No one comes to the front door of the old clapboard house, unless of course they are peddling something, or lost. The gravel drive shoots up a short, steep hill and curves around to the back of the house like a strong arm pulls you in for a hug. Leftover aromas of thick black coffee, bacon, and biscuits waft through the back screen door, greeting you before you have a chance to grab the handle. No knock is required, only a holler, to announce your arrival.
The kitchen welcomes you with its rows of mason jars, filled with a colorful harvest, and the smooth cast iron skillet, seasoned from years of use, sits, waiting for the next meal. Passing through the room, your mouth moistens in anticipation of its potential offerings.
Brown and cold, the big heat stove anchored in the living room rests for the summer, as the television cheers for the Cincinnati Reds. The avocado green couch, with cushions worn from use, is empty, even the reserved seat at the end, that appears to guard the soft peppermints and creamy caramels at its side. The pungent smell of sweet tobacco warns you to watch your step while reaching for the candy jar, lest you kick over the spittoon sitting on the floor below. The windows are open, allowing the breeze to carry in the sound of distant voices that answer your questions.
Retracing your steps, you simultaneously unwrap the cellophane of a favored caramel. The old screen door whacks behind you, as your eyes meet hers. Sitting beneath the large oak tree’s canopy, Sara smiles, gesturing with one hand for you to join her. You climb the slight hill behind the house and see an old newspaper spread across her lap, indicating that she is snapping fresh green beans from the garden. Never stopping the rhythmic flow, she welcomes you to sit a spell as she breaks the beans into pieces. Dropping the chosen segments into the old enamel-coated pot with one hand, she swiftly releases the unwanted remains onto yesterday’s sports page.
You look over your shoulder as the dogs bark and see Eck returning from feeding his loyal hunting companions. The empty bucket swings in one hand as he follows a path past the fishing pond that’s surrounded by bushes full of sweet blueberries. Dropping the bucket beside the old shed, he checks on the lettuce beneath the old windows turned into a greenhouse.
Gathering up the front of her faded dress from the hem, forming a shallow bowl, Sara walks to the edge of the woods and discards the stems and ends, as you watch, anticipating an invitation. The methods are slow, the pace even slower, as Sara and Eck move through their day. Progress and technology have not passed them by, only time, which never seems to be a loss.
An old adage says waiting is beneficial, for doing so brings good things. Walking together, we head toward the house; hospitality beckons, inviting you to partake in the bounty of slow food.
Diane Ely Bindergrew up in rural Southern Ohio where she was enveloped by family, woods, gardens, creeks, and open fields. This childhood instilled a love for simple things, and graced her with a rich environment for imagination and creativity. While pursuing a degree in fine art and humanities later in life, Diane began to write about memories of her childhood. These memories inform much of her writing and artwork. Diane is a mixed media artist living in the beautiful Hocking Hills region of Ohio with her husband Chris.
Please visit Diane Ely Binder’s lovely website to see more of her remarkable artwork.
** All artwork on “Slow Food” generously provided by Diane Ely Binder