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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Versace: Good Will Ambassador

Jane Stubbs Pug Pillow  To purchase, go here.
So this morning, my mail lady knocked on the door to deliver a certified letter. The dog was going nuts, so I asked her to step inside so it wouldn't get out.
"Girl or a boy?" she asked.
"Girl."
"What is her name?"
"Satchie," I replied.
"Oh! A Russian name!"
"Well, it's short for Versace. She's a puggle -- a designer breed, so we named her after a designer."
Noticing her accent, I asked if she was Russian.
"No, I am from Israel."
"What brought you to Natchez?"
"I've been here about a year. I had read about the town and came to see it."
"You've been here a year? How do you like it?"
"I LOVE it, she said. I love small towns and this one is very beautiful and the people are very nice."
"Well, goodness. How nice!"
"My friend from Israel just came here yesterday to see me."
"Well, you two have a Happy Hannukah," I said and smiled.
She looked so surprised that I'd said that.
"Thank you," She said, "And you have a very merry Christmas."
See folks? That wasn't hard. Nobody's holiday is under attack and it's okay to be nice to people.
Happy holidays, everyone.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hiding Out in Clarksdale


After the mandatory six-month waiting period, the date my divorce was to be finalized was fast approaching. I'd been fielding calls from an hysterical ex who'd suddenly decided he didn't want a divorce and wanted to "talk." His calls were so frantic, I decided to disappear until after the divorce was final.

So I got into my car and drove, wandering through parts of the country by myself that I've always wanted to see, stopping along the way to take photos and see places I remember from my youth.

I found this one street off a cotton field with a couple of old storefronts, all crumbling and abandoned. One had the remnants of a bar with broken pottery still sitting on the counter top. The other was just the shell of the building, open to the sky with trees and vines growing up the floor and walls. 

I stepped inside the door to get a better shot when it sounded like the building was falling down on top of me. I ducked as a huge owl swooped down out of the rafters over my head and into the tree behind the building. 

When I checked into the B&B, the fellow who checked me in said, "I understand no one is to know you're here. Don't worry; your secret's safe with me." 

I thanked him profusely and checked into a charming little room in a garage behind a big old house once owned by a man who owned a 20,000-acre plantation and killed almost every bear in the state. It's a beautiful house, reminiscent of an English country cottage, right in the middle of town. 


They've got 12 acres surrounded by Days Inn, Burger King and other tacky establishments. A little piece of heaven in the middle of town. There were three other couples staying at the house. Very nice folks from Kentucky, off on a road trip of their own. They had the whole main house to themselves, while I took the room in the garage. 

That night I went to a liquor store to buy some wine. The security was so tight, I had to pass the money through a slot in the wall, and they passed the wine through a bigger slot. 

"Are you here for the Blues thing?" the lady behind the bulletproof glass asked me. 

"I didn't know there was anything happening," I replied. "What's going on?" 

"Oh, a bunch of women came in a little while ago saying some woman's in town who's famous -- a singer. They wanted little bottles of wine they could put in their purses." 

Ha! 

So I went to have dinner at a fine restaurant where the food was sublime. I saw the other couples from the B&B there, and went over and introduced myself. 

"What are you doing in town?" one of the husbands asked me. 

"Oh, I'm just here for a little quiet time," I said. "I want to do some writing and photography." 

They were very cordial and invited me for breakfast next morning. Then I went to see the Blues lady. Definitely a hit with the menopausal crowd, of which I realize I'm a member. It was so odd, being in this Blues dive with a bunch of old yuppies with lines around their eyes, wearing their dainty PTA clothes and grinding to the lyrics: 

"Baby, you got somethin' in your toolbox that I aine' got in mine,
Maybe you could use it to show me a good time."


While I was there, the other couples came in. They'd driven all the way from Kentucky just to hear this woman sing. 

I was standing at the bar when one of the women came up to get a drink. I smiled and said hello.
 
"So, I hear you're getting a divorce," she said. 

I had to laugh. I remembered Pal (the guy who checked me in) telling me, "We don't care what you've done. We just want to talk about it." 

I felt kind of sheepish after my suave dodge of the husband's question earlier. I had a couple of margaritas and watched the crowd, and went home early (around 11 p.m.) The other couples staying at the B&B stayed out 'til about 1 a.m., and looked a little raggedy this morning. But they were nice folks, asking me about my book business and getting all excited when I showed them the book I found at Goodwill by Captain Kangaroo that was signed. 

"Oh, my God! I LOVED him!" 

I did, too. Was it so very long ago? Well, I guess maybe it was. 

That day, I moved over to another B&B that is a little bigger and has more atmosphere. I woke up the next morning to the mournful sound of a train whistle on the tracks. I love that sound, even while it makes me kind of sad. It makes me feel like a child again, all tucked safely into bed and hearing that whistle, feeling secure in the bosom of my home and wondering about the lonely souls out there riding on the rails. 

Someone told me later that the tracks are now defunct and no trains ride them except for the one engine I heard that's owned privately by this fellow who just loves trains. He drives it about a mile down the tracks and back every day, blowing the whistle like a kid with a toy. God, I love small towns.

That morning I walked across the parking lot to have breakfast at this little dive that serves the best scrambled eggs, grits, bacon and toast in town. While I was there, I saw a wizened old Black man with loaded dice playing tricks on a couple of tourists, and bragging about all the places he's been. While I ate my food a cat jumped up on the counter and started eying my plate. 

"You better watch him real close," said the waiter behind the bar. "He sneaky."
 
I wondered if the health department knew about Catty Can (his name). Pretty soon, Catty Can tried to make a move and I swatted at him and said, "Nope! Not today, partner." 


He gave me a wicked, disgusted look and lay down on the counter, waiting for another opportunity until the waiter snuck up behind him and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed him onto the floor. 

The days passed. I drove all over the state, enjoying my solitude and my newfound sense of freedom, feeling powerful and introspective. I think every woman should take a road trip by herself at least once in her lifetime. 

It's a trip.

March, 2008
 




Friday, November 11, 2016

Signs






All around the city
sparrows fell.
Pigeons lay like litter
in the streets.
That's what it took
to make us stop, look
up and think
about
the end.

Is this how
it begins?
Not with a bang
but a flutter? When I came
across the turkey on
the north fork trail
I wondered
how long
we’d have.

The clouds hung
low, like dirty cotton,
a nagging ache
behind my brow.
I squinted against winter’s
stubborn glare.
Is it too bright? Or is it
darker now than ever?

If God’s eye
is on the sparrow,
where is his ear?
Is he listening?
A thousand
thousand feathers fall
like prayers from the sky.

And everywhere ~~ silence.


17, May, 2007

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Inheritance

An early memory. 

Ribbons
of smoke curling
past the lamp.
Gin and tonic
and lipstick on the glass
and laughter.

You, slender as a reed,
fraught with a need
to be more than you
can be.
Laughter brandished
like a sword. 

Smoke curls
up against the door,
circles three times
and makes its bed in
whomever you've become.

Your skin hangs
on your skull,
yellow teeth and pale
bones beat a dying rhythm.

I look into your eyes
pleading.
You look at mine.
Can you hear them scream?

~ Elodie Pritchartt, April, 2009

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summertime Eats

                                   (Photo by Elodie Pritchartt)

This is one of the easiest, most delicious recipes I have, and perfect for a summertime dish.





Tomatoes & Brie with Linguine

Okay. I admit it. I'm lazy. But I've also got very snobby tastebuds. Pleeeease give me recipes that will indulge my inertia!



tomatoes, lots of 'em.

If you grow them yourself, even better. I use a variety of organic yellow, orange and red cherry-sized, teardrop and plum tomatoes. But chopped beefsteak is fine, too. Also I once used these little teeny, tiny tomatoes I discovered at Von's Grocery that are the sweetest I've ever tasted, and no bigger than a large blueberry. They're called Mini Charms and come from Victory Garden in Livermore, California.

1 lb. of Brie cheese, rind removed, torn into irregular pieces.

(The lazy soul that I am, I also discovered Alouette brand, rindless Brie cheese. It's delicious and soft and comes in one of those little triangular packages. Find it with those potted Alouette cheese spreads.  Let it come to room temperature so it's liquid. That way, you can skip cutting the rind off perfectly good cheese)




1 cup cleaned fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced

1 cup best-quality olive oil

one-half teaspoon salt

(I prefer coarse, Kosher salt. Just tastes better)

one-half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

One-and-a-half pounds linguini

(I like the fresh linguini, but am too lazy to make it myself, so I buy it at the market)

Freshly grated, imported Parmesan cheese (optional. I don't use it.)

1. Combine tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl. Prepare at least two hours before serving and set aside, covered, at room temperature.

2. Cook the linguini.

3. Spoon linguini into small serving bowl and spoon sauce onto the pasta and EAT!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Knick-Nack Paddy Whack

I ran across this post when looking at some old Facebook posts.  It was 2010, and I was living with my dad in the country.


So yesterday I get up to let the dog out to go potty. Usually when she comes back inside she heads straight for the kitchen. But yesterday she ran back up the stairs and started barking to get back into the bedroom. Soooo....naturally I trudge back upstairs and let her in.

She jumps up onto the bed and starts rooting around in the covers. Then she pulls out this HUGE, nasty-looking bone. I swear it looked like a human femur. Probably a deer bone. Egad. This is the first time I've ever had a dog that likes to hide things. I keep finding doggie biscuits behind the sofa cushions.

So anyway, I get to work yesterday, and I'm rooting around in my purse looking for my chapstick when I find ANOTHER BONE in my purse. Right next to my favorite pink toothbrush. Hmm...most of the marrow was gone. You think it's okay to use that toothbrush?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Waiting for Gustav


Saturday morning
 1
and the sky
 2
is gentle blue
 3
Has it been
 4
only three years
 5
since I watched
 6
a mother
 7
find
 8
her dead son's
 9
marine uniform
 10
in the ruins
 11
of her home?
 12
soiled in ways
 13
that will never
 14
wash out.
 15
The detritus
 16
of a nation's
 17
failure rubbed
 18
into the fabric
 19
of the world
 20
Politicians smile,
 21
announce the coming
 22
victory
 23
raise joined hands
 24
in triumph
 25
speak about a bright
 26
and shining future
 27
They do not see
 28
the haunted eyes
 29
of frightened souls
 30
fleeing from the coast
 31
and the sky
 32
such a gentle blue
 33
today.
 34

30 Aug 08