Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. Returning to her home-state of Michigan, she did stringer work over the years, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations. Diane self-published two books in the early 2000’s, and she became a columnist for a weekly magazine, for four years. She is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her books to date are: Carolina in the Morning, On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing, Texting Mr. Right, Winter Wonderland and This Side of Heaven. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-three years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals, and live in the Sunshine state.
Her First Peach Cobbler
Excerpt from This Side of Heaven
by Diane Dean White
Darlene excused herself when she saw everyone had completed their meal, and dished up ample servings of peach cobbler into matching china bowls, and carried them on a tray to the dining room. She removed each plate, and placed individual bowls in front of them, and quickly retreated to the kitchen with the dirty dishes, then returned to her own chair.
She happily waited holding her breath as Brett took his first bite of cobbler. She didn’t expect a war hoop, but perhaps something close to it. Instead she saw a big smile as he appeared to slowly swallow the bite. “Um…tastes good, Darlin’.”
Maddie puckered her lips with a frown and Mark left it on his tongue looking toward Brett. Aunt Ethel broke the silence, “I’ve spoiled your lovely dessert by eating too much supper. The roast, your home-made chili sauce and bread and butter pickles were delicious, Darlene.” She placed her napkin on the opposite side of the bowl and got up. “I believe I’ll retire for the evening, if you will excuse me please. Goodnight everyone.”
“Yes, of course. Goodnight, Aunt Ethel.” Darlene’s gaze followed her and returned to watch Brett.
“Mama, this doesn’t taste like Miss Myrtle’s peach cobbler.” Maddie made a sour face and put her spoon down.
Darlene quickly placed her spoon into the cobbler and then to her mouth. She tried to swallow it. “Oh, no! What happened to my cobbler?”
Brett pushed his chair back and leaned toward her. “Now, Darlin’ this is your first try with fresh peaches, and it may take on a different taste.” He looked over at the kids as if to warn ‘don’t say another word’. But his look was intercepted by Darlene.
“You need not pretend it’s good. I can tell there’s way too much salt, and baking soda. I didn’t put more than the amount Tiny told me. What a let-down with all those fresh peaches we peeled.”
Darlene rose and went out to the kitchen cupboard. She took the flour container down and placed some on her finger to taste. “Oh! This is self-rising flour.” She went into the dining room and spoke to her daughter. “Maddie, when Tiny dropped the flour was it from a new bag with an orange colored name on it?”
“Yes, Mama. She didn’t mean to, but when she opened it, it slipped out of her hands and went all over the place. She said she’d tell you, but was sure glad you had some to use for your cobbler.”
“What she dropped was all-purpose flour, which requires salt, soda and baking powder to make it rise. The self-rising flour is in the bin, where I thought the all purpose flour was. We have a double dose of salt, baking powder and soda.” Her shoulders sagged and she gave a light laugh. “Please everyone, just leave it. Next time it will taste better. I promise. ”
More about This Side of Heaven:
Darlene arrives in rural Georgia with her two preschoolers to escape an abusive marriage. In hiding, she struggles to adjust to a secretive life among the pecan trees and gardenias. Then comes an unexpected visit from a neighbor. Detective Brett Gafee is married to his job and his community, and heir to large pecan orchards. Expectations of a loving relationship dwindle over the years, and he sets aside all thoughts of marriage. Then he introduces himself to Darlene. Is it fate or the Lord that brought them together? Will Darlene adjust to the southern ways and become the loving wife she so desperately wants to Brett? Can she imagine the life that awaits her?
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