Friday, January 22, 2010

Cookbooks, fair weather, and a sad day

Today I spoke to the PEO chapter to which I belong--because my mother was a dedicated PEO in Chicago, North Carolina, and Fort Worth. The meaning of those initials is secret, but my dad always claimed it stood for "Poor Emancipated Oldsters." For those who don't know, it's an international sisterhood devoted to education for women. Chapter G in Fort Worth invites me to talk about books every so often--sometimes my own, sometimesTCU Press books. Today it was Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books. At Christmas, my brother gave me a copy of the cookbook our mother edited for the hospital auxiliary at home--it has, for one thing, my first bit of publication, a recipe for a hot garlic/cheese dip. The cookbook was all handwritten, in the hands of various contributers, so there was my fairly childish signature, "Judy MacBain." Mom had a lot of recipes, plus many of my distant aunts in New York "contributed" recipes in her hand. And then there were various cooking hints from Penelope Jones--who knows where she got that name? Anyway, I took that cookbook today since many of the members remember Mom, and one gave me a picture of Mom and two others taken in the early 1980s. Made me sad, because Mom was still herself then--she looked bright and pretty and with it.
The talk was, I guess, a success--the ladies talked a lot, some remembering Sunday night dinners at my house, one asking how  how my brother was. It sort of became an old-home week for which I had to apologize to the group at large, but they found it interesting. I only sold three books--and of course I wasn't smart enough to take along my cookbook business cards. But I had a good time visiting with old friends (literally and figuratively) that I hadn't seen in a long time. (I don't go to meetings.)
As I left one woman said to me, "It's such a nice day. You should put the top down on your car." And I did just that, driving home through the park, letting the wind blow my hair any whichway.
Tonight Jacob was supposed to stay with me, but he got sick at school. So I'm devoting the evening to organizing tax information for my accountant. I could be working on the blurbs for those two unwritten books and on adding to the two pages I have written on one (all wrong and will need revision) but I know that is still rolling around in my mind and I'm letting it simmer.
It's been a day of bad news: my good friend Gayla, from Texas A&M University Press, has been in Missouri visiting her brother, and he died in the early morning today. My first thought was the Lord sent her up there are the right time--she meant to go earlier but snow and impassable country roads kept her in Texas, and I also thought her brother was hanging on to see her.  She was sobbing when I talked to her but seemed to have plans in her mind. I'll probably see her late in the week when she comes through Dallas on her way home. And then Betty emailed that she was taking her husband to the ER because of chest pains that began Wed. night--apparently they didn't call the doctor until this morning and didn't hear until early afternoon. So I'm hoping to hear that he's all right. It's hard  enough to wrap our minds about the troubles in the world, particulary Haiti--though a few good stories are beginning to come out of there. Wish I was young enough to adopt an orphan and also to adopt one of the eleven lab puppies someone found abandoned on a roadside (I got email pictures of them today and they're adorable!). But when trouble hit close to home, as it has with several dear friends in the last few weeks, it's doubly hard.

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