Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

It’s a mild October afternoon in the panhandle of Florida. I am listening to National Public Radio’s “Acoustic Interlude” program. They are playing “Just Walk Away, Rene” — a slower, sweeter, more acoustic version redone by Linda Ronstadt, singer of the original version, and it fits in perfectly with my mood.

I’ve been chopping leeks and carrots to go in tonight’s poached chicken breast soup. I cut the leeks lengthwise and rinsed them carefully to remove the hidden grains of sand that are always trapped in the pale green to white layers. Stripping the carrots of their peel is always a joy, the moist bright orange revealed like polished silver, only better.


I’ve saved the best part of supper preparation for the last:  making the gingerbread. It’s one time when I’ll use real butter and not be stingy with it, Grandma’s robust unsulfured molasses, and pricey candied ginger. My mouth waters thinking of the smell alone.

Buck is out on his old Case tractor, smoothing out a field. This brings him serenity and comfort, the same gift making gingerbread brings to me.




We sprinkled fresh ground dried Chinese white ginger root on the soup, added a dash of soy sauce. . . and a couple of Tang Soo Do contenders at the table squeezed out wasabi dots around the edge of the bowl, creating one jazzed up bowl of chicken soup.

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