MacCulloch 2
A Day’s Journey, Thanksgiving 1960
by Jone Rush MacCulloch

Dad shines the 1958 Gold Chevy and fills it with gas
Mom ushers us into the car, brother behind Dad,
me behind her, my fingers petting the interior cloth
fuzzy like my stuffed bear of the same color.

Mom lights a cigarette; this is the sign
our trip will be longer than to the grocery store.
A few puffs and she hands it to Dad.
Brother starts a foot fight with me. He doesn’t win.

After the palm tree lined streets of Rancho Cucamonga
the road turns into a snake winding through
San Bernardino Mountain Pass, the up and down
makes my stomach feel like a roller coaster.

I need to go potty. Dad raises his eyebrows
in the rearview mirror, slows and pulls over.
The car door provides little privacy
as vehicles whoosh by in a hurry.

The dustiness of sage takes over
the acrid tobacco smell. The spiky heads
of Joshua trees appear, signaling
we are almost there, the “white castle.”

The car slows turning onto the gravel driveway,
eucalyptus and castor trees nod welcome.
Uncle lumbers out to greet us with hugs.
Auntie is busy ricing the potatoes.

Bone china and good silver grace the table.
The blessing said as the mantle clock chimes.
The grownups catch up. I ask for a second helping
of cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato casserole.

After dinner, after pumpkin pie, and clearing the dishes,
I rock back and forth on the porch swing. Brother looks for lizards.
Soon we pile into the car, and wave goodbyes
until the starlit fairy lights debut on the black damask sky.

© 2022 Jone Rush Macculloch

ARTWORK: “Visiting the Relatives” by Jone  Rush MacCulloch (mixed media: family photos, collage, painted papers, and paint).

Adelanto Thanksgiving

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My great aunt and uncle lived with their daughter in the high desert of California. Our holidays consisted of them coming to us or us traveling to them as my grandmothers and other cousins lived on the East Coast. I loved the “white castle” house that really was a just masonry building common for the area. Memory is funny.  In my mind’s eye of memory, they had eucalyptus trees and castor bean trees but were they? Visiting my extended family was always a treat (especially the cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato soup casserole, a Thanksgiving must-have this dish — my brother would disagree, though).

PHOTO: The house where the author and her family enjoyed Thanksgiving Day in the California desert.

dreamstime_l_5199363 copydreamstime_l_14858468 copydreamstime_m_140438596 copy
RECIPE FOR CAULIFLOWER-BLEU-CHEESE-TOMATO CASSEROLE

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a guess-and-by-golly recipe. I only have the ingredients, not exact amounts. My great aunt never had a recipe written down.

Ingredients:
1 Cauliflower head
1 Can of tomato soup
1 Can of water
About 8 ounces of bleu cheese, or to taste

Directions
1) Set oven at 350 degrees.
2) Steam the cauliflower until almost tender.
3) Drain cauliflower and put into a casserole dish.
4) Sprinkle in the bleu cheese.
5) Mix together the soup and water. Pour over the cauliflower and bleu cheese.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until the soup and cheese are bubbly.

MacCulloch1 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jone Rush MacCulloch’s poems have been included in several children’s collections such as Imperfect II (History House Publishers, 2022), Things We Do (Pomelo Books, 2021), Hop To It (Pomelo Books 2020) — winner of the Kids’ Book Choice Award for Best Books of Facts. Her haiku and photography are also found in New Bridges: a haiku anthology edited by Jacob Slazer. She’s  been published in the Haiku Society of America’s publications, VoiceCatcher, as well as The Poeming Pigeon. In August 2022, she won two awards for poetry at the Oregon State Fair. She still loves traveling the world, most recently to Ireland and Scotland. When not writing, you can find her reading, creating mixed media, or with her camera in hand. Visit her at jonerushmacculloch.com.