Life is Meaningful Because it Stops
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was preparing for this week’s garage sale while Mr. Sundberg spent the evening out in the garage with a number of his friends. They get together every month or so in someone’s basement or garage and grill out and have a few beers or cocktails and tell jokes and stories. The weather wasn’t so great, but there were seven men out there around the fire pit, and I heard a lot of laughter and they kept it going til after ten. Later, as we lay in bed, he told me about it. How they talked not about sports but about recent events in the news and books they have read and the people who have influenced them of late. It’s his version of a Bible study, I think. Our church has one for men, but Mr. Sundberg is often out of town on Tuesday mornings early, and everyone needs a time and place to talk about the Big Thoughts.
What I found most interesting was what he said about mortality. One of his favorite writers is Tolkien, who wrote about The Gift of Men, which is mortality. “See, the Ring was the thing for the hobbits,” he said. “They’re mortal. Which makes them able to resist the power of the ring, and overcome it. If they lived forever, there wouldn’t be anything at stake. Because they can and will die, they have to make choices.” Now, Mr. S is no Einstein, but he is well-read and up on what’s going on in the world, and he’s a thinker. Now and then he brings up something that gets my thoughts going. It didn’t keep me up all night, but I remembered reading a good while back that Kafka said something similar, that life is meaningful because it stops.
And that’s what I thought about all day Sunday while going through closets and drawers and the garage itself in preparation for the garage sale I’m putting on later this week. I do this every few years, mostly for the conversation and good work time for the kids (they receive the bulk of the profits for school trips next year if they help out) and for the feeling of lightening the load of things we carry with us. If we lived forever, would we have garage sales? Would we go to yoga, or meet in garages to talk about life? Would we take such care making a cinnamon coffeecake for a visit with a neighbor in grief?
I think I’m glad we don’t live forever. That it all ends, at least here, anyway, makes washing clothes and baking a pie and getting together with each other and watching a sunset all kind of beautiful. Because everything ends. A gift, indeed, if you think about it.
Mr. Sundberg just about tipped when I suggested a rhubarb marinade for the ribs he made for his friends Saturday night. But he tried it, and the boys ate it all up, along with the dip, which didn’t “match” seasoning-wise, but tasted pretty dang good.
4 lb lean, meaty beef short ribs
½ cup water
½ tsp seasoned salt
1 cup sliced rhubarb
1 envelope onion soup mix (1½ oz.)
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup chili sauce
¾ cup rose wine
⅓ cup water
½ tsp basil
⅛ tsp pepper
Place ribs in 9×13 pan. Add ½ cup water and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for two hours. Combine remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer about half an hour. Pour over ribs and bake another half an hour, uncovered. Baste several times and place on serving platter. Garnish with greens. Serves 6.
Hot ‘n Spicy Tortilla Dip
1 lb ground beef
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chilies
2 tsp chili powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp beef bouillon
Brown ground beef and drain fat. Add all ingredients and stir until cheese melts.
Serve in a crock pot with deli chips or corn chips.