First, the bad news. I got word yesterday afternoon that an Austin institution has died. Sarah Ransom, the crusty owner of the Dry Creek Cafe and who retired to the country a few years back, passed away on Thursday a week shy of her 96th birthday. She definitely left her mark on Austin, having earned the appellation "meanest bartender" for refusing to take any crap off anybody, especially her customers.
Normally I would not have been aware of the meanest bartender in Austin, since I don't frequent bars. Sarah's beer joint, however, was directly across the street from the house where an old friend lives and I remember one night in particular when she scared the bejesus out of me.
My friend was down with a bad back and I had stopped by to deliver some restorative soup for his supper. A short while after I arrived, he decided he needed to go to the hospital and had me call for an ambulance transfer. The ambulance had barely pulled into the driveway before Sarah was storming up the stairs and demanding to know what was going on. She was half my size and twice my age, but I cowered in her wake as she proceeded to direct the entire process of getting the patient down a steep staircase and into the ambulance. She was no nonsense and she did not suffer fools gladly and somewhere inside was a heart of gold. She was one of a kind and whether you liked her or feared her or thought she was an old battle-axe, she earned your respect. I bet she has the angels stepping lively right now.
In the arena of good news, today I attended my first meeting of the Lost Pines Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was unanimously accepted into their membership (pending approval of papers proving my eligibility, of course). About 25-30 local professional women attended a brunch in a historic house in Bastrop. I reaquainted myself with a few ladies I knew from past business dealings and I acquainted myself with a lady who turned out to be old friends with cousin Maxine. I ate well, toured a beautiful Victorian house, and was reminded how nice it is to be able to socialize with smart, professional women who share my interest in historical preservation. Hopefully my application will go together smoothly and I can make this a regular activity.
When I arrived home, I went out to check on my vegetable garden and make sure the heavy rain this morning had not caused any damage. On the contrary, my little tomato plants have shot up over the past few days of rainy weather.
And if you look closely, you will see the first actual green tomato .
Home grown tomatoes. Nothing better.