Anyway re: Fresno. Just to clear this up. Here’s what I’ve learned. It has lovely, old, tree-shaded neighborhoods, a beautiful Art-Deco Library, some great restaurants, a wonderful film series at a cool, nineteen-thirties movie palace, and a fantastic bunch of lefties at KPFK and Fresno Folklore Society and a fabulous creative writing program at Fresno State.
Believe it or not, Fresno has a Whole Foods, a French pastry shop with croissants and brioche, a Trader Joe’s and a beautiful Farmer’s Market under a shady arbor. Now, I ask you where does Pioneer Woman shop? Somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma! And she wrote a whole cookbook. A best selling cookbook.
But, I digress.
Once Woolsey got to working on the foreman’s cabin, the problems we faced started to mount. First, we had to take down all the walls, then we had to pull up the floor. Next, we had to pour a new slab and spray the be-jezus out of the place for termites. And the fireplace—the one that had been hand laid with granite rocks from the National Park and the only thing in the house we decided to keep— was useless. Woolsey had to lie on his back inside the fireplace and chip away at the rocks up the chimney with a hand held jackhammer just so we could get a new flue in there and make it fire safe
Now fast forward a couple of years
Last evening we had a spring snow. From where I sat on my comfy sofa, I could see the firelight and look out the windows on either side of the stone fireplace at the big, flat snowflakes falling all around, sticking to the branches of the walnut tree and covering the early blooming daffodils. I had a soup bubbling on the stove—an old forties Wedgewood that I polish like a vintage Chevy— and bread in the oven. I don’t know what other peoples’ dreams are, but this is mine. Coziness.
Pioneer Woman says hers is the story of an accidental country girl. I’d have to say mine is the story of an intentional country girl. I always intended to do this. Still, the many accidents along the way have, like all things tinged with grace, startled me into gratitude. A night doesn’t go by that I don’t lie in the dark listening to the frogs or the crickets or the occasional coyote and say to the Great Spirit, Thank you for all this.
What about you? I guess I’d like to know what other people are doing at this stage in their lives. I wonder what you all had to give up to move into another phase. It’s not always easy, is it? What were the hardest parts and the best? I hope you’ll write and tell me.
Read Part 1 of this article