Sunday, November 1, 2009

ALL GOOD

Today we began a new month, with its own fresh page on the calendar.
November is the last full month of autumn, a fact I suspect a lot of folks forget—especially when a north wind comes whistling around the eaves and sleet rattles like buckshot against the windows. Or a skift of snow dusts the new-fallen leaves like a spilled barrel of flour.
Oh, yeah…it can do all that in November.
But November can also be sunny and bright, shirt-sleeve warm. Soft, sweet days filled with the scent of cider and woodsmoke, and radiant, golden light that sweeps into every corner of the now-opened woodlands, and sparkles off the riffles like the sunniest day in spring.
That's November, too.
November can blow hot or cold, mild, crisp, chilly. It can blow in gentle zephyrs, like a lover's caress, or draw across your body like an icy razor that slices straight through flesh and bone to your spinal marrow. Sometimes November's breeze comes scuttling through the yard, catches all those leaves you so carefully raked into a neat pile, and hurls them aloft like so much confetti. There! What do you think of that!
The thing is, you just never know about November. It's this and that, and everything in-between—always changing, unpredictable, kaleidoscopic, full of surprise.
The best way to waltz happily through November is by thinking of it as sort of the seasonal version of going to one of those big family reunions they have down in the hill country. You know, the ones that are held the same summer weekend every year, so folks from out-of-town can have plenty of time to plan their vacations around attending. They always take place on the grounds of the local Baptist or Methodist church, because there's plenty of comfortable shade out back for folding chairs and blankets for seating, plus the fifteen or twenty makeshift serving tables made by laying 4X8 sheets of plywood between two sawhorses; and should it rain, room in the church's basement—just barely, if everyone crowds in—to eat and visit.
Now the pertinent part of such a shindig as it relates to November, is the food on those groaning tables. All homemade, of course. (A true Mountain Southerner would no more come a'callin' to a family reunion carrying a bucket of fast-food chicken, than he would without first giving his pickup truck it's annual wash and wax, or fail to bring along Ol' Rattler, his favorite bluetick. Yes'am, hound dogs enjoy reunions, too.)
Anyway, as I was saying…the food is homemade and probably the cook's best dish. Or best half-dozen dishes, not including pies and cakes, and their personal take on banana pudding. Why, it ain't neighborly to come carryin' just one thing to share on a table.
The point is, it's all good. Every last bite.
Sure, this bowl of chicken-and-dumplin's is not quite the same as that bowl of chicken-and-dumplin's—or any of those other twenty variations you do your best to sample. Just like none of the home-canned green beans taste alike, or the creamed onions, or the macaroni-and-tomatoes. There are too many cat-head biscuits for an honest assessment; too many pones of cornbread (none with sugar…uggh!), and more potato dishes than even a hungry man with a good appetite could manage.
We won't attempt to discuss dessert, especially pies—apple, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, cocoanut, peanut butter or about twenty-five others. And cakes. And cookies to fill out those odd corners after the three-hour meal.
Good. All good. Good. Good. Good!
Just like November. Sun snow, wind, rain, clouds, blue skies…good. All good.

19 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

I suddenly feel very hungry, Grizzled! Can't think why...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

Me, too…but in my case. because I've had stuff cooking all day long. However, patience has its rewards; supper is about an hour away.

Bernie said...

Gosh Grizz you describe November as a woman....LOL
I love November knowing all the fun times ahead with family and friends and the weather although unpredictable is usally quite nice. I expect snow in Nov. not September like we had this year. Enjoy this wonderful month...:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Now I wasn't saying November is fickle—just interesting. I love November. I will enjoy it, snow, sun, whatever.

Jayne said...

Is there anything as classic as a good Southern family reunion? The description of the food took me back to years and years ago... and I could both smell and taste all that wonderful food. Mmmmm....

giggles said...

It's all good.... Our Northern Juncos are home!!!!

KGMom said...

Scribe--I sit down to read your blog before breakfast. Can't hardly concentrate to make a comment.
No, sir. I got to go off and get me some breakfast.

Richard said...

No country get-together family reunion would be without half a dozen different pecan pies.

You have a great way of looking at November.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

No, ma'am, there isn't. The food and family and fun, kids and dogs and laughter, plates stacked high, stories getting told, a bit of singing, grace before the meal, group photos…and pictures of grandkids and great uncles—folks who couldn't make it this year, and those who'll never make it again—being passed around, examined, commented on, cried over.

It's one of the most extraordinarily wonderful, beautiful, and rewarding things we humans ever do together. As close to heaven as I know.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Haven't seen a junco here yet—but they'll doubtless show up before long.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

My what change a week can bring…you've found a son-in-law, found your "lost" camera (I'm say you need a smaller purse), and found your appetite—which means you're over whatever bug ailed ya'.

See, you wouldn't have had the same reaction to the piece a week ago. Glad I made you hungry.

Grace said...

I love how you described November. And also, I'm hungry now; time to make lunch.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

Oh, man…you're so right! How could I forget pecan pies! (And butterscotch, and banana cream, and custard, and cherry, and…)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Grace…

That's why I write…to have a positive effect on folks and transform humanity. (Yeah, right. Okay, I was hungry and I wanted to pass it along. Worked, too, didn't it!)

The Weaver of Grass said...

The trouble is, scribe, that all those wonderful desserts seem to belong to November and I have to think of the waistline too.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

I've given up thinking—or at least worrying. I eat as sensible as I can, most of the time. Which probably isn't saying much. But I'd never turn down an invite to a family reunion in the hill-country, or a slice of homemade pie.

Life is too short, and homemade pie too good.

TheChicGeek said...

Your post is making me hungry, Scribe! LOL
Have a Wonderful Day or Evening...depending on when you find this comment :)
Hugs to You, Scribe!

Rowan said...

You make November sound very appealing! :) It's a month I enjoy too whatever face she decides to show. I did a post on it a year or two ago and oddly enough mine involved food as well! circleoftheyear.blogspot.com/2006/11/november.html if you're interested.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

Well, as usual when I visit your blog, I got lost in your wonderful posts—reading everything from November of 2006…about Lark Rise, your Uncle Harry, etc. Finally made it back here to say how much I agree with your thoughts re. November's lovely, unique light.

BTW, I saw in one of your photos you also have a copy of John Matthews' book on the Solstice—a favorite and a good reference.