Steady rain fell on the circle. We sit at the bottom of the traffic circle with few cars and only a handful of houses, most of them built in the early 1940’s. Tall pine trees center the circle, dropping their golden brown pine needles and pine cones to the ground below, a view shared by all of the neighbors on our circle. Jim played in the center of the circle under the canopy of trees and rode his bicycle around and around when he was a youngster.
Today, rainclouds blot the sunshine from spreading its warmth through our glass door at the entry to our Alabama cottage. No youngsters were riding toy tractors or oldsters getting their daily walk since water saturated our day.
Inside, feeling warm and cozy, wearing my thick socks and favorite sweatshirt, I watched the silent water show through the glass door; a jumble of thoughts occupied my mind. Jim brought me to this house to introduce me to his mom years ago – seems like an eternity. Soon, he left the house to marry me, and he moved far away from the comfortable circle to new challenges. We raised three children, an accomplishment in itself. Then we discovered travel – new and interesting ways of living and people who spoke languages and accents much different than our Southern drawl.
Each new place put its stamp on our personalities and created memories that continue to seep into our thoughts.
Visits to see family and sad emergency rushes to family members in the hospital brought us back to the circle. Painful trips, darker than any rainy day brought us home upon the deaths of our parents. Family no longer lived at the bottom of the circle. We drove around to see the little house each time when we visited Alabama – until we finally made the decision to return.
Warmth and hospitality flowed from this house when Jim’s mother Aili prepared a meal. Stepping inside now, we hope visitors are treated in a manner that Aili would approve. No, it isn’t the same. Our travel influences every wall of the house with heavy tones of France around each corner. Pictures of our children, grandchildren, brother, sisters and parents are here also. Comfort is here. We’ve come full circle. Will we stay here? Our good friends ask this question and then tell us that we have to stay here! We still have an urge to experience more than the security of this spot of small town life. There’s big wonderful France to explore, different food to taste and new friends to meet. Do you feel this way also? Some people are quite content to stay in one place all of their lives. They see no need to leave and ramble. Does this mean they are less fulfilled? How do you feel?
An episode of the Andy Griffith Show on television centered on this subject. Andy met an old girlfriend at a high school reunion. They were making fast strides toward a romantic reunion when the girlfriend who had moved far away upon graduation began to talk about Andy’s fine prospects in the big city. He had no interests in that direction at all! Suddenly, he remembered their differences. He said he had found his happiness, contentment and satisfaction right where he was with no need or desire to move. Andy does make his point.
I’m not Andy’s girlfriend. He might not like my notions, but I understand his feelings because they do form part of my personality.
While the rain continues to fall, I’m hoping for fair weather in the coming week for a short second honeymoon with my husband, my best friend who understands most of my notions. If you are wondering about the honeymoon at our age, just click and read “A Wedding and A Funeral”.
During 2013, I hope that I have brought some enjoyment with words and pictures in A French Opportunity, the book and the blog. More than this, I hope that love has shown through and possibly will travel FULL CIRCLE among many others. Thank you for sticking with me. I will be back in 2014 after that second honeymoon. No blog next week.
Meanwhile, I will leave a recipe that I found in an old Southern Living magazine for an absolutely wonderful apple pie. Aili would be pleased with my hospitality, at least I hope she would.
2 lb. Granny Smith apples
2 lb. Braeburn apples
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 package refrigerated piecrusts
1 egg white
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples and cut into wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and ¾ cup granulated sugar.
2. Melt butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and place 1 piecrust in skillet over the brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over piecrust and top with the remaining piecrust. Whisk egg white until foamy. Brush top of piecrust with egg white; sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 or 5 slits in top for steam to escape.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Shield with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. (I didn’t find this to be necessary.) Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream if you would like. (This is a delicious and easy pie to make.)
4. Enjoy!! Come back to see us again. Don’t forget to SHARE!