It’s been a rich, long and densely packed October trapezing around the South. People keep saying to me, “I know you’re busy, but…” and it makes me wonder if I’m giving off the wrong vibe–the one that says I don’t have time for you. I can only hope it isn’t the case, and be careful with my words. For, I have been busy. But deliciously, gratefully busy with all the most wonderful things in life: work and rest and eating and family and love. I’ve been moved by the immense beauty and diversity of the people in each place, trying to let them teach me. From Gaby, how to host with candor and charm — from Megan, how to care less and let loose — from Katie, how to drink coke, twirl and be jolly — from Uncle John, how to honor those who make us — from Mom, how to embrace the place that raised you — from Grandmother, how to stick to your guns — and from the kind souls in those work meetings, how to ask questions and practice patience. Thank God for you all, your lessons and your brilliance and your wildly good looks.
Resting in Lowgap, NC
I spent two chilly nights on Orchard Mountain with ten of the most staggering beauties I know in a house with stone arches. We ate too much BBQ and too many gouda-cheddar-prosciutto trays, sat by the fire, drank margaritas on the rocks and remembered why it’s important to get together and get away.
Eating in Wilmington, NC
Cheddar ale soup and a house-brewed Dram Tree Scottish Ale cut the cold winds outside Front Street Brewery at lunch time. Dinner was pan seared sea bass over a mushroom risotto, topped with tomato pesto and the house Cabernet, at The George on the river. Port City Java provided a delicious Chai Steamer in between.
Passing through in Atlanta, GA
We met my parents on the skyline at Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, before riding Interstate 20 clear across Alabama. I had sauteed vermicelli rice noodles with mushrooms, sprouts, scallions and egg. We said a quick hello and then kissed good-bye.
Mourning in Jackson, MS
The death of Andrew’s grandmother saddened us greatly and her five sons especially, but we relished the sweet time with brothers and fathers and cousins and uncles. Katie made rich cheese danishes and shared every memory she has of the precious woman. We loved each other kindly and madly, knowing Nannaw’s love for each of us is the greatest love of all.
Visiting in Marietta, GA
Mom made grits for breakfast and we baked pies out of Southern Living Magazine–Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan and Rosemary Pear. Grandmother cooked shrimp creole for dinner, and the nine of us ate under her glittering chandelier. Saturday we talked away two hours with dear friends, took a hike and had drinks on a rooftop bar in Woodstock. The evening ended with $10.50 pitchers of Sweetwater and a large supreme pizza at Marietta Pizza Co.
Working in Raleigh, NC
For two nights I mostly saw the inside of my hotel room, drinking Ginger tea, watching the World Series, and editing the most marvelous short story by the renown Matt Orth. I survived on Lean Cuisines and bottled green smoothies from the produce section–turns out they don’t sell organic at the Food Lion beside NC State. Hey Kelly, might want to get your corporate husband on that.
Happy end of October, and happy travels as they find you.