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Joys of a snowbound day

Excerpt from A Day of Pleasant Bread, written by David Grayson in 1942:

They have all gone now, and the house is very still. For the first time this evening I can hear the familiar sound of the December wind blustering about the house, complaining at closed doorways, asking questions at the shutters; but here in my room, under the green reading lamp, it is warm and still. Although Harriet has closed the doors, covered the coals in the fireplace, and said goodnight, the atmosphere still seems to tingle with the electricity of genial humanity.

The parting voice of the Scotch preacher still booms in my ears:

“This,” said he, as he was going out of our door, wrapped like an Arctic highlander in cloaks and tippets, “has been a day of pleasant bread.”

Meanwhile, here in Kansas, it is a frigid January day, and a treacherously icy one at that. Schools closed, roads glazed, a good day to be at home. We stayed close to the fire, my husband and I, with our two collies and yellow cat. Outside, even the stalwart ducks, like their more delicate neighbors, the hens, roosters and guineas, sheltered in their little houses. Hungry cardinals, sparrows, flickers and finches flocked to the nearby bird feeder all day.

A day like this always makes me want to cook. From the freezer, I retrieved a sack of tart cherries that carried lovely memory of a June evening with my friend, Donna, when we reached high and low, picking cherries from her generous tree, and sharing stories of our lives. Today, those lovely cherries became jam that will be served with biscuits when Donna brings her famous red beans and rice to our house for dinner on Saturday night.

From the freezer, too, beef soup bones kept for a day such as this. This evening, as I write, the soup, lean on meat but rich with vegetables, simmers on the stove, ready for dinner.

Also warm on the stove: beets. The ruby red slices boiled and soaking in a delicate mixture of vinegar, sugar and cinnamon.

From his recliner near the warmth of the woodstove, my husband’s gentle snoring speaks volumes. We’ve enjoyed a cozy day, sheltering from the storm.

It’s the kind of day where, at least for me, David Grayson’s story of being snowbound comes to mind, and I realize that this indeed has been “a day of pleasant bread.”

Thank you

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Today, I dropped off copies of The Story of The Bear at The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas. Thank you to owner Danny Caine, whose bookshop is the inaugural store to carry this book.

 

 

Just a step

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From the ups and downs we all experience, we know life isn’t as easy as it looks. In the sweet innocence of childhood, these girls show that a single step — or jump — might  bring out the unexpected smile.

Something beautiful

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Today, the honeybees were busy sipping nectar from the flowers of an ironweed plant. This little bee’s abdomen and legs are speckled with pollen as he goes about his business. Each worker bee can visit thousands of flowers in a day and during its lifetime will produce one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey. The anything-but-simple wonders of nature never cease to amaze me.

A difficult conversation

A loved one’s suicide leaves family and friends with unanswered questions. After asking why and what did we miss, one of the biggest questions is, “How do we tell the kids?”
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When my children’s grandfather took his own life, the last thing I wanted to do was tell them how Grampa died. But when a newspaper headlined the details, I knew I had no choice. I went to bed that night wondering how I would tell them, and The Story of The Bear came to me in the night.

It was a way for me to open the difficult conversation. After I told them the story, my then 7-year-old son said, “That was a good story, but it’s too bad the bear had to die.”

And then I told them the rest of the story.

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