The Imaginary Place
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. A broadcast recorded the night before at the state fair, and how much fun is that? Would have been more fun to be there, but there’s been work to do with fall coming along and Mr. Sundberg’s back has been bothering him, so slow and steady is the thing. Feels good to work hard out in the cool air, and even better to come in and have a cup of hot cider by the window and a slice or two of gingerbread. Feels good to climb into bed, too, after a day of yard work and a little baking and some thorough cleaning of the kids’ rooms, quiet now and emptied of the kitschy things that make a dorm room or apartment feel like home. Then waking, in the morning, after a solid night of sleep with the window open, and that stretch, first thing, reaching my arms out far as I can. Feels good.
What doesn’t feel good is missing home, and of course I wonder about the kids. The word has been mentioned only once or twice during phone calls and texts. Whispered, feels like, if you can feel that in a text message: “I’m homesick.” Of course, you expect it to come rollin’ down the pipe a week or two after the drop off and that long hug, and the drive home. But it hasn’t been a big topic these few weeks, and that’s a good thing.
Everyone gets homesick now and then. I’ve been homesick in my life, here and there along the way, but lately I’ve realized something: all along, growing up and even now, I’ve never missed home when I felt happy. It’s the spaces in between happinesses when it hits, and you long for not so much a place, but a feeling. The people who know you best. The places with which you’re so familiar you can walk their hallways in the dark. The voices calling from the other room. The familiar spaces of your life.
Someone once said that home is “the imaginary place we spend our lives trying to return to.” Perhaps this is true, but I think that imaginary place is about happiness. When you’re happy, you’ve got that feeling right there inside you. And you can feel it best when you reach out your arms far as you can, open your heart to the sky. Try it some morning, just after you wake. Good way to get it all going.
Here’s a recipe for the season, something delicious to make for someone you love, and a fine excuse for a visit to the orchard. And what better way to spend a Saturday in September?
Apple Fritter Cake
3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1½ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter, melted
6 small apples cored, peeled and diced
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1 T cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
5 T milk
1 T vanilla
Start by mixing all the ingredients for the batter (except the butter) together in a bowl. Once combined, carefully pour in the melted butter. Blend slowly, and pour the batter into a greased 9×13 pan, any smaller and it will overflow while baking. Evenly distribute the apples over the top of the batter.
In a separate bowl mix together the topping. It will be thick so do your best to drop scoops of it evenly over the apples. Then take a knife and swirl it all over the pan allowing the topping to fall into the apples and batter below.
Bake at 350 degrees for at least 40 minutes. Depending on how many apples you put in and how juicy they were you may need to increase your time. If the top is getting too brown you can always tent some foil on top.
Once baked, let sit for 20 minutes and then pour the glaze all over the cake.