"Our most ancient metaphor says life is a journey. Memoir is travel writing, then, notes taken along the way, telling how things looked and what thoughts occurred. . . .This is the traveler who goes on foot, living the journey, taking on mountains, enduring deserts, marveling at the lush green places...as a pilgrim, seeking, wondering." -Patricia Hampl

June 25, 2010

A Fellow Roadie

I'm pretty honored that one of my favorite singer-songwriters, John Prine, decided to swipe my blog's moniker for his new album title. I was introduced to Prine's music, like most, when I first heard Bonnie Raitt sing "Angel from Montgomery," and became a casual fan of his when I heard him sing it, live, at one of the Newport Folk Festivals I attended in the early part of the new millenium, when I was free-wheelin'. His wise, weathered voice and storytelling hit me hard. Can't wait to hear the new stuff, John. Until then, here's a bit of a review from Amazon:

Looking at life through the rearview mirror was the inspiration for John Hiatt s brand new album, The Open Road. A classic Hiatt record, the rockin songs sizzle with the heat from two-lane blacktop on a summer s day. Hiatt and his touring band (Kenny Blevins on drums, Patrick O Hearn on bass and Doug Lancio on guitars) recorded a set that gives Garage Rock a new meaning. All the other years, my songs are about coming home, Hiatt says. But within these 11 new songs including Haulin and the title track The Open Road home is never the destination.

Home is never the destination. Walt Whitman and I couldn't agree more.

June 08, 2010

Help Get Our Market on the Map

If you're a regular reader of the Open Road, you know how I like a good Public Market. But my absolute favorite one is our very own, and it's beginning to garner some very much deserved attention.

For one, our local market has been mentioned in the current issue of Saveur Magazine (thanks, Heath for finding this gem about one of our local potato growers--see the "Family Man" part of the article). I'll shamelessly add here that we've had a subscription to Saveur for a few years, even though we're not technically foodies (more people who like to eat); and to see our own city's market mentioned in this very haute cuisine, edgy food mag is pretty exciting.

Last week, the three of us were perambulating the byways of the market, Heath, on the search for his empananda, and me, on the hunt for fresh peaches, when the announcement was made that the RPM has been nominated as one of America's Favorite Farmer's Markets--and that it's up to us to vote. If you're a local, and you utilize the bounty of what our market has to offer, or you know someone who does, or you just like going to Java's and hanging out to people watch, please vote! Here are Farmland.org's directions:

"It’s summertime and that means two things: 1) There are loads of delicious farm fresh produce available at Rochester's farmers market every week; and 2) American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ contest has kicked into gear and we need your votes to win!

The process is simple. To vote for our market, all you have to do is:

1.) Go to www.farmland.org/vote

2.) Type in City of Rochester; and,

3.) Click “Vote”

"That’s it. That’s all it takes to bring Rochester one step closer to being America’s favorite farmers market!

"According to American Farmland Trust (AFT), the purpose of this contest is to re-connect local consumers to local farms, with the ultimate goal of keeping our nation’s farm and ranch land productive and healthy! Buying at the farmers market keeps money in the local community and helps farms and ranches remain economically viable. By voting, you’re helping support farms and communities across the nation. As American Farmland Trust says, “No Farms No Food™!” (I've had to cut & paste for time saving's sake. You get the idea.)

June 02, 2010

Making It Last

N.B. This is a rough draft of a story I'll be submitting to a literary magazine in the near future. I'm posting it for your generous feedback and also because it evidences that I've been writing, even if it's not on The Open Road, and despite that I really should be grading final exams.

I was never the type to imagine my own wedding. My childhood imagination preferred to amble somewhere between what it might be like to be married to Officer Jon from the late ‘70’s show Chips and what it might look like if Officer Jon and I set up house. When my friend Liz and I played in our tree houses (always one tree apart, just like our actual homes were), my pretend kitchen had two refrigerators, just like my actual home did.
After my husband and I moved into our house, we inherited a second refrigerator and put it in our basement. For a while, there was nothing in it except for our leftover wedding cake, which we put in the freezer, mummified in layers of wax paper, Saran Wrap, tin foil, and a white baker’s box. We were saving it for our first anniversary, which came and went, having neglected the cake in the basement in favor of a filling dinner out at our neighborhood Italian bistro. But I thought about the cake. Maybe it would be a romantic surprise for dessert someday.

The next evening, I was doing laundry when my thoughts turned again to the wedding cake. By now, the baker’s box was crowded by frozen leftovers from Thanksgiving, frozen hors d’oeurves party guests hadn’t finished, frozen emergency chicken soup. I excavated deep into the back of the freezer for the box and put it on the dryer. Over a year later, the cake looked as fresh as it had on our wedding night. The fondant began to perspire. I knew I’d had better taste it so as not to inadvertently serve up freezer-burned cake for dessert. I grabbed a plastic fork from the box labeled “paper goods” on the storage shelves.

The cake had turned a little stale; the layer of raspberry was still tart, the fondant, chewy with a hint of freezer burn, but sweet. It was nothing my husband would want for dessert, I knew that much. So I kept sampling.

Before the dryer cycle had ended, a quarter of the top layer had been finished. To rephrase, with propriety: I had eaten a quarter of what was left of our anniversary cake. I’m certain that with every bite, I thought about my father, who’d just passed away from pancreatic cancer; or why we weren’t getting pregnant yet; or how it would be go back into the classroom in a few weeks with the cloud of depression over me. With every swallow, I thought about these things, but not about the erosion of our savory cake, which we saved for a special occasion, not for moments of laundry and sadness. Are you okay down there? my husband beckoned. And with a mouthful of cake, I replied, trying not to choke, I’m fine!

The cake became a symbolic balance of self-preservation and cake-preservation, a tug-of-war between swallowing sadness and admitting my secret felony. (For once, I looked forward to doing laundry.) My husband only asked about it once, about whether I thought it was still good, and I mustered that I’d tried a bit and maybe it was time to throw the rest out. Which I did. On our second anniversary.

Photo source: www.ehow.com