Guidance on the Highway of Life

Archived | September 29, 2015 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Was driving home from visiting our youngest away at college, and it was plain ol’ bliss toolin’ along through the Minnesota countryside with the windows open and the sun setting behind me. Something about a road trip that’s always had its pull, and I never mind for a moment the words, “Can you pick me up?” 

There’s the landscape, some of the most beautiful fields and forests and lakes anywhere. There’s the likelihood of a new restaurant or supper club or tavern or café to visit, with a menu I’ve never seen and something inevitably delicious to share. There’s the conversation, too, and if I am alone, there’s good music and open windows and the sky right there all ‘round. And at night, well that’s something, that cozy feeling with the heat on and the dash lit up, streetlights here and there, and the hum of other cars along the road.

I don’t worry much when I’m on a road trip. I get lost, I stop and ask. There’s always someone friendly who knows something about why the car is doing what it does, or what road, exactly, I need to find. Most people, if you ask, are happy to help, and some will go the extra mile. I’ve been escorted to destinations by police officers, car repair guys, and older women with nothing else going on. Even young children have guided me along. “Where can I find a raspberry Bismarck in town?” Right down that street, take a left, and there’s the Bakery.

And there was that time, while taking the back roads for a change, I found myself in a cow pasture in the middle of nowhere, with the first snow beginning to fall and everything white and no sense of which way was home. It was Mr. S who answered my call, and who, somehow, in a matter of minutes, had me calmed down and breathing evenly and driving in the general direction of home, where he greeted me half an hour later with a smile on his face and a big ol’ hug and no mention of the word “dingbat” which might have been in order.

Mr. S and I were riding along this past Tuesday on our way to the post office, and he slowed a bit to let someone in ahead of us. “Hmm,” he said. “I didn’t get a little wave. That’s odd.” And it was. You see it everywhere, people waving little waves of thanks for small gestures of kindness out there on the road.

In all the glory of moving about this big ol’ world, we get lost. We break down. We can’t always find what we’re seeking, and we don’t always know where we are. That, my friends, is one reason we have each other. To ask for directions. To ask for help. To ask for some guidance on the Great Highway of Our Lives. And to give a little wave now and then saying, “I noticed that, thank you, I wish you well.”

Here’s a simple recipe for a wonderful meal. Serve it up with cornbread after a day at the apple orchard, or bring it along to a Sunday potluck. Have some fun with it, too, and throw in some corn or fresh cilantro and make it your own.

Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

1 T oil
½ lb hot Italian sausage links, sliced, quartered
1 Sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
1 can (14½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14½ oz) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 green pepper, chopped
½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s would be my choice)
1 lb frozen cooked shrimp, thawed, tails optional
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
Dash or two of cayenne pepper, or a flavored Tabasco (chipotle), optional

Salt and/or pepper to taste

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.
Add sausage and onions; cook and stir 10 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink.
Place into a medium stockpot. Saute pepper a bit if you wish, and add to sausage mixture.
Add remaining ingredients to stockpot; mix well. Bring to a gentle boil; cover.
Remove from heat; let stand 5 min. Season as desired and stir.

Serve with homemade cornbread and a bowl of your favorite beans.

Recipe doubles easily for a hungry lot.