You Have a Choice

Archived | March 3, 2016 | By

Went to the show again Saturday and it was not bad.  It was a last minute thing, really. A friend called, she’d come down with that awful flu and would I like her tickets for the Prairie Home Show at the Fitz, because she would hate for them to go to waste, and with Mr. Sundberg away giving a talk on meeting the challenges of authenticity, I said, “Heck, yeah,” and called up my daughter who said the very same thing. And was it ever worth the price of admission. The music was over-the-top with Taj Mahal singing, “Queen Bee”, and Robin and Linda Williams with their gospel music, and all the tenderness of Dean Magraw and Peter Ostroushko. Tim Russell did his Donald Trump thing, and with Sue Scott and Fred Newman made me laugh to tears, and Mr. Kriehn’s mandolin playing was somethin’ else, and of course Mr. Dworsky’s piano music. And Mr. Keillor, who held it all together with his stories and smile and songs.

Some things are worth twelve dollars. Like a box of Buster bars from Dairy Queen, one of the better ways to soothe oneself when one is feeling a big mix of feelings, and – after Saturday night’s show — that was me. There were stories in the paper on Sunday, stories about Mr. Keillor and the show itself, and the great run it’s had and speculation about the new show and how sad we all are that he’s leaving the stage.

There are six Buster bars in a box, and I think it was number 3 I was eating when I remembered my mother going through entire boxes of Fudgsicles in attempts to soothe herself in one of the best ways there is. Just eat something that makes you feel a bit better. I remembered her reminding me about moderation, and it’s true, and remembered also how she told me time and again to “always leave a party when you’re having fun.” I didn’t much understand those words at 17, but here in the middle of my life they make good sense to me. Takes some solid self-awareness to take off in the midst of the laughter. Takes some groundedness and courage and a comfort with letting go. All things somewhat foreign to a person of 17. All things to which one might aspire for a happy life.

Thing is, everything has an end, and you have a choice. You can stay at the party till the last balloon pops and be the one left there with the empty glasses and confetti and echoes of the evening. Or. You can hug everyone goodbye and head on out yourself, get some sleep, and find another party tomorrow. Because there will be one, somewhere, and you have a standing invitation. Heck, you might find yourself the host.

If Mr. Keillor were here now, I’d offer him Buster bar number 5, and I would eat the 6th, and we’d sit by the window and — between bites — I’d ask him about ordinary things like road trips and his idea of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich and what one place he might visit could he visit any place. We’d have conversation, and laughter, and I’d offer him some coffee and say, Thank you for all those memories, for all that hard work, and I imagine he’d shake his head at the word “work.” Of course. It was a party after all, and wasn’t it a fine one. And now, on to the next.

Here’s some light and fruity sweetness to welcome in spring. A little butter, maybe, and some coffee on the side and you’re good for a day out in the greening world.

Blueberry Cornmeal Scones

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
2 T sugar
2 T packed light brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ tsp salt
⅓ cup cold butter; cut up
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1½ tsp lime zest
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp cornstarch
3 to 4 tsp lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar
3 T chopped almonds, toasted

In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the mixture adding buttermilk, egg and lime zest. With a fork beat the egg and buttermilk until combined. Stir all the batter together just until moistened. Toss frozen blueberries with cornstarch to coat; add to flour mixture. Stir gently 3 to 5 turns, just until berries are incorporated.

With a large spoon, drop dough into 10 or 12 mounds an inch or so apart on a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are golden. Remove from tray immediately onto a cooling rack.

Whisk, in a small bowl, enough lime juice into powdered sugar until it’s of a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm scones. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve warm.