Chatter Creek Cottage: Hibisus

IMG_20160806_114957772Surrounded by colors of lavender and yellow eating fried chicken and coleslaw from the Fosterdale Café and drinking white wine from New Zealand. It’s moments after a heavy rain and the air smells like licorice candy. My chihuahua is snoring in my lap and the butterflies flirt with me as they flutter and land on my hibiscus. The smoky clouds slowly make their way off stage and leave a powder blue sky behind. I am nostalgic for nothing on this day because the moment is so full. I’ve been stroked by the hand of nature and kissed by a gleeful God who whispers his secrets to the wind.

Someday I will fly away and land on the sound of a running stream and gently step between the petals of a summer flower.


Vera Jane Cook is an award winning author and has eight published novels. Her most recent ebook, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, has gone to print and will be featured through Bublish at the Southern Independent Bookstore Association Conference in Savannah on September 18th -19th. To learn more about her visit:

Chatter Creek Cottage: Fog





It’s a moody day at Chatter Creek Cottage. I love mood. Fog creates such compelling chiaroscuro in my memory, old fine prints of recollection like black and white films in which footsteps are heard beyond the shadows and your heart skips a million beats.

Recollections like small town streets at dusk, empty beaches on rainy days and large convertibles with wide fins, rock and roll that made you twirl when you danced and old pay phones on city street corners that had an odd mystery about them, especially when they rang and no one was around but you.

Nostalgia and mood go hand in hand for me now but they didn’t used to because I didn’t know that black and white photographs were going to disappear as the norm, vanish the way of two seater Thunderbirds and television variety shows. When I watched the old Judy Garland show back in the 60s I had no idea I would become part of a lost world. I had no idea that Sonny would leave Cher and die on a pair of skies or that no one I know now knows who the hell Rowan and Martin were. I had no idea John Lennon would be assassinated back then, or that several of my friends would die because of some horrible epidemic called AIDS or that a man with no experience, platform or compassion would run for president.

Which leads me not only to the beauty of fog and the way it conjures up a sense of stillness, almost akin to smoking too much marijuana. I refer now to the fog inside the brain that does not permit people to think rationally or intelligently. Donald Trump is not an old Chrysler, he’s a spiffy beefed up Escalade, the kind of obnoxious overblown SUV that rides your ass on a highway and blows by you on their indifferent road kill drive to Superficial Drive on Schmuck hill. Donald Trump is the lie you were tossed about some get rich pyramid plan, he’s the guy who thinks someone’s sister is ugly because she’s overweight, he’s the guy who doesn’t give a damn about your pain, or your finances or your fears.

I hope to God I don’t look back on this time in my life as a time when Trump was president because then there would be no beautiful fog, no compelling nostalgia in my memory. It will not be a time when beauty and compassion ruled the earth; it will be a time when America went mad and handed over the reigns of a precarious future to a man with no substance or respect for the truth, or any knowledge of fair play. Bring on those debates. I want this time in history to be filled with the nostalgia of an era, when a woman ran this country and no, not made it great, it already is great, but made it greater. Just think about it folks, a fist in the face of your future or a thoughtful, experienced, compassionate, reasoning candidate who values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Vera Jane Cook is an award winning author and has eight published novels. Her most recent ebook, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, has gone to print and will be featured through Bublish at the Southern Independent Bookstore Association Conference in Savannah on September 18th -19th. To learn more about her visit:

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






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.