Chatter Creek Cottage: Pig

IMG_20160718_172212So Pig has a home for now in the back garden. He’s been in storage for years and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed him. I found him in Andes, a small town in upstate New York and not far from our first house. I think this pig has the most incredible face and this is not the best picture of him but he’s really beautiful. I had him in our city apartment after we sold the house but he wasn’t happy there so I moved him into storage where I assume his quiet solitude gave him great pleasure. I never stopped thinking about him though and I’m sure he never stopped thinking about me. He’s a symbol of what I had once and what I have again. He’s the dream come true and his pretty face reminds me that I’m once again watching cows and horses graze, birds building nests under my roof, listening to the clear crystal creek and ruining my manicure pulling out roots and planting flowers.

Pig also reminds me of everyone I’ve laughed with. I guess because I missed him so much, they way I miss being young and foolish. I’ve had a lot of friends over the course of my life that have been young and foolish with me and we’ve done a hell of a lot of laughing. I can’t reach back to all of those friends any more; they’re too far gone. But if I could bring them back for an hour or a day just to talk about the things we did and the trouble we got into, I certainly would. For some reason Pig makes me think of old friends. It’s funny how over the course of your life you meet people and you connect and you find the same things funny. I can’t tell you why people drift apart but the older I get the more I realize the value of friendship. You can’t throw it away. Once people are in your heart they stay there. If I was your friend once I probably still am. I didn’t outgrow you. I didn’t stop caring. When you cross my mind I’m probably still laughing at the same silly things we did. When I hear a certain song I may recall your face, your passion for the underdog, your relentless energy, your incredible talent, maybe even your hot temper. Don’t know when the split happened, I guess we all get older, get distracted and move on. But it’s sort of like Pig; we come back together because if we connected once, chances are we would again. Welcome home, Pig. LOL

Chatter Creek Cottage: Marianna’s Zinneas

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Marianna Young created this beautiful bed of Zinnias and she’s damn proud of it. This is where the guests are paraded by, the first thing to be shown off and the must do before anything else when we return from the city: CHECK THE ZINNIAS

Our friend Brock has been put in charge of the flowers in our absence, oh poor Brock if just one Zinnia droops. Our handyman, Dave, got the boot as the gardener because the ground was dry and the poor little pretties were screaming for water. I won’t even tell you what happened to Ann when we found some dead and dying flowers that were supposed to be in her care but she is likely to take to the hills if we come within a mile of her.

As I said, poor Brock, but his significant other, Cat, said he’s an Indiana farm boy and knows flowers. I’m too nervous to stay on this subject. Saw a movie this weekend I just loved – 45 years with Charlotte Rambling – great acting and a beautifully shot little film. Once upon a time I was a young character actress and if I’d stayed a young and aging character actress Charlotte’s role in the film is one you hope to grow older for. She did such a smashing job, also her co-star, very brilliant. I like movies that don’t jump out at you but slowly get under your skin and rattle your soul.

God, I digress. It’s just that I’m worried about Brock. Don’t let a one of them droop dear boy. You don’t want to see Marianna coming at you with the weed whacker. Brock is a wonderful artist, a sensitive man with a wicked sense of humor and I hope he lives to be a wonderful old man and he’s got the greenest thumb in Sullivan County, but don’t let a one of them droop, dear boy. Just saying………

 

Chatter Cottage: Lemonade Days

IMG_20160626_074414302I’ve always loved a front porch, especially those big wrap around white porches. Chatter Creek has a small front porch, but plenty room for two rockers and lots of flowers. The deck is in the back on the creek and when the sun hits the front porch too hard, the deck is cool. When the deck is cool we can rock on the front porch in the sun and sip lemonade.

Let’s see, lemonade reminds me of scratched knees from too much tree climbing, crickets chirping and birds waking me at dawn. I guess when I think of lemonade I think of front porches and being a kid. I wasn’t a country kid, I was raised in New York City but I went to the country most summers and envied all the other kids who got picked up by big yellow school buses, had country lanes to walk and big back yards to play hide and seek in. I played hide and seek in the living room with my mother who always found me behind the wing chair.

I love the country, all seasons but especially in summer when you can’t even see our house there’s so many trees that hide it, that kind of envelope it in long leafy limbs. We’ve got a family of ducks that swim up and down stream in the creek and a barrage of birds, some of them quite unexpected like the big brown ones with long flat beaks.

I could be a country girl listening to the music of my soul in the stillness and forgetting that there are things like politics and hatred and unrest. I could walk the lanes with the words of my next novel swimming around in my head like the distant remembrances of my life. When I’m in the country I dare to dream. I don’t need Armani suits or earrings from Tiffany or season tickets to the Met. I just need a pail of dirt, a pretty flower and a glass of lemonade to sip on my front porch as I watch the deer across the road, visit with the hummingbird and kiss back the breeze that rustles through my hair.

Chatter Creek Cottage: This One Is For You, Dad.

IMG_20160619_082518159_HDRMy father would have loved this old lawn mower that I found in the shed buried behind some Tiki lights. This is just a guess, of course but probably a pretty good one. I will never get to ask him that question, he was diagnosed with leukemia when he was thirty-two years old and he died six months later. In two months I would turn eleven. A light went out in my life that never got turned back on after my father died. But I’ve got memories, I’ve got images and conversations buried deep within my consciousness, words I’ve tried over the years to recapture, words unfortunately lost to history, as rusty as this old lawn mower.

We used to walk together in the garden that my grandfather built and he probably tried to teach me the difference between a lily and a rose. We used to fly paper airplanes in a Brooklyn Park, I wonder what he said to me on that old park bench, what I said to him. I do remember what he loved though- his boat, his pipes and cigars, his gabardine suits, Jimmy Cagney (I’m told he did a great impression). He loved New York City and Central Park, flowers, books and music. He loved me and I loved him.

People who knew him have said he was the nicest person they ever knew. I’m not my father’s daughter; no one is going to say that about me. But he tried to teach me compassion, and unselfishness. He tried to make me understand that kindness is greater than envy. Some days he would have been real proud of me, other days he would have been angry and he would have tried to explain why I was being mean or insensitive as he did so many years ago when I was just a kid and thought he didn’t understand things.

My Dad is the prototype for a book I’ve got coming out about three generations of women. It will be told in three books under the title ‘The Fournier’s’. He’s in the second book called ‘Glamour Girl’. I wrote him as I remembered him – his hazel eyes, his broad shoulders, his tall, lanky frame and most of all, his gentleness and his boyish naivety.

For those of you whose fathers are still living, whose father’s saw you graduate high school, win awards and grow up smart, maybe even pretty. Bless yourselves because you are blessed.

Yes, my Dad would have loved this old lawn mower with its wood handle and rusted blades; most likely they are the same age, my Dad and this beautiful antique. I remember that shop he had in Brooklyn, all those old tools, old boats he used to build. This mower is for you, Dad, it’s out where I can see it, out where I can see your smile, out where I can love it and love you.

 

Chatter Creek Cottage: A Sad Day

IMG_20160612_105844719Before the tractor Parade got started on Lower Main Street in Calicoon we were just waiting on more of those fabulous vintage tractors to make their way through town. But then I got a Breaking News email and couldn’t wrap my head around the sadness of it all. The fact that someone on a No-Fly list could purchase a weapon of that magnitude is beyond me. That fact that people do the things they do is beyond me. The fact that we live in a world where too many people hate too deeply is a very sad reality. I wish we all loved too deeply. When I’m at wonderful Chatter Creek Cottage I’m separated, for the most part, from all that violence, that everyday news we hear about people who tragically harm other people. Sometimes I just can’t separate.

To the families and friends of those killed and hurt in Orlando this weekend I cannot imagine your grief. My heart is with you all, and my prayers. To hate people for being happy and lovely and innocent, to hate what you don’t understand and can never know because you live in darkness, is your tragedy and your sickness.