One Whole Day
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I’d finally had a day — what I’d wished for — just One Whole Day — and what a day it was. The kids were all off at various camps: Horse Camp, Fishing Camp, and Praise Camp, and Mr. Sundberg was on a marathon tour of speaking engagements on the topic of “The Value of Difficulty: Finding the Good In a Bad Time.”
Whatever it is you long for, it sits there on the horizon, edged in silver, hovering, and as you near it you tremble, thinking, “At last, at long last,” and it hardly seems real. So when I woke up Saturday with no one around, no alarm, no kids hollering for breakfast, no television blaring — only silence — I looked at the clock and saw it was 6:03 a.m. One Whole Day all my own, however I wanted to spend it. And oh, did I have plans.
Emphasis on the “did.” I lay there awhile, all warm and cozy, and when I decided at last to get up, it was after 8. No big deal. I took a long, hot shower, dressed, made a few calls and mailed a few letters, and by then it was almost noon and I was hungry so I grilled a few chicken breasts and French bread and made some fancy sandwiches and ate them on the porch with a glass of wine. Good wine which I’d purchased a while back for a special day, which this was. So I had another glass, and a peanut butter truffle, which I’d bought at the fudge shop in a little town on the way back from dropping one of the kids off at camp. It was so delicious I had to have another, this one caramel, and half a glass more of wine to wash it all down. Which made me a bit drowsy, so I lay down on the couch with a magazine article about a couple who met at Woodstock and who have been together since and I somehow dozed off. I was awakened some time later by the phone ringing. It was Mr. Sundberg calling to see how things were going and I said, Fine, and he said he’d be home the next day in the late afternoon and hoped I was enjoying my day. Just after I hung up the doorbell rang. It was the UPS man with a package, and while I was talking with him, the phone rang again. It was a counselor from Horse Camp and would I give permission for ibuprofen to be administered as there was a minor incident, nothing to worry about, a bruised knee, of course they’ll keep me updated.
It was mid-afternoon and there was really nothing for dinner except leftover chicken, so I shredded it and seasoned it and made a frittata with eggs and corn. I finished the laundry and watered the plants and took a walk in the woods while my dinner was baking. When I got back, it was almost time for the show, so I served up my frittata on a plate and poured another glass of wine and cranked the stereo’s volume to “7” and sat myself down on the couch. I turned the phone’s ringer to “Off” and let out one big long sigh as Mr. Keillor launched into song. After the show, I did up the dishes, took a long, hot bath, and watched the evening news, and an old movie on the only channel that comes in clearly. Even slept on the couch because it’s so dang comfortable.
A few days have passed since my one whole day. I won’t say I have regrets about how I spent it; I will say things aren’t always what you expect. That silver edging sometime turns out to be aluminum foil. Thing is, I got to be alone with my thoughts awhile. And I took a nap. Both fine and rare occasions, and so I am grateful.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
The weather cooled off this past week and I found myself craving homemade macaroni and cheese. Here’s a recipe that’s fairly simple, and the result is a creamy, rich dish everyone will love.
3 T butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 ½ cups milk
2 c. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1 (16 oz.) box elbow macaroni
In large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, mustard and pepper until smooth; remove from heat. Stir in milk until smooth and continue for 10 minutes until thick; remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, Velveeta cheese and Mozzarella cheese until melted. Place cooked macaroni in a greased casserole dish, pour cheese mixture over and mix well. Sprinkle paprika and leftover Cheddar on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Recipe can be halved if you’d rather go that route.