I think if you open your eyes, even on dark days, you will see Him. I see Him every day and I know He is always there for me.
God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine, or guess, or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:14-21
Write every day. And I do. Not always a blog post. Maybe an Instagram post, or perhaps I work on a story for The Hometown News or The Groove, but nine out of ten days I am thinking, dreaming and writing.
I have now accepted a challenge with many other much-more-talented-than-I writers to write at least five minutes a day, for thirty-one days, and post it.
Mark and I ate a lot of barbecue in less than a two-week time period in July. It was interesting trying all the different meats and sauces, (and sides!) and comparing them. I enjoyed every brisket, every potato salad and every BBQ sauce the article forced me to try.
One week, we had barbecue, for lunch and dinner three days in a row. It became comical. We forged through though-all for a story!
To read the barbecue story in the August edition of The Groove, click here
My daughter, Danni and I visited a lot of coffee houses, in August, and we loved every one and enjoyed drinking every cup. And I enjoyed being with her and experiencing it all with her.
Waco has many great coffee houses to try. Here is the link to the H.O.T. Coffee story, click here
Stop and enjoy your food.
“One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti said that brilliantly.
Along the way, Mark and I have decided that every Thursday night will be date night. And of course, many of those Thursdays include trying a restaurant that includes my subject-of-the-month on the menu.
I have not minded this one bit.
After 29 happy years of marriage and three kids, we are alone in the house with two weenie dogs and a weenie dog-wanna be, our Lab. Empty nesters. We have actually become pretty comfortable at our new stage in life. Mark and I travel alone together, and with friends and family, and we have nights we go out with friends but this is our night and we have both enjoyed it.
We take turns, every other week, picking where we will go. (Of course it all depends on if I am finished with my story and need more research!)
Thursday night date night is something I look forward to every week. And I am blessed that he wants to go with me.
The great quote from Virginia Woolf says it all, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Some are long and short. And are four-legged.
Charli and Martha give me smiles every day. Smiles and laughter.
My love of weenie dogs started with a brief love affair as a child with a little black dachshund named Chigger. Chigger ended up going to live on a farm. (I choose to believe he truly did.)
That was a dark day in my life but imagining him on that farm helped me smile.
In 1999, a sweet little pup named Millennium of the Hills of Childress Creek blessed us with her sweet self for over ten years. Ten years of smiles. Milli was an angel.
Her side kick, Darby, came to be a part of our lives in 2001 and was a family member until 2014. Milli and Darby were the original weenteam. Many smiles, kisses and memories came from these two.
Our non-weenie dog, otherwise known as a lab, puts up with the doxies. When she was a puppy, Jemma, (aka-Remi), thought she wanted to be a weenie dog. She grew out of that. Now, she tolerates them and gives them a place to lay.
Milli and Darby both now live on a farm beyond the rainbow bridge.
If you have loved and lost a pet, you know the pain. It is truly a horrible time but like all things-life goes on. You are left with memories. And tear-stained smiles.
When Darby died two years ago, I didn’t think I was ready, not yet anyway, for the next doxie. Cameron searched and found one and I said yes. When the breeder sent me her picture, I cried. I knew it was time and I knew I was in love without ever meeting her.
I was thankful that Cameron had pushed me. She knew I wanted another; needed another weenie dog in my life. And she was right.
Charli is an angel. She is stubborn and a grump and I love her. Because of her grumpiness, I smile. She is only sweet when she wants to be. She is cat-like. Has to be her idea.
Grumpy or not, she blesses me every day.
Then came Martha. And once again, we have a weenteam. I think weenie dogs are meant to be in two’s–like on the ark. They entertain each other. Play together. When they cuddle, I smile. When they play, I smile. (you get the idea)
Martha is the sweetest weenie dog I have had yet. She is happiest when she is in your lap, smothering you in kisses and she lets me pet her belly any time I want. (Charli, not so much)
And weenie dog bellies are the sweetest. They make me smile.
So blessings, no matter how short-or long, brighten your world.
Faith also comes in all sizes. And sometimes our faith is stronger than other times. We go through periods of great faith and times of “so little faith”.
“If you have faith… nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
I have had days where it’s impossible to find these so called blessings. But because I always have faith– I always find those blessings. And that smile.
“If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
Having faith and never faltering is not only the way God wants us to live, but it is the only way. It is the only way to find those smiles when you need them the most. Finding the smiles when it seems there are no smiles to be had–that is faith. Faith is always knowing you can smile and knowing that there will be a day when smiles will be plentiful once again. Faith.
So find your ‘weenie dog’ of life. Find that something that always makes you smile even on those dark days.
What is it about September? Why does it feel like a fresh start? A do-over? A time to begin again? To restart that New Year’s resolution?
When my kids were little, we would play all summer–go, go, going- and there was always a little part of me that was ready for them to get back to school so that we could have a normal schedule again. Then they all graduated.
And yet, I still have that feeling, that yearning, for September and a schedule. And school supplies.
We would make that trek to Target for school supplies when my kids were young. It was always so fun for them. And me. We would come home, go to our study, all four get into the floor, with a marker in-hand and start making the three piles. I remember these days well.
“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms,” Joe Fox types to Kathleen Kelly, the Shopgirl, in an email in You’ve Got Mail.
Doesn’t everyone love school supplies in September?
There is something about the pens, the notebooks and the post-it notes. As an adult, they still get to me and I want to grab them all. I find myself strolling the “back-to-school” isle at Target every year. Even though I have no one to buy school supplies for any longer. These days, I love the planners, stickers and washi tape. And still the pens–definitely the pens.
I suppose when you grow-up, the school supply-lover becomes an office-supply lover?
A pretty desk makes this office supply-lover very happy.
And then there is that part of September that makes you want to be better—our second-January. I always use this time to try to eat better and start walking again (because in Texas it is really too hot to walk in the summer!). You can re-evaluate that NYR that quite possibly failed.
A great way to refresh your mind, start something new, is to learn. Go back to those school days, but this time, as an adult, you can learn whatever you are interested in.
Learn to hand-letter beautifully. Learn to grow succulents.
Learn to sew. Learn a new adventurous recipe. Learn to arrange flowers.
The world wide web is a miraculous thing. You can Google and learn anything. I am in the process of learning to be a better writer. A better blogger. Even a better Instagram-er. I read something every day to help me learn to do what I love even better.
(And if you read the blog post before this-you know I have been learning about growing pumpkins!)
What are some ways that you re-start your year in September? What are some things you would like to learn to do?
Go sharpen some pencils, think it over, straighten your desk and enjoy your day. Oh, and learn!
Did you know The Beatles have a song titled Dear Prudence? It is from 1968 and was written by John Lennon about Prudence Farrow, the sister to Mia. Not one I am too familiar with but it might now be a favorite.
Dear Prudence, won’t you come out and play? Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day. The sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you.
Such simple words.
Dear, Prudence, thank you for growing so big and strong. (not part of the song)
Of course, if you don’t know- I am talking about my first-ever pumpkin child. If you don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might be wondering why I have flipped over a pumpkin? (you might be wondering either way?)
This infatuation has been years in the making. Cameron and I used to throw my fall pumpkins in the pasture to see if the horses would eat or play with them. (they never did) Year after year, the day after Thanksgiving when we were decorating for Christmas, we discarded them in the pasture. We would always have a vine or two emerge. And perhaps a bright, yellow flower. But nothing more.
Then I started putting them in an empty flower bed. Year after year, I would water and baby them. I would get a few vines and a few bright, yellow flowers. But nothing more.
Last December, we decided to move the cast-off pumpkins to the backyard, to a flowerbed. When the vines started sprouting, I again watered and babied them.
And then boom.
I had massive vines. Spanning the entire flowerbed, overtaking the rose bush, spilling out into the grass and eventually over the deck and spreading its vine all over the deck.
It was crazy. I started to get hopeful. I turned to Google. I learned all I could about pumpkin patches and growing and pollinating. And bees.
The first few flowers were male. I had to learn all about male and female flowers. Yes, there is a huge difference just like in all the other creatures God created. Nature is impressive.
Also, there are way more males than females. Males have long green stems. Females have a tiny green pumpkin under them.
I soon learned that the flower, both male and female, close after a few hours. I also soon learned that it seemed we didn’t have any bees.
I had to take nature in my own hands. (Google told me that! Google is the new “they say…”)
I had to put on my virtual overalls and go to farmin. (read that with a thick, country accent)
Per Google, you must cut a male flower with good pollen (it falls on your finger when touched). Cut all the petals off, deep into the flower so only the stamen is exposed. And the weird, disturbing, look-around-to-see-if-anyone-is-looking part—insert the male stamen into the female flower. Yep.
Now do you see why I love Prudence so much? I made her. Me and the male and female flower were in this together. And God.
When I saw Prudence was beginning to grow, literally almost immediately, I had so much pride, joy, and love for that little green orb.
Deedee’s Pumpkin Patch was now a thing.
Mark was right there in the involved and excitement part with the patch. He would take the pups out in the morning, search the patch and tell me to ‘get up and get to farming’! It was fun for both of us to search for female flowers and watch them grow after they were pollinated. My girls, Danni and Cameron, would also ask for pictures of Prudence. It was a family thing. (except Alex-haha)
Charli and Martha helped, also.
One day, I cut a male flower off because I was about to get busy (you have to joke about it!) pollinating and you will understand my excitement and surprise when I saw a bee inside the male flower! Bees!
We now have three large growing pumpkins and several infants growing. I would have thought with the large, vast patch-we would have more than that. (I suppose this isn’t a bumper-crop year?)
We harvested Prudence and it appears she may be a Musque de Provence or a Fairytale pumpkin. I love her even more.
I now have pumpkin fever. Not your White-Girl-I-love-everything-pumpkin-flavored fever, it is the love of a pumpkin patch. The love of growing something from the dirt. The love of nature and knowing God had his hand in all this or it would not have happened.
I’ve always had plants and flowers inside and out, but this is so different. So much better.
Dear Prudence, thank you for showing me I can grow something beautiful with my own hands.
Of course no one knows what this means except our family. Inside jokes are like that. And families with inside jokes are my kind of families.
The five of us have traveled together many times in our lives. We have been blessed with travel. Blessed by God to see a lot of His big, beautiful world.
Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. And traveling together has always been special. Mark, my husband, and I have traveled alone, with friends, with friends and their kids and with family. We like traveling in our big groups and we also like traveling alone.
Let’s face it-traveling anywhere with anyone you love is truly wonderful.
This year, we had to postpone our “family” summer trip due to Cameron, my youngest, finishing up her semester of grad school. After all, school comes first.
We tossed around a lot of options and ended up choosing a beach house an hour south of Galveston. We have been to Galveston many times in our married life. In fact, it was the first beach Mark and I experienced together. We always vacationed in Port Aransas when the kids were younger and we have also been blessed to fly and cruise to beaches, as well.
We have stayed in hotels and rented condos. We have never rented a beach house and I am so happy this was our final choice.
One word. Perfection.
The beach house was perfect. The view was perfect. The décor was perfect. The beach, while not Caribbean-it was a Texas beach-still perfect. Perfection.
All the things I listed above added to our enjoyment and made for a perfect beach vacation.
But truthfully, what was perfect, was all five of us, all together, under one roof, all alone, with nothing to do but be together and enjoy each other and our surroundings. Perfect.
At times it felt to me like we were back on Hali Brooke, raising our kids and loving each other. There was less sibling fighting though – so perfect.
Danni was Danni. Alex was Alex and Cameron, being the baby of our family, was totally Cameron. Perfect.
My world. My people. My family. My future. Perfect.
Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I am as old as I am. I can’t believe I have been married to the same man for 29 years. I can’t believe I have three children. Grown children. Grown children with their own lives. I think we like to hold on to our youth for as long as possible in spite of everything because we are supposed to still be twenty-something.
My three kids, my husband and our life together are my whole life. My everything. My perfection.
No matter how imperfect it actually is.
We had rain. We had mosquitoes. I cooked too much. My pups weren’t there with us. It wasn’t clear water.
But still perfection. Imperfect perfection.
I know my twenty-somethings will have their own lives and spouses and children (one can hope, right?) one day but having them, together, under one roof, on that beach, in that house, was like heaven to me as a mom and that was perfect!
I hope we have more vacations like this but if we don’t, I am truly blessed by our Lord to have this memory.
Our country, among other things, seems to be arguing about which lives matter. Every life matters. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. LGBT lives matter. Women matter. Men matter. Police matter. Americans matter.
All lives matter. We are all the same; from the same mold.
The Black Lives Matters movement, as a peaceful movement to educate and spread light on the unjust treatment of blacks in America, is an extremely important movement- until it turns violent.
And it has.
On July 7, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon police officers, in Dallas, watching over a peaceful rally on Black Lives Matter, killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two civilians were also wounded.
When men decide that it is ok to gun down police officers, the very people who keep us safe, day in and day out– that is when the peaceful movement gets a bad rep and becomes associated with violence. And to some, the movement looks as if it isn’t working. It appears to not be helping the cause-or anyone.
Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, spokesman for the Waco Police Department, spoke enlightening words and admiration for the citizens of Waco for their support to the Waco Police Department and its officers after the Dallas Police shootings.
Swanton answered about negativity and hate in Waco, “There was only the one incident of “Die Pigs” being written on one of our police vehicles. That was it.”
He continued, “The citizens of Waco have rallied around our officers with nothing but kindness. We have had coffee bought for us, had lunches provided, pizza delivered, cookies and cakes. We have not gone hungry around here, that’s for sure.” He went on, “The outpouring of support has been amazing in person and on our Facebook page, through cards, letters and emails. It speaks volumes.”
“We’ve had a good rapport with the Waco community. We struggle to do the best we can. We hold our force to high standards-nothing but professionalism. When we mess up, we hold our officers accountable. When we make a mistake, we correct it. And I think the community feels that,” Swanton expressed.
Speaking of the Waco citizens, he finished with, “We need them as much as they need us.”
There are bad people in every walk of life. You could find bad doctors and nurses, bad teachers, even bad priests. People make mistakes daily and people make bad judgements. People are human. That doesn’t make it right to kill police officers. This is only drawing negative attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not helping.
An eye for an eye does not produce peace or forgiveness. We need to heal this country, every part of it, rather than divide it. Unite not divide.
How do we stop violence against groups in America?
Our nation needs to begin a conversation that will help heal our country, heal each other and stop the violence against each other and the very people who vow to keep us safe as a daily routine.
The national conversation has begun.
Whether you call them inherent rights, natural rights or God-given rights, we as a society, no matter your background, net-worth, society or culture, have them. Ever since the 1776 Declaration of Independence, these rights have been called unalienable rights.
It is our inherent right, or the means by which we determine justice, fair entitlement and peaceful conflict resolution, to live in a free society. Free society comes with rules and laws. We all have inherent rights, but we must obey the laws and respect those that govern them.
We can say all the positive words. Love, grace, compassion, forgiveness, understanding to all people, no matter who they are or what they have done to us.
And while these words are a start, we need a continuation or all the social-ills will only escalate.
After the Dallas police shootings, Hillary Clinton said, “[There is] too much violence and hate in our country.”
She spoke the truth. And yet, what are the answers? What even are the questions?
Mother Teresa spoke wise words when she said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across waters to create many ripples.”
All the little ripples could make a change. Imagine if we all thought this way and started throwing stones-the right way- the positive way. If everyone would try to make a positive change, cause a ripple, in a positive way, we could make a really large ripple of change in this world we all share.
Sometimes you just have to decide that you want to be the change. We, as Americans, need to decide to go through life being the encourager-not the persecutor.
One man in Dallas started a ripple and it has been reached around the world with a poster board and a Sharpie. Chris Bailey drove downtown, to the crime scene, after the shootings in Dallas, armed with his poster board that read, “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”. He describes on his website that he was nervous about getting out of his car with his sign; he was compelled to do it.
He walked around downtown for two and a half hours, receiving hugs, fist bumps, thumbs up, waves, and lots of head nods. With excitement he wrote about getting zero negative responses. People took pictures of him and pictures with him. The Associated Press picked up one of those pictures and Bailey and his sign went viral. The news sources at the crime scene interviewed him and his story and picture has been in the newspapers in Houston, DC, and Spain. He has been on local news in Louisiana and even in Norway.
This simple message is a positive ripple.
Bailey was on a street corner, with his famous sign, during the interview. He expressed, “A lot of people don’t get out and do something because they feel they won’t make a change. I am just one guy and I have affected over 57,000 people. Do something simple. Just do SOMETHING.”
Then he added, “Show somebody that you love them.”
Bailey started a Facebook page that now has over 57,000 members that is spreading love and erasing hate. Bailey’s website, http://www.everybodyloveeverybody.net/ is selling t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and other items with the original, scribbled out, positive message on it- “EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY”
Bailey said he lives by the Golden Rule. The money will go towards his annual feeding of the homeless and providing Christmas for the Butler Housing Project in Fort Worth. The money for this usually comes out of his own pocket. He is in the process of becoming a non-profit.
When Bailey, a foundation repair salesman, was asked what the biggest positive that he has experienced out of this signage, he responded with, “My change of attitude. I’ve become a nicer guy, towards my family and my job. I made a 180 degree turn-around in less than a week. It is me that has changed.”
Amplify this message. Pay it forward.
This is our wake-up call. Like Bailey, show someone you care; that you love them. Everybody deserves love from everybody. Be too busy to hate.
love and blessings~dd
*This was an article I wrote for a special edition of The Hometown News. I felt the words were important and should be a part of my blog.
Becoming a Davis, as I did 30 years ago next month, means that once a year, on the second Sunday in June, you travel to Johnsville, Texas, to a tiny little white church (in the vale), you worship God and Jesus. Afterwards, there is a family reunion and you eat among the dead in the cemetery. (explanation to come)
Johnsville is on CR206, just west of FM 2481, four miles north of Duffau; (where??) about 15 miles southeast of Stephenville.
Johnsville is a one room church, although there have been add-ons since 1987 when I first worshipped there. Behind the church is a cemetery, where many Davis’ before have been laid to rest. Here is where you enjoy catching up at the family reunion.
My history with Johnsville starts with OFF and outhouses and no air-conditioning (Yes! You read thatright!) We are talking rural and back-in-the-day stuff!! I will honestly say-I wasn’t too excited about the whole thing. Although, being there with the one you love makes it all better; makes you want to endure the chiggers and the heat because you are finally a Davis.
My first adventure was about a month before I was officially a Davis. When Mark and I first started dating, the year before, I was just shy of missing out on the Johnsville chiggers! (Should be the name of their footballteam!!)
And no-we did not date very long before we knew this was it; he was the one.
You had to walk down the hill just a bit-to the outhouse. The outhouse. Before you started the trek, it was a must to spray OFF or else—the chiggers! The church was not equipped with the modern convenience of cooled air-and being in June—it was always very hot! And eating outside, in June, is not always comfortable-the heat, the flies and the mosquitoes.
Year after year, Johnsville grows on you. Family reunion. When you see Mark’s cousins and see how happy his parents are that you are there, you are glad you came. There is true history in the place. Davis history. But the real history started way before me, even way before my in-laws. It began in the 1800’s.
The community of Johnsville was settled sometime before 1860 and was named for John Z. Martin when he was appointed first postmaster in 1901. (Imagine a town being named after the man who deliveredyour mail?)
Johnsville consisted of general stores, a cotton gin, blacksmith shop, fraternal lodges, a school, a church, and numerous homes. It was once a thriving village on the main road from Stephenville to Glen Rose, according to www.texasescapes.com
The oldest graves in Johnsville Cemetery are those of the two infant children of Curtis and Annie (Cox) Burks and of W. B. and Mary (Smith) Cox. The children are believed to have died in 1907 and 1910. In 1910, Edward and Martha (Shaw) Cox sold 1.5 acres of land adjoining the church for use as a cemetery. The church was then almost fifteen years old. (There is a weird inside-Davis joke about an unknown baby and the grave it calls home!)
They say, (who is they? I have no idea??) that pioneers from all walks of life settled in the area; teachers, masons, blacksmiths, merchants, soldiers, preachers, farmers, mothers, fathers, children, and many others created the community known as Johnsville. Many of them and their descendants were buried in the Johnsville Cemetery.
As were many Davis’.
In 1998, the Johnsville Cemetery was rewarded with an historical marker and a celebration to commemorate the occasion. We were all there for the ceremony. More Davis history. More family reunions.
Now this historical marker was appropriate because when Mark and I were dating, I lived in Arlington and he lived in China Spring. My parents lived in Granbury. We drove a lot. Together and separate– because we never missed one weekend together, not one-from July 18, 1986 to July 18, 1987, (yes, we got married one year to the date that we met-I told you it was quick-we just knew!)
(Warning–At this point, our children and our parents should stop reading this!) All that driving caused us to stop every once in a while to kiss. So we made-up a game. Every time we saw an historical marker-we stopped and kissed. Did you know there are a lot of historical markers in Texas? We got out of the car and kissed. Romantic. Ok, back to Johnsville…
In 1948, the Johnsville School was consolidated with schools in Pony Creek and Chalk Mountain to form the Three Way School District. (Go Chiggers!! GO!!) By 1997, only the Church of Christ and the cemetery remained as a record of the area’s pioneer settlement. The Johnsville Cemetery continues to serve the area.
It is where we eat. Under the big oak trees, just outside the cemetery, we feast on a pot-luck-church-lady lunch.
In 1980, the estimated population was a mere twenty-five. That same number has been used through 2000. The post office is now closed (sadly, because every year Mark still looks for it as his marker to turn!)
And that’s the history in the books. The history that is more important to the Bob Davis and Don Davis families…
Bob and Don are brothers and they grew up going to Johnsville with their parents. Each married and had children. Bob had Dan,Tim and Lauren and Don had Mark and Dave. The five Davis kids also grew up attending the reunion service every second Sunday in June and have carried on the tradition of attending with their wives and children. Our kids grew up knowing this church- as did Dave’s kids. One day, our grandchildren will attend the family reunion. (Bob already has great grandchildren who have carried on the tradition)
The church has changed over the years, most importantly-air-conditioning and in-door plumbing! I believe the song books have been updated. We still sing the same songs every year, led by each Davis male. The difference is that the five Davis kids and their wives now need readers to see the music. There are many things that haven’t changed-we still sit in the same chairs I have been sitting in for 29 years (who knows how old they actually are). Bad news-there’s still chiggers!
Johnsville is June. Johnsville is Davis. Johnsville is love and God and worship and family. Family reunion.
Johnsville is an important family tradition; it means the world to my father-in-law and because he means the world to us–every second Sunday in June, we go to the little white church in the vale.
A farm-to-table fresh menu, lights strung for atmosphere above a long, communal table, charmingly decorated, and a venue you would never consider dining at, Farm to Table Dinners are all about community, conversation, surprise, and good food and wine.
When you go to a restaurant or attend a dinner party, you generally know what to expect and who you will be dining with. These farm to table events are all about getting out of your comfort zone, being brave, trying new things and meeting new people. And garden-fresh meals from local farms and purveyors, prepared by a chef that is known as much for his biscuits as he is for his gourmet meals.
I have attended several of these in Waco since October and I fall in love with “the dreamy night” every single time.
Mark, on the other hand, is still not quite as in love with these events as I am. In fact, he would probably tell you he doesn’t enjoy them at all. But because he loves me, (and I secretly think he does enjoy them-at least the conversation-community-part-of-it), he continues to go with me. Love for me or love for the event, either way, I appreciate him letting me drag him to the dreamy evenings.
I read somewhere about farm to table dinners- “diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.”
It is actually hard to get tickets to these events and perhaps that lends some mystery and suspense. When I see the event posted, I am freaking out, stumbling all over myself, trying to click the right buttons and get the tickets paid for. Several have been sold out before I could purchase. When I do purchase the tickets- it’s like a score for me! I become elated!
They are announced on Instagram on the accounts of the hosts and through an email. There are only so many tickets available because each event is intimate.
The actual venue and menu are often announced to the participants the night of the event, all a part of the suspense and magic of the evening. A secret society type of evening. All the secrecy lures you in and is a part of the intrigue.
Described as a restaurant without walls, the Farm to Table Dinner Party, in Waco, are planned by Sara Martin, of Kindred Event Studios and coordinated food and wine are provided by Milo and Waco Wine Shoppe.
I would not call the food classic. The menu is definitely different, which is one aspect of the dinner that is so spectacular. It is not just a dinner party. Something magical really.
Sometimes you really don’t know what you are eating. (which is why Mark isn’t so in love!)
Corey McEntyre, chef and owner of Milo Biscuit Company, plans and implements every detail of the menu according to what is available at the farms he sources, locally in Waco.
Some of the venues that have been used in the past have been outside, among the stars, at the World Hunger Farm and also along the Brazos River. We have even dined on the historic Suspension Bridge. Although it was not a Farm to Table; it was catered by Milo.
The last venue we attended was hosted by Jonathon Martin at his studio, Black Oak Art.
The event was originally supposed to be at Gather, a new store opening in Waco, that is a combination of Black Oak Art’s pottery and Kindred Event Studio’s love of entertaining. Gather, The Art of Hospitality, will be mixing traditional southern hospitality with a modern aesthetic. The store was not ready for hosting with construction still in progress. Owners of Gather, Jonathon and Sara Martin, were disappointed to not host the Farm to Table Dinner at Gather. As was I, because I wrote a story about the new store and I am very excited to shop there. But Black Oak Art was just as dreamy.
Black Oak Art was transformed from a dusty, hand-thrown pottery studio into a perfectly quaint dining atmosphere with a lot of hard work within a very few hours.
The meal included a mixture of hors d’oeuvres, family style shared plates, and composed dishes. There was a wine pairing from David Mayfield Selections and also wine was sold by the glass or bottle.
The menu consisted of Shishito peppers, peaches and ricotta cheese served on rye toasted bread, Eggplant Tartines, Gulf Oyster, watermelon with lemon and thyme, and an heirloom tomato salad. And for the main course, Milo served Berkshire pork tenderloin, herbed baby Yukon potatoes, harissa with wilted red cabbage, red onion, feta, mint, dill, parsley. (I don’t know but it was so delicious!)
The final course, and most beautifully done, was a dessert that consisted of a cheesecake-like Fromage, in a mason jar, overturned with fresh blueberry, Cantaloupe ice and a crunchy topping.
Look how dreamy-and it tasted better than it looked. Apparently, Fromage frais is a creamy soft cheese made with whole or skimmed milk and cream. It is similar to some kinds of quark (WHAT???). It has the consistency of cream cheese, but less fat. (so yay!)
This meal was the best yet that Mark and I have had served to us from Milo. And when I say best yet- I mean that we are not used to trying different, gourmet meals-we are a Morton’s steak and potatoes kind of couple!
As I have said, McEntyre is famous for his homemade biscuits. The recipe has been in the family and comes from Georgia by way of his grandparent.
They serve cheeseburgers on biscuits. Fresh chicken, fried and placed on a biscuit. Sausage on biscuits. (duh?) There are other menu items as well– but the biscuits are a must.
You can try these biscuits I speak of at Milo’s food trucks at three locations in Waco, at the Magnolia Silos, on Webster, behind Heritage Creamery, located at 1125 S. 8th Street, across from Baylor, or on Saturday mornings at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, located at 400 S. University Parks Drive. The menu at the food trucks is just as fresh and sourced from local farmers but has more of a downhome feel. Described on the Milo website as “collaboration between southern comfort food and local farmers”, Milo knows how to serve a biscuit.
I asked Corey why he doesn’t serve his biscuits at these fancy dinners and he said he likes to keep it separate, and different. (Sure…but those biscuits!!)
If you have the opportunity to attend a Farm to Table Dinner, in Waco (or anywhere), I highly recommend it. Truly spectacular and a night to remember. Even if you can’t pronounce the menu. Be brave and try it!! (Mark!!)