Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well Behaved Women Never Make History or Inspire Me

As a kid, I had the opportunity to spend time with two amazing women, one I called Grandma and the other I called Granny.  These women never met each other. One lived in the Northwest and the other lived in rural Ohio.  Both were women who really lived their lives, and by the time I met them, they were slowing down a bit, but still were enjoying the last of their summer wine, as they say.  Grandma taught me my love of cooking, she was a chef, but never got recognized in her time, as being a chef was a man's job.  Granny taught me to love baseball, fishing and how to knit.  Both tried to teach me how to make bread and home brewed beer.
They were born at the turn of the last century, in a time when women got married, raised kids and took care of the home.  Both of them did this, but both being restless creative women, they did more. They were Flappers, Business Owners, Granny raced horses, Grandma lived in Hollywood and tried her hand at breaking into the movies, their stories were endless.
Granny was a tole painter, and a really fine artist.  She was my Dad's aunt, but raised him as a kid, along with her own daughter. I never met my Dad's mom.  I thought it was Granny, and really that was okay.   I was a restless creative kid, and most times, very unhappy at home.  I was always threatening to run away.   The best my Mom could offer me was a trip across country to Granny's farm in Ohio.  I actually loved that farm. It wasn't big, it was enough for Granny to raise food for her to eat, chickens for eggs and some other animals.  There was a pond that had Blue Gils swimming in it.  I remember getting up very early in the morning to go fishing, and bringing them back for a breakfast fry.  There were Cincinnati Reds baseball games on the TV and radio everyday.  Occasionally we would drive to Cincinnati to see the Reds play.  For baseball historians, it was the era of the "Big Red Machine."  I got to see Pete Rose as his best.  The days were long and seem to never end, yet my time there was usually three week or less.  Granny knew how to live like a Queen on a very limited budget, because as she would say. "Life is never about things money can buy. It's about using that what God gives us each day."
Being with her was like being with a great spiritual master.  One who drank home brew, smoked two packs a day and cussed when The Reds lost, but still there was a spiritual master quality about her.
Back in the Northwest, we often lived with my Grandma or next door to her. I had the opportunity to cook next to her.  Grandma was sort like a combination of Gordon Ramsey and Edward G. Robinson with a dash of Paula Deen tossed in on her good days. She was rough and ready. An amazing story teller. She dyed her bobbed hair jet black (she claimed it was natural) and wore Chinese style silk PJs, even for cooking and gardening.  She taught me not to take shit from anybody and to stand up for who I am.
Both women had uniquely loud joy filled laughs. Sometimes I see each one of these amazing courageous women, reflected in my personality. I see them more and more in me as I age. I'm grateful for having spent time in the company of these unconventional women.
This was impossible to photograph
This brings me to today and this week's project.  I'm lucky to coach/mentor some amazing young adults.  Two of them are young men, who are on their way to creating amazing lives.  I'm glad they are in my life.  Oddly, enough they had expressed an interest in eating healthy, learning to cook good food and save money.  Mr.D. was in town this summer and we spend some time focusing on cooking lessons.  Mr. B. and I had some sessions around saving money, how to shop, how to eat healthy.  An idea came to me to compile a small is book with helpful hints and simple to cook meals.  Thus, Mrs. Remington's Easy Peasy Meals For Young Men was born.  I wrote it in the vein of the old Edwardian cookbooks.  Lots for talk, tons of advice, and my own touch of straight forwardness. I wanted the book small and found a cool photo book to bound the pages in.  The guys can clean the pages if they need to.  There might be a volume two and one for young women, as once I started writing, I realized I have so much to say on this subject.  So, many ways I feel I can assist them.  For now, it's time to have them start with volume one.
I think this project pays homage to Grandma and Granny.  It's my hope that Mr. D and Mr. B will find value in the book and it will help them build confidence in an area of their lives.  Lastly, I feel it is a legacy of sorts.  Using my creativity,knowledge and love to create the book was such an easy and positive experience.
Are there some people in your past that have contributed to who you are, given you the gift of who they are, that you would like to pass along to others?  How will you do it?  What will your legacy look like?

Until next week...create to feel great!
45 weeks complete!  7 to go!

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