Is it my imagination?

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Strangely I have spent the last three days alternately in a tiny ill-equipped galley aboard a Pirate Ship attempting to prepare gourmet meals for its Captain or slaving over my own blazing, bubbling stove, happily preparing for a family dinner to be held on Father’s Day. Is it not odd and at times inspiring that what we read, hear, or see is eerily repeated in our daily lives, perhaps in a parody or a comparable parallel? Do you find yourselves in a sort of alternate universe, living or reliving similar scenes from books you are reading at the moment, of movies you have just seen, or from stories you hear told by another source—a chance conversation jolts you with the feeling that “Hey! I just did that, saw that, felt that!” A Pattern evolves.
I picked up one of the three magazines available for patients in the doctor’s waiting room on Friday—a publication called “Wisdom.” I was enjoying bits and pieces of several of the articles and had read both the poems (one very good, one not so good) when the nurse was there with the blood pressure cuff and an awkward thermometer attached to a long cord that I hoped was not plugged into an electrical outlet because she slid it into my mouth with the instructions, “Hold this.” No sparks ensued and my pressure was only slightly elevated (fear of electrocution?), and within minutes I was escorted out and pointed to the Exit with a “See you next month.” I remarked how much I was enjoying the magazine and hoped it would be here next time I visited. Happily, she said, “Take it with you. No problem.”
Well, that was truly a gift, as I hate to half-read anything. A busy evening and an even busier Saturday kept me from getting back to my articles, but on Sunday morning when I turned on David Jerimiah in order to listen while I dressed for church, it was pleasant to note that his topic was “Wisdom.” In the short time I was able to follow his sermon, I learned some valuable (wise) lessons about how to read Proverbs. Never, ever take a verse alone and apply the two lines of terse insight to our own lives (or to others around us, especially those proverbs having to do with Fools), without also having read corresponding verses in other areas of that Book of Wisdom! This is a RULE. And do not believe that there is a promise in every cryptic proverbial saying. Nope. We must study and apply what wisdom we can muster in order to understand this amazing Book. Ok. Enough preaching. Just wanted to note this second encounter with Wisdom.
Oh. But one more thing. Guess what the focus of our Sunday School lessons is for this next quarter? Ole King Saul, wisest man on Earth at one time, unseated only by God’s choice to rule Israel, David, who was a pretty savvy guy himself (until he ran into woman trouble). See how this pattern of Wisdom keeps just slapping me upside the head? I go to wipe off the long counter in my kitchen and my little stand-up calendar sitting there with its daily inspiration. “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Ps 19:7 Wisdom is the topic for the day!!
So. This kind of thing happens All the time to All of us. Right? Days and even weeks exhibit a refrain through a vague string of similar experiences—events, books, conversations, TV, the internet, billboards. Odd. Pleasing. Spooky.
Getting back to the Pirate Ship and my kitchen. I had been planning a big Sunday dinner hoping to lure the family over, and the moment I saw the fresh okra piled high in a carton, golden yellow peaches as big as baseballs, fat juicy ears of Silver Queen corn, and the reddest, ripest tomatoes ever picked tempting us at the country market about halfway between Concord and Senoia, I started planning some Big Eats. Bill and I had just eaten a wonderful country “dinner” at the Concord Café along with long-time friends Ruth and Raymond Gray. We each topped off plates of chicken and dressing, beans, creamed corn, peas, fried pork chops, and homemade rolls with a big bowl of old-fashioned Peach Cobbler. I think it had been made in a tin wash pan like my Grandmother Putt used to cook in. She didn’t have any fancy casserole dishes, and the wash pan served another task after scouring dishes for a family of 12 for over 35 years!
I remember that big ole round pan, dented and tarnished but brimming with the juices of fresh peaches, bubbling up and over the lattice crust, as sweet, and crunchy, and thick as your thumb! I remembered the slabs of streak ‘o lean cooked in with mouth-watering string beans picked straight from the kitchen garden, fried chicken that had that very morning been clucking and scratching and chasing me away from their metal watering bowls.
And this very morning I was enjoying my Wednesday Book Club’s selection, “Cinnamon and Gun Powder” by Eli Brown, (creating elegant, delicious dishes while surviving captivity is a major theme) when I came upon a passage that describes the six flavors of the mouth; they “have their analogues in life: Salt is the spirit of blood and tears, victory and defeat. Sweet is the welcoming hand, the mother’s milk, the kiss…. Bitterness, a stern word, hard-earned fortitude. Sour is a call to attention…the prick of a thorn… Astringency is a strong wind; it tightens and cleans. The Pearl Gate is the last flavor… it lives in the dark slope of the soft palate. It is the flavor that lingered after God breathed life into Adam. It is the flavor that animates the clay.”
God has given us such variety and the “sense” to provide much pleasure. Eat wisely and well, my friends. Enjoy summer’s bounty.

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