DON’T Let Go Of A GOOD THING To Get To THE NEXT THING!

I am not writing. I am relaxing!
There was a time -when looking upon trees – that I wanted nothing more than to climb to the highest branches, or curl up beneath with a good book. (Part of that was a long time ago.)
I am soaking up every minute I have of these peaceful mornings. Thank goodness for the trees and the birds, and the books.

ElizabethMozley

WeShareTheSameSky https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

The Advice I Give My Children

Actions speak louder than words, and yet, once spoken, they will hear your words for a lifetime.

ElizabethMozley

WeShareTheSameSky

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY is available on Amazon 💛 https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

I CAN DEFINE ‘HERO’

The human spirit calls out, seeking a hero. My Pop-Pop was that man. He left his WWII account of the landing at Anzio. Available on Amazon ~FROM HERE TO THERE, THE LONG WAY HOME.

FROM HERE TO THERE, THE LONG WAY HOME ~ T. E. Stephens; published by Elizabeth Mozley
WWII, The Italian Campaign

“One seems to learn fast, and we’re bound together in the knowledge that nowhere else does a man learn to trust his fellow man. The weakness of one man may cause the death of others. Out of all this comes the strength, the pride, and trust of one another. Some of the men may have hid their fears by talking a lot, others making wisecracks and jokes, while others just kept silent. I guess I tried to hide my fears by just smiling.”

In the early 1980s my grandfather, Timmie E. Stephens whom we lovingly called ‘Pop Pop’, bequeathed his brief memoir of World War II to our family members as a surprise Christmas gift. Until that time, I had only thought I knew the man.

Pop Pop’s memoir chronicles his service as a soldier during the Italian Campaign, from Anzio to the Po Valley, with the 135th Infantry. Short stories are scattered throughout his reflections and include: arriving in Casa Blanca, the Anzio landing, hand-to-hand combat with a lone German soldier, several trips to the Evac Hospital, a buddy going AWOL, rescuing an unknown G.I., finding a wine cellar in a vineyard and singing to the men as they got blisteringly drunk, holding-up with Italians in the countryside, singing gospel songs he wrote to his buddies as they sat around their foxholes and watched phosphorus shells bursting overhead, the barrage of messages from Propaganda Sally, seeing Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he toured the Italian front near Rome, the letters from home -the stories go on and on.

My grandfather’s account of his time on the front came to an end as his unit moved into the Po Valley. Here, he was severely burned and sent to the hospital for almost a year. While there, he witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and later, returned stateside on the John L. Clem, U.S. Army Transport and Hospital Ship. After several stays at intermediate hospitals, he was admitted to Northern General Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama which at that time was the world’s largest burn hospital, specializing in skin grafts. During this time he was recruited by the government to participate in a War Bond Tour, which put him right back in Gadsden, Alabama speaking before friends and family.

As children, my cousins and I didn’t see the wounds. We saw things clearly, people clearly, the way children do. We saw our Pop Pop for the man he was, radiating goodness and joy from within some inner, ceaselessly brimming, well.

Memories can be funny things, but those of my childhood remain clear. Our grandfather was a good man. He radiated unfettered love like the sun relinquishes its heat out into the world. Pop Pop taught us young’uns (his word) about God. He taught us when we stood beside him, following his movements as he grasped handfuls of white bread and held it up into the air. We stood beside him in the knee high water of the murky Coosa River and waited for the ducks which must have watched from overhead for this old man who beckoned daily. And down they would come in swoops so close that we trembled in fear at the onslaught of such undisciplined beasts.

Bird in the brush, tune in your heart; life was pure and simple in his eyes. Hard work and pleasure went hand in hand. He would call us to him, show off his newest creation -a miniature water wheel in the front courtyard; a sunken porcelain claw foot tub filled with fresh dirt, compost, and red worms for fishing. He taught us about the fruits of the Catawba trees -you know, it’s worms! The fish we would surely catch filled our dreams, and his.

The knowledge he shared, the lessons he taught, are the things I still believe. They are the way I see the world. And through his appreciative eyes the world is beauty all around. Never will I forget his influence on my young life, the pride I felt when we listened to him quietly play his guitar in church, singing a hymn he had recently penned. Never will I forget sitting near as he shared his stories of Anzio and the brave men he called ‘buddies,’ nor the sacrifice he so willingly made for our country.

Elizabeth Mozley

Now Available On Amazon!
https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

FromHereToThere

WeShareTheSameSky

#WWII #Anzio

WWII #Anzio #ElizabethMozley #FromHereToThereTheLongWayHome #memoir #WeShareTheSameSky #infantry #ARMY

Available TODAY for FREE rEaDiNg!

Available TODAY for free reading on KDP SELECT! Dancing Along The Fringes To The Sign Of Silence, CENTIPEDE, & We Share The Same Sky!

ElizabethMozley #WeShareTheSameSky #CENTIPEDE #DancingAlongTHEFRINGESToTheSignOfSilence #THEFRINGES #Kindle #KDPSelect

Available for purchase on Amazon!
Paperback & Kindle 💛
https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/author/B00J7KJWIU

Yes, WE do SHARE THE SAME SKY!

#WeShareTheSameSky Join me for a week in #NYC, visiting historic sites, enjoying the history, famous eats & reflecting on growing up in the #DeepSouth

~Ah, and the battle for best cUpCaKe between Magnolia Bakery & Sugar Sweet Sunshine; my quest for the tastiest rice pudding & frozen custard! What a satisfying trip!

💛 In pApERbAcK & #KindleUnlimited

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir is Available Here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1985762838/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_RAMP9ASEEAV4ZGDFXEB4

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor

—Did you say, “battle for the best cupcake?!”

#WeShareTheSameSky Join me for a week in #NYC, visiting historic sites, enjoying the history, famous eats & reflecting on growing up in the Deep South. ~ Ah, and the battle for best cUpCaKe between Magnolia Bakery and Sugar Sweet Sunshine; my quest for the tastiest rice pudding & frozen custard! What a satisfying trip! WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir is Available Here: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor

ROAM!!

Travel when you can – hop a flight, ride the train, or just step out of your own back door and roam! Join me for a week roaming New York City & reflecting on growing up in the rural South! amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozl…

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY,
ELIZABETH MOZLEY

Signed copies available!

Signed copies of DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE – CENTIPEDE- WE SHARE THE SAME SKY – & FROM HERE TO THERE, THE LONG WAY HOME —— available in Gadsden, Alabama at The Stone Market!

And Available on Amazon ~ https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor #WeShareTheSameSky

There is ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’ but what about ‘FOOD FOR MEMORIES’?

This morning, I dropped my granddaughter, Bug, off in Gadsden.  She was with me for two evenings and a day. I am specific about the time, because the time is so precious –Every Minute Counts.

 

Our first evening, as we sat on the front porch together, I asked: “What do you want to talk about?”

 

“Well, let’s listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and talk about what we are gonna cook tomorrow!”

 

I listened.  And realized that when Bug said she wanted to cook dinner, and wanted to bake a pumpkin pie that that was exactly what she meant.  It was really how she wanted to spend our time together.

 

Though we have often baked together, we have never prepared and cooked an entire meal. So, I explained it would take up a great deal of our day.  Bug said she didn’t care and got busy creating the menu: BBQ chicken, (No surprise there. I remember when she was four and decided it was to be breakfast; and it was.), mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and garlic/cheese biscuits.  And, let’s not forget the pumpkin pie.

 

And you see, it was with the pumpkin pie that I almost messed up.  I almost acted like an adult and suggest a more seasonally appropriate dessert. You know –lemon icebox, key lime or a cobbler.  Thank goodness I paused and realized this was not about food, this was all about her –and she had suggested pumpkin because it was what she had set her heart on!

 

The kid knocked dinner out of the park! It was amazing. But, it was the time we spent together snapping the beans, peeling the potatoes, and baking the pie that I will never forget.  I hope she doesn’t either.  It was simple, and it was sweet -a summer memory wrapped up in preparing and enjoying a meal together.

 

***

 

The second part of the Romania lecture on WE SHARE THE SAME SKY was to expound how WE tie our memories to emotions; emotions that are most often linked to people, places and food.  Because I’ve opened by sharing the recent cooking experience with Bug, I will skip the introduction and jump to the excerpt.

 

 

From WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir NYC 2007

 

Last year, when I began planning this trip, I purchased three guide books of the city. While mapping out Chinatown, I was surprised to find that there are almost 300 restaurants within the neighborhood’s boundaries. Some sounded better than others, and although I had my list of wants written out well before I left home, I have found that once I get into an area several things tend to dictate choice. The first two are my mood, and the prolific bragging of locals. Often as not, however, I choose a place to dine based on nothing more than the way a place feels.

 

 

Today, I am looking for an eatery called Sweet-n-Tart Cafe. My new friend Karen suggested I try the congee, a type of rice porridge. In the South, there is a particular fondness for a dessert that is also considered a staple. In our home that staple was rice pudding. It ranked right up there with the various biscuit topped cobblers: blackberry, peach or sweet potato. Rice pudding even held its own at the table when presented along with butter pound cake. All these family recipes were handed down over the years. Along the way, others crept in. Some were come across accidently and yet others long searched for -like the recipe for Lillian Carter’s Peanut Butter Pound Cake.

 

 

Rice pudding back home is a buttery, dense pudding loaded with vanilla, sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. The overall consistency can be described as velvety. Usually it arrives at the table crusted with a browned sugar and butter topping. It is wonderful hot from the oven, at room temperature and even straight from the fridge, ice cold. Like banana nut bread, rice pudding is a staple breakfast food as often as it is dessert.

 

 

During my childhood, rice pudding appeared most often when times were lean. Those were the days when a summer evening meal consisted of fresh scrubbed vegetables from the garden and fish from the trotline. Lean dinners in the winter were often bowls of pintos and cornbread or skillet fried potatoes with onions. As the seasons changed, fish gave way to game: fried dove or quail with gravy, braised rabbit, smoked turkey or venison. All of these could be taken within a five-mile radius of our home. The variety may not have been great, but there was usually plenty. Biscuits with butter, cornbread with sorghum, molasses or honey -these were present at almost every meal. Other times, they were the meal. More staples. How often I sat at the kitchen table during the late evening with Grandpa, feasting on only this and black coffee. I wish I could remember the things we talked about and the stories he told as clearly as I remember the food. Just as there was always Grace before dinner in one grandparent’s house, there were always stories in the other. Rice pudding, however, was common at both dinner tables.

 

 

Cash Only is posted on the door to the tiny restaurant. As of yet, this has been the hardest adjustment I’ve had to make in the city. Thank goodness the guidebooks warn tourist up-front. If not, it would probably be as close as you could get to having a Southern woman in true distress. At the counter, I order the Congee with Hong Dou. “Good for you,” says the man nodding his approval and making a circular motion with his hand around the stomach.

 

 

“Thank you,” I tell him. It is all I know to say.

 

 

Congee is made by cooking rice with water until it breaks down into a porridge- like consistency. It is usually flavored one of two ways: salty and robust with flavorful meat, or glutinous and sweet with red beans, dates and palm sugar. I am in want of the latter.

 

 

The congee arrives and the serving is more than I anticipated. It is a meal and has the wet consistency of porridge rather than the thickness I associate with rice or bread pudding which, when scooped, holds together. I have to admit to being somewhat put-off by the addition of beans. Trying it though, I am pleased and notice a chewiness that regular rice pudding does not have. It is warm, sweet and heavy, very much a comfort food. Admittedly, it is probably healthier than the rice pudding I grew up on because it is cooked without butter and cream.