Is everyone ‘over the hills and through the woods’ on their way to Grandma’s yet? At the moment, The Professor and I are in the air on our way to Arizona to visit family for the holidays; I’m rocking out to Michael McDonald bringing it home with ‘Children Go Where I Send Thee’ and there are two puppies under each of our seats traveling with their owners seated behind us. It’s a full plane with other grandparents, tired moms and dads, even more tired littles – but everyone traveling anticipates the arrival of Santa and of being with people they love for the holidays.
And suddenly, it was September. The Professor and I are home this month and we’ve been taking advantage of ‘no travel’ by tidying up our abode – fresh paint on walls, dusting everything in the rooms from floor to ceiling and moving furniture around. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as ‘fall-cleaning’ but if there is, this is what we’ve been doing.
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Musical pairing – Watermelon Man by Mongo Santamaría
The first whack of my knife against the variegated green and the thick skin of a watermelon bursts open revealing pink-red flesh speckled with jet-black tear-dropped seeds. I’m reminded of the Little House on Ankeny Street where the scent of burning Kingsford briquettes permeate the neighborhood, screen doors smack shut, then screech open just as quickly as wire springs are yanked into action by small hands.
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Musical pairing – Glitter In The Air by Pink
My mother used to make quite a few of our family meals in a large, silver, Waring Dutch oven: Sunday pot roast, soups, spaghetti sauce, boiled potatoes for potato salad and many more dishes that escape my memory at the moment. But one of my favorites was rhubarb compote – although my 10-year-old self didn’t call it ‘compote’ – my 10-year-old self wasn’t as sophisticated back then (said tongue-in-cheek) – it was simply ‘cooked rhubarb.’
Just the name of this Dutch Baby takes me on a journey . . . it takes me back to the little house on Ankeny Street . . . and for some reason memories of my Grandma and Grandpa on my dad’s side come flooding back. Grandpa used to sing to me when I was a child. . . we would sit in his big, off-white leather recliner and he would sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to me . . . he had a familiar smirk like that of my father . . . and he smoked a pipe with cherry tobacco . . . to this day, my nose gets a whiff of cherry tobacco and I am instantly transported back to Walla Walla, my grandparents’ home and that big leather chair . . .
Musical pairing – Home by Michael Bublé
I don’t really remember actually eating tomatoes while living in the little house on Ankeny Street, I’m sure I did because we grew them in our garden and I know that my grandmother grew them in her garden. In fact, I believe that everyone who had a garden, grew tomatoes. In my family, we ate tomatoes on a hamburger or chopped up and made into salsas, soups or some type of pasta sauce. Tomato ‘jam’ or ‘chutney’ didn’t exist in my corner of the world – those were kinda fancy for a little town like Walla Walla . . .