The real me is the woman in this window, manual typewriter in front of her but holding a pencil posed over paper. Deer nibble at shrubbery on snow-covered lawn, fodder both for her writing and for her life.
Or are they the same thing?
[Picture by illustrator Adrianne Blair in Faith Baldwin's Face Toward the Spring.]
I need a little confetti tossed in the air even though there's nothing big to celebrate, not obviously anyway. I'm searching for beauty in the ordinary because that's mainly what my life is, ordinary, and thank God for it. As always, I turn to books and to food to lift my spirits, or better yet, to food in books. I came across an old 1927 book recently by Sophie Kerr, a book of short stories called Confetti.
As a collector of vintage women's magazines, my heart always goes thumpety-thump when I see Sophie Kerr's name on one of the wonderful fiction stories in an old magazine. Finally I bought one of her novels. I don't have any words of my own for the pictures I'm showing in this post because they are simply pictures of an ordinary supper R.H. and I had, just chicken and broccoli, mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas, as ordinary as you can get. The dishes are from Goodwill and the pattern by Poppytrail is "Zinnia." And I put an ordinary old milk jar from Jersey Farms on the table and stuck ordinary front porch zinnias in it. Actually, the zinnias in the picture above are not even in water because they are faded blooms I deadheaded where they wouldn't suck nourishment from the new buds about to bloom. I could not bear to throw them away because the faded colors seemed as beautiful to me as when they were bright. Like the old 1927 book, they are still lovely. Here are the pictures of our ordinary supper accompanied by excerpts from Sophie Kerr's anything but ordinary short story "Knife and Fork." Most of you will skip Kerr's story and that's all right. It will just make you hungry anyway.
"Millie, being now over thirty, was wondering why she wasn't married, and whether she would like to marry." She considered four prime bachelors of her acquaintance. They were: Jameson Lowe, "a widower and the best connected." Gerber Rudd, "good looking and considered intellectual." Tom Vandiver, "had the most money." and Dr. Charlie Mardell who, "wasn't anything in particular, but then, he wasn't hopeless."
Millie decided to give a dinner party and invite all her bachelors. Among the other guests she invited were two youngish widows, Ethel Devyne, a poor widow left to care for her in-laws, and Margaret Burton who "eked out" a small salary at the Court House. She also included another old friend of hers, Miss Lena Pattee, an "almost pretty" high school teacher. None of these ladies would give Millie any competition.
At the first dinner party, Millie concentrated on Jameson Lowe. Her cook served:
Green Melons Dashed with Lime Juice
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Finger Sandwiches of Brown Bread and Caviar
Light Lobster Souffle
Cucumber with Oil & Vinegar & a Suspicion of Onion
Breast of Guinea Hen on Crisp Irish Bacon
Rice Croquettes with Dab of Current Jelly
Orange Ice with Curacao
After this dinner party Mr. Jameson Lowe proposed to Ethel Devyne.
Millie did not lose hope. Jameson really wasn't very tall and he did have that large bald spot. She set her cap instead for wealthy Tom Vandiver.
The dinner was superb:
Clear Jellied Tomato Soup
Wafers of Cheese Sprinkled Toast
Filets of Sole
stuffed with Shrimps with Tartare Sauce
Small Potato Balls in Parsley Butter
Crown of Lamb
Fresh Mint Jelly
Peas on Artichoke Bottoms
Baking Powder Biscuits
Salad of Watercress, Endive, and Celery
Black Chocolate Cake & Almond Icing
You guessed it; it wasn't long before Lena Pattee, the almost young high school teacher wore an engagement ring on the third finger of her left hand. At least Millie won't have a lifetime of listening to Tom's bad jokes.
Gerber Rudd? Not much money there but he did own a small select bookshop. Millie pictured the future Mr. & Mrs. Rudd having quiet evenings of reading together before the fireplace. A third dinner party was planned. Millie vowed it would be her last as an unmarried lady.
Cook prepared this feast:
Golden Pink Spanish Mellon with Rum
Cheese Straws with Cayenne
Tiny Crab Shells with Crabmeat
Melange of Celery Hearts and Watercress
French Fried Sweet Potatoes
Jellied Spiced Apples
Cauliflower with Hollandaise
Souffle with Brandied Cherries
Cafe Brule with Burned Cognac
Black Hot Coffee
I'm so embarrassed to tell you that Gerber Rudd proposed to Margaret Burton within minutes of eating Millie's fabulous feast. She "wondered profoundly how she had ever come to imagine that Gerber Rudd was a clever man!"
Only one bachelor remained, Dr. Charlie Mardell. "Millie decided to make the best of it." Instead of a fourth dinner party, she planned to one day consult Dr. Mardell "for that queer burning sensation she sometimes felt about her heart after a meal."
Feeling better, Millie opened the Sunday paper to the society page. There she read:
"Dr. Charles Mardell Weds Childhood's Sweetheart"
Millie only stopped crying to go to the dining room for her lonely supper. The cook had lovingly prepared: