A couple of years ago for our annual Christmas party, the members of my writers’ group decided we should all bring something to contribute to our potluck that was related to a book or story we had written. I used a passage from my novel Lost on the Prairie which is coming out in spring with Heritage House publishers to inspire my food contribution.
I chose a scene from early on in the book where my hero Peter is leaving on a long train trip from Kansas to Saskatchewan. He is riding in a train car with the family horses. As his parents say good-bye to him at the train station, his Mom gives him some food she has prepared.
Mama hands me an old sugar sack that smells of spicy pickles, smoked sausage, buttered bread and her dried cinnamon apples. Then she hugs me and her arms squish the air out of my lungs clear to my ribs. Two hot tears slip across her cheeks and slide down my neck. I can tell Mama wants to say something. She gnaws her lips and opens them so wide I can see all of her teeth right to the back of her mouth, but only short gasps come up from her throat. Papa shakes my hand strong and steady and then he puts his arm around Mama’s shoulders and leads her away.
I prepared the four items in Peter’s lunch and brought them to our party. In the teachers guide for my novel I might suggest bringing some of these foods into the classroom for a tasting party after finishing the first chapter of Lost on the Prairie.
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