In Mrs. Biddle’s second grade class, I spent my weekly sharing time talking about my horses, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry. When pressed for more information about these horses, I would say that they lived in North Carolina (where I did have cousins) with my two older sisters (which I did not have but wanted.) I saw Mrs. Biddle raise an eyebrow whenever I spoke about my beloved horses and older sisters that apparently lived 3,000 miles away from my home on Whidbey Island, Washington. But, she never called me out. Instead, she let me live with my seven-year-old delusions.
While I never did have any horses, no matter how much I begged my parents for one, I did have golden retrievers and a female named, Duchess, in particular. I would set-up all sorts of horse jumping and dressage courses for her in our backyard. Sometimes I would even try to hop on her back and pretend she was a small pony. She would sit and refuse to move when I did this.
By late grade school, I befriended anyone with a horse who would take me riding. I took care of the nastiest ponies you’ve ever laid eyes on just to have the chance to ride them which really meant holding on to their manes for dear life and hoping they didn’t buck you off.
When walkie-talkies and CB radios were big, my handle was “Country Gal” and the highlight of my week was watching Marie Osmond sing, you guessed it, “I’m a Little Bit Country.”
In college, my dear friend, Sue, a much bigger horse fanatic than me, managed to score a summer job taking care of the “Beach Ride” horses on the Central Oregon Coast. I joined her down there for a week, mucking out stalls, and exercising the temperamental horse that no one wanted to ride.
Around that time, Sue and I wrote time capsule letters to ourselves, not to be opened for 10 years. We tried to foretell where we would be living, what kind of job we’d have, who we would marry, the kind of house we’d own, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, in those 10 years, I moved almost 10 times and my letter was lost.
While I don’t remember everything I wrote in the letter to my future self, I do remember that I predicted I’d be a large animal veterinarian, living on 4 acres, in a pale yellow house with a porch.
Funny the paths our lives take that we couldn’t have foreseen.
After pushing aside thoughts like, “unphotogenic, wrinkles and bags under the eyes,” I said, “Sure. That would be fantastic!”
For an afternoon, I turned in my Converse tennis shoes, Hudson jeans, and red wine for some cowgirl boots, a retro sundress, and a bottle of beer. Instead of taming my curly beast hair in my normal up-do, I let her down to blow around in the wind and be wild.
I stomped up and down a dirt road. Hopped in, out, and up on top of an old red pick-up truck. I threw back a bottle of beer…just to loosen up. I put my hands on my hips and stood confidently in my boots shoulder width apart. I took in the view behind me. The Three Sisters and Broken Top mountains. The farmland. The menagerie of dogs running free. The horses silhouetted in the setting sun and the ranch house with the wrap around porch. For a few hours, I got to be the girl I predicted in the time capsule letter.
Here’s a link to some behind the scenes shots of the cover shoot.
Somehow, out of hundreds and hundreds of photos, the talented photographer, Amanda Conde, and 1859’s Award Winning Creative Director, Aimee Jameson, managed to find a picture without my “over smile” that was cover worthy. Thank you Amanda and Aimee for making me look so good!!
My introductory issue features my recipe for Blackberry Crisp baked in wide-mouth canning jars. Absolutely scrumptious! You’ve got to make it for your next summer gathering…or for breakfast.
Besides my column, this issue is chockfull of amazing stories: from Rodeo Clowns, to the Journey of Chinese in Oregon, to a Six-city Ramble through Local Dives, to an inspiring story about the photographer, Russel Wong, who started his career sneaking onto Hayward Field at the University of Oregon and photographing track and field athletes in exchange for Nike tennis shoes.
In Oregon, you can find a copy of the magazine at Whole Foods, Safeway, Barnes & Noble, Fred Meyer, Albertson’s, Powell’s, and New Seasons. In Northern California it’s at select Whole Foods and Ray’s Food Places and select Safeway and Barnes & Nobles in Washington. For a complete listing of retail vendors, click here.
Speaking of the issue, if you don’t live anywhere near one of these outlets or don’t frequent any of them and would like to have a copy of the July/August issue, let me know in the comments below. I have 15 extra copies that I would love to send out to you. Without you reading La Pomme de Portland, this opportunity would never have been possible for me. If there are more than 15 of you, I’ll draw the names from a hat next Monday, July 23rd to make it fair.
PS: Speaking of drawings, the lucky recipient of The Bonne Femme Cookbook is Anne H. as drawn from the hat by the 12-year-old.
I know where to find you Anne….