Springtime will do that to a person

Archived | April 27, 2009 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It’s been a rainy stretch of days, and I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the tiny bits of green shooting up here and there, and the longer days, and the smell of earthworms. I’m loving the white flowers whose name I don’t know, and the thunderstorms rumbling over throughout the day. Bring on the mayflies. Bring on the rain. It all makes me want to bare my legs and wander through a meadow gathering hazelnuts in my skirt and sunlight on my skin.
Springtime will do that to a person. It’ll take you back to the time when you were most innocent and free. You close your eyes and breathe in, and you remember playing among sheets billowing on the clothes line and your father rubbing your mother’s legs on the couch while watching the evening news, and homemade Jell-O popsicles and grass-stains on your jeans, the knees of which your mother patched with iron-on denim patches. You wore T-shirts with rainbows on them and rode your banana seat bike along the railroad tracks and gathered taconite pebbles in Mason jars and stored them on your bookcase next to E. B. White and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume. You fished from the dam and wrote elegies for dead pets and promised your friends you’d always be friends no matter what. And every night, as you stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, you watched the sun set on the horizon, just past the Knudtson’s farm.
It was the time before taxes and tornadoes and therapy and breast lumps. The time before standardized test score results mattered all that much, before foreclosures and septic issues and friends with terminal cancer or HIV or an attraction to your spouse. Before keeping track of what you eat, and how much, or why. Before worrying about how you smell, before the word “sag” had any meaning, before “wild” meant natural, not promiscuous or crazy.
It’s not that I want to be young again. Nah. Innocence is bound to go. Wouldn’t give up my lines and lessons for anything. Lovely, though, that springtime brings it all ’round again. One daughter has been making mud pies with leaves and rocks and moss. She calls them “poultices” and has a station all set up for that very purpose. My son takes long walks with a big stick in his hand. He is gone for a long while and is full of stories about wild turkeys and something crashing through the woods and something dead by the road. They all love fishing; they want a tire swing, and a tree house, and a dog.
“I don’t ever want to grow up,” one of them says. Neither do I, I reply.
Rhubarb Pudding
Here’s another one for spring. You can serve this sweet pudding up with a dollop of Cool Whip or a scoop of ice cream. It’s just right for an evening barbecue or coffee with friends.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk
4 cups sliced rhubarb
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 375. Mix flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Beat the egg, butter, and milk in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until moistened, then spread into the prepared baking dish. Stir together the rhubarb, 2 cups of sugar, and the water; pour into the baking dish. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place the pudding dish on top. Bake until the dough has set and the rhubarb is bubbly, about 40 minutes.