“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Cool Heads on a Hot Day

Dear Kay,
The Cottage Tour and Bazaar! Sometimes a day is a little too big. But it was all a good kind of big.
At one point, as I was wheeling visitors around on a borrowed golf cart, a fellow golf cart driver told me he’d just toted a batch of knitters who’d come all the way from Evansville, Indiana, after reading about the cottage tour on the blog. I tried valiantly to track them down, but they were too fast for me. It’s possible that that I hallucinated the whole thing.
At any rate, hello knitters from Evansville! We ought to have a knitting workshop up here when it’s not so insanely hot.
Let’s go to the videotape.
Bazaar Madness
At the last minute, Ginny had the idea to have a white elephant sale. With 160 cottages up here filled with 125 years of stuff, it seemed an obvious way to make five million dollars.
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I was kind of astonished at how much stuff turned up that morning, given the time frame.
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This is Annis, the bazaar chair, with Jane, who decided to bring up five truckloads of stuff from Nashville. The net result of this sale was, I’m guessing, a wholesale shifting of stuff from one cottage to another. We made good money, if not five million dollars, thanks to Ginny’s entire family’s fierce management. And I scored yet another addition to my collection, Tea Towels Of England Bought In Grundy County, Tennessee.
teatowels.jpg
Luncheon on the Lawn, Or, Chicken Salad Hall of Fame
The boxed lunches went fast, thanks to the epic effort of the Lucinda and Candice Army. It was a shady scene over at the Woman’s Association grounds.
cottagetourluncheon.jpg
Cottage Tour
We had a record turnout despite the wicked heat. I worried about some of the ladies.
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Such a cheerful group, though, these women. A lot of galpals running away from home for the day, church groups, garden clubs, mother-daughter combos. And in the mix were patient menfolk, putting up with it all.
At the Foot of the Master
The thing that made things kind of nuts this year was the Woman’s Association fundraiser we held the night before the cottage tour. The goal was to turn the swimming pool into a party site in less than three hours, and I have to say, I wondered how this was going to happen.
The party chair, Anne, had it all figured out.
cottagetourpoolpartybefore.jpg
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Basically, a vase of flowers can accomplish pretty much anything.
She and many, many Woman’s Association members turned a sow’s ear
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into a silk purse
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even arranging for a downpour a few hours before the party to cool things off.
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I watched in wonderment as these ladies transformed buckets of roadside Queen Anne’s Lace, hydrangeas, and kiss-me-at-the-gate into airy, graceful arrangements. Really lovely.
The food was mostly made by Woman’s Association members, which meant it was 100% gone by the end.
cottagetourpoolpartysalmonmold.jpg
To be clear, this is not Deanie Dalrymple’s Shrimp Mold from Porch Party Recipes–it’s a salmon mold. But it was tasty, just the same.
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By the end of the party, with the moon high, we all stood around, tuckered out, and watched the votives as they floated around the baby pool.
Love,
Ann
PS Dad’s been up all week (our family reunion that took place simultaneously with all the events above is a whole NOTHER story). Here’s a picture of Dad and me so you can see a) how cute pappy’s looking these days and b) what 99% humidity will do to a girl’s hair blessherheart:
me n daddy.jpg

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Well that looks like a beautiful little place you have up there! What fun. You can’t really have enough tea towels these days.
    I was in North Carolina last week and the heat and blazing sun were INSANE. I don’t understand how anyone south of Pennsylvania ever got anything done before the invention of air conditioning. I’m from CT where a hot summer day averages about 84 and a whopper creeps past 92.I mean, I drove through Viginia and there weren’t even any CLOUDS. How can you endure summer without clouds for pete’s sake?

  2. I am stunned by one fact more than any other:
    You were wearing lipstick.
    WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ANN?
    xoxo
    Kay
    aka Kiss Me At The Subway Grate (the New York State flower)
    P.S. Am I the only one who is going to have bad dreams about the salmon mold? Hello?

  3. Oh, Ann….I’m so glad the Cottage Tour was a success. As I sat in my air conditioned office down in Birmingham, I thought about ya’ll. I wanted to come but I was off from work the week before so I couldn’t take off.
    By the way, I waved to you as I drove through Nashville on the 16th & 18th. I wasn’t sure you were in residence but I waved anyway!
    Oh, and if you have some of those recipe booklets left, I’d love to have one. I just love reading old recipe books! So much history there!

  4. So why is said exhausted girl WEARING A SWEATER?????

  5. You can never have too many cheesy tea towels!

  6. Right, Inky, I came by to ask about the sweater. Maybe it’s a game: if I wear a sweater, I’ll think I’m cold? Maybe Ann needed to justify knitting another sweater, “I just WEAR them out!” Ann’s reading this thinking, “All ya’ll don’t understand the South, do ya?”

  7. I was there! My daughter and I drove up from Nashville for the day after reading about the tour on the blog. (I read; she just went along with her crazy mom.) We saw you driving that cart and putting up signs. You looked really busy. The purple looked good on the carriage house. The day was HOT, but the cottages were delightful! We took lots of pictures to share and discuss afterwards. My biggest treat of the day was finding out that Amanda is the Amanda who works at our school and is in my little knitting club for 5th graders. Of course, all that made my daughter really roll her eyes at me, but I thought it was a fitting end to a fun day!

  8. Wow. That looks so high class and ritzy for a pool area!

  9. Glad to hear that all went well – also you look adorable standing by your Dad!!!

  10. Re hair vs. humidity: Friz counts as volume. Repeat three times while clicking heels together.
    Your photos of the cottage tour look so refreshing …

  11. I’m just impressed that with 99% humidity your hair is down at all. Mine would be tied back in a pony tail, of course mine grows outward and upward in humidity–not a good look for anyone!!!!

  12. Chicken Salad Hall of Fame FTW!!
    I’m thinking Egg Salad Hall of Doom for a global Tea Towels of England sourced elsewhere take over. The heat brings out the meglomanic in me, more.

  13. Pinkies up! It looks like a wonderful event. I think the salmon mold is a little … frightening. Hmmmm. And I’m still looking for something to paint purple after your last post.

  14. I just went to turn the air conditioning to a lower temp. You southern folks will keep us all civilized, thank goodness: a sweater? Deliver me.
    Maybe go back and photoshop some pinkishnes onto those salmon? Or lots of parsley sprigs in between? Or sweaters?

  15. On second thought, more parsley. Lots more. More pinkishness. Aran long sleeved turtlenecks. No! Not turtles! Help!!!

  16. …ah visions from the south. Alabama girl here,transplanted up to Boston…where are the deviled eggs?….Looked like a lovely time, heat, humidity etc. to be expected south there. You did a wonderful job of beautifying! Enjoyed seeing to all…

  17. Looks like y’all pulled off a beautiful event! (Well, maybe except for those creepy salmon molds. . .) Flowers brighten even the darkest corners. And Dad is adorable.

  18. Almost a little scary to see what you all accomplished. It really begs the question, why DON’T women run the world?

  19. Wow! What a great group of party-putter-onners! Congratulations to ALL!!!

  20. REALLY sorry to have missed the tag sale and tour, but it’s a fer piece from NYC. I know this is a stretch but I don’t suppose you know the paint color used on the green wall behind the NO DIVING sign?? It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I was thinking, Maybe those nice ladies painted it to spruce things up for the party.

  21. Ann, I thought of you all last week, getting ready for the Cottage Tour. Now I know why—the crazy-busy-way-too-hot-two-big-events-happening-simultaneously vibes were so strong that they reached me here in Oregon.
    The Assembly looks nicely spruced up, kind of like little old ladies dressed in their Sunday best.

  22. Oh, and the salmon mold photo made me think of this exchange between Joey and Monica. (I just caught the Friends rerun while knitting last night.)
    Episode 115—The One With The Stoned Guy
    MONICA: OK, try this salmon mousse.
    JOEY: Mmmm. Good.
    MONICA: Is it better than the other salmon mousse?
    JOEY: It’s creamier.
    MONICA: Yeah, well, is that better?
    JOEY: I don’t know. We’re talking about whipped fish, Monica. I’m just happy I’m keeping it down, y’know?

  23. its 96 in my part of florida its so cold
    in the ac i have a sweater on
    i come from new jersey good old elizabeth
    it could be sooo hot!- does your mousse swim
    up stream — hope the mean storms did not
    hurt you all -is that sweet tea

  24. Love the tea towels! Glad it was such a sucess, and yes that Salmon mold will most definatley haunt me for the rest of my days. I had to do a double take with the drinking fountain adn the flowers, I think it had to be two different places.

  25. In defense of the salmon molds, my dad used to make something similar (in a fish shaped mold). Took me right back. What a fun day… I was there in spirit. How’s the Lulu-published recipe book going?

  26. Thanks for sharing !

  27. Looks like so much fun! The pic of you and your dad is quite special. Thanks for sharing it all so nicely.
    …And, yeah Kay, that salmon mold won’t exactly engender sweet dreams tonight. If only the eyes hadn’t been included…
    C’est la Tour!
    LoveDiane

  28. I, too, will dream (and not in a good way) about that salmon mold. (See, I did the US spelling just for you guys). Ann, I never realised you were a tea towel freak too. I will obviously have to start buying interesting ones in pairs from now on.
    Anyway, it all looks lovely. Really must come and annoy you one year! x x x

  29. The pool transformation really is lovely. But that molded salad! Am I the only one saying ‘uck’. I think it’s those strategically placed capers make it look like a plate of squirming what????
    LOVED the post. There are many of us who will never experience such a thing.

  30. Looks like it was a lovely event. I want to say also how much I’ve enjoyed the Mason-Dixon knitting books; I’m gathering up some yarn to work on a log cabin lap-afghan in the near future!

  31. What about the swags? Are they history now?

  32. It was rather warm last Friday at the MSSA cottage tour. However, you were not hallucinating, there WERE knitters from Evansville, IN!
    We had a lovely lunch at Winfield house, bought our tickets for the Cottage Tour, and purchased the last 2 Porch Party Recipe books!
    As soon as we got out of the car at the MSSA, it was as if the stress of life melted away. And no, it was not the heat!
    I am looking forward to attending next year! Thank you for “inviting” us.

  33. I for one am looking at that salmon mold and wishing I had some crackers! It just isn’t a party without a good salmon mold!

  34. Being from Canada, I don’t quite understand the going-to-the-cottage-for-the-summer thing. I thought it was for relaxation, but the Cottage Tour looks like a major piece of work! Thanks for sharing the photos. It all looks so charming.

  35. Wow – lovely, and I’m glad you ladies were using your Awesome Powers for Good. So much energy going on there even in the heat of a summer day, hmmm Rule the World? Yes we can!