Poetry is a community just north of Terrell and east of Dallas. The name was suggested by local merchant Maston Ussery, who said that the area in springtime reminded him of a poem. RM and I were invited for the week-end by our friends Chas and Anna who have just recently made their home in this rural community. RM and Chas are fellow woodturners and the goal of the week-end was to cut down an oak tree on their property and salvage a large burl which woodturners covet for turning into beautiful and ornamental bowls. I was along for the ride. Our drive over from the Fort took us about an hour and half, made longer by an extensive stop at a Buc-cee’s – the king of convenience stores – located only in Texas. We stopped at the one on I-20 in Terrell. This was our first stop at a Buc-cee’s and we were in for a treat. This store has everything “Texan” along with other unique items like “beaver nuggets” (not rodent droppings but buttery, corn puffs), a wide variety of jerky including beef and turkey and massive and very clean restrooms ready to serve customers stopping for budget-priced gas at one of their 100 gas pumps. Yes, 100, as everything is bigger in Texas. And no 18 wheelers allowed. What is not to love?
This week-end our hosts introduced us to their new community including a steak cookout with their new neighbors across the road and also allowing us to join the monthly tradition of their Breakfast Club with several other couples living in Poetry. These friends get together about every month for breakfast at one of their homes. This week-end it was held on Sunday morning and we were treated to a spread that even Martha Stewart would have approved. I will never forget the experience as we ate al fresco on a picture perfect morning at an outdoor table laden with scratch everything including cheesy and peppery scrambled eggs, biscuits with gravy, jalapeno chicken poppers, sausage, champagne and rice pudding and cinnamon glazed donuts holes for dessert. The hostess served pots of roasted pecan coffee and cream along with an unlimited supply of booze and bubbles. She had lots of special touches, fresh flowers and succulents on the table, including a gift of the movie, The Breakfast Club, for each couple wrapped in brown paper wrapping decorated with an armadillo motif. She made each of us feel welcomed and pampered.
Other highlights of the week-end include:
- A short trip to a farmer’s market in Rockwall where I bought vine-ripened tomatoes, shelled East Texas peas and pickling cucumbers
- Anna and I shopped at a locally owned store on the quaint Rockwall square that specialized in kitchen products — I think we stayed in there for over an hour checking out the large inventory and we both came away with a couple of bags of goodies
- Long walks on country roads with Anna and her faithful companion, Domino, a miniature labradoodle
- Reading a novel overlooking the two ponds on their property which I nicknamed Golden and Walden
- Adventures with nature including stumbling over a rat snake and a near bite from a very hungry horse
- Quiet mornings, no sirens and nightly views of the milky way
- Watching the boys take down the tree and successfully get the burl on the lathe
- New found Poetry friends who have tons of fun and an appreciation for the hospitality of our dear hosts and their new life that they will surely live out like an East Texas poem living in a place called home.
After arriving back in the Fort today, I am back in my kitchen inspired by our experience in Poetry. I am cooking up a mess of peas to accompany some brisket we brought back from Poetry, along with pickled okra and heirloom tomatoes with basil pesto and cheese. Here is my recipe for East Texas Peas:
Cut up some thick, peppery bacon and fry in a big pot. Add at least one diced red onion and sweat them down with the bacon. Rinse your mess of East Texas peas and then add to the bacon and the onions. Cover with water, add salt and coarse ground pepper. Cook it all together and simmer for at least 2 hours. Add a fresh bay leaf and cook another 30 minutes tasting for salt and pepper. You can add jalapeno relish or salsa if you like it spicy.
To peas, to pals, to Poetry. Thanks Anna and Chas for a great week-end.