded in taking in more of the ocean.  With another watery chuckle he glided closer, eyes softly glowing in the night.  He licked his lips and the light in his eyes intensified.  His expression scared me more than the prospect of drowning.

Abruptly he broke eye contact and looked around suspiciously.  Something about the way his green hair floated made me think he was using it in a sensory way.  His fierce expression turned fearful.  With a powerful thrust of the broad fin of his tail he plunged deeper into the Atlantic and disappeared.

Applesauce!  A mermaid.  No, a merman, I corrected myself as I struggled in vain to reach the surface.  I had always thought mer… people were supposed to be playful rescuers.  But that guy really scared me. Then I remembered something from school, about long ago sailors telling tales of men being dragged to their deaths by mermaids.  I 1903 Seahorse cigarette carddidn’t know what to think.  It had to be a hallucination anyway.  After all, I was drowning, and with that I realized the breath of air he gave me was already exhausted.

Despite the frigid ocean, my lungs burned, ready to explode.  I saw a narrow stream of small blood red bubbles, and I thought perhaps my lungs really had burst.  Although I knew that had not happened.  Yet.

I looked at the tiny bubbles in fascination as they floated toward me in single file.  They reminded me of ripe red currants.  The line of translucent red currant bubbles became a loop and it circled around me.  I heard a pop-fizz sound and the red bubbles drew snuggly around me, no longer a loop but a lariat.

A current surged against me, pushing me halfway around.  Charging toward me was a giant seahorse.  As it drew close, the seahorse reared back, snorting supernatural fire the ocean could not quench.  The glowing white form of a Stetson hat shone from behind the creature’s head.  Caleb Colman leaned forward, took off his hat, and gave me a dazzling grin.

“Hey little filly,” he said.  “It looks like you’re in a mite of trouble,” the erstwhile ghost-rider said as he gave the supernatural lasso a gentle tug.

Caleb put an arm around me and placed me in front of him where he sat astride the enormous seahorse.  He whipped the lasso, cracking it heavenward.  The seahorse snorted fire and bolted upward.

Boy and SeahorseIt was still pitch black, but I sensed we neared the surface of the Atlantic.  Caleb leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

“I know that I owe my chance at redemption to Maestro Martino, and I hope you’ll thank him for me.  But if it hadn’t been for you Miss Pip, it never would have happened.  I’m just trying to say that I’m grateful to you.  And I’m grateful to be able to help you in return,” Caleb said.

Unexpectedly when I broke the surface of the water, I sailed up several feet into the air, like a dolphin.  But what goes up must come down, and I hit the water again with a cold splash.  I heard Andy scream my name and immediately after, a life preserver plopped into the ocean next to me.

***

Sputtering, wheezing, coughing, and finally a belch of smoke preceded the reanimation of the ferry’s engine.  The captain’s soot streaked face broke into a smile.  Some of the passengers cheered, but half of them were too wet, cold, and shocked to express emotions.  The small craft limped to the dock at Tybee Island.1920s Fish Costumes

To my surprise a line of torches lit the shore.  A dozen people moved forward, eagerly greeting the passengers of the unlucky boat.  They had made fire pits, and had blankets ready, which was a great comfort to everyone.  The aroma of food came to my nose and I was suddenly hungry.  A woman came toward Andy and me with a bowl in each hand.

“It’s only baked beans,” she apologized.  “That’s all we could do on short notice.  I was already cooking them for the picnic tomorrow, but this is a more important use for them.  C’mon they’re warm and hearty.  Have some; it’ll do you good,” she said as she handed us the bowls which we gratefully accepted.

She called over her shoulder to someone.  “Vance Varley, will you please hurry up and give these kids some blankets?” she said, though I couldn’t tell to whom she spoke.

The woman was right.  Having some warm food in my belly did make me feel better.  At that moment, filet mignon couldn’t have been any better than those baked beans.

Heinz baked beans adA man put a blanket around my shoulders.  A bit of white at his collar shone in the firelight.  He turned and put another blanket around Andy.  The man quickly moved to someone behind us.  I heard the voice of Mattie Maddox talking enthusiastically to him as he tucked a blanket around her.  I was glad to see that the older woman had taken one of the few camp chairs.  He told her not to worry, that they would make sure everyone got home safely.

“Vicar Varley, how could you possibly have known, especially in time to get all this together?” she asked him.

“I tell you Mattie, it was the oddest thing,” the clergyman began.  “I was in the kitchen Vintage Mermaid Seahorsewhen I heard the radio start making all kinds of noise.  The dial was spinning crazily, not even on any normal channel.  The static and screeching were so fierce that I covered my ears.  Then I heard a foreign man.  He said the ferry was in trouble and that we had to be ready to care for the passengers when it got to shore.”

“A foreigner, you say?” Mattie Maddox said in a curious tone.

“I-talian, I think he was,” the cleric said.  “I believe he said his name was Mister Martino, but I’m not familiar with any Martinos in Savannah.”

Andy and I looked at each other, our jaws hanging open.  I moved my mouth to ask how, but the word didn’t come out.  Andy got that look on his face that he gets when he’s thinking up something for one of his stories.

“They say that spirits can control electrical things, like the telephones and radios,” Andy said in an amazed voice.  “Maestro must have pulled some kind of poltergeist switchboard shenanigan.  But I don’t understand how he could have known.”

Memory came clearly despite my frazzled and soggy state.  “Maestro knew I was upset when the ghost-riders accidentally took you,” I told Andy.  “He said the presence of the riders and the Devil’s Herd are such a strong phenomenon that he felt them, and somehow that let him tune into me as well,” I said but Andy didn’t seem to understand, so I tried to explain.  “Just before I went overboard, I saw the Devil’s Herd in the sky.  I 1920s Mermaidsalso saw a horizontal bolt of red lightning that seemed to point straight at the island,” I added and looked inland.

Andy followed my gaze.  The church steeple was alight.  A smaller, partially obscured building stood next to the church.  The lights were also on there.  I supposed it was the rectory.  I took a few steps in that direction so that I could see past a clump of needle palm trees.  The unobstructed view showed me an arched stained glass window that glowed golden and aqua in the night.

I shivered, and it wasn’t because I was soaked to the skin.  I was looking at the exact window that Daisy had made appear in the abandoned warehouse.

Mattie Maddox looked my way when I moved.  I gave her an encouraging smile.  She turned back to Vicar Vance Varley.  “That nice young couple over there,” she said in a quieter voice, but I was easily within earshot.  “They were planning to ask for beds in the hostel.  But are you going to have room? I expect some of these other passengers are going to need a place to stay the night.  It’s awfully late for anybody to be trying to get home,” Mattie said in a concerned voice.

Vicar Varley patted Mattie’s shoulder.  “Don’t you worry your sweet head about it Miss 1920s MermaidenMattie.  The hostel was already full, but we’ll manage in a time of need,” he said in a confident voice, but his face looked uncertain.

“No,” Mattie said flatly.  “I already offered to let them stay with me, but I could tell they just didn’t want to put me to any trouble when they said they’d go to the church hostel.  Vance,” she added with authority and switched from calling him Vicar to using his first name.

“You’ll have to insist to them for me.  It won’t be any trouble at all.  I even have a nice supper with Polish sausage already cooked and waiting in the icebox.  And it’s too much for just me.  Polish sausage, cabbage, pierogies — why that’s too good to let it go to waste.  Those two can stay the night at my house, and that’s that,” she said.

I had not expected Mattie Maddox to be such a forceful woman.  It seemed like she had known Vicar Varley for a long time, based on the way they acted with each other.  I had to laugh.  I’d hate to be on the wrong side of an argument with her.  Mattie had the heart of a flapper for sure.

The stained glass window in the rectory pulled my gaze back toward the churchyard.  That was definitely the window in Mattie’s painting.  I was certain that it was also the one Daisy, the ghost woman showed us as a clue to the mystery of who killed her. 1924 Peterpan Mermaids

I bit my lip in frustration, wishing poor Daisy hadn’t been too devastated to remember much of anything.  However, I shuddered to think what might be so horrible that even in death the memory was unbearable.  But then again, I guessed that anyone who was murdered would be traumatized.  Holy Hannah, what an awful thing!

I could imagine someone sweet and gentle like Daisy befriending Mattie Maddox.  Daisy was from a very poor family, and she wouldn’t have thought twice about her status being harmed by that kind of friendship.  Not Daisy.  If Mattie had been her friend before Henry Kingston fell in love and married her, then Daisy wouldn’t have ended the friendship just because Mattie was a maid rather than a socialite.Argosy Weekly Story Magazine The Sea Girl Ray Cummings

Another idea came to me before that thought even finished running through my waterlogged noodle.  A wealthy man like Kingston would have had a lot of servants, just like his son had a whole staff to take care of that swanky mansion.  Maybe I had it backwards. What if Mattie had worked for the Kingstons and then became friendly with Daisy?

No… I told myself that whole line of thought was crazy.  Savannah had plenty of rich bluenose aristocrat types who could afford maids.  Mattie knowing Daisy the Dainty Dish was too much of a longshot.

As I looked at Mattie, a pinkish aura appeared around the older woman.  I blinked.  Was I going to start seeing auras as well as ghosts?  I wondered what “pink” meant.

A moment later Daisy appeared behind Mattie.  The spirit frowned as she looked down at the woman.  I didn’t think her expression was one of anger.  Rather Daisy looked pensive or perhaps confused.  After a moment Daisy’s form disappeared.  Mattie turned around, as if she felt someone behind her.  The older woman looked at me and gave a cheery little wave.

The sound of the ocean drew me.  I pulled the rough blanket closer around myself and strolled out onto the beach.  Twinkling stars reflected in the water as it lapped against the shore.  The breeze hummed a hypnotic tune in my ears.  I saw two specks of sparkling green out on the gentle waves.

The emerald sparks started to move closer, and I realized they didn’t come from reflected starlight of any kind.  They were eyes.  A broad shimmering green tailfin surfaced and slapped the water with a loud splash before heading back to sea.VIntage Mermaid and baby

***

Recipe:  Baked Beans with Salt Pork

Recipe Credit: Mrs. Wilson’s Cook Book (1920).

Ingredients

1 pound of beans

1 can of tomatoes

1 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup of syrup

1 pound of salt pork cut in pieces

2 tablespoons of salt

1 tablespoon of paprika

Instructions

Soak the beans over night or early in the morning. At noon place in a kettle and cover with water. Bring to a boil and drain off the water. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for fifteen minutes. Drain.

Now add tomatoes, onions, syrup, pork, salt, and paprika. Add sufficient water to cover beans one inch deep. Mix well and then cover the pot closely and bake in a slow oven for four hours.

 ***

Tune in next weekend for a new episode with “ingredients” from Willy Nilly To and Fro ~ The Philosophy of Inanity.

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless otherwise stated.

Monday interview with Teagan Geneviene

Every blog post from author Siobhan Daiko transports me to a beautiful, far away location. Do her novels do the same? Oh yes, and then some. So when Siobhan wanted to interview me for her blog, I was beside myself with excitement.

I hope everyone will take this opportunity to check out her wonderful blog and investigate her vivid, beautiful novels as well.

Hugs,
teagan

Siobhan Daiko

TRG 2013

Ever since I read Teagan Geneviene’s post Meet my Main Character Blog Tour, I wanted to interview her and find out more about her and her writing. If you haven’t done so already, please drop by and read about the main character in her WIP, Atonement in Bloom

atonement_in_bloom_1_03-24-2014

which is the sequel to her debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.

atonement_cover

Teagan writes fantasy fiction, and started her blog as part of her grand experiment in Indie publishing.

Welcome to Italy, Teagan. So glad you can join me in an aperitivo. What can I offer you? A glass of Prosecco? A spritzer? A Bellini? Or perhaps some Pinot Grigio or Bardolino?
Thank you, Siobhan. You’re so thoughtful. On a lovely sunny day like this, I think I’d like a spritzer, please.
Ooh, think I’ll have one too. (Pours a glass). Cheers!

spritzer

Okay, darlin’, make yourself comfortable! We’ve known each other for a…

View original post 1,114 more words

Three Ingredients II – 10: Strawberries, Avocados, Lobster

buster n lucyThanks for coming back to another episode of our interactive culinary mystery serial.  The “ingredients” all of you send help make sure the story includes a multiplicity of ideas.  However, the cupboards are bare again.  Everyone is welcome to leave three food-related things in the comments. That’s what drives this pantser story — your varied ingredients.

Variety is something I’ve always enjoyed.  When I find a restaurant I like, I want to try something different from their menu each time I visit.  This week’s ingredients are from a woman who adds all sorts of variability to her life — Sally Georgina Cronin, at Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life.  Her books and her blog cover a remarkable and useful assortment of things. Here is just one of Sally’s many books.  I hope you’ll check out Sally’s fiction and nonfiction books, and her amazing blog too.

Forget-Viagra-Pass-Me-Carrot

Keep an eye out for some links for fun, information, and recipes throughout today’s story. Without further ado, here is the episode of Three Ingredients Cookbook-2 that Sally’s ingredients inspired.

Bon appétit!

10.  Strawberries, Avocados, Lobster

With Warning

1921 Dodge RaodsterThe tan spoke wheels of the black Dodge Roadster spun merrily when I saw their reflection in a shop window.  It was a sunny day and we put down the tan ragtop.  Andy and I drove around Savannah and the general area the whole morning.  We looked at every church we could find, hoping for one with a window that matched the glowing image Daisy the Dainty Dish caused to appear to us in the abandoned warehouse.

It was well past noon when we drove toward a roadside fruit stand.  “I’m starved.  Why don’t we stop and get something here.  Maybe something to make a cobbler for supper too,” I added as the inspiration struck.

Andy slowed the Dodge and we pulled off the road.  “Strawberries!” I exclaimed.  “They’re beautiful too,” I said as I opened the door without waiting for Andy to come around and open it for me.

He shot me a look for my impatience, and I suppose for my lack of ladylike behavior. But I was a flapper, after all.  I could throw convention to the winds.  Besides, Andy was my Strawberry girldear old friend, not my beau.  When he caught up with me I was still going on about how good the strawberries looked.  I asked if he didn’t agree.

“Oh Pip,” he began and gave me a lopsided grin. “They’ll be the berries!”

I rolled my eyes at Andy’s pun.  The aroma was heavenly and I inhaled deeply as I selected several small baskets of the luscious red berries.  Andy insisted on paying as he said he planned on eating the majority of the cobbler.

Our chatter about being hungry turned into a conversation with the stall keeper about what there was to eat nearby.  The man told us there was a pier about a mile up the road and recommended one of the vendors for a bite to eat.

While the guy talked, Andy picked up a black pebbly skinned pear-shaped thing and tossed it happily.  The stall keeper took on a professorial tone.  “Had them alligator pears brought up special from Florida,” he told Andy.

“We’re both from Florida,” Andy told the man.  “I remember my grandpa calling avocados alligator pears,” he said fondly.  Then he turned to me.  “At least that was one familiar thing in California.  This kind of avocado got real popular there fairly recently.”

“I see you know your onions — and your avocados,” the man said and chuckled at his own joke.

I wouldn’t have expected the guy to know his slang.  My expression must have said as much and he smiled.  The grin took ten years off his face.  Maybe he wasn’t such a codger after all.

We both picked out a few more things and then we were ready to settle up the bill.  The stall keeper looked at the strawberries and then looked at us carefully.  “You know,” he began but hesitated for a second before continuing.  “For special customers…  I could be talked out of a bottle of strawberry wine.  Don’t worry, everything’s jake,” he added upon seeing our surprise.Fruit Stand

Both of us grinned.  “I wasn’t expecting to run across any giggle water here,” Andy said and told the guy to add a bottle of the wine to our purchase.

“On one condition,” the man said.  “You gotta promise not to get spifflicated until you get where you’re going.”

The pier turned out to be a hotspot, just short of being a carnival.  I could tell it was a fun place before we got out of the roadster.  There were lots of bathers in colorful suits who came for the narrow strip of beach.  All manner of vendors were setup with their crafts and wares along the boardwalk and out onto the pier.

We walked past a stand where a man played a happy tune on a banjo.  Yet when I thought about it, any song sounded cheery when played on a banjo.  The stall boasted several beautiful handmade instruments the musician and his wife had for sale.  However, they Mouth Harpdid most of their business with the smaller less expensive things like harmonicas and mouth harps.

The woman gave us a quick demonstration of the mouth harp.  It had a flexible metal “tongue” attached to an oval metal frame.   She put the tongue part inside her mouth and plucked with a finger to produce a note.  She offered to help Andy learn to play the odd little instrument, but he politely declined.

“I tried to play one of those jaw harps when I was a kid,” Andy commented derisively.  “All I did was pinch my mouth.  Bad.  I looked like I had cold sores worse than Maestro gets as supernatural punishment for leering at your grandmother.”

The scent of something delicious wafted to my noise.  The banjo music trailed behind us as we made for the food stalls.  To my surprise we got into line and the person in front of us was Hank Hertz, Savannah’s youngest police officer.  I invited him to join us, but Hank pointed out a booth the police department had set up.  Hank said he was “on duty,” and had to man the booth.

Soon Andy and I had paper baskets full of crispy fried chicken, golden-brown biscuits, coleslaw, and some German potato salad.  We sat down on a sun-warmed bench to eat.  It gave us a view of the brightly colored stall awnings to one side and of the little beach to the other.  It was fun to watch all the activity and different people.Lobster beach girls

Some of the bathers cavorting on the sand caught my attention.  A huge lobster had somehow caught hold of a flapper’s bathing suit and another girl tried to pull it free, resulting in a humorous tug of war.  It didn’t look like anyone was in any danger of being harmed.  Andy and I chuckled at their antics.

If I hadn’t known Andy so well, I would have thought he really had been about to starve.  There wasn’t a scrap of chicken left on those bones.  However, that was how Andy ate fried chicken.  He always said the very best part was right on the bones, and sometimes I wondered if he would munch into the very bones!  I had to admit it was delicious.  I licked my finger after the last bite of moist crispy deliciousness.

Crisco Fried Chicken

Click for recipe

We dodged a yellow jacket that buzzed around the big garbage can as we threw away our trash.  That was one angry looking bee!  I jumped backward away from the yellow jacket, just as I heard the bell of a ferry coming up to the pier.  I nearly stumbled into an artist’s easel and I apologized profusely.

Trying to make amends for nearly turning over her work, I started looking at her paintings.  The one I ran into was a truly lovely landscape with a building and flowers; daisies amid red roses.  I saw that she signed the painting Mattie Maddox.  However, I began to see a central theme to her work — stained glass windows.  I murmured something to Andy, but I couldn’t get his attention, he was so engrossed in the paintings.

Horse feathers Pip!” he finally looked up at me and whispered an exclamation.  “Look at this.  Most of them are stained glass windows!” he said and I tried not to roll my eyes since that’s why I had been trying to get his attention.

Mattie the artist was flattered by our interest in her work.  (That just didn’t have a ring to it, I thought.  Shouldn’t it be Annie the artist?  Or Abbie?)  I told her we were looking for a church with a particular stained glass window.  She showed us all of her church paintings, but none matched the image of the window Daisy the ghost woman showed us.

Mattie Maddox was a kind and charming woman, so it was pleasant to pass a few minutes talking to her about her paintings.  She was a little beyond middle years.  Her hair was heavily streaked with gray and pulled back into a tidy bun.  Mattie’s stall was the neatest one I had ever seen.  When I commented on it, she said that through most of her life she worked as a chamber maid and the neatness was a firmly ingrained habit.

“Mattie the Maid!” I exclaimed and then was horribly embarrassed, fearing I had been offensive.

I tried to explain my fondness for making names for people I liked, such as Mona the Movie Star, and of course Andy the Astronaute-man.  Mattie seemed to be a sweet soul and was not bothered by my silliness.  She tilted her head to one side as if a thought suddenly came to her.

Stained Glass 2“I wonder… It wasn’t the church, but the rectory has a lovely window with shapes and colors like you described,” she said as she moved toward a stack of unframed canvases in the corner of the little booth.  “I did so many different paintings of it.  I guess I was trying to work through some grief over a friend who died.”

Andy and I both murmured our condolences.  “Oh don’t you fret none,” Mattie said.  “That was so long ago.  Ah!  Here’s one,” the artist exclaimed as she pulled out a square canvas.

The piece was covered in bright hues of gold and aqua, and featured an arched stained glass window.  Roses and wild flowers mingled; a contrast of sophistication and the commonplace, to frame the window.  Mattie looked at it with a sad expression in her eyes.  “She was the one who was really the rose,” she whispered as if to herself.

My excited gasp was echoed by Andy.  The artist chuckled at our enthusiasm.  Andy pulled out his wallet without even asking the price of the painting.  At first Mattie declined to take anything for it, apparently she thought we were newlyweds and she was charmed by our excitement.  Naturally Andy insisted on giving her a good price.

“Where is this place?” I asked eagerly.

“It’s the rectory, not the church,” she reminded me and I nodded.  “The one out on Tybee Island,” she said and then took a hurried look at a watch that was suspended from a chain around her neck.  “Oh my, would you look at the time!” she exclaimed.  “I have to hurry and put away my things so I can catch the ferry,” she said and then looked at our puzzled faces.  “I live on the island and this is the last ferry of the day.  It will be leaving in just a few minutes.”Savannah Beach postcard

Mattie went on to explain that Route 80, which connected the island via road with the mainland, was washed out.  “We’ve had so many storms this summer,” she said.  “So the ferry is the only means of getting there for now.”

“We’d very much like to see the place,” I said and then remembered Granny Fanny.  I doubted there was a telephone on the island.  Mattie said that was the last ferry of the day.  If we went, we’d be stuck overnight.  How would I let Granny know, so she wouldn’t worry?  It was a lot simpler when I lived on my own in the old office building where Andy and my other friends used to rent our apartment “offices.”  I didn’t have to worry about making anybody else worry.

“Pip!” Andy exclaimed.  “Mrs. Peabody would want us to have a chaperone.  And we can’t just go off to Tybee Island without letting her know,” he said and without being asked, went about helping Mattie lock up her paintings.1920s Friends at Beach

I had noticed that Andy called my grandmother Granny most of the time.  But when she turned into an authority figure in his mind, she suddenly became Mrs. Peabody.  Plus I was surprised at my old friend.  Who’d have thought he could be such a stick in the mud?  A chaperone?  I was a modern woman, a flapper.  I didn’t need a chaperone!

Andy’s insistence on propriety seemed to greatly impress Mattie Maddox.  She smiled and offered to have us stay the night with her.  “I have a little cottage on the church grounds.  There’s only one bed but you two are young — I have plenty of quilts and could make pallets on the floor for you,” she offered.

Of course I wouldn’t dream of putting her out that way.  Then she mentioned that the church operated a small hostel.  Mattie said she would be happy to introduce us to the chaplain.  I was already nodding eagerly when Andy again reminded me about my grandmother.

“But there’s no time!  I don’t even know where the closest telephone would be,” I complained and pointed at the ferry.

Tybee Island LighthouseThen an inspired thought came to me and I ran down the pier as fast as I could.  Three strides later, Andy caught my elbow and ran beside me.  He asked me in a very frustrated voice what I thought I was doing.

“Hank!” I exclaimed.

“Um nope, doll face, I’m Andy,” he quipped.

“No, silly.  Remember Hank Hertz?  I introduced you at the chicken stand?” I reminded Andy and he grunted something affirmative.  “Hank is a wizard with the radio.  He’ll get word to Granny Fanny.  Plus he knows about Daisy the Dainty Dish.  He’ll want to help.”

I asked Andy to go back and get us a place on the ferry, and not let it leave without me.  He said he’d bribe the captain if necessary.  As I reached the boardwalk, I looked down the pier and saw Andy carrying some packages for Mattie Maddox toward the ferry.  He was a good guy, I thought to myself.

Hank saw and understood my haste.  Having worked at the pier all summer he was familiar with the ferry schedule.  He said he wouldn’t need to worry about radioing an officer at the police station to call Granny Fanny.  Hank promised to stop by the cottage on his way home.  His shift was almost over.

He also let me know that there was a radio at the church’s rectory, just in case we needed1929 Radio News Sept to reach him.  Hank, radio wiz that he was, had his own radio, and even a mobile set up in his automobile.

In no time Andy and I were settled next to Mattie Maddox on the ferry to Tybee Island.  The Savannah River emptied into the Atlantic Ocean just north of the barrier island.

The ferry bobbed slowly on the stretch of ocean between the island and the small Atlantic coast of Georgia.  I closed my eyes against the glare of the evening sun on the water.  I might have dozed for a minute, but I noticed that I no longer felt the sunlight on my face.  Unexpected clouds overcast the lowering sun, creating a purple sunset.

I remembered the sailor’s old saw, Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.  Well, purple was not red, I thought, but determined not to be apprehensive just because I was on a small craft, out on the open ocean.  What flapper would let a little thing like that bother her?

Black clouds rolled in, abruptly turning the evening to night.  I felt my hair stand on end.  It didn’t feel like an ordinary storm.  The ferryman shouted some kind of warning to all the passengers.  However, I didn’t hear what he said because I was focused on the wind’s mournful call.  Mournful and familiar.

Thunder rolled and to me it sounded like pounding hooves.  A brilliant red bolt of lightning shot a horizontal path across the sky, like an arrow pointing toward the island.  When I looked at the black clouds I saw the Devil’s Herd ploughing up the sky and pursued by the ghost-riders.  One cowboy strayed from the rest and took off his Stetson hat with a seated bow toward me.  His horse snorted fire and reared up, screaming a challenge to the black-horned cattle.Glowing-Longhorns copy

With a strong feeling of satisfaction I noted that the ghost-rider was not Caleb Colman.  Maestro Martino’s sacrifice had not been in vain.  Caleb the ghost-rider had gotten his chance to redeem himself, though I had no idea what it was.

I looked around me in wide-eyed amazement, but no one else had seen the ghostly display.  Rain began to pour.  Then in the darkness the ferry hit a giant wave.  The boat went up into the air.  I felt my posterior leave my seat and I hung on for dear life as the ferry crashed back down against the stormy water.

Saltwater and rain drenched everyone.  Passengers screamed.  The captain shouted for calm.  Huge waves poured into the small craft.  Thunder roared.  Lightning blasted the darkness, eerily illuminating the terrified faces around me.Lightning

A double pronged bolt of lightning fractured the sky right above us.  The boat launched into the air again.  That time I lost my grip.  I felt myself lifted off my seat and into the air.

***

Recipe:  Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler

Recipe credit:  Flimish Minx on Food.com.  Photo credit: Chia

Strawberry Cobbler

Total Time:  1 hour

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cook Time:  50 minutes

 

Ingredients

4 cups strawberries, cleaned and sliced

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup butter, in cubes

 

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Spread the sliced strawberries evenly in an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar.

Add the egg, and mix (a fork works best) till crumbly and the dry ingredients are completely incorporated.

Spread this over the berries.

Dot with the butter cubes.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling.

Cool slightly before serving.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

.

Three Ingredients II – 9: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Gin, Trifle

Pug Girl hatHello everyone — I’m so glad to see you again!

At the end of Episode-7 Andy’s fate was unknown. Whether by design or by accident, the ghost-riders had taken him away. Then last weekend Maestro Martino sacrificed something important to him, without knowing whether or not it would return Pip’s friend. However, that segment ended without the ingredients revealing anything about Pip’s dear friend “Andy the Astronaute-man.”

The food-related things for this episode were provided by Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.  She was also kind enough to let me use a recipe for one of those ingredients. I hope you’ll check out her wonderful blog.

Let’s see where Suzanne’s tempting ingredients take the plot of our interactive culinary mystery in Episode-9.  Bon appétit!

9.  Chanterelle Mushrooms, Gin, Trifle

With Aura

Though it seemed like much longer, only moments had passed since Maestro Martino took the hand and shoulder of Caleb the ghost-rider.  Suffused with blinding light, the spirit chef seemed to merge with the cowboy before the ghost-rider disappeared.

My breath caught when I heard the fizz and pop, not unlike a bottle of champagne being uncorked.  I began to associate that sound with the appearance or disappearance of poltergeists.  The sound was immediately followed by something crashing and then the unpleasant noise of puking.  I glanced at the Maestro and saw his grimace.Chanterelle Mushrooms

“I haven’t heard such pathetic retching since I took a bumbling apprentice foraging for chanterelle mushrooms.  The poor buffoon gobbled up the wrong species while I wasn’t looking,” the ghost chef said, and he looked like he might sick-up himself.

I hurried around a tall stack of old crates toward the noise.  To my immense relief I found Andy sprawled on what appeared to be an old church pew.  When he saw me he pushed himself up on his elbows and wiped his face with a white handkerchief.

“That was one helluva ride,” my old friend groaned.

“Andy!  Are you okay?  I was scared to death!” I exclaimed.

1920a TB adI immediately regretted my poor choice of words, but neither Andy nor Maestro seemed to pay any mind.  In fact, the ghost chef wasn’t paying any attention to either of us.  He studied a rotted old crate intently.  Meanwhile Andy looked pale and woozy.  “Maybe you should put your head between your knees,” I said.

“Isn’t that for fainting?” he asked.

“Uh… yeah, I guess so,” I said lamely, and wondered if Andy really expected me to believe he was not about to pass out.

“I’ll be fine,” he mumbled, swaying where he sat.

Startling me, the Maestro drew back his foot, still wearing those odd looking Renaissance era boots, and gave the dilapidated crate a hard kick.  The wood practically disintegrated with the impact.  Several bottles rolled out onto the floor.  The poltergeist chuckled delightedly and scooped up a rolling bottle.  He had it open in a jiffy.

“Here Signore,” Maestro told Andy as he handed him the open bottle.  “This should set you to rights.”

I sat down on the dusty church pew next to Andy Avis.  He took a swig right from the bottle.  Andy made a surprised face, but he swallowed the liquid.  Then he held out the bottle to look at the faded label.Skull Ghost Bottle

Gin!” he exclaimed.  “And the real stuff too, not bathtub gin.  “Wow! I wonder how old this booze is.”

“Everything in this old warehouse, or factory, or whatever it is seems to be ancient,” I commented as I took a closer look at the carved wooden pew.

“The place was both at one time or another,” Andy said.  “So you’re right either way.  Based on what I’ve learned through the records at the courthouse, it might have been a hospital on and off too.  Or at least part of it was.  Probably not this part,” he said sounding like the swig of gin might have gone to his head that fast.  “Maybe somebody held religious services here while they were having a church built or something too,” Andy added and with a little burp he patted the pew and left a handprint in the dust.

Goose bumps covered my arms and the little hairs stood on end.  I looked at the antiquated church pew, at Maestro, and back to Andy.  I remembered the recent day when Andy and I found all those newspapers Granny Fanny had apparently been using to look up something (see Episode-6).  Andy found an old issue with a picture of a lot of young men, including the Binghamton brothers.  I recognized it for the same photo I had seen at the Kingston mansion during the big shindig.  It seemed like Daisy, the spirit girl, wanted me to see something in it.  I knew there was information in that photograph; that Daisy was trying to give me a clue, but she just wasn’t able to be clear.

abandoned factoryThen Andy had said that he found the name Binghamton in the title research he did for the abandoned building.  A chill went down my spine to match the goose bumps.  I heard the same low whistle cowboy Caleb made at me when he first appeared.  I turned toward the sound.

Multi-colored light glowed softly, just beyond the antique pew.  As I blinked it took the form of a beautiful stained glass window.  Aqua-blue and gold designs cast a soft beam on the three of us.  Then I saw Caleb, bathed in the beautiful light, Stetson hat in hand.

The ghost-rider bowed to us, and bent his head a little lower to the spirit chef.  “I don’t know how I can thank you,” Caleb said, managing to include all of us in the comment.  “But I will keep looking for a way.  If it helps you at all, Daisy knows you’re onto something,” he said causing me to do a double take.

Had the spirit girl managed to encounter the ghost-rider?  Caleb seemed to sense my question and nodded with an unexpectedly shy smile.

“Daisy still doesn’t understand it, but that old picture, this building, and the church window figure together somehow,” the cowboy tried to explain, but his expression said that he didn’t understand the message he relayed.

“How did you show us the stained glass window?” Andy asked in an awed voice.

“Oh, that wasn’t me, Pardner.  No, that was Daisy the Dainty Dish,” Caleb said with a grin, and Daisy’s form flickered beside him.Pew-n-Window

The petite dark haired woman looked fondly up at the cowboy.  Then the image of Daisy blinked out after that brief appearance.  I knew she was terrified of the abandoned building.  I supposed she mustered enough courage to let us know it was her.  Caleb’s impudent grin softened to a gentle expression as he looked at something we could not see, in the spot where Daisy had stood.

“If you’ll excuse me now,” the cowboy said.  “It’s not polite to keep a lady waiting,” he said and faded away.

The image of the stained glass window brightened in a way that seemed insistent, as if the glow refused to be ignroed.  Andy and I both studied it intently trying to memorize the intricate details in the design.

Then I heard a familiar voice in the distance, along with the sound of an automobile’s door slamming.  To my surprise, Maestro abruptly winked out with a fizz and a pop.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!  Are you in this God forsaken place?” I heard Granny Fanny’s voice, and I cringed at her use of my full name.

“Oh-oh,” Andy muttered, but gave me a mischievous wink.

My grandmother flounced across the warehouse floor to us.  She looked mad enough to spit nails, and I thought I perceived an undercurrent of worry.  She glared all around the factory floor.

1920s Flapper n Phoenix“I take it you two are safe and sound,” Granny said, and it didn’t sound like she was all together pleased with that.  “Although you look downright peaked, Andy,” she pronounced the word as southerners of that era did, peak-ed, and she almost roughly put her hand to his forehead to check his temperature.

Granny was awfully agitated.  I asked how she knew where to find us.  Then she really got mad.  “That dad-blamed ghost you two let into my kitchen!” she spat the words.  “That vulgar so-and-so!  He said he’d teach me to make a trifle, but he’d rather trifle with me.  Then rather than apologize like any gentleman ought to, he started going on about you being in danger.  I managed to drag it out of him about where he was headed. Then I got here as fast as the automobile would take me,” she said in a rush.

Trifle with her?  Granny said all that so fast that I had to replay it in my mind before I was sure what she’d said.  Had Maestro made a pass at my grandmother?  Really?  At my grandmother?  When I realized that Andy was having trouble suppressing his mirth, I realized that was exactly what had happened.

Then Granny noticed the supernatural image of the stained glass window just as it faded away.  It left an aqua and gold colored aura in the place where it had been.

“What the devil was that?” Granny Fanny exclaimed wonderingly.

The little pop and fizz sound warned me and I tried to shush the ghost chef before he spoke and made things worse.  But he had a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

“A most ironic choice of words Seniora,” he said with a bow.  “Especially since yon window is part of a church.”

“You!” Granny gasped in a voice that could have frozen the Savanah River.Harold Lloyd

Maestro had the good sense to back away.  However, that had him moving next to Andy.  That probably was not a good thing, since they both had similar baffling expressions on their faces.  What is it with men?

The ghost chef and Andy looked sideways at one another.  “You see young Signore?  She is a spitfire, no?” Martino said to my old friend.  “The woman, she is so exciting when she is angry!”

To my astonishment, Andy’s expression matched the ghost’s and my friend agreed.  However, a mere glance from Granny straightened out Andy Avis.  Maestro didn’t get off so easily though.  Granny Fanny could give a talk fierce enough to make a Baptist preacher green with envy, and brilliant enough to leave a Supreme Court judge feeling like he only had a fifth grade education.  The ghost chef got the full brunt of her eloquent speech.

Maestro Martino hung his head, thoroughly shamed.  Granny Fanny gave a sharp nod of her head.  She said she’d see me and Andy back at the cottage, and told us not to doddle. Then she turned on her heel and practically flounced out of the abandoned factory-warehouse.

Andy watched her go with the oddest series of expressions on his face.  His face held admiration, fear, amazement, and something else about which I surely hoped I was mistaken.  Or at least I’d better be.  I raised one eyebrow at him and that odd part of his expression left in a hurry.

The ghost chef’s eyes were still downcast humbly.  Then I saw him give a sidelong look at Granny’s departing form as she sashayed away.  That lascivious look made me gasp with indignation.  After all — that was my grandmother!  Then the cursed poltergeist winced and made a small uncomfortable noise.

When Maestro looked up, there was a big red cold sore on his lip.

***

Video:  Better Homes and Gardens – How to Make a Trifle

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZqcqzJcAlE

Recipe:  Roasted Chanterelles, Baby Eggplant and Shallots

Chanterelle Mushrooms to Roast

Recipe and Photo Credit: Suzanne Debrango

***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

World Cat Day 2014

veil_of_sky_open_Lilith copyAuthors and Cats

How could I miss World Cat Day?  But I almost did!  I’ve absolutely no idea why my cats were letting me overlook it. They probably meant to let me know at some point between their after lunch nap and their mid-afternoon nap.  If not, then before their pre-dinner nap.

There have been many wonderful feline characters in books and film.  (Forgive me for including Lilith, the calico from Atonement, Tennessee in that.)  Also, many great authors were cat people.  Whether you are a writer or a reader, I hope you will enjoy seeing a few of them.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates — “I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.”

Jean Cocteau with Karoun

Jean Cocteau — “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman — “I’m going to have a much harder time one day, months or even years from now, explaining why I miss the meanest, grumpiest and most dangerous cat I’ve ever encountered.”

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway — “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac  — “Holding up my purring cat to the moon I sighed.” – American Haiku, 1959

Stephen King

Stephen King — “It might be that the biggest division in the world isn’t men and women but folks who like cats and folks who like dogs.”

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell — “Nothing but the sight of blood upon his dark face would ease the pain in her heart. She lunged for him, swift as a cat, but with a light startled movement, he sidestepped, throwing up his arm to ward her off. She was standing on the edge of the freshly waxed top step, and as her arm with the whole weight of her body behind it, struck his out-thrust arm, she lost her balance. She made a wild clutch for the newel post and missed it. She went down the stairs backwards, feeling a sickening dart of pain in her ribs as she landed. And, too dazed to catch herself she rolled over and over to the bottom of the flight.” ― Gone with the Wind

And last but not least…

Mark Twain

Mark Twain — “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.”

Aspen, Crystal, and I wish you a happy World Cat Day!

IMG_0009_1

Rainbow Hearts

Just this morning I was talking about dreams… Mo Davies shares a dream she had. It’s far lovelier than any I’ve ever dreamed. Enjoy!

WILDISH

Rainbow Hearts

I had a really beautiful dream just before waking this morning – which meant I remembered it clearly, a real bonus.

I was sitting beside a lake with quite a few people when suddenly a saw a small gizmo sailing past puffing out mists of rainbow colours. I noticed that no-one else but me saw it so I started drawing people’s attention to it and they were delighted with such a lovely device.

I bought two more but then found that they all stopped working when the lake dried up. As it started filling up again, though, the rainbow clouds started appearing as the gizmos needed water to function.

Then I started showing people how they worked and found that I could see them opening up in people’s hearts.  I told people how these rainbows were opening up in their hearts and sending mists of bright colours from their hearts…

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