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Adrienne Cohen

Freelance Writer

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How I see the world at this moment in time . . .

 

 

‘The time has come,' the Walrus said,

‘To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

And whether pigs have wings.'

--- Lewis Carroll

 



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In Search of Food and Words in the Heartland

Posted on October 11, 2015 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (2)

Six days and 2,000 miles later, we returned to home base in tandem with a glorious sunset.

Road trips can be tiring, but they are compelling nonetheless. Getting out to the countryside, feeling the miles slide past under the wheels, meeting new people and finding unexpected treasures -- it all makes a few sore muscles and "sitting aches" worthwhile.

This particular trip began early one October morning. My husband and I departed our suburban driveway just as the orange orb of sun was clearing the eastern horizon, with the intent of making it through city traffic and onto slower-paced roadways by mid-morning. We were headed to a food writers' conference * sponsored by the Edible Institute of Iowa City, Iowa. 

* (I first wrote about this particular road trip in an October 10, 2015 post in Good Food and Faraway Places.)

The belly of America seeming a fitting site for a seminar entitled "Eating Words," and I held to the notion that going to the Heartland was akin to returning home for someone whose family roots reach deep into this part of the country. Actually, I have not lived in a single one of these states! But there was ample justification for a freelancer with specialties in travel, healthy food and alternative agriculture. The prospect of endless vistas of food-producing fields and a few days of respite from normal routine was too good to miss.

Still there's something about road trips, no matter where they lead. 

Turning off the interstate can mean unexpected pleasures; even driving into a city can morph into a discovery adventure. We booked a Kansas City motel based solely on the convenience of its location. The bonus was that it is only steps away from the oldest organic foods market in the entire area, with aisle upon aisle of farm-fresh produce, and a friendly, informative owner.

He directed us to the National World War I Memorial, located just a few blocks away. We had no time available for a visit to the museum itself during this particular trip, but we stopped at the site, mesmerized by its soaring Art Deco tower and awed by the pair of huge Assyrian sphinxes whose wings shield their eyes. We vowed to return.

We plan to do just that later this year, to mark the centennial year of the armistice that ended the conflict in November 1918. It seems appropriate somehow. I'm also looking forward to revisiting the Heartland. Road trips are like that -- they open new options and lead to return visits at the same time, but every experience is different.

I'll have the words to tell new stories when I return.




Meeting the New Girl

Posted on September 22, 2015 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (1)

My new car sits in the driveway. 

Well, let me clarify. The car that is new to me, the car that is to replace a vehicle that I loved, sits like a stranger in my driveway.

Oh, I know it's a "thing." But, this one is a "lady," to be sure. She is shiny and pretty; polished and put together the way a debutante would be prior to her party. I liked her from the moment I saw her. She's no spring chicken, but she's got a great body and she doesn't show her age!

Somehow, though, we haven't yet been able to get beyond the "small talk" and the awkwardness. I don't even know her name!

All that will change, I'm sure.

Together, we will see to it.

It's silly, I say to myself as I consider going to the grocery store, meeting a friend for lunch or just taking her on a spin around a few city blocks.

But I delay. It's as if by embracing this new one I am somehow being disloyal to the "other one." But, that one gave up on me. He -- that's right, he -- simply decided one day to stop running. No argument, no warning, no comforting words at the end. Just. Stopped. Running.

Oh, yes, there was an interim vehicle. I didn't simply give up driving waiting for a replacement. And I didn't go on a hunt for the perfect replacement. In fact, I was less than enthusiastic about looking. Anything will do, I told myself. As long as it runs. I told my husband the same thing. 

And so we replaced Reggie (yes, he was the one I loved!) with George. A workhorse, designed for hauling gear and heading for the back country, George (or Monty, short for Montgomery) is a gem, but he is also a proper British gentlemen. He seems reliable, but he's older! Even though I drove him willingly for a couple of months, I wasn't totally comfortable inviting him on a road trip.

Thus the dilemma. The remaining member of our vehicle family was also up in years. Sheila, a grand old girl, just wasn't up to taking a trip.

As if by magic, opportunity knocked. My husband and I like to think that Reggie and Sheila met up somewhere in the old vehicle yard and are telling funny stories about the times they shared with us.

And here we are. This pretty, strange lady sits in the driveway, just waiting. In 10 days, she will take us through several states on a journey of close to 2,000 miles. 

Maybe, before we take to the road, just maybe, she'll tell me her name and I can give her a hug! 


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