It is all about attitude, according to Margaret Saul who at age 90 still writes articles for magazines including the September/October issue of Grit, a publication devoted to “cooking, reflecting and growing your rural life.” Using her extensive travels as reference, Saul writes descriptively about food she experienced during her adventures. Included in the Grit article are recipes from countries she visited.
When talking with Saul at Eagle Cove Assisted Living and Retirement Facility, her positive attitude was apparent. Looking younger than 90 with bright fingernail polish, lipstick and large sparkly earrings, Saul laughed frequently as she recounted her life experiences. As a writer of poetry as well as articles, Saul proudly told about a poem titled “Your Attitude” that was published and then used in a southern California jail to help incarcerated inmates.
The first poem sold by Saul was about a rocking chair. It was inspired by a friend, ten years older, who refused to sit in a rocking chair because “they are for older people.” Saul responded with humor that she always had a rocking chair during her lifetime. For her, rocking chairs just changed sizes over the years. Saul told about rocking her children and other such pleasurable duties.
Married to her first husband, Bob, for 51 years, Saul raised five children. Even losing one to cancer did not dim her spunky spirit. After Bob passed, three years later Saul remarried but after six years again became a widow. Today, Saul spends her time with other Eagle Cove residents and writing. Her daughter, Laurie, lives nearby and the two women are close. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Laurie, too, has written poems.
Saul began writing when she was just nine, beginning with poetry about her family. Her parents also wrote but were not published. As she says, writing is in her blood. Continuing in this trend as she grew up, Saul was feature’s editor while attending Whittier College in Southern California. Over the years she wrote for many other publications as well.
Saul’s interest in food and cooking started when she was 12. Her father often worked on Saturdays and taking Saul’s mother with him left Saul home. Back then, it was safe to leave kids home for a couple of hours, Saul reflected. While waiting for her parents to come home, Saul learned to cook dinner.
Later traveling with Bob, Saul retained her love of good meals and cooking and collected recipes from European countries and other places they visited. It was natural for Saul to write about those experiences.
In the two articles Saul had available at Eagle Cove, there were recipes for comfort foods such as Irish stew, Danish Meatballs and other international delights. Also included was a Russian recipe for Beef Stroganoff, from a friend, because Saul has not yet had the opportunity to visit that northern Eurasian country.
Writing about, as she called it “peasant fare,” Saul described a “kilt-clad Scotsman standing in the field playing bagpipes as we drove by” and an evening meal on a rooftop where the “entire city glittered with lights.” Her words painted a picture of each experience.
Saul is proficient with a computer and has written other articles on subjects such as the seaside town of Bandon that was published in the Grants Pass Courier. Having lived nine decades, Saul has seen a lot of changes in her lifetime and said she is not worried about much. In general, her only concern is weakening eyesight. Not letting this slow her down, Saul is in fact already planning her next article with the approval of Grit’s publisher. As Saul said, it is all about attitude.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent