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Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Summer, and A Few Reflections

This post is picture heavy, then wordy.
If you stick with me, thanks!

If the heat wave wasn't enough to convince you
that it is indeed high summer, how about this?

Sweet, fresh-picked and steamed New Jersey corn.
Thank goodness for small family farms and orchards that keep
going and going and going in our increasingly strip-malled suburbs.

Believe it or not, there's good reason to call New Jersey by its nickname:  The Garden State.

On Sunday evening, having rescued the sunroom from the plastic shrouds from the conservatory cleaning,
and moving paint cans and tools and other Howard-y things back down to the now-French-drained cellar:

We decided to share a simple summer supper with my sister Peggy and her husband Bill.

See the steam coming off the corn?  Action shot!  :-)
No snazzy tablescape.  Just the food, and the means to enjoy it.

Hmmm . . . our first customer!

Master Dion asks to join us at the table.  But as always, he is disappointed with our answer.
He looks for a second opinion.  No joy there, either.
But the rest of us enjoyed amazingly sweet corn,
steaks and brats grilled to perfection by the master of the house,
salads, and grilled zucchini.  For dessert, a peach & strawberry pie from the farm.
And a few lace-cap hydrangeas from the yard.
But we didn't eat those!

Ugh.  Peggy's right.  Meat does not photograph well.  Ick.
I remember when we were kids, our Mom didn't serve corn on the cob until after we'd eaten the rest of the meal;
otherwise her corn-happy kids would eat only the corn, she said.  And she was probably right.


I haven't done a blog post since last Thursday. 
I had one planned for Friday,
but after the appalling news from Norway broke, I could not settle down to posting.

I am a second-generation American, whose family all came originally from that small country.

But it was not because it happened in Norway -- it was that I could not stop thinking about the parents
of those teenage campers, and grieving for them.  Their pain is unimaginable.

Between tears I am angry with the perpetrator, and with police for their slow response.
I am not sure angry is the right word to describe what I feel, mixed as it is with frustration.
No matter how peaceful a country, in these days -- sadly -- we must all be prepared for that unimaginable event. 
A television crew managed to charter a helicopter and get to the island when the police could not.

Well, I'm going to work myself up into a weepy mess again, so ... enough.

Now for something completely different, and completely happy.

This morning, I found a very special comment on my Thursday post.  It's from a woman named Jill, who has been blog surfing for awhile, but just discovered That Old House.

In part, she wrote:  " . . .I just finished reading the whole thing! Ive been blog surfing for months since Ive become disabled and my laptop is my buddy. . . . I have told my family about some of your blogs, I am obsessed with Dion, and your house is like a dream! I pray you never stop blogging! I feel like a distant relative just catching up on the fam. . . . "

Wow.  Jill, I want to tell you that some members of our own family keep in touch with what's going on here by checking the blog, too!   Blogging, especially the type of personal blogging that so many of us do, is remarkable because it's so very much a two-way street.  

I began back in 2008, just reading other blogs, and talking a little bit to myself on my own.
When people started reading -- much to my surprise! -- I learned how to take and post pictures.

And I've read more and more blogs -- experienced births and deaths, holidays, job crises, health issues, joyful news and heart-wrenching stories, learned how to do all sorts of things, expanded my recipe repertoire, and most fun of all . . . gotten that peek into someone else's home & family, that little peek that let's me know that we're all in this together.

We may live in the North East, or the Far West, in Canada or England or the Philipines or France -- but we all -- and we are overwhelmingly women -- we all are sisters under our many-colored skins and even more colorful hair!

You know what blogging is for me?
It has given me a voice.  When I write, I'm not just talking to myself anymore.
It has also given voices back to me, especially at difficult times.
My most-commented-on posts were the ones about losing first our mom, and then our Pop.
And so many strangers become no-longer-strangers with their kind words and their own sharings.

So thank you, Jill, for reading and laughing and sharing with me.

I look forward to you starting your own blog!
And we'll all be here to give you a hand.
Today, it is raining.  
And our cellar is dry.  Sweet.

In the sunroom, Anne has left a box on a loveseat.  In it, hats she made in a millinery class.
She's off to the city again, as she is most days.
But when she returns to her apartment in August, I will miss her.  Messes and all.

On the table, gone are the dishes from last night, gone and washed and back on the shelves.
Instead . . . some Goodwill finds.
Come back tomorrow and see what I found!

So here I sit with my laptop, and at my feet a basket of sea and shore themed Beanie Babies.
They belonged to our girls, but most of their old Beanie Babies went to a former neighbor's children,
and these few are heading for the beach house.
But what's this?  The Manatee has tumbled out of the nest! 
Manatee overboard!

And please don't tell our macho Cavalier spaniel Dion that his
grooming brush basket has a pink handle.  Thanks!  -- Cass

Join Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!  Click here.


  1. Oh Cass..
    this cannot be true..NO COMMENTS yet?
    I'm like Jill,in you via your blog..
    I feel a kinship..
    maybe a long lost sis or cousin from the South..
    but I dearly love dragging up a chair..
    and either a cup of coffee or iced tea at the ready, I begin our visit..
    admiring everything you've posted..
    savoring both delicious words and yummy photos..
    Yes..I too fell in love with Dion at first sight...
    so my friend.. time to mosey on..
    nearly time for dinner..
    that corn has my tummy speaking to me!!
    warmest hugs..

  2. You know that we were separated at birth!!!! LOL!!!! I was so glad that I found your blog -- and fairly early on. I miss the days when you don't post for I so look forward to them . . . and of course, Ollie insists that I read anything about Dion -- he tries to leave Dion mail but alas, Dion never comes by to read it!!!!

    Blogging is fun and I so enjoy the people I have met through the blog -- that is after all, how I met you!

  3. I would make the entire meal out of the corn if I could, but I'm supposed to be an adult and eat some other food with dinner too! I think I spy some silver in your Goodwill finds pile, so I'll be back tomorrow to check you out.

  4. Supper looks good.....but good ole Illinois corn is the best!! LOl
    Anxious to see what was sitting on the table of your new treasures!

  5. I Think I see a CAKE stand in your GW finds? I have been away and lots has been going on at your house, fun catching up and once again you have me smiling if not laughing. I think what you wrote about blogging is right on. You have it down, girl. I could quote you some day! (with credit of course)

  6. I have been having corn everyday. Hope the heat doesn't stop it from coming in. Richard at My Old Historic House.

  7. When I was growing up our supper might just be corn on the cob and a plate of cucumber and tomato slices. Just because it was a simple easy meal for a hot summer evening. In fact, I still do that but may buy some bake shop rolls to go along with it. I have enjoyed your blog since I found it and look forward to your posts. Have a blessed week.

  8. It all sounds wonderful - except for the corn. Well actually the corn does sound good, but I can't eat it. :( Sweet Dion - I bet he got something good to eat. :D
    I am truly saddened with what has happened in Norway. :(

  9. Your dinner looked amazing! I cooked my corn on the grill over the weekend - yummy!

    My heart aches for Norway, so very sad and senseless.

    What a compliment to you from Jill on your blog. It's nice to know that the bits of your life that you share can enlighten another's day.

    Have a wonderful week!


  10. You had me at the corn!
    Dion is great too.
    Looking forward to seeing your goodies!!!


  11. I like this sort of post.....a little food, a little dog, a little

  12. Great fresh corn on the cob. Blogging friends are just the greatest are they not?

  13. I dont know what to say Cass... except thank you! for the note back to me! I blushed and teared up as I read your personal "thank you". Talk about feeling like family!! I kind of felt famous! Now I know how Dion feels! We had a thunderstorm and knocked out our internet probably right after you put it up. I was on Richards blog at the time it went out. I "found" Richards through yours. I also wanted to mention how very heavy my heart is with the Norway tragedy. I heard about the news this week from my sister. I mourn with all the world and especially the beloved families who have lost a child or relative. Until you, I did not know anyone from Norway. Thank you again Cass.

  14. Getting caught up from the weekend, Where I was busy building a book case with my hubby, and painting the living room interior.
    I am so glad that you take the time to respond to readers. As a fairly new blogger I still feel like I am talking to myself most days. I am so glad to be part of your blog family.

    You find some pretty awesome stuff at that goodwill. So far I have not found anything that awesome, but I keep going in hopes of actually finding something.

  15. we had jersey corn this past weekend too. same as you, the white and yellow variety. it was amazing! you should try grilling it on the BBQ! it caramelizes and is even sweeter! we always serve the corn after dinner, just like your mom, but not for that reason. we do it because it is so sweet, it is like dessert!


Thank you for visiting That Old House; it's always exciting to find new comments -- they are treasured! Because of increasing spam, I have reluctantly eliminated "Anonymous" commenting. Legitimate anonymous commenters, please forgive me! You might try using "Open ID" instead. Blogger's spam software worked for a good long time, but, sadly, no longer.