Monday, February 27, 2006

Coincidence and Crabapples


Lately I have had "coincidence" on my mind because an old high school classmate and I have become reacquainted on line and he pointed the whole idea out to me. First of all, his picture from 1981 had been in the paper along with the Carnival Queen, another classmate--a "Who are they? Where are they" kind of thing that the local paper does. I Googled both classmates names and got Steve's with an email address on an obscure website (it helps when the surname of the person you are Googling is not the norm). I emailed him in hopes I had the correct "Steve". It turns out I did.

Then he read bits of this blog and the whole conversation about coincidence began. It started with an op-ed in his local paper about the phenomena. It also turns out that Steve's wife grew up right next to the publisher with whom I am writing IN THE PANTRY. He and his wife also had just looked up Annie Proulx the same night I had--just out of curiosity (my previous blog, on the same night they Googled Annie, was on this author). He also mentioned my mention of Mitt Romney's comment about people keeping a year's worth of provisions--particularly the Church of Latter Day Saints (eg. Mormons). Steve elaborated about this tradition of "storage rooms" and "fruit rooms"--some quite sizeable--in Mormon homes (his wife was raised in the church). And then he put me in touch with his sister-in-law who pointed me to many online resources about this phenomena. And now, a new sidebar will be included in "the pantry book".

Meanwhile, my friend Sue and I have had crabapples on the brain since our photo shoot in October. This year, at Gray Goose Farm, the crabapple tree adjacent to the dining room had never been more laden. The fruits were a beautiful wine color--not quite claret, more of a blush tinged with bits of green. When ripe they were almost sweet and they hung like grapes from the c. 40 year old tree. I remembered when my grandfather used to make the most delicious crabapple jelly. We would have it with our peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk spread out beneath the nearby apple trees--every day a picnic when we visited our dear grandparents in the summer in Jaffrey! So, I wanted to replicate that jelly, especially "bittersweet" this, the last year the farm would be in the family. So I sent my husband on a picking mission because first I thought their red beauty would look great in blue-tinged Ball canning jars that I'd been collecting all summer here and there for our pantry shoot. We poured them into the jars, untouched, with the intention of my making jelly soonafter. Well, they looked great in the photo shoot here and there but I never did make the crabapple jelly.

The other day Sue sent me an essay by Nora Ephron in a recent NEW YORKER about cookbooks that have influenced her over the years. She was enamored with Lee Bailey, perhaps the first "style food book" person out there. Sue's friend used to do the photography for Lee's books (I have several: COUNTRY WEEKENDS and COUNTRY DESSERTS). Ephron was all excited about what she might serve Bailey and also the prospect of dinner with him. What he served was simple but memorable and for dessert? Baked crabapples!

So I Googled a recipe for them--no such luck. But I did find a recipe for Crabapple Pie in the most likely of places--another blog! I will list that blog here because it not only is it enjoyable, but it oddly parallels mine at first glance. Check it out (and I'll list in the sidebar when I have more time!):

If you want the crabapple pie recipe, go to the December 10, 2005 archive. She also writes about couches, Yorkshire pudding, and general domestic stuff. I e-mailed her as a new fan.

Meanwhile, I walked out of a major accident yesterday. I am fine, with only a small bruise where the seatbelt clenched. No one can believe I was unscathed let alone not dead. The car will likely be totaled. No one else was in the car or affected by it: just me, my sturdy Honda Pilot that likely saved my life, and a deep ravine. I don't doubt there were a few angels in the car, too. As I was going over the ravine edge I felt as if the car was being gently placed, like a chess piece on a board. It was not violent or jarring. I will never know exactly how the accident occurred or how it ended the way it did but I'm now a firm believer in fate and good fortune and in unseen presences that help guide our lives. I am still grappling with the events of yesterday and likely will be for a long time. Meanwhile, a chest x-ray as a precaution from the accident revealed a probable granuloma on a lung--probably benign but they want to check it out. And another growth was found a week before on another part of my body. Again, likely benign.

But the coincidence of these three things--an internal body that I have no control over and an external accident that should have been a fatality if not something critical--has me wondering about the grand plan, while appreciating the irony of it all and the day as it comes. Like the crabapple we take the bitter with the sweet and hope for the best.


filter kaapi said...

interesting point!

Judi Stuart said...

I just discovered your blog today and am thouroughly enjoying it.
Your writing reminds me of Edie Clark's. Such great style.
Looking forward to your book coming out.
You have just made my day so much more interesting.

Catherine said...

Dear Judi,

Thanks so much! You just made my day, too, and how refreshing not to find an adver-blog comment on Ohio Lemon laws or other "fake" comments under the guise of advertising!

I enjoy Edie Clark's writing, too, and am flattered with your comparison.

Am curious how you found my blog? Do you also blog?

Best, Catherine