Thursday, October 05, 2006

chasing autumn

The sun is out and I forget about shivering down State Street just yesterday. I choose the pavement today with the greatest amount of sunlight and I am content.

Tomorrow, I head up north. The weather appears to be stable. I hear a hike through the woods now is magnificent. Apple festivals and northcountry brews and grills, dazzling lake waters and even more dazzling foliage -- it all sounds pretty good to me.

Not that I would put down our own golden corner here, in downtown Madison. Golden and red, of course. It's football season I hear.

october 06 051
autumnal eating: I'm guessing it's brats.

when Johnny came to town

Two years ago, R.W.Apple Jr. came to town. I wrote about his visit here, on Ocean. I even took a quick photo. He did not mind. A few weeks later, I read his story in the NYT detailing his stroll around the Madison farmers market, especially as it traced the purchases made by l'Etoile, the restaurant that continuously exhalts the work of the small family farm. It was not the first time that the Times mentioned l’Etoile, but it was the first time a whole (short) paragraph in the paper was on my work. Not at the Law School, but in my moonlighting hours at l’Etoile (you really need to chase down to the fourth page to find it, but it’s there!).

Comments made by insightful and wise people stay in your head and so I remember quite well our fragmented conversation as he and I circled the Square (I was then the market forager for l’Etoile). Especially when he paused right there, on the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and said – Nina, there is nothing as important as travel. Spending time in different cultures is a prerequisite to intelligent living.

Johnny Apple (as he was called) had his own additional imperatives: good foods, good wines. Did he ever appreciate fresh and honest foods on the table!

A writer of heroic proportion. In many senses. But someone who never claimed that his stories did anything more than report on the work of others. He claimed not to be a mover and shaker, simply an observer. He did not like to tell people what to do and he was forever willing to learn from rubbing shoulders with those who lived life differently.

If I can wish anything for this blog it would be to write it exactly in this way: to observe – yes. Talk about my own impressions – yes. Knock down and make light of the work of others – no.

He died earlier this week.