Fading blooms on a sublime flowering plant that anchors the Rainey yard.
In adoration of Dot
I will make the best of it. Dot Rainey
Ever since her lovely home going service at Cross Bridges Methodist Church, I have been thinking about Dot Rainey. These are the things that I know about her having been in her orbit for much of my life. She was not up for funny business (homeroom/science teacher); she was eager to pass along her compelling catalog of Foxfire sort of knowledge and skills; she was a swell match for her husband, Bill, a WWII Veteran with a pioneering spirit; she had 2 fine children; she harbored a tender sort of sadness that made a person want to lean into her; and most poignantly, if ever I found that the world was coming to an end...... I would head for her house.
After all, Dot was a legend in self sufficiency. Once when calling for instruction in bathing suit construction, a Rainey home visitor discovered rattle snake meat and garden fresh vegetables were what was for dinner.
Reverend Steve Thomas said as much. “She was as connected to the earth as anyone could be,” he lamented and with a statement, so obvious and glorious that I could only send a thank you prayer to her in absentia, he continued, “Really, Dot and Bill were everywhere in my life.”
I am beginning to understand that perhaps, Dot was and is the sort of leader than we yearn for these days, though we might not be centered enough for the reception of such wisdom. Looking back, however; out there on the periphery, she was living her purpose and it was essential for my development.
Did I know that her presence each day in high school might inform the way I would later show up at work; did I know that her mentorship at church youth group canoe trips would create a personal love for the Middle Tennessee outdoors; would I glean that her generous gifts of growing vegetables and sewing tips were things that I could receive only from her? Not one bit at the time. Even so, she was wholeheartedly filling a role as only she could. Not to mention with the style in which she did it... inside the compact earth suit given to her at birth.
Startling now to think that she was on the edge of my consciousness and consequently my appreciation during those days. Funny how up close and personal she is now.
As I absorb my mental graduation into cronehood, I see that we are all minuscule parts of an intricate web of function and beauty. We might come into this world with some particular gifts, but we still look to our elders for fortification skills.
I needed Dot to become a functioning somebody in the world and though I never thanked her, I can imagine that she did not require praise. More than most as a biology teacher, she gave faith, and in turn her all, to the organic flow of this life.
When my family life was kicking, we served this Girl Scoutish dish countless times. I think that Dot would approve.
A variety of vegetables and herbs.
Tear large pieces of aluminum foil (preferably heavy- duty) about 14 by 16 inches to make packets of vegetables to throw on the grill.
Spread a little butter or olive oil on the dull side of the foil pieces.
Arrange sliced vegetables on top, beginning with the denser vegetables, like carrots first.
Lighter, watery vegetables, like mushrooms, should go last.
Strew flavor on top (slivered garlic, scallions, herbs, salt, pepper and a bit of soy sauce). Add more butter or olive oil and a tablespoon of choice vinegar before wrapping into individual packets.
Place the packets on the grill over the coals for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Note: Experiment with combinations such as: Zucchinis, garlic, thyme and olive oil; halved red onions, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar; small red potatoes, butter and garlic; mushrooms, butter, sherry and basil and sweet potatoes, brown sugar and butter.