Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Photograph by and property of Arthur Salvadore "Family Reunion"

Mattison stood looking out the window overlooking the old well house.  It wasn't used anymore, except to store unused stuff, items that needed to be repaired, such as the old cane chair from Granny Sanderson's kitchen table.  She must get out there and throw away what couldn't be used or given away.  Sighing, Mattison laid her head against the cool window pane.

The family reunion today was a way to cook up the extra vegetables that people didn't want to freeze or can, as the summer season wound down.  Glancing at the pantry door, she thought about the fifty cans of corn, twenty jars of pickles, all those stewed tomatoes, plus the pickled beets.  Not so many of those as she would be the only one to eat them. She didn't know what it was about pickled beets that she loved.  To eat a cooked beet almost made her gag, yet  a pickled beet had a different flavor and texture. Pushing herself away from the window, she went to the sink to drain the water from the pan of boiled corn on the cob.  David's corn crop had yielded too much for just the two of them to eat.  She had sold  the extra at the roadside market she'd set up, the money would come in handy during the winter.  

Taking a potholder, Mattison walked to the stove and stirred the potatoes, trying to decide if she would make the potato salad by her Granny's old southern recipe or the one her Aunt Betty had sent her.  She decided to stay with the familiar and use the southern recipe; a lot of people didn't like mustard in their potato salad.

She looked at the stove clock, it was after nine o'clock. People would start arriving soon, especially her Grandma Nell, who always showed up at ten o'clock,  no matter the suggested time given to arrive .  Mattison often wondered if she did this on purpose to see how organized or disorganized the hostess was.  

This was the first family reunion they'd had at the old farm place since Granny Sanderson had died two years ago.  Granny would definitely be missed, but one thing can be said about reunions, there would be plenty of delicious food available. Everyone tried to out cook each other, bringing out the family secret recipes.  

A knock at the kitchen door brought her back to the present.  Laying the spoon on the old saucer Granny had used to keep food from getting on the stove and drying to a crust, Mattison ran her fingers through her hair as she reached to open the door and let the first group in, welcoming the prospect of laughter, new babies, and of course, the enveloping hugs that always came with family reunions.   


gaelikaa said...

It's an evocative piece, very descriptive. I liked the details about food, I always do, the way a cooked beet tastes different from a pickled beet. There wasn't any dialogue, but the piece still worked. I always find that dialogue tends to draw in the reader a bit more. A lot of family memories tend to be tied up with food and special family recipes.

A very well written and enjoyable piece.

Judy Harper said...

Gaelikaa-dialogue is a good point, but it raises a question, since this is a quiet moment, her thinking about the past and future, a pensive moment, how would dialogue be inserted? How would you have used dialogue here?

Lisa said...

Judy, I could feel something lonely in Mattison. Your description evokes an element of time, past and present. I love pickled beets and do not eat them otherwise. Bingo! It is always great to have a personal link in with the reader. The reference to the garden crops, and family recipes is a home run thread with me.
You put us in her head to experience the day as she feels it. Dialogue could be applied as I do not know anyone who doesn't at some time talk to themselves. Or in a manner, to the grandmother as she makes the salad... I think you did well without dialogue here. I like the feel you created through the whole piece. Well done eeking emotion from the beans on the windowsill.

Arthur said...

I am happy that my photograph could evoke the creative talents of Judy Harper. Thank you, Lisa, for posting the photograph to your writers group.

Judy Harper said...

Arthur-I hope I did it justice. It was a beautiful photo. I had another idea, but for some reason, it reminded me of a past scene in my life that prompted the family reunion story I wrote, maybe it was the beans in the window sill or the tin roof.