Archive | September 2017

Misbehaving Cooks

Spicy aromas coming from the kitchen made my mouth water. Maybe if I begged Mom, she’d let me taste something. Bracing myself on the stairway banisters, I began to swing down three steps at a time. Before reaching the main floor, I heard Mom yell, “Supper’s ready!”

Daddy and my sisters flowed out of the living room into the kitchen ahead of me. One brother made a bee-line out of his room at the end of the hall to the table and the other brother quickly stepped in from the entryway. They all looked as hungry as I felt. Hints of garlic, onion, oregano and basil hung tantalizingly in the air.

Mom had placed two large jelly roll pans of homemade pizza on the center of our table. One sister exclaimed, “Those look beautiful!” She was right. The crisp crust around the edges were a light golden brown. Although topped with plenty of melted cheese, I could see chunks of meat, pizza sauce and mushrooms below. Beside the pans were shakers of Parmesan cheese and dried peppers. Continue reading

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Unscheduled Plans

I studied the store’s colorful display, looking for the perfect birthday card for my friend. Other shoppers came, quickly selected and left, but I spent ten minutes intently browsing for a funny one that suited my friends sense of humor. Finally, locating the perfect combination of art, sentiment and price, I headed for check-out.

Later that afternoon, I sat at my desk to write a message in the card. Remembering all the fun we’d had together in the past, I ended with, “Let’s get together some time. We haven’t had a visit in ages!” I put a stamp on the envelope. As I licked the flap to seal it, I sadly thought, “Every year I suggest we get together, but we never seem to do it.”

The phone rang as I returned from the postbox. Another friend I see frequently was on the other end of the line. After a short conversion she ended by saying, “We should go shopping together sometime soon.”

I’m a social shopper, a person who merely runs into stores to pick up needed items when alone, but considers shopping the biggest event of the month when I have company. “That sounds like fun!” I responded.

My friend answered, “Then let’s schedule it. If we don’t, it won’t happen.” We picked a date and noted it on our social calendars. Continue reading

Never Gets Old

My mother sat like a queen on an upholstered rocking chair. Taking turns, my young adult daughters leaned over to greet Grammie with hugs and kisses. June sunshine gently peeked into the room through open living room windows. Outside, someone was mowing the lawn. We could hear the soothing hum of a distant lawn mower and smell freshly cut grass. The rose in a vase on the table next to Grammie’s chair scented the room as a soft, warm breeze fluttered its leaves.

My mother’s gray eyes sparkled. She perfectly fit the textbook picture of a grandmother. Her stylishly waved white hair framed a face with soft pink cheeks and smiling lips tinted to match her easy wash-and-wear, coral-colored polyester pantsuit. She peered intently up at her visiting grandchildren, striving to get a good look at them despite her macular degeneration.

“Happy birthday, Grandma,” my daughters chorused. Continue reading

Big Banana Tree

I frowned when I looked at the pole beans. They weren’t a lush, happy green. Some of the leaves were turning yellow. A few had turned brown and fallen to the ground. This had happened last year, too. Were pesky insects or a virus damaging my bean crop?

Shaking my head, I leaned into the shovel as I dug a hole between the garden rows. When it was deep enough I picked up a bowl filled with potato peals, apple cores, crushed egg shells and banana peels, that I had brought out from the house. Dumping the compost materials into the hole, I covered it with dirt.

Leaning on the shovel, I thought about how I tested the soil several years ago, shortly after my husband Arnie had died. My son-in-law, Mike, had taken over Arnie’s Farm Care business. When he read the results to me, he advised, “You need to add organic matter to the soil.”

Because of his advice, every summer I bury kitchen scraps and in the fall and gather dried maple leaves for the soil.  Glancing around at my walkway vegetable graveyard, I announced to my garden, “The soil needs to be tested again. I have a feeling that something more than organic matter is needed.” Continue reading