"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, September 20, 2010

Soul Food

Yesterday was busy. On our morning walk, the dogs were all too aware that we were marching through rodent territory. With the acorn crop constantly tumbling to the ground, the chipmunks and squirrels were darting about everywhere, a huge temptation to Ruth and Jewel--plenty of tugging on the leashes. Late in the morning Ruth got loose. I saw her wander onto the neighbour's property and assumed she was either chasing a rodent or going to greet someone. I also assumed she'd come trotting right back but she didn't. I called her back, and whistled--she's always very responsive and obedient but not this time. I followed in that direction. No sign of Ruth.

I walked up the hill. I wandered over to the brook. I searched where our and our neighbours' cars are parked. No Ruth.

Because she didn't respond to my calls, I knew she'd roamed out of earshot. Increasingly concerned, I took Jewel to the car and set out on a rescue mission. Jewel, convinced that we were leaving the lake without Ruth, was more than a little freaked out, whining and fussing: "No, stop, we CAN'T go without Ruth! Why are you leaving her behind?" We failed to find a little black and white dog during our driving tour, so I returned to the cottage hoping she'd be standing at the door. She was not.

I rang the neighbours to alert them to the situation. Then I tied Jewel--still whining and agitated--in the side yard as "bait" and went to tidy the kitchen.

A few minutes later I checked on the dog--and found two of them. Ruth had returned after an absence of half an hour or so. Prayers answered.

In a much calmer frame of mind I walked up the road a few houses for our final road meeting of the year, where we approved the budget and contract for re-paving. Immediately afterwards the girls and I returned to the Lodge.

I'd walked off my breakfast and missed my lunch, so I was really glad the Chap and I had a dinner invitation with a friend who is a most excellent and enthuisastic cook. Especially of Asian dishes.

We sat on the porch drinking apple-tinis and catching up. His kitchen was a wonderland of bamboo steamers and spice containers (as seen in the photograph above) and enticing aromas.

He treated us to a first course of steamed lotus leaves stuffed with sticky rice and his outstanding Chinese dumplings.

The second course was Chinese broccoli. The third course was a wonderful spicy curry over rice.

And then, a delicious pineapple upside down cake.

It was an evening of good conversation about family and faith and London, drinking wine and Grand Marnier, and enjoying the attentions of a large and affectionate black dog. He, like Ruth, had run off earlier in the day, and had returned safely.

All around, the hues of autumn are in evidence. I haven't heard yet whether it's expected to be a "good" year for foliage but in my experience there's no such thing as a "bad" year.

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