So Much to Look Forward To
Listened to the show Saturday, and it was not bad. I’ve been doing an admirable job, I think, of keeping up my spirits despite the slow drag of winter’s end, but there have been moments when it all gets to me and I feel a bit down. Not sad, but there’s a kind of grasping feeling that takes over and it feels as if I’m reaching for hope. Which seems a little silly because I know inside that spring really is just around the corner. And it’s not spring itself that I love so much, but what comes with it — grass and flowers and warm breezes and new scents; fruit spilling out of the bowl on the counter, the kids giggling, the doorbell sounding more often, the broom’s sweep replacing the shovel’s grate, and walks. Long walks with Mr. Sundberg along the edge of the forest, walks down dirt roads, walks around lakes.
What I like about walking is that it feels like what we are supposed to do. I’ve never been a good runner. Tried, but I feel from head to toe a kind of agony I see on the faces of other people running. I admire the endeavor, for sure, but it’s not for me. This body doesn’t need any more jarring than it gets on the domestic level. I’ll take a good walk over almost any outdoor activity. Except maybe swimming, but that’s a whole other adventure.
Walks with Mr. Sundberg are my favorite. Few and far between with our busy days and his long absences, but when we do get out, especially rounding the curves of the lake, the whole world feels right. And we talk. About the kids, about summer, about his latest idea for a motivational talk. We talk about our dreams — what our dream house will look like, skylights and huge porch and pizza oven on the patio included — and we talk about places we’d like to go together, places neither of us have been, and what we would do there. His place is England and Scotland, I think, where we would wander the countryside, mostly, and see some plays, and just be together. My place has changed over the years, and lately I’m thinking New Zealand is where I’d like to go, for the distance and the majestic scenery and we would have a picnic there, out in all of that beauty. We hold hands sometimes, on our walks, and now and then we pause, and hug each other, and kiss. Just for a moment. Feels like a centering kind of thing, a reminder that we’re each here, and together, and he gets that twinkly smile going, and I feel like blushing but I’m not sure whether I am, and we walk on.
They happen all year round, those pauses. But something about spring makes us linger a bit. The birds are singing, and there are flowers, and there’s so much to look forward to. There really is.
One of the best things about Easter is The Ham. The question is, what sauce? This year it’s something new and a bit off the beaten path: rhubarb sauce. When you think about it, it makes total sense. I’d go with fresh rhubarb if you can, and try a pinch of clove if you’re so inclined.
Ham with Rhubarb Sauce
4 lb ham, boneless and fully cooked
3 cups rhubarb, fresh (or 16-oz frozen cut rhubarb)
1¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup orange juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
¾ tsp dry mustard
1 cinnamon stick
Do not preheat oven. Place ham, straight from the refrigerator, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and add 1/2 cup water. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ham. Cover the pan tightly with foil, leaving the thermometer dial exposed. Roast at 325 until ham registers 135 degrees, about 19-23 minutes per pound.
While the ham is cooking, combine rhubarb, sugar, orange juice, orange peel, dry mustard and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick.
Remove aluminum foil from ham and spoon a bit of sauce over the ham 15 minutes before end of cooking time. When thermometer hits 135 degrees, pull it out of the over, and allow ham to stand, covered, about 10 minutes, or until the thermometer registers 140. Serve remaining sauce with ham. Makes 2¼ cups sauce.