The Lone Tree: A View of My Father

It's not my earliest memory, but it best sums up who my father was. Among other things, he stood over 6 feet without shoes, and he laughed, often, his enjoyment of life so very apparent. He could build anything, and do anything, or so it seemed. Even in the kitchen, he conjured up a myriad of…

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The Heart of the Matter: A Pithy Gallery*

The heart of the matter is often not what we think. A heart can be obscure. Dark, even. Or perhaps too full or too empty. Sometimes it's intricate, complicated, as "they" say. And maybe even split down the middle. In the end, the crux of the matter leads us to what's important, to where the…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Apples

In Rustic Speech and Folk-lore (1911, p. 299-300), Elizabeth Mary Wright describes a Halloween custom we still practice: October 31 is Halloween, the Eve of All Saints' Day, a night specially devoted to love-divination ceremonies, and other superstitious customs such as we have noticed in a previous chapter. The game of hanch-apple is a favourite…

George Washington’s Family Cookbooks

Martha Washington's cookbook tells a tale, one that really needs no elaboration:  George went through life toothless. Recipes for soft puddings, quidonys (a type of fruit preserve), and jellies abound. Of course, puddings testified in part to the, well, Englishness of the Father of Our Country and his wife. But the fact of the matter…

An Apple a Day

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Folk proverb One of autumn's most anticipated pleasures --- aside from football and the welcoming onslaught of cooler weather --- lies in the first bite of fresh, crisp apples. Originating in Asia Minor, apples grew wild in Europe by prehistoric times. Myths in many cultures place apples…