THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

It’s What’s For Dinner

Gumbo. It’s what’s for dinner. And supper. And sometimes even breakfast.

Suze and I were looking forward to a peaceful Thanksgiving at home. Since I have no taste for turkey, never have, we settled on gumbo and potato salad, with rolls and desert.

I made my first gumbo back about 14 years ago. I had never made a roux before. A friend of mine actually talked me through it on the phone:

“What color is it?”

“Chocolate milk.”

“Keep stirring. Do any woodworking lately…?”

(time passes…)

“What color is it?”

“Uhm…like well-used cow leather.”

“Keep stirring. Did I tell you that…?”

(time passes)

“What color is it now?”

“Black coffee.”

“Drop the stuff in and stir like you’ve never stirred before!”

Or something like that. Anyway, I made a big ol’ pot of chicken and sausage gumbo, with okra. We love okra in any gumbo. Suze made a gargantuan bowl of potato salad and baked up some rolls. It was all quite extraordinary, and best of all, when we were done, we retired to the living room and settled into a quiet resonance.

So we’ve been eating on it ever since. It was a big gumbo. I think we . . . → Read More: It’s What’s For Dinner

November

November. Old Man Winter reaches out and his touch is cold, biting. But it’s November, and his arrival is necessary for the circle to remain intact.

Somewhere far north of here, the creeks are probably sluggish and drowsy, soothed into slumber by the Old Man’s first tentative caress. At home, the yard is littered with leaves; my little parcel stand apart from those nearby in that I haven’t mown it in quite a while. I like the crunch of brown leaves under my soles, am lifted by their frolicking tumbles across the lawn in the breath of the north.

Though I dread the forecast for a harder winter than we had last year, it is part of the cyclical nature of things. Winter is something I’ve tried to harden my resolve to, knowing that if I’m ever to abide in a mountain climate I’ll have to brace-up for it. It’s worth the effort.

Farther north from here than my beloved creeks, the upper peaks of the southern Appalachians are dusted in light snow. The tourists are likely dwindling, and many of the mountain towns are turning ghostlike. They thrive, mostly, on the industry of visitation. In winter, they turn . . . → Read More: November

Goodbyes

It has taken me this long to put these words down. Sometimes it takes time to let the fog of emotion wear off. Sometimes, there’s not enough time.

But I want to express my deep sorrow on the loss of Earl Veeder. To his family and many, many friends.

It’s a scene where I knew “of him” half my life, knew him personally most of the other half, and became friends with him in the last few years. Though our friendship was the kind celebrated over breakfast and lunch tables, or passing by each other on the street, or the occasional office visits, it was rewarding as any.

His humor was boundless; his intellect more so. A deep vein of compassion coursed through his veins, as well as a generous amount of cynicism when apt. Our discussions on any topic were well-fathomed and peppered by his remarkable wit.

Earl’s death shocked and saddened us all, so sudden and so heartbreaking. I still expect to see him stride into the café mornings, and have to remind myself, he won’t.

So in the spirit of the humor that surrounded Earl Veeder during the course of my friendship with him, I’ll just . . . → Read More: Goodbyes

Hey There

Well, hey there. Long time no speak.

Been too busy to turn around and blink lately. Not that this is a bad thing. Well, sometimes it is, I guess.

Since last we spoke I took a week off. Shoot, when was that? Week of the 15th that’s when. Been a while.

It was, as always, a marvelous week off. Napped a lot. Nothing beats vacation napping. You can do it anytime the urge strikes, and you don’t have to worry about messing up your sleeping schedule because you’re off work anyway. I love vacation naps like few other things. You just have to readjust your schedule the last couple of days.

Did some renovation work in the never-ending rehab of the old house. Stuff like that.

Did make it to the hills once. October is a great time to go to the hills, possibly the best. The creek was low, but not terribly so. Fishing was a bit slower than when we had been there three weeks earlier, but even though my fishing pal and I only caught a spotted bass each, the little pumpkinseed perch were abundant and we brought many to hand.

The creek was just starting . . . → Read More: Hey There