Monday, August 16, 2010


My friend Carol and I went exploring today. During my time at TCU Press, we talked to members of the Sanders family about a history of the Garden of Eden, an African-American community on the east side of Fort Worth. It's residents have dwindled in numbers, but the descendants of Major Cheney, who founded the community in the 19th century, still live on the family property and there are other residences scattered around, although the area is now heavily industrial. When we worked on Grace & Gumption: The Cookbook, newly out, I had the pleasure of getting to know Brenda Sanders-Wise, a prime mover in organizing the history. Carol has been given the task of researching and delving into the history to help shape the book. So we both wanted to see the Garden of Eden. Alas, there's not much to see from the street, though a piece of land being cleared bears a sign indicating it is the future home of a replication of the home of Major and Malinda Cheney--whether it's the first home that burned or the second I don't know, but I think most of the family homes are way back off the road, in the woods and close to the river. They still raise their own produce in summer and fix lavish Sunday meals--we though maybe if they saw us drive by we'd be invited for lunch, but of course we saw no one. But Carol is a back-roads explorer, and we drove down several, mostly surrounded by industrial sites, including perhaps the largest junk car yard I've ever seen. But at least we got a feel for the geography and place, and when we both see Brenda at a happy hour next week, we hope to tell her about our trip and ask some questions.
Then I led Carol the explorer to the beer can house closer to our part of Fort Worth--I've mentioned it before but it is a modest (to say the least) house decorated with an amazijg array of strands and strings of Miller Lite cans, some artistically shaped so that the look almost like Christmas tree ornaments.
Our explorations left us hungry, of course, and we had lunch at Patrizio's, where I had angel hair pasta with artichokes, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and a lemony sauce--so good. Tonight I ate out of the refrigerator, using up leftovers from the weekend.
For fans of To Kill a Mockingbird: Today I read about a lawyer who was asked if there could ever be a lawyer like Atticus Finch. He replied he didn't think anyone could be that perfect, but that before he had a serious talk with his teen-age son, he asked himself, "What would Atticus do?" A local bookstore jumped on the idea and is now selling bumper stickeers that ask "What would Atticus do?" and "What would Scout do?" I'm sorry I don't have the information, but you can probably Google "Atticus bumper stickers" and find it. What a great idea!

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