ll weekend I’ve been reading the new book Eudora Welty: Occasions. It’s a collection of selected writings of hers that includes everything from a few short stories…to letters to editors about her errors writing about an eccentric subject:
First, I had said her watch was silver, when it was gold – how could I have done a thing like that to her? and she took it out of its hiding place and put it under my eyes. Second, I had left out Sudie, who had helped her in the store for six years and Sudie felt so bad about it – “Sudie, Sudie! Come stand here and let Miss Wealthy see how bad you feel – that’s right – that’s all, Sudie, get on back.”
…to Charles Dickens’ recipe for eggnog which her family enjoyed each Christmas:
It was ladled from the punch bowl into punch cups and silver goblets, and had to be eaten with a spoon. It stood up in peaks.
…to her admonition that there were not enough books in Mississippi hospitals and institutions:
To the perpetual child and the limited in mind, to the sick and infirm, and to the morally wavering, reading permits pleasure still, and this may be a pleasure greater than they’ve so far known: hope.
…a recipe for Aunt Beck’s chicken pie, which includes sliced hard-cooked eggs
It is nothing new or startling at Southerners to write – probably they must write…Children who grow up listening through rewarding stretches of unhurried time, reading in big lonely rooms, dwelling in the confidence of slow-changing places, are naturally more prone than other children to be entertained… They cannot help being impressed by a world around them where history has happened in the yard or come into the house, where all round the countryside big things happened and monuments stand to the memory of fiery deeds still to be heard from the lips of grandparents, the columns in the field or the familiar cedar avenue to nothing, where such-and-such a house once stood.