Reading: Shine On, Bright & Dangerous Object by Laurie Colwin
Her two remedies covered all ailments: a hot shower if you were sick, a cold one if overemotional. Everything at both her houses was immaculate and arranged for comfort, and she was a good, plain cook. When you saw at Little Crab Harbor the wicker baskets of freshly pressed sheets she brought up from Boston, or the bunches of red basil hanging upside down from a beam in the kitchen to dry, or the sheen on her copper pots, or the intelligent books and eclectic pile of magazines she kept in the guest rooms, you thought you were in the presence of domestic splendor. But when you got to know Meridia, you saw she didn't much care. If her boys, or a storm, or a wrecking company with the wrong address had smashed her house, melted down those gleaming copper pots and burned to ash her needlework couch and braided rugs, you had the feeling that nothing would flicker across her face, and as she coped heroically she might make a case for the charm of a spare life. There was not an ounce of sentiment in her, and she doted on nothing she owned. She remembered birthdays, anniversaries, and other ritual events with the aid of a big leather diary in which she noted the upcoming social events of her life. Meridia had replaced feeling with efficiency; it served her very well and it looked like the same thing. Sam's drowning was only a hard, harsh fact in her life.
— Laurie Colwin, Shine On, Bright & Dangerous Object