A day of good hard work
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was pure joy, let me tell you, to settle down in my chair by the window with the radio on and a mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Hot chocolate with little marshmallows packed in there. Feet up. Autumn had arrived, and I met it with arms wide open. Spent the day putting a second coat of stain on the deck. Put the first coat on with my dad’s help, and my mom happened to be passing through on her way from the cabin, and we got ‘er done. Finished cleaning out the kitchen cupboards that day, too, and it felt good. Seemed a bit ironic to hear Mr. Keillor sing one of my very favorites, “Heavenly Day.”
Everyone gets a thrill out of something, and one of my things is a day of good hard work. Partly because of how it feels to work hard, and partly because of the feeling that follows. Especially when you’ve got yourself a finished product: a deck stained chestnut brown. It’s about accomplishment, for sure, hard work is. But there’s more: it’s with whom you do the work, what you think about while you’re working, and how you have proof once again that you may be growing older but your parts still work. And then there’s the meaningfulness of it, the meeting of a small need in a very large world. I believe it was Gandhi who said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
I find a thrill in baking, too. “Do you just bake, all the time?” my younger daughter asks. Well, no. I do a lot of things. Insignificant things I happen to find thrilling. Like sweeping. Like paying bills and folding clothes and visiting people I love. Like jumping on my trampoline. And I agree with Gandhi: it’s important that I do them. Why is it important? I don’t know. But I think it has something to do with survival. Somehow doing certain things makes me feel alive. And I like being alive. For sure.
Here’s a recipe I shared a few years back, and, like a good vow or an old love song, it’s worth repeating. This one is good for breakfast, or dessert after a bowl of chili.
Apple Pie Cake
Cream ½ cup butter and 2 cups sugar.
Add 2 eggs and 1 t. vanilla. Beat.
Add 2 cups flour, 1 t. cinnamon, and ½ t. salt.
Mix 1 heaping t. soda and 4 T hot water.
Add and stir. Fold in 4 cups chopped apples
And ½ cup chopped walnuts. (Nuts are generally optional)
Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9×13 cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.
Serve warm with Cool Whip or ice cream or plain.