While my peaches are draining, I will tell you a story I’ve been waiting and waiting to share.
Did I say “peaches”? Why, yes I did. That darn Peach Man still didn’t have the Alberta Freestones I so love and crave, but he had another kind. And they looked quite gorgeous. So I bought two boxes (84 peaches). I could no longer wait.
I am trying a new method to avoid soggy bottom pie crusts. It involves draining sliced, sugared peaches, cooking the juice into a thick syrup, grinding tapioca in the blender and several other techniques with oven racks, cookie sheets and parchment paper.
I am taking notes. So far, the parchment paper was not successful. Cross that out.
But while the you-know-whats are draining and my zucchini (how do you spell it, anyway?) is frying (thank you, Maggie/Linda for my dinner), I will tell you the story.
Oh, boy. Here we go.
A year ago a good friend of ours, a young man with a heavy heart, came to the lake. Well, maybe his heart wasn’t exactly heavy, but confused. And what confuses a man’s heart but women?
He came for advice. And, of course, pie. He also brought his guitar so he could join the mountain people for their annual celebration of summer.
He had journeyed to the right place for advice, as there are many wise mountain men here who are free with their opinions and counsel. It wasn’t the first time these particular wise men had been consulted about matters of the heart. And with great success, I heard.
Our young friend had despaired of finding his one true love, the woman he would meet and know “she is the one”. Time was running out, he said. Life is busy. And women–good women–are difficult to find. How was he supposed to keep his spirits up? What was he to do? Why was this all so complicated?
He climbed to the top of a mountain.
And a wise man there said, “Hydrate.”
He walked in the deepest forest.
Which he did.
And a wise hunter in a very clean shirt said, “Close your eyes and eat fish.”
One of the wise women said, “You must improve your Mexican Train Dominoes” game.
Everyone laughed and paid no attention. They asked for more pie instead. She gave them cake.
How was this young man going to find the perfect woman for him? The men stared at the water and pondered. Maybe the answer would fly over the lake. Like an eagle.
There were no easy answers (other than what had already been suggested).
So it was time to go up the mountain for the summer celebration. Ancient traditions would be followed: there would be roasted oysters and steamed clams, huckleberry pie, pasta salad and beer. Games for the children. Music for the elders. And when the sun went down and mosquitos appeared, the mountain people would congregate inside. They would sing their songs of love and pain and matchmaking (“If I Were A Rich Man” a particular favorite) until Retired Mountain Lady turned off the organ and sent them home to bed.
Our friend’s dilemma was discussed. Notes were taken. A list was made.
One wise man pondered in a dreamlike state. It never hurts to meditate in the middle of a party.
Another ordered our friend to sing. Be happy, he was told. Sing it like you mean it. Be brave and fearless. Have another oyster.
The wise mountain women said, “Too bad we’re too old for you! But sing with us!”
And he was happy.
And so it was.
Remember, they said. Be happy, embrace life, eat fish, drink plenty of water. Sing. And improve your domino game.
He returned home, to his own house in the woods. It was a long winter, but he was busy. And, yes, still discouraged. Until spring came. One night, while he played his guitar and sang his songs, he met someone.
And tomorrow he will bring her to the lake. We will play dominoes and eat pie and talk about the wedding. They will go with us up the mountain for the summer celebration. And everyone will sing.
And, of course, they will live happily ever after.