Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is There Life Out There?

May 23, 1994

Dear Ernestine,

Once in a great while you meet someone as a total stranger who will become unforgettable in your life.

From the day we have been indelibly logged in my memory. I hope as the days pass, having surveyed your manse and are satisfied it has been restored to its distinctive environment, you will recall this "event" in your life with a fondness that assuages the dark moments of doubt and anxiety.

You are a remarkable woman, who like Lily in our movie, is still searching, thirsting for life out there.

I admire that in you. On behalf of everyone associated with me in the making of this movie, I want to express heartfelt appreciation for your hospitality and generosity of spirit.

Marian Rees
Executive Producer
Best Shot Productions, Inc.

One spring day in 1994 there was a knock at the door of my old 100-year-old farm home. A young man gave me his card and said he was with a movie company. He went on to share that they were looking for a home like mine that they might use for a few weeks to shoot part of a film. I invited him in and he shared part of how they would go about turning part of my home into a movie set.

At this particular time the thought came to my mind many times "Is there Life out There?," just like the title of the movie. My youngest had finished college and was working as an editor at a university in Nashville.

I was missing having a family with me. I had thoughts of reentering the job market, but at this time I had not. The fee that was being offered to me for the use of my home was no great amount but would come in handy. So I signed a contract.

The work began and in several weeks a set was created in part of my home. The majority of my furniture was stored in unused rooms.

The morning they were to begin I could hear trucks all night on the road in front of my home. Oh what a surprise at daybreak. Truck after truck, probably 30 were lined up all down the road. In a few hours my quiet retreat was invaded by many many people

To make a long story short, it was a nightmare!

The production company wanted me to leave and stay in a motel while this was going on. It was that unsettling. But I refused.

My children seemed to think this was exciting and I should view it as an adventure. But I guess mom could not.

The star of this film was country music star Reba.

I guess the most enjoyable part was the excellent meals prepared by one of the best catering company's in Nashville. Everyday they would prepare and grill everything you could think of for lunch. There were a dozen or more long table set out at the edge of my orchard. It was really picturesque. Wish I could have just merged into this experience.

Another memory on my journey through life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sadie and Sam

Don't ever stop at the Humane Society to just see kind of animals they have.

I was coming home from a special errand one fall day in 2001 down a road that I usually did not take. I could see the sign up ahead: "Humane Society," so I thought I will just stop and take a look. Why I did this I do not know to this day.

There she was, a tiny little blond dog. Immediately she came to the side of her cage and looked me in the eye. Guess that was it.

I asked "what is her story?"

They shared that a homeless dog that no one could catch had 8 puppies. This was the only one they could catch. I was told that they were going to put her to sleep the next day as her time for a new owner to arrive had expired.

That was all it took so I brought Sadie home with me.

At that time I had a home in the country 1,000 feet off of the road. I already had three other dogs.

I am not a dog person. I have never had one in the house. But living in an isolated area and surrounded by woods it was comforting to me to see them lying in the drive and alerting me if anyone was on the way to the house.

When the time arrived for me to sell that home and move to the city I found a home for 3 of the dogs. Sadie seemed to be destined to stay with me. So she stays in my new backyard that is surrounded by a picket fence and alerts me if anyone if near.

I remember making a comment to my son that I had tried to find a home for her and really did not want a dog at my city home. He said "what does she do that is wrong." I truly felt ashamed and I replied "nothing." He went on to say that he thought it was meant to be that I have her.

So now 10 months in my new home, Sadie and I have settled in. I cannot imagine being here without her. She stays in the yard in the daytime and at night I put her on my screen porch.

I cannot imagine being here without Sadie.

Since I do not plan on writing about dogs again, I do not want to forget to mention Sam. I guess he is the dog I loved the most. Since he would look at me with adoring eyes and could be half a mile away and would come running when I called.

He arrived at a friend's home one day. She asked if I wanted him and I said "no." But after a visit at her home he won my heart.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Day in My Life

I came across this post that a young woman writes in Australia so I thought I would try it.

This might be something I will do monthly, not to show how much I do or do not do - just thought it would be interesting.

I always wake about 5 o'clock in the morning. I always pray before my feet hit the floor for the beginning of my day.

5:30 my day begins. I let Sadie off of the screen porch.

Make my bed up. I love the new white duvet that I bought for my new home. I like my bedroom all tidy and neat.

Dress for the day. I love my old clothes - slacks and a sweater and tennis shoes. In the past I had to dress up a lot and I cherish this time of a simpler lifestyle

Tidy myself and work on hair. Oh I wish I did not have this fine short hair that I have to really work at to make it look presentable for the day.

Wind up my clocks, all 7 of them. 5 chime. I love it. One was my mother's. Another was my grandmother and great grandmother's. One is an old school clock that I bought almost 50 years ago.

Turn on the computer and check Ronni's site. Read any emails that came in late yesterday and read a few more interesting sites.

Put Sadie's food out on screen porch.

20 minutes of yoga.

Breakfast time of cereal, fruit, 2 cups of green tea and one of my special bran muffins that I make. They are so good and healthy. Have carrots, apples, raisins and nuts in them.

After breakfast I do a load of wash. It is going to be a beautiful day and I put the clothes on a rack outside.

Take Sadie for a walk. I go a little further in my new neighborhood each time I walk.

A few phone calls made and a few received. I wait for the contractor to come by and look at my new wood floor that squeaks. My son says that adds character. Maybe in an old home but not in my new home of only one year.

Decided to go over hardwood floors. I love my new wood floors. Ran the swifter and then lightly damp mopped with vinegar and water. Oh how they shine.

Lunch time. It is beautiful outside and I take my sandwich outside and sit in the sun.

Decide after lunch to finish planting my little garden.

I plant two hills of yellow squash, zucchini and cantaloupe, as well as a small row of cucumbers and green beans. This added to the lettuce that is already 2 inches high, my 50 onion sets, a few strawberry plants and my three tomato plants.

Since this is a new garden and an experiment to see what grows, I will be thrilled to have enough for this one person.

I grow weary of trying to decide what to prepare for dinner for one. I decide to cook some collard greens. My oldest daughter who lives in Massachusetts says they are really good for you. I put a handful of chopped green, red and yellow peppers in them. I have grown tired of broccoli

Shrimp scampi was decided on. Fold the cooked angel hair pasta into the simmered butter and olive oil and shrimp. Makes a tasty dinner for one.

After washing dishes went out on front porch to sit in swing. I love a porch swing.

Thought of reading but just want to be still. I need to start reading more and buying fewer books. I must have 30 or more unread books. I love my books.

In the winter it is so enjoyable to sit by the fire and read.

Time to begin to wind down.

Checked emails before turning computer off.

Ready for bed and prayer and meditating time until I fall asleep.

A good way to end this day on my journey through life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You've Got a Friend

When you're down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, oh nothing is going right
close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
all you got to do is call
and I"ll be there , you,ve got a friend.
If the sky about you
should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old North wind should begin to blow
keep your head together
and call my name out loud
soon I'll be knocking at your door.
and you know wherever I am
I"ll come running to see you again
People can be so cold
they'll hurt you and desert you
they'll even take your soul if you let them
But all you have to do is call out my name
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Forty years ago oh, I loved dancing to this song. Seemed like the world had all I needed and this promise also. I smiled. But then reality came a short time later. The glamour and security of it all was all gone. I was still young. In my 40s. Two children in college, one in high school and a 1st grader. I started over. Where were all those friends?

I have learned real friends are few and far between. The many I thought would be there had disappeared. The American dream come true young couple had each went their separate ways.

What have I learned? That some people come through your life when you seem to have it all and they enjoy you. They seem to come for a season.
Then as life goes on the universe sends special people at special times who speak to your heart and soul. They care and you hear it in their words.You see it in their eyes if they do not speak a word. Many thoughts go through my mind today and I am so thankful for my life at this time. I'm thankful for the special people who are too numerous to mention by name that have touched my life, one in particular this week with whom I had a brief conversation that left tears in my eyes. A truly good person. Good to the core of his being. I cannot begin to name my blessings.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Unexpected Pleasure

My day as usual started early. I am usually up between 5:00 and 6:00. I have not felt as energetic as I use to for quite a while. In conversations with myself, I think is this part of aging? Is it Sjogren's syndrome that I have been diagnosed with? Is is the spot on my lungs that was discovered several months ago? I truly do not know. All of this just seemed to happen overnight.

I read a comment on the blog Time Goes By, and I wish they were my original words (I could not contact the lady to see if it was alright to use her words and I surely hope it is alright).

How did I get to this point and what am I suppose to do now?

My exact thoughts.

My cloud lifted as the day progressed. My youngest daughter was stopping by at noon and going to have lunch with me. I called my son who is recovering from jet lag from his return trip from Thailand and he said he would join us.

Then the surprise that put a smile on this grandma's face. My oldest granddaughter who will soon be a senior at Vanderbilt University called and said: "Grandma I am going to come by and visit"

So a lunch was quickly put together. The chicken that had been bought for the weekend was soon in oven. The crisper drawer emptied and a great salad was produced. Side dishes of fruit, stuffed eggs, celery and carrot sticks and an avocado was sliced. Luckily a can of sliced pineapple in the pantry produced a pineapple upside down cake. A pitcher of fruit tea was made as I waited for my lunch guest.

Where did the energy come from to do this?

Now that everyone has left I contemplate this.

Guess it is just being a mother and grandmother. The excitement of not spending the day alone. Each guest so special: My youngest daughter who has given me my two youngest grandchildren 3 and 5. My only son who I missed for 3 months while he was abroad. This special granddaughter who through the years has always brought a smile to my face. Memories of her visiting me at my 100 year old farm home flooded my mind. We would sit on the swing in the evening and listen to the night sounds. I would brush her hair and we would talk.

Where has time gone?

So the kitchen is back in order and I am checking my computer. Trying to figure out how to post images on my new blog. It will come. Part of another day on one woman's journey.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring Gardening and Thoughts on a Friend Leaving

It's a beautiful Spring day. I believe all of my plants have survived their move from the garden of my previously loved home. They were dug up when I had no idea of color and the ground was dry because of no rain. So it is a pleasant surprise that they lived. A dozen iris, daylillies, lavender, lambs ear, coral bells, cone flowers and bee balm just to name a few...about 25 different kinds of flowers. They were brought in two trips in the trunk of my car and then stuck in the ground while construction was going on to finish my home. I have put a picket fence around the small back yard and planted a grapevine and 2 blueberry bushes along it. Also have a small plot of about 8 x 10 for my kitchen garden. My lettuce is already up about an inch. Planted 4 strawberry plants in the corner. All of this an experiment to see what will grow.

I smiled last fall when a friend from my old hometown was passing through taking her husband to hospital and brought me 6 buckets of dry manure from their barn. Only a true gardener would know what that did to my little garden plot. The ground is super rich. The 3 dogwood trees and Japanese Maple are starting to leaf and I planted a pear tree. I have my grandmother's pear preserve recipe and maybe the trees will bear next year.

It's hard for me to believe that one year ago this home was under construction and that my other home sold in two weeks! That I am ever thankful for especially with the housing market sales at an all time low.

This morning was sad for me. Debby, the young lady who has been staying at my son's home while he was in Thailand, came to say goodbye. She is returning to the Netherlands. She came to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to write her thesis. There was no room at the University and my son agreed to let her stay in his cottage. His home is across the street from my new retirement home. She would visit me and share her experiences at school and of new friends. I would welcome her to have dinner with me several times a week. She loved my cooking and took home some of my dessert recipes that were favorites for her. She surely made it easier for me as I missed my son while he is gone to his second home of Thailand. I wish her a safe journey as she leaves for home in the next several hours. I will surely miss her.

Another day in the journey through life.