On the 4th of July, my friend Jessica came for an overnight with her daughter Callie, Callie’s fiancé Robert, and Callie and Robert’s two daughters, Aiden (6) and Kenzi (2). I baked cherry pies for them. I decided it was time (overdue in fact) to use up the last of my Butler Ranch cherries that I preserved in 1997. I made pies with some of the 1997 cherries last year for the Cherryfest launch of Memories from Cherry Harvest, but I still had three jars left. Now I have only one left, having used the other two on the 4th.
I’m a foodie. I confess it. Please indulge me. I have to relate what we ate on the 4th. Ron and our buddy Calvin made Calvin’s famous “Peterson’s Chicken,” which is chicken slathered in butter and garlic, doused in flaming white wine, and cooked fast and hot in a closed hibachi grill. Our friend Irma (who is Puerto Rican) made Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas), the national dish of Puerto Rico; but she made it vegetarian so I could eat it. She put these huge Cuban olives in it that knocked my socks off. My friend Rani made excellent potato salad and coleslaw. We also had some green salad and an oversized old-fashioned sweet-and-cool seeded watermelon that Callie and Robert brought. Jessica arrived with an enormous zucchini she had grown in her garden and we sliced it up and marinated it in sesame oil, tamari, rice wine vinegar, onion powder, and garlic powder and we BBQed it. Heaven. OK. Enough (well, never enough, huh?). Back to the cherry pie. (I rock a surprisingly awesome gluten-free pie crust made with brown rice flour, almond meal, flax seed meal, and organic palm oil shortening.)
As we ate our cherry pie, Jessica and I reflected on the fact that we were eating cherries that I had put up when Callie was ten years old. There we sat at the table eating these cherries with Callie’s two little girls (Jessica’s granddaughters). Callie passionately loved those Butler cherries as a child and she vividly remembers her many visits to the Ranch while growing up. Even though we no longer live in that magical place for her daughters to experience it, we have a different sort of magical home, full of toys and books, and Callie’s daughters love to come here to play. And to eat cherry pie.
We tried to remember the first year Jessica brought her children to the Ranch. She said Sudi (my youngest) was a baby at the time. Since it had been over Labor Day Weekend, and we figured Sudi was about ten months old, it had to have been in 1992. Recollecting Sudi’s age and our arrival at the Ranch prompted Ron to mention that Sudi was born at home at the Ranch and when we discovered that we had never (could not believe it) told Jessica and Callie the story of Sudi’s frontier homebirth, we launched into the account. (That is a tale for another time.) Life is full of so many marvelous, improbably, and astounding stories.
Last night that baby Sudi, born at the Ranch nearly 22 years ago, performed as the headliner at a concert in Brooklyn. It was the first anniversary of Astro Nautico’s Freecandy monthly concerts. Astro Nautico produced Sudi’s LP You’re There (released June 12, 2012, just days before the release of my novel). Click here to download You’re There if you’re interested (ambient beats).
Callie and Robert will be married on Sudi’s 22nd birthday in October. Our beautiful children, grown into beautiful adults, raising children, performing original music. Callie now a parent of two beautiful children. Sudi now making a name for himself as a musician. The kids are alright. Sometimes I feel such overpowering awe as I witness the wheel of life cycling around.
Here is a photo of Ron with Kenzi in his lap and Aiden laughing maniacally after putting one
of the cat's mousie toys behind Ron's ear. Aiden is missing her front teeth at the moment.