The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
The crows wake me before the sun comes up. Are there more crows this year or are they just noisier? Might as well accept the fact that I won’t go back to sleep; and that’s a good thing, for today our friend Marjorie is coming to lunch.
I told Marjorie that I would make a quiche: so simple, no trouble. Actually quiche is a fair bit of trouble, but it doesn’t matter because Marjorie is worth it. So at 6 am I am rolling out piecrust, and thumbing through the Moosewood Cookbook to find the no-fail quiche recipe that calls for a bottom layer of the gruyère cheese that we just happen to have on hand. We also have beautiful fresh brown eggs, sweet Island whole milk, and new onions from the garden. Bonus: a handful of chanterelles that were growing alongside the park road.
By ten o’clock the veggies are fried, the eggs are beaten, and the quiche is ready to pop in the oven. I also whip up a batch of corn sticks made in an old-fashioned corn mold. (Lodge Ironworks still makes them.) This is going to be good.
Promptly at noon Marjorie and her cousin/chauffeur-for-the-day Valerie drive up the lane, all smiles and hugs. I should mention that Marjorie is a wisp of a woman in her 90s, who has finally accepted the idea that a walker is a wonderful invention. Well! That walker takes her all around the yard—and she knows more about peonies, chickadees, and potato bugs than I’ll ever know.
Eventually we gather in the front porch, out of the sun and away from mosquitoes. For our summer luncheon the table is set with a colorful cotton tablecloth, crocheted placemats, my mother’s good silverware, glass plates, and a vase of frilly bachelor buttons. I think even the Queen would approve. The quiche is a big hit, as is the garden salad of tender new greens, and the cornbread is crunchy and golden. But maybe the best part of the whole event is the conversation. Is there anything better than sitting around the table after a delicious meal, exchanging stories?
We “younger” folks talk about hippie days and the houses we lived in; we discuss bird populations, and touch on American politics—but quickly veer away; then settle into a favorite topic: the Olden Days. Marjorie tells of eating shorts porridge (like semolina) for breakfast every day. Walking to the one-room schoolhouse. Cleaning wool in the carding mill with her mother. Sitting through long revival services of the Macdonaldites. Life was no simpler a few generations back: it was just different.
The sun starts peering through the west windows and the porch gets hot. Time for a change of venue. Shall we do this again? Of course. Good-bye friends! See you soon!
It’s quiet in the yard now. The crows are somewhere else, probably down at the shore. The tide’s coming in: why don’t we go for a swim? And we don’t need to cook supper. I’m happy to eat quiche again.