Category Archives: Family Tales

Visiting Home

A week or so ago, I sat alone in the hot tub in Barry’s parents’ backyard. A silvery bright half moon shone over the black silhouettes of towering conifers. The only sounds were the soft gurgle of the water and a chorus of distant frogs. I relaxed completely, leaning my head back and wondering about this strange concept of “visiting home.”

To Brian, Cayenne is truly a home where he has invested time, emotion, and blood. Although he didn’t like New Orleans much, he was not terribly interested in returning to Seattle before we began cruising.

But Barry and I were willing to drive for three days straight in exchange for a few days visiting home, family, and friends. Coming over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 on Wednesday morning, I was exhilarated. The road was lined with pine trees, frosted with snow. The air smelled like wood smoke. In places, there were waterfalls beside the interstate. Even the drivers were better, using turn signals and driving considerately. Their license plates all had Mount Rainier on them.

I am not a native of Seattle. I have only lived there for eight years, far fewer than my twelve years spent in Columbus or nine early years in the New Jersey shadow of the Big Apple. But those places did not fit me, so they’re not my home.

The Northwest is a place apart from the rest of the country. I felt that strongly, viscerally, when we drove the pass. The flat lands of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and eastern Colorado ran together. The mountains of Colorado and Utah and Idaho did, too. But crossing the Cascades was like coming up the front walk of a home that you haven’t been to in a while.

What exactly is “home?” Is it possible to have more than one?

While in New Orleans, we called Seattle “home.” But while visiting Seattle, I said things like, “When we get home, we should…” Which is it? The place where you fit in and your soul feels at rest? Seattle, for me, is this place where I fit in, where the horizon ringed with mountains is like a border around my life. If so, why am I content cruising the rest of the world in a sailboat? There must be another home, one where you spend your days and nights. For me, that’s Cayenne — and like a happy turtle, I love the fact that we take our home from place to place.

Turkey Cheese Pie

From New Orleans, we drove to Florida for the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s annual meeting. We got our fill of speakers and exhibitors and hanging around with sailors. There were many sessions on HF radio communications that we hope to use when we’re at sea or in remote places. Nearly everything we might want is available on both SSB Marine band (not free, but can be used for business purposes) and HAM (free, but does not permit commercial use) radio channels. Fortunately, there are now good radios that can operate on both types.

The good part is that once it all works, we should be able to get information about weather and destinations, and, even more importantly, should be able to get email at sea. The bad part is that the email will be painfully slow�maybe a half hour for sending/receiving email, and that doesn�t include big attachments…OK, I’m really not sure exactly how slow it will be, but I’m sure it will be way slower than dial-up internet at its worst. The other bad(?) good(?) part is that all three of us now have to study for HAM licenses.

We also learned about sailing with cats and dogs, how to keep your boat smelling nice, cruising the Caribbean, French and Spanish for cruisers, and snorkeling or scuba for fun and food. Diana Jessie, who writes for 48 North, was great in person, and we enjoyed a refresher course on weather with our NOAA guru, Lee Chesneau.

One real highlight was a chance to visit with Meps� Dad and hang out in Florida. He hosted us in his tiny rental apartment, which seemed like a palace to us. We saw his new townhouse (under construction), swam, went to the beach, and even took a short hike.

Best of all was that Meps and her Dad used the recently unearthed recipe for the late Esther’s Turkey Cheese Pie. It was wonderful, and well worth the effort. I cannot say for myself, but those who had eaten the original claimed this was just as good.
Hank and Margaret with their prized Turkey-Cheese Pie

TURKEY CHEESE PIE (including the original typos and comments)

3 medium onions
1-1/2 cup buttery cracker crumbs
1-1/4 cup cooked turkey pieces
1/3 cup butter
1-1/2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups grated chedder cheese

Set oven 350 degrees. Cut onions to thin slices to make 2 cups. Roll about 44 but. tas. crackeres into crumbs to make 1-1/2 cups crumbs. Cut turkey into small pieces. Melt butter. Add to cracker crumbs stirring until all dry pieces are moist. Pat crumbs firmly onto sides of a 9 inch pie plate with spoon. Chill for 30 min. Melt shortening. Add onions and cook until tender but not browned. Heat milk until a film forms across the top. Beat eggs until bubbly. Stir milk salt, pepper and cheese into eggs. Put turkey over bottom of cracker crumbs crust. Top with onion rings. Pour over egg cheese mixture. Bake for 30 minutes and garnish with pinsheel made of halved crackers and pimento slices. This pie will serve 6. Which is not enough.