Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Flickering candles on a snowy blue morning, a little poetry, strong coffee, and the dogs of course (following a marvelous Merry Mount evening)

Rio and I got up early this morning, despite the late night last night (more on those festivities later), to see if there would be a pink-hued sunrise over the barren, snow-covered fields surrounding Merry Mount. We crept onto the sunporch so as not to wake the other 8 people (and 4 dogs) in the old part of the farmhouse. Quietly opening the porch door, however, we were greeted with the warm, golden glow of flickering candles and the heady scent of freshly brewed coffee, and I said out loud, “Oh look, how pretty! We have candles!”

Usually I’m the first one up at Merry Mount but Pat had beaten me to the punch, with his two Jack Russell terriers snuggling on his navy-blue robe-covered lap and a steaming cup of coffee in his hand. Rio and the Jacks – Jackpot and Sweetie – quickly headed outside, snuffling in the snow, while I grabbed a cup of java and settled onto the wicker sofa.

When Lee and his 17-year-old Jack Russell Bess joined us, while the rest of the house still slumbered. Pat said, “How about a little Yeats?” and read this poem aloud:

Brown Penny
I WHISPERED, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.
William Butler Yeats

‘Twasn’t long before the rest of the pre-Thanksgiving, slumber-party-at-the-farm guests ambled in one at a time, aching for caffeine or a little ice water to combat the cobwebs that had formed since the previous eve. Surprisingly “Julie’s Baby” was Dave, not JR. Don’t ask me where that term came from -- but the last person to get up and at’em is always christened Julie’s Baby.

Soon, the scent of Rett’s southern specialties filled the air – light-as-air biscuits made with White Lilly flour and loads of butter, thick sliced bacon and scrambled eggs. More coffee.

Why any of us wanted to eat after a late evening feast the night before is a good question. But it’s the holidays. It's Rett's fabulous cooking. And, as Rett and Pat like to say, “When you’re at Merry Mount, you can do whatever you want.” Guess that includes eating!

Pat also likes to say, “There’s to be much Merriment at Merry Mount!”
And there was, especially last night. 9 of us converged on the wintry farm for a pre-holiday get-together of close friends, before heading out to roast turkeys, juggle side-dishes, and host nearly-grown children, parents and assorted relatives for the big event. No, this snowy night was full of laughter and love, easy (but fabulous) food, and just a little good wine (like JR and Dave’s favorite, Frank Family Vineyards).
Rett’s new gas stovetop and her red pots were standing at the ready for smoked salmon pasta with capers and parmesan.
 The table glowed with candles – and the sweet, sweet warmth of dear old friends.
The evening definitely went to the dogs…

There was much laughter…
 Even more… oh Lord, it hurts to laugh this much  
 Good girlfriends
 And perhaps a tiny mixed drink like a Manhatten.
Rett’s specialty, though she and Robert debated whose recipe was better. Here is Rett’s version, using her recommended Woodford Reserve for the bourbon

Rett's Manhatten:  2 jiggers bourbon, one scant jigger sweet vermouth, three drops of bitters, one teaspoon cherry juice and a couple of maraschino cherries. Pour over ice, or shake with ice and serve up in a martini glass. Enjoy!

Before we all headed to our various Thanksgiving celebrations with our families, we tried to get the doggies to pose for a picture. Not so much. So we enlisted some helpers for posing. Then off we went til our next warm gathering at Merry Mount!
 Once we got home, my Rio feigned a headache and took to her bed. All those little dogs were exhausting, she said!

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