Monday, August 20, 2012

The Deer Doily, Marilla-less Matthews, and Green Peppers

A few years ago when I was on my morning walk and was about to turn down a field road that led to some woods, a gentleman farmer pulled up in his truck and said,  "Missy, you don't want to go down there.  There is a fisher cat."  I was a little taken aback both because I did not know what a fisher cat was and because his truck was probably older than the combined ages of my parents.

Still, since this sounded like a warning I ought to heed, I  turned and went the other way.  Later, I Googled "fisher cat" and similar to when one conducts online research about a rash or a disease, I wish that I had not.  It was a fearsome looking thing with the most terrible stories.

A couple of weeks later, I was walking again and ran into my farmer. 

"It is all right to go there now," he said with a nod of his head.  "The fisher cat has been taken care of."

 Since I do not like to think about harm coming to anything, I did not ask for details and preferred to think that the fisher cat had been relocated.

After our second encounter, we became friends.  He would wave to me everyday sometimes stopping to give me something from his farm.  A quart of strawberries, a few potatoes, or Indian corn.  These gifts made for interesting walking the rest of the way home.  Picture trying to look normal with a dog leash in one hand and a cabbage in the other.

One day my farmer casually asked me where I lived.  That evening there was a crate of green peppers on my door step.  What a wonderful and generous surprise.  When we brought the crate in - there were easily over 100 peppers.  That weekend was a flurry of making and freezing stuffed peppers.  What was left was chopped up and frozen for winter cooking.

To thank my farmer, I made a pan of stuffed peppers for him.  I had asked around and found out that :

  • he was bachelor who lived alone in his old family home
  • went to church every Sunday - always cleaned up and dressed in a suit
  • cut out every item about town folk that appeared the local paper and pasted them into leather bound scrapbooks
  • took his mailbox in every night from the post in front of his house so that no one would steal it (Loved this!)
Intent on my delivery of stuffed peppers, I drove to my Marilla-less Matthew's  (my term for bachelor farmers who live alone, see "Anne of Green Gables") house and and knocked on the door. 

Hanging on the inside glass of the door window was a deer doily only it was hung sideways so that the deer was standing on its head.  This was a clue that no woman had commanded the house for quite some time and I expected the worst. 

Yet when he opened the door, I was ushered into a neat hall that had a pretty, red toile wallpaper.  I handed him the stuffed peppers and he invited me in.  He was so proud to show me his scrapbooks - the oldest from at least 70 years ago.  These were all meticulously arranged to awe any librarian.  Besides realizing what a historical treasure they were, I made a mental note never to do anything of a spurious nature that would cause my name to be printed in the local paper.

Last Thursday was the day for the annual green pepper delivery.  Part of the weekend was spent in the making, mixing, parboiling, and stuffing with delivery and scrapbook update on Sunday.

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