Dear Sunday Letter friends,
After a cold week of snow, brooding clouds, dark skies with only a sliver of moon, a little sunshine (I think), and lots of wind stirring up dry leaves that hitchhike into the kitchen via two schnauzers who are in and out, in and out, we greet another Sunday morning.
I was glad to see 2020 end, but honestly, I’ll be glad to have January behind us too. Seeing all the troops in Washington DC is surreal. The current state of our nation is surreal. I pray for calmer days ahead.
It’s official. We’ve become those people.
Those people who leave a pumpkin on the front porch through mid-January.
It’s a pale gray-green pumpkin, called a Jarrahdale, and it’s one of my favorite varieties because of the interesting, ghostly color. I always leave my pumpkins out through Thanksgiving for obvious reasons. Pumpkins and Thanksgiving go together. Harvest, you know.
But Christmas rolled around, almost without warning. By then we had forgotten about the pumpkin, even though we see it every day when we bring the mail in, or when we fetch the Amazon boxes from the porch. You know how certain things begin to blend into the landscape? That’s what happened. When we finally put our lone Christmas decoration on the porch—our snowman— I decided, if I squinted, the pale green pumpkin sitting on a barn red bench looked Christmas-y. I pretended it was an ornament of sorts.
Already, I barely remember New Year’s Day or the first two weeks of January. Who has time to worry over a pumpkin when our country is arguing over democracy and such?
Today, the pumpkin is still there, firm and fresh, the beauty of never having carved this particular variety. Maybe it serves as a reminder of how quickly time passes, that if we don’t get our minds and houses in order, we will find ourselves outside in the cold.
Maybe it’s a reminder that standing out may feel uncomfortable but is necessary in certain circumstances.
Maybe the pumpkin is a reminder that some things are important and some things aren’t worth fretting over.
Or, maybe it’s simply a pumpkin that came for Halloween and stayed for Martin Luther King weekend.
I sort of hate to get rid of it now. And I’ve only just realized, it’s like a chameleon. See how it has begun to blend into its habitat, its skin color almost an exact match of the house paint?
So yes, we’ve become those people. We did pack away the snowman for another year.
Check out these gorgeous Meyer lemons our soon-to-be next door neighbors brought us from their tree in Houston. What a joyful gift for the new year!
Meyer lemons are particularly fragrant. I wish you could smell them. I need to do something really special with these. Ideas anyone? I’m thinking maybe a Meyer lemon tart?
Meyer lemons are the cream of the lemon crop. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, the taste isn’t as tart as a regular lemon. And, its supple smooth skin is oh so enviable.
Our neighbors also gave us this incredible lemon-ginger jam made from their lemons.
Don’t you know they will miss their Meyer lemon tree when they move to Fayetteville? We will have to work extra hard to be good neighbors (like not leave Halloween pumpkins on our porch for months).
Three years ago on MLK weekend, my sister and I attended church services in Montgomery, Alabama, at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist where Dr. King pastored from 1954-1960.
Seriously, what a hallowed place. The old pews and hymnals, the welcoming congregation, the pastor who brought a thoughtful, humorous sermon—it was a Sunday morning I will never forget.
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist was founded in 1877 in a slave trader’s pen. (Named Dexter after Montgomery’s founder, Andrew Dexter.) In 1879, the congregation purchased a lot for $270.00 at the corner of Dexter and Decatur, a stone’s throw from the State Capitol. This became the church’s permanent location. Dr. King directed the Montgomery Bus Boycott from his office downstairs. The building was designated a national historic landmark in 1974.
Regarding current events, here’s what Bernice King (Martin Luther King’s daughter) recently said of her father:
“People often ask me, ‘What would he say were he alive today?’ He’s said it. We’re just not listening,” she said. “He beckoned us far above civility.”
I don’t have much to show for my productivity last week, but I did manage to repot my orchids. And boy-hidey, they desperately needed repotting.
Next week, I’ll post a separate blog post outlining my steps for repotting your orchids. In the meantime, if you have an orchid that has stopped blooming, don’t throw it out. We will get it blooming again soon.
Things Momma Says:
If St. Jude wouldn’t send me mail every single day, they would have more money for the hospital.
Thanks for reading another Sunday Letter written during the most unlikely of times, unlikely because everything I do lately happens with a small, often biting schnauzer attached somewhere to my body.
As we look toward to Inauguration Day, remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s words: We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Concentrate on peace and love. If you believe in a higher power, pray for our country and our leaders and the troops and police officers who are working to keep us safe.
No matter what you believe, be kind. Listen more than you speak. It’s difficult, I know.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. The winner (Julie) of an Audible copy of American Dirt has been notified via email. Thanks for your interest!
Sharon Lamb says
That next to last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. It’s just so simple- if everyone could get on board with that kind of thinking , what a wonderful world it would be.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Barbara Ann says
Your neighbors don’t have to miss their Meyer lemon tree. I have one in a container that is now loaded with lemons. It stays out from April-ish until just before the first freeze. I have a glassed, but unheated, sunroom and it lives there now. Can’t wait to see your orchid repotting tips. Happy Sunday!
Talya Tate Boerner says
So much goodness in today’s letter. I had never heard this song before but I’ve saved it to a playlist. Happy Sunday!
Sharon Colline says
I would love to have a Meyer lemon tree too. I have a little greenhouse window in my kitchen but i think it would be too small fora tree. Tne other thing that I simply meant to tell you last week is that I have found a local author has written a book series. One day ( will meet him. My daughter coaches a marathon team for our local YMCA. In one of the books ( I think the name is the Philadelphia Quarry) one of the character’s quirky brother drops off the face of the earth but is found at a hotel in Blytheville. He told my daughter that he had been invited to a writers conference held at the Holiday Inn right off he interstate there in town. I think it was Janet who used to own THAT BOOK STORE on Main St. My Grandparents house and farm was in Pascola, Mo. When my grand father died in 1969, Granny had her house moved to Pascola so that she could walk to church because she never got a driver’s permit. Later when she got older, she sold that house and built a MIL addition onto my parents house on Leawood . After my grandmother went into a nursing home, Janet who owned the book store moved into the apartment. One other interesting thing is that when John Grisham wrote his first book, he went in to meet Janet and told her that if she would stock some of his books on her shelves, that he would make an appearance for a book signing. He was true to his word as every time he wrote another book, he showed up to sign those copies as well until Janet retired and moved away.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Mary Gay Shipley owned That Bookstore in Blytheville for decades. She had a great relationship with John Grisham. (I’m not sure who Janet was..?) I had my very first book signing there and signed one of the bookstore chairs (just like John Grisham)! It was an honor.
Karen Gastler says
I’ll look forward to that post on repotting orchids. I have one that needs repotting after it blooms, and my daughter-in-law gave me the perfect-sized flower pot for Christmas.
(Those schnauzer baby teeth will fall out eventually!)
Bonnie Hamilton says
Thanks for a much-needed thoughtful Sunday letter. Your comments near the end reflect a civil world I hope to see again. Your new neighbors must know you will be a special neighbor. Here’s to a long and happy friendship.
Nancy Kemp says
I love your beautiful heart, Talya, and your deep appreciation for the little things that enrich our lives. Thank you for this.
I am thinking I could find a spot in our unheated garage to winter over a Meyer Lemon tree🧐. How exciting to be the winner of the book giveaway and I’m in need of an audible right now. I’m listening for a third time a book on creativity…hoping it will spark my own! Thank you. Sunrise this morning was so beautiful, always adding those to my list of “what is right and awe inspiring” in our world.