First of all, you need to understand just how important hunting season is in our home. I think one story will illustrate this best — the day that Joe and I were married happened to fall on one of the final days of late buck season. Yes, Joe went hunting that day, with my blessing. He was back in time for the ceremony, no problem! In fact, I cherish the fact that the schedule of our lives revolves around the natural seasons of the year. My idea of a dream life would be one in which the days of the week had no meaning. What mattered would depend upon the tides, the life cycles of the fish, the growing time of my garden, the harvest bounty of the trees. The Sunday roast chicken that my grandmother always served was a hen from her own backyard, the pork was raised by a neighbor just up the road. So it pleases me that the meat on our table comes from a deer that enjoyed a good life in the wild before blessing us with wholesome nutrition.
It might not come as any big surprise for you to learn that I’m a huge fan of A Prairie Home Companion radio show with Garrison Keillor. One of my favorite episodes told the story of grandkids visiting their grandparents on a day which was butchering time for the hogs. The children were running around playing, filled with the natural but heartless and uncomprehending exuberance of youth. The grandfather sternly chastised the children for not showing the proper respect. He explained that this animal had been lovingly cared for and was entitled to their profound thanks and lifelong gratitude . When food arrives home in a styrofoam package, sliced and sterile, bearing no resemblance to the living creature, it is so easy to forget the source of this goodness. It is all too easy to forget to give thanks.
Autumn used to be my time for sewing projects, the jumpstart time for sewing Christmas gifts, the time to make a wool skirt, the perfect time to mend and repair old clothing. I began sewing my own clothes as a teenager. I loved the planning, the anticipation, the shopping for the fabric, finding the perfect pattern. But the balance has shifted now — it is cheaper to buy clothes than it is to sew them. What an odd paradox. I remember exactly when and why I stopped sewing all of my clothes. I had splurged on some gorgeous voile fabric for a blouse, even paid the hefty extra price to buy a Vogue pattern rather than a Butterick or McCalls. I was half way through making my blouse when I found myself in the Bon Marche casually flipping through a clearance rack of blouses. There, to my utter horror, was a perfectly nice blouse made with my expensive fabric, being sold at a fraction of what I had invested in materials! That did it. I was heartsick. A few years ago my old Singer sewing machine that I bought for myself in High School gave a final gasp and had to be discarded. I have not yet bonded with my replacement sewing machine, feeling somehow that it is an intruder, an interloper who has taken the place of my much loved old friend.
Next weekend I may have to resort to my childhood standby and sacrifice an old white sheet for a Halloween ghost costume. Haunted Hoquiam will be filled with ghosties and goulies prowling downtown in search of candy and thrills on Saturday. The not-to-be-missed highlight is the Haunted Lobby at Emerson Manor! Diane and her skeleton crew ( I couldn’t resist) will be working all week to transform the handsome historic lobby into a fantasy world which rivals anything that Disney could produce — honestly, it is over the top impressive. There is no admission fee, but you are requested to bring non-perishable food items for the Hoquiam Food Bank as a donation. Bring lots, it is worth it, and the Food Bank is in great need. Pirates from Ocean Shores and the South Beach Buccaneers will bring ‘The Good Ship Buccaneer’ in an effort to fill the ship with food. They will be entertaining the crowds waiting in line as small groups are admitted to view the Emerson display. Admittance begins at 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. with the line forming in the parking lot on Simpson. Rumor has that a very, very large black cat may be present. Happy Hunting, be it for candy, deer, or fabric!
Barbara Bennett Parsons is the manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam, at 538-9747.