A lonesome place to spend some time

Archived | September 4, 2012 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was alone for a while, having helped my daughter pack up her things to go away to college on Sunday, and the house was quiet except for Mr. Keillor’s voice singing a sweet song about a mandolin player while I baked some cookies for my daughter. And then, two days later, alone for more than a while after the other two climbed on the bus which pulled away with a lurch at 7:12 a.m. And there I was in a house filled with echoes.
The first definition of “lonesome” listed in the dictionary includes the word “dejected” – a result of a lack of companionship. I was not dejected, but I did feel solitary, which is part of definition number four. Lone. Solitary. Yes. I got to thinking about that word last week when my mother called to tell me of a PBS special about a man who canoed to a remote part of Alaska and lived alone there for more than thirty years. He was looking for a lonesome place to spend some time, do some fishing. Or just be. My mother was so taken with the idea of a lonesome place as something one might seek out, and called to ask where mine might be.
There are trees in my Lonesome, trees along a meadow, and a lake nearby. The wind always blows there, and the leaves shimmer silver in that wind, and the sun is warm. When it storms in my Lonesome, the skies are Old Testament and the rain falls hard. I walk there. I can cry if I want to, or sing something or just walk. Now and then I lay myself down in the golden meadow grass and make an “X” with my body and close my eyes and think about nothing at all for a good twenty minutes. It works for me. Lonesome smells like fresh grass and oak leaves, and there’s nothing there to fear. Don’t think I’ll spend thirty years there, but I’ll visit now and then. It’s familiar to me, like the sound of pots and pans and alarm clocks, and the taste of fresh bread, and the way a hot bath feels after a good long day.
I’m making halibut for my birthday this week, and this is by far the best batter recipe I’ve made. Got the recipe from my father, who fishes and cooks and knows quite a lot. He taught me a good deal of it. Like how being a hard worker is important. Almost as important as kindness.
Batter for Deep Fried Halibut
1/2 can stale beer
1/3 cup Bisquick or other pancake flour
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
Whisk into a thin batter. Add salt and pepper, couple dashes each.
Roll 1″ – 1 1/2 inch square halibut chunks in batter and fry in oil
at a temperature of 375. (a drop of water should “pop” in the oil)
Fish chunks will float and be golden brown when done.