The Story of Chicken

For reasons you’ll soon understand, I’m a little afraid of roosters. But I met this nice one a few weeks ago and he wasn’t mean. I wrote a haiku for him: Rooster Ballet Haiku.

fullsizeoutput_2ba8

That experience reminded me of The Story of Chicken, and I promised to share it with you soon. Now is the time.

It’s a Shared Memory

Shared memories make family stories the best. Usually starting with “Remember that time…” and requiring all who were involved to chime in to get the facts straight, family-memory stories gain a patina with age and become the stuff of legend.

Such is The Story of Chicken.

But alas, I am the only remaining member of our nuclear family of four and I realize now how much a family story relies on all of the voices. I will do my best to honor Chicken, and face correction from Mom, Dad and Steve when I cross over to the other side. Or perhaps they will speak through me as I channel them now. Let’s get started.

Grab a Coffee

Oh, and by the way, grab a coffee or a cold drink and be prepared to “sit a spell,” as my paternal grandmother Mema would say. The Story of Chicken is not short.

We Lived at the Beach

My childhood home of memory is the beach house on stilts we moved to when I was nine and my brother Steve was six.

fullsizeoutput_2db2
Steve and me around the time we moved to the beach

The Canal City subdivision in Gilchrist, Texas is a tiny community perched on the Gulf Coast on the Bolivar Peninsula and a perfect place to grow up; I’ve shared with you before here on the pages of Glover Gardens that Steve and I were always planning to write a memoir called Surviving the Perfect Childhood. The Story of Chicken would have been a chapter.

fullsizeoutput_2db1
Our beach home, as it looked in the early 2000s; the canal is just beyond the grassy lawn

Grandma Brought Us Her Unwanted Hatchlings

My maternal grandmother, Ruth, was a biology teacher at Yates High School in Houston, two hours north of us, and had run a class project to hatch chickens and ducks. The project was successful and produced adorable fuzzy little creatures – but none of her students in that very urban area of town wanted to take them home to raise. Neither did my grandmother (or rather, my grandfather).

A beach house with a canal behind it – our home was the perfect answer to Grandma’s dilemma. A Saturday visit from Grandma and Grandpa brought a couple of shoeboxes full of fowls, and we were enchanted. We named the ducks Wynken, Blynken and Nod (after the song and poem; here’s a link to Carly Simon and her sister singing it back in the day). Sadly, I don’t remember if the chickens had names. This is where another family member would have chimed in!

A Storm Took ‘Em All, Save One

There was a week or two of fun with fowl as we watched the ducks swim in the canal behind our house and the chickens run around pecking the ground and chasing each other. And then came a storm. It was either a very bad thunderstorm or a very mild tropical storm that swept over us from the Gulf, and when we emerged the next morning after hunkering down inside all night, all of our fowl were missing from their nests in the garage except one little white chicken.

Always very tenderhearted, Steve was only 7 at the time and was very upset about the loss of our little flock. He became very protective of the remaining chick, naming him Chicken and treating him like a lap dog.

Chicken Grows Up to Be a Big, Big Boy

Light20Brahma2091
Chicken looked like this Brahma, only uglier and meaner; photo from www. chickensforbackyards.com

Spoiled by Steve and fed table scraps, Chicken grew to be a mighty rooster. Huge, mostly white with ugly black mottling and a scary-looking red comb, he was formidable and aggressive, strutting around the yard proudly, chasing away possums and armadillo and scaring our cats into hiding.

We had the front house along the beach highway and beach-going strangers pulled over several times during Chicken’s time with us to ask what we were feeding him! Did I say he was big? It doesn’t sound believable now, but I swear he was 3 feet tall. Sadly, there are no surviving pictures of Chicken. But maybe he was a Brahma; they get really big. I read that they were re-introduced in the 70s and it would have been just like my grandmother to get a rare breed for her students to hatch.

Chicken Loved Only Steve

While carrying Chicken around and cradling him like a huge football, I distinctly remember Steve saying many times in a singsong voice, “Pet him, Mama; isn’t he soft?” Steve really loved Chicken, and Chicken loved Steve right back. They went together like peanut butter and grape jelly, or “PB&GJ” as my Mom would have said.

But there was a problem: Chicken was a one-person rooster. He tolerated Mom, most likely because of those facilitated petting sessions, but he absolutely loathed Dad and me. With a passion. And folks, you don’t know what passionate loathing looks like in a rooster until you’ve had a giant, angry one chase you.

Running the Clothesline Gauntlet

Our dryer was often broken and we had a clothesline downstairs strung between the pilings holding up the beach house. (I think we might have been poor during that period, but Steve and I didn’t know it.)

fullsizeoutput_2dad.jpeg
Our home at the beach in those early days; the clothesline was strung between the pilings (although not in this photo)

To retrieve my clothes from the clothesline, I had to take a broom with me to fight off Chicken, and Dad often used the pitchfork for the same purpose. Dad also used his briefcase like a shield when he got home from work to make the trek from the car to the stairs. Why was this necessary? Because when he saw Dad or me, Chicken would square off, put his head down, and come running at us to peck at our legs. Hard. I still remember the frightening sound his heavy, red rooster feet made as he thundered across the grass:  thoomp, thoomp, thoomp, thoomp. I had to practice positive self-talk to get ready to go out and face Chicken: “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”

Once I only had the pair of socks I was fetching from the clothesline to fend off Chicken, and he drew blood on my legs. That was the beginning of the end of his days with the Harvell Family of Canal City in Gilchrist, Texas.

The Chicken Round-Up

Dad put the word out about a giant, available and (probably) virile rooster at The Corner, the local café where all the retired men met for coffee each day. He soon got the word that Houston, the telephone man (yes, his name really was Houston) was in the market for a rooster. Score! My clothesline experience was about to improve!

Houston met Dad at our house one afternoon to collect Chicken. I was home when this happened but Steve was not…probably by design. Dear Readers, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen two grown men, one of them in a business suit, chase an irate rooster with a fish net. Chicken gave them a workout! I think they might have had to use the cast net as a last resort. Of course I was rooting for Dad and Houston, but I did enjoy the spectacle. So did Mom, although it was several years before she’d admit it.

81Snx8xVCYL._SX679_
Net for sale on Amazon; imagine trying to catch a chicken with this!

Chicken Rules the Roost

What happened next was always best told by Dad. Because Steve was really worried about Chicken settling in to his new life, Dad checked in with Houston a few days after the big intervention and resettling. Houston said,

Well, Frank, I thought I was going to have to get rid of him before my black lab killed him. The first day Chicken was here, that dog chased him all over the yard and wouldn’t leave him alone. But from the second day forward, Chicken got the upper hand, and if you drive by you might see him chasing the dog. I thought that dog had a little more fight to him, but I guess he’s no match for Chicken.”

A Happy Ending, and Some Input from My Sister-in-Love

Apparently Chicken was happy with his hen party, and Mom and Dad told Steve he left to start a family. Steve isn’t here to tell his side, but my “sister-in-love”, the marvelous woman he was married to for many years, tells me that Steve loved telling The Story of Chicken.

Steve talked about that damn chicken all the time. He said he’d love on it and call it a pretty Chicken. He also said you and Frank had to give yourselves a pep talk before you went outside knowing that chicken was waiting to ambush you and attack. Made me laugh every time.”

She went on:

I have a mental picture of Frank in a suit taking a last sip of coffee and a couple of deep breaths as he peeks out the window and then rushes out the door and down the stairs fighting off the chicken, using his briefcase as a shield.”

I love that my sister-in-love remembers this story from my brother’s retellings, and I think that The Story of Chicken will live on. Don’t you?


More about my brother and me, our shared perfect childhood and the complicated world we landed in later can be found at:

© 2018 Glover Gardens

(Another) Haiku for Dad, On His Second Birthday in Heaven

My dad was born 80 years ago today in West Texas as the Great Depression was coming to an end in the shadow of another Great War in Europe, a time before regular Americans realized we’d be involved in that war.

With that backdrop and two incredible and resourceful parents, Dad was raised to be frugal, honest, fair and humble. To use his wits, respect people, and figure out a Plan B for everything. To find the humor and bright side in everything, even if you had no money and had to wash your clothes in the sink. The second of four kids, Dad worshipped his older brother and protected and respected his younger sisters.

fullsizeoutput_2d13
Around 1942, the Harvell family when it was only the two boys; my grandmother’s dress was hand-sewn
fullsizeoutput_2d1f
1953/4/5-ish, the whole family
Frank in High School.png
A band and baseball high school letter jacket and the male version of a Mona Lisa smile

Graduating high school in 1957, Dad attended the University of North Texas for a semester or two before realizing that he’d need help financing that dream of a college education and enlisted in the Army. He was innocent, idealistic and somehow, cool. Check him out with his trumpet in 1958; he called this picture Frank Cool.

fullsizeoutput_2d1d
Dad with his trumpet looking all Joe-College cool; a year or two later he burst a lung playing and had to put it away
Dad in Army.png
Dad in his Army uniform looking very official

Dad met my mom on a blind “coke date” and they married soon after, even though they said later that they initially didn’t like each other!

fullsizeoutput_2d17

I joined Mom and Dad just a year later as he was finishing his service in the army. And then my brother Steve came along.

Kim Steve Frank Nancy.png
That Firebird was my mom’s pride and joy; don’t we all look like we’re in an episode of Mad Men?

We were a close family. Steve and I were always going to write a book called Surviving a Happy Childhood. Maybe I still will.  Dad was my role model, rock and mentor. Lots and lots of years, happy times and memories later, after Mom and my Steve each took their last bows, Dad and I grew even closer. He was immeasurably important to me.

Kim and Dad Thanksgiving 2015
Dad and me, Thanksgiving, 2015

Then Dad went over the rainbow in June of 2017. The grief was breath-taking, harsh and immediate, and yet…there aren’t words to express my gratitude that he was born into this world on October 16, 1938, and that I was born to him and my mom. My life has been incredibly blessed, parent-wise.

So sadness and grief take a distant second place today as I celebrate Dad’s second birthday in heaven. Happy memories take center stage, and this haiku and photo from last year’s Dad’s-Birthday-Post still seem just right.

22491917_10214376041985611_537336697105212003_n
just a normal day in my childhood with the best dad ever, circa 1968

Haiku for Dad

you nudged me into
everything I’ve ever done
you believed in me

Happy birthday, Dad, and I’ll see you on the other side.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Heart-Theater, an Elegy

memories crowd the stage of my heart-theater
the actors all dead
but for me

tears for them come unexpectedly

like gulls suddenly swooping
a perfect sand dollar found
a sudden rainstorm

i hear mom’s voice:
“buck up and carry on”

memories play in my heart-theater
the actors all dead
but for me

tears for them come unexpectedly

singing songs long forgotten
making family recipes
an old movie

i hear dad’s voice
“you can do this”

memories sweep through my heart-theater
the actors all dead
but for me

tears for them come unexpectedly

like a made-up kids’ language
stepping on a toy
a bicycle crash

i hear steve’s voice
“can you help me, boj?”

memories crowd the stage of my heart-theater
the actors all dead
but for me

.but.

joy from them comes unendingly

thriving in my heart-theater
their voices all trumpets
and whispers and hugs

Harvell Family

@ 2018 Glover Gardens

A Mother’s Poem on Mothers’ Day

fullsizeoutput_21cc

the very best thing
that i ever did
was to procreate
(to have a kid)

the world is different
and much more real
my investment’s bigger
(a serious deal)

i watch in awe as
his life gathers steam
he acts on his instincts
(follows his dream)

no words can capture
the simple pure joy
i feel as a parent
(the mom of this boy)

enormous blessings
i take from his youth
he shows me new worlds
(unexpected truths)

the very best thing
that i ever did
was to procreate
(to have a kid)

Thomas Wenglinski Cool Backgroundfullsizeoutput_1d2cfullsizeoutput_1d1b

391100_2667323453038_2113659197_n

fullsizeoutput_21cf408007_3029941398260_1680482669_n1936491_1147773625242_1014890_n12244243_10207899464635225_3000181722033020744_o12273540_10207899466795279_7737661824946105818_o13416868_10209449669389375_3901354420746540048_o15259572_10211143253767926_1978579736726140226_o16819337_10211992029226782_6587956525309337453_o20247753_10213632648881248_9020129479807278722_o20690278_10213797887292105_7833421153611085588_o

fullsizeoutput_21da

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Sunshine Blogger Nominations and Q&A

One of the Cool Kids (I got the chain letter!)

How fun! I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger award by the A. Joann blog“The Sunshine Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.” Cool! It isn’t a huge thing, just an opportunity to connect and pay it forward. I’m in! What happens is that I will answer the questions from my nominator, and then nominate some more folks and ask them different questions. It’s kind of like a more positive and transparent version of the chain letter of old, and I’m ok with that!

Questions from A. Joann for Me

Here are the questions and my answers.

  • How do you stay up-to-date on current issues in the news?

nprpolitics_red1400px_sq-6bc03b536409ec88fd8d3abb637b560e93865bad-s300-c85I have several devices – a personal phone, a work phone, an iPad…and I subscribe to Apple News on all of them. It doesn’t discriminate; any public news source is available through that feed. I check it a couple of times per day, usually the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. This keeps me confident that if there’s a nuclear war, I’ll know about it just about as soon as anyone else. I also have at least two hours commuting to work in the car each weekday, and my radio is permanently set to NPR – Morning Edition on the way to work and All Things Considered on the way home. I also have a son in college, a sophomore at University of Texas, and he makes sure I know of any current outrage. : )

  • What is one goal you have for today?

My goal for today – or any day – is to figure out a way to stay positive no matter the obstacles and challenges that come my way. And to do it without being annoying, and in the hopes that some of it rubs off on others (without being annoying – did I say that?).

  • How often do you write your posts?

I write in bursts. I’d like to post every day…but no, that’s not possible. I have a very rewarding and challenging corporate job that keeps me very busy during the week. Three days a week is my realistic goal for writing, but even that isn’t possible sometimes. I tried to post every day during National Haiku Writing Month (once I joined up) and didn’t quite make it. However, on weekends, especially if it is raining, I can bank several posts for later release. And I am a writing fiend on business trips, because of the down time in airports, the lack of responsibilities in the evenings and the free time on weekends. This is one of my favorite travel finds / travel posts: April in Paris: Rue des Martyrs.

  • What food is your least favorite?

There’s no question. I have ranted about this many times. Beets! and alligator and mayonnaise.  Check out this post if you’d like to join the beets discussion.

beets_bn

  • If you were to pick a famous person to travel with, who would it be and why?

Langston-Hughes-768x432
Langston Hughes’ poetry was/is brilliant

Gosh, that’s a hard one! Does it have to be a famous person? I like traveling with my son to see the world through his eyes. But if it does have to be a famous person, I’d like to check out the world with Langston Hughes, because his poetry was so beautiful and moving and I’d love to pick up his vibe, vision and inspiration. Or Sam Houston, a truly interesting historical person whose story is anything but predictable. (I wanted to name my son Sam Houston but his father objected.) Or maybe Emmeline Pankhurst, the British suffragette, so I could learn from her drive and dedication, or Laura Ingalls Wilder, just to hear her tell all those Little House stories. Or the Gershwins, just to listen.

  • What (or who) inspires you to exercise?

Nothing inspires me to exercise for its own sake. Nothing! But – I love to work in the garden, walk in a Paris park, crew on a sailboat or chop-chop-chop doing my own sous chef work. Does that count?

IMG_2791.JPG
From a Paris garden, in the spring of 2017
  • What was the last thing you ate?

My 87-year old German mother-in-law had us over to dinner and made a pork roast, “potato balls”, and sauerkraut and sausage. We also had an appetizer that I put together, a goat cheese and herb ball surrounded by smoked salmon atop vodka-dressed arugula, and crowned with caviar.

fullsizeoutput_2329.jpeg

  • What is the best color for a car, and why do you think so?

I don’t care about cars in the least. Whatever color is the cheapest.

  • What movie would get you to sit down and watch it again on a rainy afternoon?

OMG, there are so many! My Dad and I used to watch old movies together, and they are my go-to relaxation tonic. How to pick? There could be one of the Thin Man collection (see photo below), or one of the ten Fred and Ginger movies, or a thoughtful, meaningful treatise on social injustice like To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorite movie) or Gentleman’s Agreement, or a lightweight musical comedy with a classic American songbook musical score like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or American in Paris.

93db33a2b7f35ca6d90f21f79ba4779d

  • What flowers do you think have the best fragrance?

Jasmine? Roses? Gardenia? Golden Dewdrop? All of which I have in my back yard, a couple of which are shown below.

  • What is the most rewarding aspect of blogging?

The connections! The unexpected connections… wow.

I have heard from someone in Australia who knew of my grandfather and has some geophysical historical information to share with me. He found me because of this post about my grandfather, I now have several 70-year-old photos of my grandfather in his professional life, as a result.

I have made friends who have helped me to look at, unravel and translate emotionally confusing parts of my past; not directly, but simply through listening to and absorbing their life philosophies.

I have connected with folks who have a similar culinary outlook to mine, and learned so much from their more diverse experiences with ingredients. I’ve found some wonderful recipes, and have rejoiced when people tried one of mine.

I have interacted with lovely people who, like me, are curious, love to travel, love people, and love to connect. I’ve taken their travel advice, and shared a bit of my own.

My Nominees

I’m putting forward some nominees for this Sunshine Award, although I suspect that several of them don’t participate in these kinds of activities.  No worries (although I think your answers to my questions would be fascinating)! And the nominees are:

  1. Storyteller
  2. Pleasant Peasant
  3. Glasgow Gallivanter
  4. Loving Leisure Time
  5. Keralas Live
  6. Recipe Reminiscing
  7. David Bruce Blog
  8. Julie H. Cares
  9. Rhapsody Boheme
  10. Bill Waters Haiku
  11. Love Traveling

My Questions

Looking forward to your answers – here are my questions.

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self?
  2. What’s your favorite food memory, a meaningful meal that you will never forget, and why? What was so special about it?
  3. If you’ve experienced a time when everything stood still for a moment, and you realized in that split second that you would remember this event for your whole life, what was that time?
  4. Where do you want to travel next, and why?
  5. Who inspires you?
  6. Why do you blog?
  7. What’s your favorite book?
  8. What skill have you always wanted to master, but haven’t yet started on?
  9. In one sentence, what is your life philosophy?
  10. What do you want to do tomorrow?
  11. What is your favorite dish to cook, and why?

It’s About Community

The Sunshine Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.  The rules are:

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Sunshine-Blogger-Award-2

 

****************************

Thank you for nominating me for this Sunshine Blogger award to the A. Joann blog. It took me a few days to respond, but it was really thought-provoking and fun. You rock!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Contact!

I realized that the Glover Gardens blog was missing something: you!

I’ve added a contact form for your feedback: click here or in the menu above.

feedback

And another for your ideas, guest blogger pitches and stories of your own Ferris wheel of life; click here or in the menu above.

Cotton Candy Smile
Kim of Glover Gardens on the Ferris Wheel of Life

I’d love to hear from you!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

The Chili Bee and Round Top, Texas – A Little Tale of Community, Chili and Small-Town Magic

Headed out to the Round Top Chili Cookoff with friends today, I’m inspired to reblog this post from last year. It’s a tale of a chili cook-off fundraiser in a tiny Texas town, two friends, five gallons of spilled chili, dozens of kind people and a chance meeting with the governor.

2017 in Glover Gardens: Looking Back to Look Ahead

It seems like yesterday that I was creating this post, Happy New Year! and looking ahead to 2017, and now here we are again, at the brink of yet another new year. I look forward to sharing and connecting with you all in 2018 via the Glover Gardens blog, and looking back at what you liked here in 2017 is giving me some ideas for the days ahead.

Popular Posts and Themes from 2017

You Read My Heartfelt Poems

steven-harvell-1423142466
My brother Steve

The #1 post, by far, was My Brother’s Suicide: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light.  The poem honors my brother, who left us in 2013. It was hard to write and share this, and yet so cathartic and restorative. Your response uplifted me.

22491917_10214376041985611_537336697105212003_n
Dad and me in 1970

Four other poems were in the top posts of 2017, two of which reflect the unexpected loss of my Dad: you, amazing you / footprints on our heart-sands (another poem for Dad from a grateful daughter) and memory-honey (another poem for Dad) .

I was so grateful that I wrote this one about my childhood while Dad was still with us, and he commented on it: my days by the water.

Haiku for My Dad was a Father’s Day tribute to him just three days before he died. What a gift we had, Dad and me; when my husband took the early morning phone call that Dad had died and conveyed it to me, my response was: “I’m ok, we had no unfinished business.” I didn’t remember saying that until he reminded me later, but it is so true, and I am so incredibly blessed by the honesty and mutual regard of our relationship. And its awesome that you read my raw writings that tried to express this incredible blessing, and found some value in it.

Hurricane Harvey Captivated You

f070c6deed4d41da81b72a023ae44fab-780x520
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The #2 and #4 posts in 2017 were about Hurricane Harvey: Houston is Paralyzed by Flooding and How You Can Help Texas Right Now.  You were interested in what was going on down here in the wetlands. And you didn’t just read the posts, you went to sites where you could help – there were 62 click-throughs on links I shared for donating to help Texas recover from Harvey, from the food bank to animal shelters to the Red Cross and the fund created by Houston Texas JJ Watts.  Thank you; we are grateful for your empathy and support. Harvey was horrific for Houston.

You Shared My Travel and Restaurant Experiences

Two of the posts in the top five in 2017 were essentially restaurant reviews, a retelling of amazing meals that I had while traveling.

Edinburgh’s Hipster Food Court and the Butcher Bad Boy Burger was the #3 post.

Butcher Boy Burger

Close behind at #5 was Comfort Food Alert: The “Best Gratin in Paris” (or maybe anywhere).

Bistro Des Augustins - Bistro Gratin Up Close
Amazing Gratin at Bistro des Augustins in Paris

Another restaurant outing that was quite popular with blog readers was Simple Dishes: Venison Casserole at the The Ensign Ewart in Edinburgh.

fullsizeoutput_1443

fullsizerender-3I did a series of posts looking ahead to a trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and two were in the most-read category: New Orleans Jazz Fest Anticipation: The Importance of Hats (and Bandanas) and New Orleans Jazz Fest Anticipation: Bayona is a Foodie’s Delight.

A haiku celebrating a marvelous cemetery in London also caught your interest: Haiku for Highgate Cemetery.

fullsizeoutput_17dd

The final travel-related post that piqued your interest was our September 30 experience in Colorado, Blizzard on a Train!

fullsizeoutput_16f8

You are Interested in Stories about Our Next-Gen Family Members

Thomas Wenglinski Cool Background
Photo by Mallory Frenza

Our kids were featured in a couple of top-viewed posts. Our Milennial Musician and one of his original compositions is the subject of this one: A Little (More) Music for a Sunday Evening. (Another of his compositions was the subject of the #1 post last year: A Little Music for a Sunday Evening.)

Our other milennial, The Best Eater, got married this year to The Girl Who is Always Hungry, and you liked this post about the newlyweds a lot: Our Next-Gen Couple (Now Married!) and Their Glover Gardens Aliases.

21741058_10213908140198740_8842228365749076146_o
Photo by Dreamy Elk Photography

Three Recipes Make the Top 20 Posts

I posted lots of recipes in 2017, and these three were the most popular.

Comfort Food Alert: Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread was a post that originated with a friend’s Facebook post of a picture of his Mom’s meaty cornbread.

fullsizeoutput_16ae

The Chipotle Chicken Salad recipe is something I’ve been making for years but hadn’t documented until now.

fullsizeoutput_446

I like to experiment and create new recipes, and this one caught your interest this year: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon and Bacon-Jalapeño Jam.

fullsizeoutput_197b

I Like Taking Requests – and You Like Reading the Results

One of my readers asked how to make an antipasto platter, so I answered with a post about it and included a long reminiscence about my Mom’s approach to antipasto.  I loved getting the request, and you liked the post enough to make it the 12th most viewed in Glover Gardens in 2017: Antipasto Advice from Mom and Great Tastes from the Texas Coast.

fullsizeoutput_18dc
My Mom and me in her kitchen, waaaay back when

A New Name

As I hit the 2-year anniversary of the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog earlier this year, I realized that I was talking about much more than just recipes, my original intent.  I asked your opinion about the name of the blog in What’s In a Name? Seeking Your Input.  You gave me great feedback, and one of the suggestions was simply to call it Glover Gardens.  A couple of months ago, I made this change with no fanfare, and changed the tag line to reflect the multifaceted nature of the topics.

What’s Next? Authenticity, Curiosity, Empathy

I don’t make specific New Year’s resolutions these days because I don’t really believe in them, but I do want to move in these directions in my life in general, hopefully reflected in the blog:

  • to be courageous and speak more with my own authentic voice, as I did with the poem about my brother’s suicide.
  • to be more in-the-moment-mindful and curious about the world – and to share what I learn.
  • to listen more and practice “cognitive empathy”; to truly understand others and learn from their truths.

You Matter to Me

I have learned a great deal in 2017 through my interactions in this blog, spanning a huge spectrum. You validated my beliefs and ideas and added context and color to them. You challenged me and provided a different lens for viewing life and love of all kinds. You gave me interesting perspectives on photography, travel, spices, recipes, mindfulness and your own challenges. I am inspired by you!

The Collective Muse

Although I started the blog to capture my recipes for our sons and their (eventual) families, I actually thought my muse for this blog was my Dad. Then he died. He died. He died. He died. I probably haven’t accepted that – he died.

I wrote about Dad being my muse and losing him: Mourning the Loss of My Father and Muse.  Especially during his last year when he had a mysterious illness, I wrote most of my posts hoping to inspire Dad and ignite him.

Reality: Dad died. I have to have a different muse. What a hard truth to absorb.

I kept on writing.

Maybe I’m my own muse? Maybe the muse is this vast expanse of strangers who read, and “like” and comment?

I kept on writing.

IMG_2025I wrote about Dad. Here’s one: you, amazing you / footprints on our heart-sands (another poem for Dad from a grateful daughter) . If you read this, you’ll understand me.

I wrote about Mom. Here’s one: Labor Day: Cherries and Empathy at the BeachThe Real Nancy (1)

I wrote about Steve: Looking Back and Finding Joy: Happy 51st, Dear Brotherfullsizeoutput_1a25

I wrote about death, and loss, and grieving.

I wrote about joy. I wrote about frustration. I wrote about travel, the world and food. I created haiku for silly things, and profound happenings. I shared recipes.

I kept on writing. You listened.

A marvelous thing happened. One of my nieces said, “I read every one of your posts, and if I’m with my friends, I read them out loud.” She mentioned a specific post about her Dad (my brother) and referenced a phrase or two from it. Oh. My. Gosh. She’s a living, breathing muse. She is part of me, and someone I can write these memories for. So are my other family members.

And, in addition, so many of you reached out. You said that you had lost a loved one and felt something similar, or you liked a silly haiku I wrote, or a recipe looked delicious, or a family memory stirred an emotion. You shared an approach for editing a photo, or using a special spice in a recipe, or a trick you use to stay sane in a crazy world. You empathized with me. You cared.

I kept on writing. You let me know you were reading, and you became my muse / the source of my inspiration. My family, my friends, my special set of strangers – you are my muse and inspiration. Thank you. Here’s to a great 2018!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

 

Our Next-Gen Couple (Now Married!) and Their Glover Gardens Aliases

We were fortunate at Glover Gardens this summer to celebrate a wedding. Our oldest millennial tied the knot with the young woman we always knew was a keeper. Woohoo!

21740764_10213908123838331_4284786164392939414_o

21741058_10213908140198740_8842228365749076146_o

fullsizeoutput_16d7The newlyweds are at Little House in the Rockies in Colorado with us for a long weekend and made a wonderful breakfast quiche this morning. During our meal on the back porch overlooking aspen trees turning yellow and snow-capped mountains in the distance, they put me on the spot. Knowing I was going to post their recipe and the resulting deliciousness (watch this space!), they asked when I plan to give them Glover Gardens Cookbook aliases, along the lines of my husband’s: The Grill-Meister.  Today! Here’s what they chose:

  • The bride: The Girl Who is Always Hungry.  This is an excellent moniker for her; she seems to eat about every 2 hours without gaining weight. I could make a jealous comment about metabolism, but I try to take the high road here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook.
  • The groom: The Best Eater.  Seriously, this is true. I’ve been in this young man’s life now for about a dozen years, and he trumps everyone in my circle when it comes to an adventurous palate. But he combines his bold and courageous approach to new foods with a love and appreciation of the standards, the comfort food, the mundane, even. He just appreciates a meal.  And he doesn’t gain weight, either…

You’ll hear more about this dynamic duo, starting with the marvelous quiche they made for breakfast this morning.  But I wanted to introduce them to you first.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (with the exception of the marvelous photos from Dreamy Elk Photography and Design)

Postscript

I just had to share this picture of our other millennial and me, also taken at the wedding.  This is us.

21731697_10213908123198315_1601787222107968452_o

Mourning the Loss of My Father and Muse

The Glover Gardens family suffered a huge loss last week when my father died unexpectedly. He was an amazing man.

IMG_2025

Obituary

Thomas Frank Harvell, 78, climbed the stairway to heaven on June 21, 2017. Mourning him while knowing he waits to be joined, are Lucy Harvell, daughter Kim Glover and her husband Tom, grandsons Thomas Wenglinski and Brandon Glover, granddaughters Melyssa and Joie Harvell and their mother Noemi Edington, stepson Matt Kiely and his wife Dawn, grandsons Everett and Ryan Kiely, and two-time mother-in-law Ruth Holt. He is also survived by his siblings Kenneth Harvell, Lynda Brashears and Connie Donnelly and their beloved families. Preceding Frank in death were his first wife, Nancy Harvell, his son, Steven Harvell, and his father and mother, Thomas Ezra and Memery Harvell.

Many others from all parts of Frank’s life join the immediate family in this complicated mix of sorrow and celebration: the extended Harvell, Smith, Cleckler, Holt and Hiatt tribes, lifelong friends from his childhood in hot and dusty Sweetwater, Texas to his many decades further south in various parts of hot and muggy Southeast Texas, a host of fellow believers from all of the churches where he was a member, and colleagues and customers from his years of technology sales with Motorola and Kay Electronics.

Frank loved without judgment, with his whole heart. With his profound sense of loyalty, honor and integrity, Frank’s rock-solid advice was frequently sought and almost always taken. A believer, his faith sustained him through family crises and illness, and he never lost his hope or sense of humor. Frank’s character and sunny, sturdy, pragmatic attitude drew others to him, and he was a true servant leader. He was active in church leadership and taught Sunday school for almost all of his adult life.

“Family man” is an over-used phrase, and yet it is just right for Frank. His intense devotion to his first wife Nancy never waivered, from their early poor (and extremely happy) years, to their tranquil days at the beach in Gilchrist, and through her later decades of illness. Sometimes he was both father and mother to Kim and Steve while they were growing up, and he embraced this responsibility. After Nancy’s death, Frank was blessed a second time, this time with the sweetness of a late marriage to Lucy.

Not one to sit still, Frank worked as a part-time consultant for Kay Electronics and Motorola well into his 70s. (He didn’t want to retire until his last client did.) After retirement, he had more time for his hobbies, including travel (both with and without grandchildren), woodworking, vegetable gardening, reading, photography and following his grandchildren on Facebook so he could brag about them. Together with Lucy, Frank was a super-volunteer, serving various churches and charitable organizations. Over the past few years and until his illness, when they weren’t organizing food drives, or community repair days for shut-ins and the elderly, or fundraisers, Frank spent nearly 40 hours a week helping to revitalize and re-launch Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM).

In addition to his fundamental goodness and old-fashioned manners, Frank was downright funny. His gap-toothed grin and quirky quips will always be remembered. He loved music, old movies, southern food and grandchildren and was always happy to share a story from his innocent childhood, or a lesson he learned from the parents he revered. His smile and stories will be missed by many.

Frank is now at peace after his yearlong illness and is probably either playing the trumpet with the Angel Gabriel or enjoying a chicken fried steak with St. Peter. On Saturday, June 24, at 3:00 p.m. a memorial service will be held at Tomball United Methodist Church, 1603 Baker Drive in Tomball, Texas to honor his most wonderful life. And then afterwards in the fellowship hall, snacks will be served while we gather to comfort each other, share stories and celebrate this remarkable man. He declared recently, “When I go, hold a party!” Frank’s legacy is for us to laugh often, love without judgment, live with joy, and hold our families close.

More to come on this topic; my Dad was my muse. Did I say he was a remarkable person?  Here are some of the posts he inspired, either directly or because I knew he would take pleasure in them:

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook