After All, Its Nearly All Hallows Eve - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 255175

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

After all, its nearly All Hallows Eve 
Oct. 29, 2011 8:16 am 
Updated: Oct. 31, 2011 11:04 pm
Hi everyone! (waves madly). I haven't written anything of late. I was trundling merrily along wishing I were busier and then one of the ancients (  I suspect Odin ) made it so. Hence my absence. Today however, I'm turning the page on yet another year so to heck with work! Take that Odin. My celebration began yesterday. I began the day by kicking my sorry behind out of bed at 5 and then working until 5, then a 1 hour commute home to prepare a dinner for my family and our guests. Yeah we ate at 8 but if you know me, it won't surprise you to know that or that we had Poulet au Provence accompanied by Shallot Roasted Potatoes and Butterflake Rolls (purchased). For dessert, a milk chocolate and peanut butter pudding parfait, topped with whipped cream. Lots of good wine too! By 11 I was pretty much ensconced in the land of nod lol. Oh yeah, by the by, I doubled the chicken recipe, made two birds, and I subbed out all of the ground black pepper for cayenne. In carving the fowl, I found myself with an abundance or cooking juices so I strained the lot and thickened it with a flour/white wine slurry and cream. omigawd, what a delish!!!!! And with the cayenne, that secret heat and creamy savory....

At any rate, because its close to Hallowe'en, I thought I'd further reveal a little something of myself so that I might kick things off with a tale to chill your bones. I'm something of a closet writer I write things that intrigue and amuse me. Mind treats! So with great respect, for your reading pleasure, I give one of my early tales. Settle back with a great cup of joe and wrap a warm blanket tightly around yourself. 


 What follows is as close a rendition of what I can remember about this incident as possible. 

When I was 14 years old, my older brother met the girl who would later become his wife. Diana was gracious and beautiful and I could fully understand how my brother was smitten. Up until that time, my brother and I had been partners. We spent hours exploring forests and fishing and trying to out do each other on our bicycles. Later on we would ride around in his old Mazda 1200, complete with Mag wheels, racing stripes, shackles, the requisite 8-track and of course, four on the floor! Deep Purple blaring, we sought out, back roads corner stores and using all our bravery, would go in and buy a girly magazine. Usually it took three or four tries before we found a clerk who didn’t look too threatening or judgmental and we would park and swoon over the naked beauties within. Not that we always got along so famously, there were times when we tried to kill each other but neither of us was able to stay mad at the other for very long. We always made up and got on with our ‘us against the world’ way of planning our day. 

When he became involved with Diana, he grew up fast. He was 17 at that time, young and handsome, but the kid in him disappeared fast, at least from my perspective as a young teen. At first, I was a little jealous of her. He spent every moment he could by her side and even when he wasn’t with her, she was all he ever wanted to talk about. I can’t say that I minded that, he kept me abreast of all the developments in their budding romance so I felt like an insider, our partnership intact! I even got a firsthand immediate regaling of the evening during which he’d actually touched her boob! 

Our father was terribly firm on the question of girls; he simply wasn’t going to have his sons out whoring around, so they were off limits, period. This heavy handedness simply tightened our bond. A secret and intense interest in all things female kept us co-conspirators and I relished our late night discussions of his voyage into manhood. 

As my brother grew more and more in love, events conspired to keep him out late, again and again. There was no question in his mind or mine, that we could never tell our father about Diana so he stayed away as much as possible, courting like nobody’s business. It was on his return from one of these late nights that it all came out. My father figured something was up and waited up for my brother to come home. I too, was waiting up in my downstairs bedroom, anticipating my brothers’ arrival and the tales he would tell of the night’s adventures.  I could hear my father’s footsteps creaking across the floor as he paced and waited. I knew this was bad, my Dad always went to bed by and here he was, up and around at
My worries proved justified when my brother finally pulled in. I could here the gravel crackling in the driveway as he pushed his little car in. He would always get home and shut off the engine at the head of the driveway so as not to wake our father, lest he discover the time my brother had returned, then slowly push his car into the driveway and ever so gently, close the door. My brothers excuse for late returns had consistently been that he was working overtime. This night though, unbeknownst to any of us, my father had phoned his boss and discovered that my brother hadn’t been required to work overtime, ever. 

When the door creaked open, all hell broke loose. I cringed in my bed at the force of my father’s accusatory voice and I could hear my brother’s denials. In the heat of it all, I heard my Mother speak and all got quiet as her words shattered our world. She confirmed my father’s suspicions and further informed him that my brother was seeing a wonderful girl from a good family. I was downstairs in my room, but in my heart, I could see them all standing there as clearly as if I was there. My father, a look of anger, hurt and betrayal. My mother, one of conviction and moral certainty and my brother, a look of sincerity and hurt and love. 

At this point in time, the thing my father should have done, was grasp his eldest son in his arms and hold him close and beg his forgiveness for having driven him to such subterfuges. My brother had told my Mom about his girlfriend but even Mom agreed that my father would never accept the innocence of the romance, so it was kept from him. Unfortunately, his reaction was not as pretty as it should have been.

I can still hear the sounds of my brother’s body thumping down the stairs. My father literally picked him up and threw him, then commanded him to leave his house that second and never come back. He never did.

Chapter Two
In 1945, Garson Green met his wife. The war was ended and he took his bride to his home in Whitcomb . They bought two sections of land and began a dynasty, rich in love and the laughter of their many children the first of whom was born in 1946. Liam Green entered the world at on June20th/1946. He was a happy gregarious child who followed his father everywhere on the farm, helping him milk the cows and bring in the hay. He wasn’t alone in that he was followed by the births of four brothers and four sisters. The Greens were plain happy. The table was always filled with farm fresh goodness and their hearts were filled with love for each other. The third youngest of the Green children was a girl child they named Diana, the very same Diana who would later become the wife of my brother. When Diana was 6 years old, tragedy befell the Green family.

Liam had grown into a handsome popular young man, a rebel and a favourite of the girls. It was 1964 and his life was just beginning. On the night of his graduation party, two days before his birthday, he left home smiling amidst the well wishes of his brothers and sisters, his father and his mother (who was nearly nine months pregnant with what would prove to be their last child), and drove away for the very last time.

Sometime that night, in the early morn, after what I can only guess was an evening of innocent celebration, Lee was involved in a car chase. The car in question was his, and the chaser was a local policeman. Fog had settled in, and on a part of the highway that runs by Whitcomb, up a long steep hill, Liam’s car was driven off the road at high speed. His injuries were instant and fatal. For years after, the story was never quite clear on how the accident happened. It had been foggy and it was rumored that the over zealous policeman drove him off the road, or it was thought that Lee was terribly drunk and lost control. Whatever the cause, Liam and his 3 companions all died in a fiery blaze. It was a story that rocked the community and caused Mrs. Green to go into labour. Later that same day, she gave birth to a son. The male child born that night remained un-named for a little longer than usual, understandable given the huge tragedy that had befallen the Green family. When the funeral had been attended to, an event that brought the population of the town to the gravesides of the four youngsters, Mr. and Mrs. Green found the time to give their attentions over to their newest son, Garson Liam Green born at ., the exact time of his newly deceased brother’s birth and the very same day. The coincidence, in retrospect, was remarkable. 

Chapter Three 

As my brother was the eldest child, he held a special place in the eyes of my father. I knew it from a very young age and try as I might; I was never able to cause the same light to sparkle in my Dads eyes as my brother did. Within a few months, my Dad had approached my brother and all was forgiven. By this time, my brother had proposed to Diana and a wedding was set for September.  My brother had gotten a little apartment in town and I spent every possible moment there. I knew I was gonna lose him all too soon and to give him credit, he made me as much a part of his life at that time as he could. The three of us would go to the theater and the drive-in and every now and then, Diana would (and rightly so) suggest to him that he should dump the little brother. I remember the first time she tried quietly to whisper this suggestion to him. He looked startled.  I don’t think that even with his hormones raging, it ever occurred to him to abandon me. Luckily for him, I was a smart little bugger and I made myself scarce on those occasions.

As that summer passed, my brother went out to and met his fiancés family. He came back terribly pleased with the acceptance they had bestowed on him and he also had news for me! Apparently Diana had a little sister, whom my brother assured me was not as cute as Diana, but still real pretty. Diana had invited her out for the summer and my brother aimed to introduce us. I was 14 and so terribly curious about girls...and so terribly shy. I do believe I fell in love with Lila long before I ever met her, which was in my brother’s car outside the shop where he worked. She was the most utterly beautiful creature I’d ever laid eyes on. She was the first girl I ever held hands with, and the first girl I ever kissed. We four spent the summer together. It was the last summer of my childhood and an innocent time that I reflect on from time to time that always, always warms my heart. During that summer I had occasion to accompany my brother out to to attend a district assembly, and it was there that I met young Garson Liam Green. Gar was a spirited, good-natured 11-year-old kid and despite our age difference, we managed to become pals when I was at the family farm. Mr. and Mrs. Green welcomed me into their family like I was one of their own. It never occurred to me ‘til much later how strange that was, I mean, I was the brother of the boy who intended to marry their daughter. Yet, I spent weeks at that farm and never once was I made to feel unwelcome, they were and remain truly wonderful people.

Over the course of that summer, being close to the Green family, this is when I first heard the story of the older brother Liam. The exact birth dates and the timing of the death of Liam and the birth of Gar fascinated me. It was kind of a family joke on the part of the kids to pull out an old faded picture of Gar and ask who (in this case) I thought it was. It was obvious that it was Gar in the picture and they laughed with glee at the look on my face when I was told that the person in the picture was Liam. The resemblance was beyond uncanny; they were virtually dead ringers for each other. I discussed all this with Gar on one occasion, so much did the resemblance unsettle me. He laughed and agreed that it was weird but that it was all just a strange coincidence. 

Later that year, my brother and Diana were wed in a typical subdued JW ceremony followed by a very untypical celebration. I’ve never seen a larger wedding reception. My brother looked happy and I got drunk for the first time. Hey, I had good reason; Lila broke my heart that night and left me for some other guy! He had a car.

Chapter Four

In the years that followed, my brother and his wife and I, grew apart. I dropped out of the religion that had kept us under wraps for all our lives while my brother’s convictions in it grew stronger. I still saw the Greens from time to time but as life would have it, they faded into my not so distant past and the Greens and all of their kids, including Lila and Garson, became a memory.  That is, until Gar graduated. You see, Gar drove off in his pickup truck on , the day before his birthday, to attend a high school graduation party. I can only wonder if his departure elicited any feelings of fear in the hearts of his Mom and Dad. Sometime early the next morning, on a part of the highway that runs through Whitcomb up a long steep hill, Gar crashed his truck into an unmarked grader at high speed. It was rumored that the police were chasing him at the time. It was foggy, so no one is certain exactly how it happened, but a blood test revealed that he had been drinking. The one certainty however, is that Garson died that night, along with three others, in a fiery blaze. 

The deaths of the four Whitcomb youngsters made the front pages of every newspaper in M a n i t o b a. The eerie coincidences between the death of Garson and the death of his older brother Liam were never unearthed and never made public. The Greens were avowed JW’s and determined that that information was better left off the record. They also refused to join the parents of the other 3 children in a lawsuit against the city for the parking of the unmarked road grader. The suit was settled out of court for huge sums of money. The Greens wanted no money, they wanted something else entirely and to this day, believe that they will see their sons in a new world resurrection that is the promise of their religion.

On my part, I’ve always been astounded at the implications of what happened on that long steep hill in Whitcomb. Was Garson...Liam? Was he the reincarnated soul of his dead brother? The coincidences are beyond belief and while I cannot confess to a belief in god, I can only presume that there are levels of spirituality in existence that I can’t even begin to imagine. PS, the names and locations in this story have been changed, they are fictional. Additionally, I confess to playing fast and loose with a couple of facts in the story to further disguise the tale, which, technically makes it fiction. However, the main body of this story is completely true.
Oct. 29, 2011 12:30 pm
You write extremely well! Assuming there is an element of fact in your story, it just reinforces my belief that organized religion can have unhappy consequences. Spooky coincidences do happen. My oldest son was born on the east coast the same day his grandfather died on the west coast, right after learning of his birth. Time time on his death certificate is the same as the time my son was born. I hope you decide to share more of your writing with us.
Oct. 30, 2011 12:09 am
And here I was--looking for a creamed cheese recipe! I'm not sure exactly why the site linked to you, but I'm glad it did. What a nice read. I have a problem when it comes to coincidences, nahhh. You were given a gift. Keep up with the prose....someday you might be a writer. (wink)=}
Oct. 30, 2011 6:20 am
Thank you for a good Sunday morning read. I should have more to say but the coffee hasn't quite kicked in. I enjoy your writing - thanks for sharing it with us.
Oct. 31, 2011 2:13 pm
thank you for a very good and intriguing read!
Oct. 31, 2011 11:04 pm
Thank you very much for the kind words, everyone. Big Shots, I couldn't agree more about organized religions especially cults masquerading as religions like the Jehovahs Witnesses. I might share more stories as time goes by, I've quite a few along these same sort of lines but I like this one by virtue of how much of it is rooted in absolute fact. Ladidotti, thanks girl, someday I might just get around to writing seriously but for now it's just for fun and relaxation. Nana, say no more, you're very welcome. Merlion, you also, are very welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas. I like everything about that meal and every single year I aim to improve.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
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