Five pounds of possum
We arrived in New York late afternoon, a kind of wild dream. Organized ourselves and went out for dinner at Buceo 95 around the corner from our hotel here on the Upper West Side. Lovely tapas — bacon-wrapped dates, little goat’s milk cheese fritters with a honey and hazelnut glaze, a dish of paella with wild boar. Pique Poule wine from the Languedoc (which made one forget the airports — Chattanooga, Atlanta, JFK — and attendant fuss of getting to gates, waiting, waiting, waiting, then spending short times in the actual air).
The other night we took Chris and Susie to Terramae, a new Appalachian bistro in Chattanooga. We had a wonderful dinner — duck leg and egg being a highlight (a leg of duck confit over baby greens with sweet potato hash and a duck egg over top which made a natural sauce). Then we drove up Signal Mountain to a civic hall where the Mountain Opry has performances every Friday night. It was magic. People playing music for the love of it — mandolins, banjos, guitars, basses, a piano, singers with that high lonesome sound to their voices. We all loved hearing a group sing “Five pounds of Possum”:
Five pounds of possum in my headlights tonight,
If I run ‘im over, everything’ll be alright.
Possum grits, possum gravy —
what a beautiful sight!
Five pounds of possum in my headlights tonight.
Chattanooga is an amazing place. We wandered the streets, explored the ridges and drove with Chris up Lookout Mountain, signs every half-mile alerting us to key locations of battles or skirmishes of the Civil War, and we loved being part of the Meacham Writers Workshops.
I had the best chocolate croissant of my life at Niedlov’e Bakery on the funky Main Street, around the corner from our hotel, and we had an afternoon looking at galleries and eating lunch near the Hunter Museum of American Art, a place that deserves many visits. Imagine coming face to face with Ansel Adam’s “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941”, an image familiar from books, and reading that in fact Adams thought of the negative as a kind of musical score; as the photographer/printer/conductor, he’d interpret the image slightly differently each time he printed so that the light and dark (those crosses in the foreground, the horizon in the background, and that moon…) would vary slightly each time.
Tonight there was a smudgy moon on our walk back along Amsterdam Avenue. And I know it will be a different moon tomorrow night!