What do ya do with that? I mean it’s a “Paisley Telecaster” but, not exactly something “James Burton” would play. I’m not even sure “James Taylor” or “Rick James” would play…Maybe “Prince?”
Anyway, I know it’s a girly guitar, and the flowers are — well, pretty. But I just can’t see me playing it the way it looks, so, I guess it’s in for a face lift… Hmmm. What to do? What to do?.. It is still a Telecaster, after all…I wonder what the stage lights might do as far as improvements?
Yeah that’s a little improvement. By the way, can you guys believe Russell Wilson threw that last pass instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch? Maybe a little blue light…
Yeah — that’s no help. Oh wait.. I see it now.. I know what it needs… and I wont have to strip it down to find it has an ugly wood grain underneath…
Man… what a way to blow a ball game…’COME ON MAN’!
So, I suppose I need to make a trip to “Hobby Lobby” for this project… I have an idea to save the guitar. I don’t think I’ll go with any of Pete Caroll’s plays on this project. Nor will I bother to paint, or strip the guitar down… I think I have an idea… I should have it finished and posted before too long, later this week. Until then… “Dolt! Ummm Flowers.”
This is it:
Not the best pictures in the world, but, at least I did take a few.
The morning sun shone through the rift of the blinds one morning, and my semi-conscious mind must have processed the red-eyelid-grid it saw as the fret-board of a cosmic stringed instrument. I began hearing the most beautiful music I have ever heard, as my mind’s eye watched each glistening sun-ray pluck the strings. I remember being astonished by its dexterity, and melodic perfection. Upon awakening, I tried to duplicate the notes I had heard, and saw, on my guitar—If only I could remember them note for note.— From what little I was able to remember, and attempt to simulate on the fret-board, the notes seemed impossible to play in one key. Almost as if each note came from one of the 24 individual keys of the musical spectrum. It totally seemed to of been an impossible dream— But, what if all dreams came true? I thought, and then it was gone…
I was standing on a sea-shore, in some far away place beyond the familiar sea, where nothing looked real, or resonated with me. There were neon colors, and bird-like creatures. Lifelike, but surreal. I perceived them with all 5 senses at once. I felt, tasted, heard, smelled, and saw them — from one sense of awareness — at once. I wanted to talk to them, so I tried to open my mouth, instead my eyes opened. And I awakened. It was over… What if all dreams came true?
I heard the phone ring as I was walking in through a large glass door leading to a hallway between two rows of desks occupied by dogs with huge human like grins, when suddenly one of them leaped out at me and said… “You Won The Lottery” — But, then, of course, I woke up.
I dreamed I was in a terrible hurricane, worse than any of the ones I’ve experienced first hand on the Carolina coast. It was terrifying. Water started moving in beneath my feet, and gradually rose to the level of my chin. Suddenly, a tidal wave came crashing over me, the town, and everyone, and everything, as far as I could see. And, then I woke up — But, what if every dream really did come true? Or. What if some really are warnings? What if we knew that every dream would come true? What If every dream did come true?
Grinning Dog ?
Maybe you’ve decided you want some comfort food tonight. If you’ve never tried cooking “Soul-Food” or, “Southern-Food,“ one thing to remember first off, is that like all regions, and cuisines, recipes differ from area to area, as everyone has their personal way of doing things.
Cooking styles across the southern U.S. can be as diverse as any other part of the country. In fact, in many cases, what may be revered as a “Southern Staple Dish” on some Michelin-3- star rated menu-anywhere USA, many southern expert-seasoned-grandmother-chefs ( like mine for instance) quite possibly never heard of.
This probably isn’t news to some of you, but for everyone else, when you consider the different cooking styles in northern Italy, to those in the southern parts of Italy — You get my point.
I said all that to give you a heads up on the fact that, though my southern roots, and innate cooking styles began in the kitchen, and at the table of my mother, and or grandmother many of the dishes I love to cook today, I’ve developed by combining classic French cooking styles with those down home favorites Mama, and Granny used to cook. ( And Mama Still Does!)
Like my Mother, and Granny, however, much of what goes into my dishes comes from instinct, as far as what will, and will not work together.
I’m sure the same can be said for most of you who do a lot of cooking. In other words, mama and granny never followed any “Classic Cuisine” guidelines, or began their delicious sauces, or gravies, from one of the 5 mother sauces used in classic circles of cuisine—they just cooked instinctively, and deliciously.
On the other hand, being one of my personal life long interest, and having worked under a few respected Chefs, in some pretty darn good restaurants, I do occasionally use some of the classic sauces, and dishes to combine with my inherent cooking skills, and dishes.
To cook greens for “Grits and Greens” as an example, I begin with what I remember being done every Sunday, or Holiday, in Mama, or Grannies, kitchen. We use collards, or, at least— I do for “Grits and Greens.”
First we wash the collards. These are from the first batch picked from my farmer neighbor’s winter crop, and what they lacked in the looks department, they greatly made up for in taste… you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I don’t usually add sugar to my collards, as many southern cooks do, and in this case… I was glad I didn’t as these have a wonderfully mild natural sweetness of their own.
I’ll give a general recipe break-down of ingredients I used, although…it’s all up to your personal taste. I didn’t use exact measurements, as I rarely do-and don’t have many people to cook for these days, so the quantity is much less than one might need for their own family meal.
So, for serving 10 to 12 people, or 6 with left-overs… the volumes would be as follows for the Collard Greens, which you will need to cook first:
(This is totally less involved and time-consuming than it looks)
8-12 hickory smoked bacon slices. (or as few as desired)
1- large Onion, chopped as you prefer
2- bone in ham-hocks, or, 1/4 pound country ham diced.
4-cloves garlic finely chopped (optional)
32- ounces water, or, chicken broth.
3 pounds collard greens, washed and trimmed – – Cut or Strip largest stems from center of leaves.
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar.(optional)
1- tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1-teaspoon sugar (optional)
1-teaspoon salt-(to taste)
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Cook bacon over medium heat in a 10 quart stock-pot for 10 minutes, or until nearly crisp. (seer ham-hocks, if using- in bacon grease before adding other ingredients) Add onions- sauté 5 minutes more-add chopped ham- garlic- and cook 1 more minute. (Do not burn Garlic)
Add liquid-bring to a boil-( if using ham-hocks cover and simmer 30 minutes) place collards on top of liquid-(Much of it will be over the top of the pot-which is fine-as the steam will wilt the greens into the pot)-carefully toss, and flip till all greens are saturated-turn stove top to medium low… cook covered for 30 minutes up to 2 hours-depending on desired tenderness. Sappier ( darker ) greens will take longer to cook than lighter colored greens.
And be sure to save the “Pot-Liquor” left-over broth in the pot after draining, or removing collards to use in other dishes at a later time. It’s great to pull from the freezer to use as a stock for soups, or other recipes. Not to mention that half of the nutrients from the greens are in the stock.
You can start the grits at anytime after this, as they take less time to cook. But, the slower, and longer, they are simmered the better. I cook grits at different levels of thickness, or consistencies, depending on the dish, and these are smothered in a Mornay sauce, so they’ll need to be thicker than the norm. You will be adding Milk a little-at-a-time… as the thicker the better.
Here again-personal taste is the deciding factor in choosing the liquid to cook grits in. I begin with water only, and slowly add milk as I go along. Some cooks, especially when preparing grits to use in “dinner” dishes, prefer to use chicken broth. Some concoct 1-part-half and half, to 1-part-heavy cream mixtures. If you prefer using heavy cream, I recommend adding only a little toward the end of the finished product cooking time for smoothness and taste, as heavy cream has less liquid for the grits to absorb. Liquid absorption improves starch extraction, and therefore increases flavor melding.
There again, as with all dishes, ones personal taste is what is important. If one likes a meal enough to cook it more than once—and I’m certain this is one of those— you will experiment, and develop your personal taste, and recipe over time.
The type of grits one chooses can make a lot of difference also. There are yellow grits, white grits, corn grits, and hominy grits.
Not to worry though, as most grocery stores only carry a few brands, and types. Quaker brand, white hominy grits are a good choice-although, if you have access to local grist-mills, or specialty shops that sell fresh ground grits, they are —delectable — even though they take longer to cook. I used Quaker white hominy grits for this recipe as follows:
2 -1/2 cups water-
1- cup milk
1-1/4 cup Quick Grits/Not Instant
1/2- teaspoon salt
1/4 -cup butter
1/4- teaspoon cracked black pepper
Salt water in a small pot, and bring to a boil-
Slowly whisk in grits-and bring to another boil-
Turn burner down, while constantly stirring, or
whisking. ( Whisking is always better with grits)
Cover and let cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
start adding milk a little at a time, while whisking 5 more
minutes-Stir in butter, and or, heavy cream if desired.
As earlier stated, we are topping these particular
grits with a Mornay sauce… so, we want them thick.
If they turn out a little runny, just cook uncovered
a while longer.
Now it’s time for the real star of the show… the Mornay sauce.
To compliment the “Maize” or, hominy flavor of the grits, I add a small amount of corn to the Mornay in this recipe.
3- Tablespoons APF
2-cups warm milk
1/8 teaspoon white pepper-or, black pepper
2-ounces white cheese of choice, or-
1- ounce Gruyere-
One ear fresh cooked corn cut from the cob -or, 1- half of a 6 ounce can of green giant nibblets.
First we make a blonde roux, which is simply equal parts all purpose flour, and oil/fat—I used butter for the fat here and sautéd in the corn —whisked together over medium heat until it is pale yellowish, or blond-ish in color. – (About a minute-Do not brown!)
Slowly add milk, while whisking till sauce thickens, and comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes while stirring in nutmeg, salt, and pepper- ( This is now a “Bechamel” one of the French classic mother sauces.)
Stir in cheese-and Voilà — Mornay-Sauce
Plate dish by putting a serving of grits into a medium Remington, or a small plate—
Now ladle a small amount of Mornay – or, a sonsothunder size serving over grits—
Next place greens on top… and serve with candied yams, and corn bread- or, just have at it…
Clouds rolling, fishing boats trolling, no one hurries, no worries.
Why would they?
Just another week before, times so oft seen ashore – Hurricane
Seas at calm, humidity and balm, casting nets, no one frets-
And why should they?
Three days still ahead, winds blustery, no imminent dread – Hurricane
Some boats docking, nothing shocking, tides ebb and flow as always.
And why shouldn’t they?
Two days out, growing swells, winds blow wet, fishy smells – Hurricane
Batten down the hatches, ply-wood patches, windows X’ed, and boarded.
Just another day.
Sea walls breach, waters roll in, cars flood the bridge again – Hurricane
Red sky morning, a sailors warning, fishing pier nearly covered.
Will it hold?
Windows smashing, palm trees lashing, bridges crashing – Hurricane
Houses falling, winds a squalling, power shorted, beach aborted—
Where are they?
People missing, windows hissing, trees falling, rivers mauling – Hurricane
Pier is gone, squeals and moans, rip-tides ravaging main street.
When will it end?
Skies darken, as the sea resides, no where left on earth to hide-Hurricane
Barometric vacuum steals breath from lungs, too late now no-where to run.
Forty-foot wall of deadly force, headed inland with no remorse-Hurricane
Sudden blast of horrendous sound, no-one to hear it, there is no –
The spine-tingling cry pierced a hole in her sanity, and she knew she wouldn’t survive the night. “What could make such a bloodcurdling sound, with such defining pitch, and sonancy?” She asked herself.
From the ancient, hollowed oak tree, she had ducked in to hide, Samantha Hellman, dared not move a muscle. Lying there on the cold, damp, ground inside the tree’s opening, Samantha, a skilled scuba diver, and long distance swimmer, nearly lost consciousness before letting her lungs purge her near – hyperventilation causing breath.
The night was still, with a harvest moon hovering eerily over-head. Not only could Samantha hear every beat her heart pumped, but, was sure anything that could make the kind of sounds she was hearing, most likely heard it beating as well. “Can probably even hear my eye lids close” she thought, trying her best not to blink.
“In my 27 years on this earth,” Samantha silently reasoned, “I’ve never heard anything like whatever that is out there tonight—not just the screeching, I remember that sound well, but there’s something else out there.”
Starting as a low moaning, monotonous hum, and instantly rising to a nerve jerking shriek, the creature seemed to have more than one voice deep inside. “Maybe it’s possessed, or filled with more than one spirit,” she thought, as the roar seemed to take on two uniquely resonant locations of origin.
The moan turned shrill. As sharp, and cutting as a scythe. And yet, somehow, simultaneously, she heard a strange comforting low tone resonating as if from somewhere on another side of the universe. “Only it’s much closer”, she thought. Pulsating the very ground she was lying on. But unlike the bloodthirsty, bone chilling screams, —the deeper roar emitted comfort, and solace. like a bell ringing to guide her out of a dark foggy night. Deafening, shattering, excruciatingly ominous—and—yet—in perfect harmony. Culminating somewhere in the middle. Deep, vibrato, bellowing beneath the shrillness of an atrocious scream. It sounded like a war of love between two different creatures, howling, cooing, screeching, in agony. “Blissful Agony?” she thought.
Samantha felt—it must all be coming from one voice—one entity… Some entity, or—some—thing? “I’ve heard it before—I think, I must have, but where,— and when?”
Listening intently, again holding her breath, as the early morning sun stabbed a blinding beam in through the opening of the tree she’d spent the night fearing for her life in, Samantha felt more at peace. It wasn’t just because the night had ended and turned to-day, she thought. “There’s something else.” Something she couldn’t explain.
“The perfect conflict” Samantha said, almost aloud, beginning to feel she could no longer keep quiet. It was as if something was growing inside of her emotionally… Something screaming to get out. Something that made her feel safe.
“A melodic Arpeggio!” she almost sang, as the ground beneath her began to tremble and shake. She’d barely noticed the trimmers till the shrieks and moans took on accompaniment of thunderous footsteps of Behemoth proportions.
Now. She couldn’t contain herself, even as the sound of the steps reverberated through the tree that was her only protection. Though sounding as if some gigantic monster was stomping just outside her oak tree fortress, Samantha was completely oblivious. Comfortably numb—totally—serene…
But, not quiet.
“A cacophonous crescendo of beauty and noise!” She shouted.
At that precise moment, Samantha realized she’d been wrong to think the sounds she’d heard the creature making earlier were the worst sounds she could ever imagine…
At that precise moment Samantha undeniably heard the worst sound her 27-year-old memory would readily divulge.
At that precise moment she knew fear like she had never known before. From the sound.
The deafening sound.
Suddenly something ran by the opening of the tree. It ran so fast Samantha couldn’t even begin to recognize what it was. But she heard its shrill scream, and snarling growl, and knew deep down that whatever it was, it wasn’t good. And then there were more of them, and more…and suddenly one grabbed for her inside the crevice, and the ground shook even more.
But, just as the soothing roar bellowed an almost deafening decibel, Samantha felt the ground move beneath her. It made her feel dizzy. She began to feel the wind rushing in, and suddenly realized that the refuge she’d mistaken for a hollowed out tree — was suddenly taking flight.
“EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!” a boy shouted.
A group of towns people had gathered on the street in front of the old newspaper office, back on main street, listening as one man read the latest paper hot off the press.
“A local woman went missing last evening around 8 o’clock, according to witnesses. “I saw her trailing off into the woods off main street, said one witness, after hearing strange noises from the saw mill road area.” The witness, who chooses to remain anonymous at this time, said that he also, and several other citizens heard the noises, and could only describe the sound as: “Nothing I’ve ever heard before. It was a shrill scream, and a very loud roaring sound. Quite frightening it was.” The witness said. The young lady, a Miss Samantha J. Hellman had made earlier claims of being lured into the woods following strange noises. In her earlier reports, according to her friends and family, Miss Hellman, said she came face to face with some atrociously monstrous looking creatures that made advances to try to capture her. According to the reports, Miss Hellman, managed to escape the creatures by running away, just as she heard another deeper, rumbling kind of sound, from where she could not say. Miss Hellman claimed that as she ran away, she turned briefly only to see the creatures running away from her direction, while staring in apparent shock, and awe, at something up in the sky. When asked who, or what she thought the creatures she had seen might have been, Miss Hellman promptly answered: “They were the Marsh People.”
The Marsh people, according to local legend, were the ancient predecessors of the Island. A band of giants. And as legend has it, accursed for killing all the dragons on the island hundreds of years before. Many of the town folk believed they had passed that curse on to the new settlers of the island, and that they too were accursed. Through the years dozens of people had gone missing from the island after being led into the woods following strange sounds. The few who had survived with any soundness of mind at all, told the same terrifying, death-defying tale of being attacked—by a group of atrocious giant beings, called—The Marsh People.
LOOK! The newspaper boy shouted, pointing up into the sky. As everyone’s attention veered, squinting into the air trying to shade off the glare of the morning sun, with their newspapers, hats, and hands, a scene of uproar, and confusion ensued. Women screamed, men shouted, cries of “What is that thing?” were heard from among the entire Main street vicinity, and mayhem.
People ran under awnings, and into doorways of all the shops lining the street seeking cover. The paper boy shouted. “It’s a Dragon!” just as the creature came swooping down, landing in the middle of the street, and politely stretching out one wing to reveal Samantha Hellman, sitting pretty, perched on the left forearm safely behind one of the dragons talons, smiling like a Cheshire cat.
Samantha Calmly stepped off the Dragon’s leg, as everyone stared in amazement, and slowly poked their heads out from their hiding places to try to see what was going to happen next.
“It’s okay everyone!,” Samantha beamed, “The dragon has slain the Marsh people.”
Okay… giving up writing is like “Pulling Teeth”
And I have less of them to offer these days than words…
so — “I’m Back”!
Originally posted on Sons of Thunder Patron :
As I told my friend Sandra ( Exceptional Friend, and Prolific Writer)…
“I’m afraid Hemingway met his fate after realizing when he wanted to stop drinking…it was his only muse all along…So, I’ve decided to give it up”..
“The writing that is”..
Besides, as far as a post…Black Tele said it all loud and clear without my help…and what she didn’t say regarding my personal state of mind… “Craig Fuller Said in 1972, in this song :
Please Enjoy The Music while your party is being reached:
“The Norman Rockwell Is A Trail Warmer Too”