Roast potatoes and gravy

Featured image: Frozen in flight, a sculpture between Montague and Whitehall, Michigan.

You don’t say #10, Wednesday, 9 November 2016–On election day, while waiting for our car’s tires to be rotated, the conversation among three of us customers started as harrumphing about the political ads still running on TV, but soon turned to a tastier topic: food.

Simple stuff. One talked about her favorite roast potatoes: B-size red potatoes, cut in half, tossed with olive oil, oregano and basil, cut side down, roasted at 450F for 30-45 minutes or until crisp. Her dinner tonight would include a porkloin cooking in the crockpot.

We were watching cooking tips on TV for a green bean casserole, flaky pie crust, gravy (store in a coffee carafe to keep warm–of all places)–it makes you hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, just throw in a dish of Brussels sprouts for me. Yah, turkey, too, of course.

Our first visit to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Over last weekend we had a delightful visit with friends in Rockford, Michigan, next door to Grand Rapids, followed by a brief color-tour to Montague, Michigan on Lake Michigan.

With Monty and Ginger Williams we visited the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. We got in on the fall chrysanthemum experience. Their brochure notes, “Meijer Gardens is not only a place, it’s an experience that creates a different impression for every admirer of nature, gardens and art.”

We were impressed, and soon realized that the place calls you back to experience both the natural environment and the arts scattered over 158 acres.


I’m intrigued by a businessman who created the Meijer hypermarket chain from a small family grocery store in Greenville, Michigan, and who then created one of the leading cultural destinations in the Midwest. Frederik Meijer (1919-2011) and Lena, his wife, still living, must have had a ball planning and building an internationally renowned horticulture and sculpture experience. We’ll be back.

A brief visit to Montague, Michigan with sights along the way

Home again in Indiana

Election 2016, day after reflection

Who won? Not the young. Not the sick. Not women. Not minorities. Not refugees.

The sun rose this morning. On our walk to the library birds sang as the brisk air washed our faces.

I feel sorrow for those who believe the president-elect and his cabinet will be able to wave a magic wand and make the nation better than ever. Republicans will have to change gears from being against many things germane to the political process to being supporters for something that betters the lives of all, deep into the future.

I take solace in early morning messages of three greats: two great-nieces and a  great-nephew-in-law. On Facebook, Stacey posted, “Carsyn, [a preschooler] is in tears and asked me, ‘Why people voted for someone mean?’ All I can do is hold her tight.”

Jessie posted, “My husband said it best, ‘Buddy, [their preschool son] I feel like I have to give you an extra hug today.’ Extra hugs for my babies who I will teach about compassion and peace, not an eye for an eye.”

I take solace, too, in the words of English medieval mystic Julian of Norwich. She wrote, “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of thing shall be well.” Sydney Carter wrote a song, called Julian of Norwich. The chorus: “All shall be well, I’m telling you: let the winter come & go. All shall be well again, I know.”

God, be near. In silence, thought and word, hug our world.



4 thoughts on “Roast potatoes and gravy

  1. Loved this post and the photos of Meijer Gardens, especially your perspective of “Mad Mom” where she is glaring and towering over you! The timing of your trip couldn’t have been better with all the peak Autumn colors. Also appreciated your comments about the Election. Storm clouds have covered up the Rainbows but the sun will come out tomorrow!


  2. Best – and most needed – post ever, John. May we all survive the next four years (eight??) in better shape (and spirits) than we can imagine at this point.


    1. Always a joy to hear from you folks in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Soon and very soon you will have you wish for that cool blanket of snow. In the meantime, we are glad that it is staying away. Our walks help me think and the posts help me think out loud. Best!


  3. Oh – and there has to be “oyster pudding” (scalloped oysters) on the Holiday table. Not sure why, but my Mom called it “pudding” even though all cookbooks with exact-same ingredients call the dish “scalloped oysters”. Can’t ask my Mom the Why questions anymore – even though she is now receiving all the answers to all the questions she ever asked (which weren’t many – she accepted without question much more easily than I!)


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