The Real Comfort

Archived | September 20, 2013 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I puttered around the kitchen all evening, cleaning out cupboards and kind of taking stock of what I have and don’t have, wiping down the pantry shelves, filling a bag or two for the food shelf at church and making a note to vacuum behind the fridge one of these days. I made a grocery list for fall baking, and pulled out a few recipes for the week — gingersnaps and stroganoff and apple cranberry pie. Then, last of all, I put away all the dishes and wiped out the sink.
Most nights are like that. Especially when Mr. Sundberg is gone, I often stay up awhile after the kids hit the sack and I kind of center myself by putting things back in order. I can still sleep without doing so, mind you, but evening chores are a nice way to wind down. I remember when I was young, my mother tucking in me and my brothers, leaving the hall light on and heading downstairs.
That hall light had to stay on. If it didn’t, one of us hollered. And then another of us hollered. We kept hollering, “Turn the hall light on!” until she did. That light was less comfort than habit, I think. The real comfort was in the sounds coming up the heating vent from the kitchen: water running; glasses clinking; the quiet brush of the broom over the floor, my father’s voice wrapping itself around my mother’s as they discussed weekend plans, or laughed about Lord knows what. I could hear the screen door open and shut as my father let the family dog out to pee, and let ‘er back in again. I could hear the shove and click of doors being shut for the night, and the flip of switches, and the footsteps of my parents as they headed up to bed — father’s usually first, then mother’s. I listened as they brushed their teeth, talked about church on Sunday, and how the woodpile needs to be shored up, and it was to the sound of their quiet bed talk that I often faded into sleep.
I miss those night sounds of my parents. Now, when I lie in bed at night, I hear the train across town, and dogs barking. I hear creaks, and crickets, and the wind. The even, quiet breathing of the kids in their sleep. All good sounds, and sweet, for the falling.
This is an easy one, and better than just about anything when you’re craving chocolate and don’t have a whole lot of time. You can fancy up these cupcakes with frosting, or eat ’em plain.
Cream Cheese Filled Cupcakes
8 oz cream cheese
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
6 oz chocolate chips
Dash salt
Cream cheese and sugar; mix in egg, then chips and salt.
Make your favorite chocolate cake mix according to directions. Fill muffin cups ½ full of batter, drop healthy teaspoonful of filling into center, add a bit more batter til cream cheese is covered and muffin cup is about ¾ full. Bake according to directions for cupcakes. No need for frosting for these cupcakes; you’ll find it in the middle.