I am joining Jain at Food for Thought and Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday allows me to combine two of my great loves—reading and cooking!
Knowing my great love for biographies and autobiographies, my youngest son gave me Spoken from the Heart for Mother’s Day and I have truly enjoyed reading it. The strongest sense I got while reading was an almost tangible sense of peace and acceptance. The autobiography reads exactly like her public persona—soft spoken.
I found the first half of the 456 page book the most enjoyable and, by far, the most revealing. She writes of an idyllic childhood marred only by her longing for siblings and the sadness over her mother’s “late miscarriages”---a euphemism for the lost brother and other two babies never again discussed. She discusses in depth the tragic car accident that took the life of her classmate while she was at the wheel of the other car. She admits a guilt from which there is no absolution but realizes “there is no great clock to unwind”.
I was moved by how poignantly she describes her heartache when she was unable to conceive in early marriage. She says that there is no word in the English language to mourn absence. She says, “For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like a silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that was never held?”. I sensed once again the mourning of lost siblings and that Laura Bush’s sense of responsibility as wife and mother far outweighed that of First Lady.
The second half of the book is far less personal and interesting to me. Perhaps the lack of intimate details is by design or perhaps it is out of necessity to include all the facts. Mrs. Bush writes of people, places, and events with little personal insight. The exception is her moving account of September 11.
I got a strong sense that Laura Bush is happy to be back in her native Texas with lifelong friends, close ties to the land around her, and a slower schedule. She wrote a paragraph about the early years of her marriage in Midland. She writes, “I remember one summer evening working in the flower beds in our yard after the girls had gone to sleep, while the sun still hung low in the sky. George was sitting on the steps reading the newspaper, and I thought to myself , “This is the life”. And it was.”. Haven’t we all had a moment like this---one when life seems so peaceful and you wish you could freeze it? I recently had one of those days.
Oddly enough, I am the “fisherman” in the family. Beloved much prefers hunting, but he indulged me and took me to a friend’s private pond. You can see the tip of my pole in the left corner :). It was a perfect afternoon in a beautiful spot.
The fish were biting. And I thought of Laura Bush-- “This is the life”.
We fried the fish for lunch on Sunday. You can find the hushpuppy and tartar sauce recipes on an earlier post here.
8 cups shredded cabbage (I buy the bagged variety)
1 cup shredded carrot
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all and refrigerate.