Young Love at Summer’s End
Made some Hawaiian cheesy bread Saturday, and it was not bad. The kids were around and the air was just right and we ate sitting out on the porch. The kids took the steps and Mr. S and I the swing, and we enjoyed some kabobs and grilled pineapple and Hawaiian bread. Wasn’t long before the light turned the soft gold of an autumn evening, and the married daughter drove off with her husband, windows down and music loud. A cd of the two of them playing ukuleles and singing, “You Are My Sunshine.” Our son’s girlfriend appeared in her parents’ truck and off they went, holding hands, down the street for ice cream at the General Store. (This week’s feature is “Zanzibar Chocolate.” Hard serve, the real thing.) And our younger daughter? She disappeared without a sound. As Mr. S brought in the dishes, I set to washing and I could see the light from her room illuminate the oak tree out back, and hear her soft murmurs through the open window. She was, to be sure, talking with her boyfriend, who is already at college where he has been working for the summer.She’s been packing for weeks now, it seems, when she’s not at work helping local farmers and gardeners, and dog sitting for her former teachers. She’s even hauled a few loads of books and clothes to the house where she’ll be living with some friends and her brother, who has put in so many hours at the nursing home he hasn’t had time to think much about packing. And with his girlfriend around, well, he’ll pack the day before we rent the trailer, and she is headed to the same school, so there you have it.
Young love at summer’s end. I remember it well. All those hours on the phone. Enough energy to walk all day and stay up all night talking. Dressing up for dates, writing letters while apart, throwing rocks at bedroom windows in the middle of the night. Groups of girls and boys skinny dipping out at the river. Drive-in movies and meeting each other’s parents and picking berries and helping bring in the hay and the corn. Together. Malts at the café, barn dances, kissing each other goodbye for the evening, the week, for who-knew-how-long. And more letters. And that longing. And no thoughts ever about jury duty or paying for utilities or finding a sitter or whether or not to buy travel insurance.
It was a fine thing, that young love, but I wouldn’t go back. Middle-aged love is pretty dang good. We talk on the phone, go dancing and get ice cream and visit each other’s parents. Sure, we’ve served jury duties and pay bills and find someone to watch the dog, and it’s been awhile since we went skinny dipping (hmm….) and the last time we talked into the night, Mr. S began to snore just as I got to the best part of my story about the hay wagon accident I witnessed over at Mears’ Junction. I can’t say I blame him. He worked hard that day cutting wood and working on his latest motivational speech, “Work to Live, Not Live to Work.” I just kept talking and finished my story, turned off the light and lay there thinking about how it’s been a while since we’ve been to Alaska, and how beautiful it must be this time of year, and maybe we’ll plan a trip there next summer (minus the argument about travel insurance), and I turned on my side and put my hand on his chest like I always do, and felt his heart there, beating even and strong as it has every night these many good years.
Call me a “Breadhead” but I can’t resist. Bread is my favorite food group; always has been, always will be. For this recipe you buy the bread and transform it into an appetizer, a snack, a side dish, a main course (throw some Spam chunks in with the cheese). It’s good on a sunny day, when the kids want to picnic outside and all you have to do is turn on the sprinklers and they can run through and wash all the cheesy goo off their faces and arms.
Hawaiian Cheesy Bread
1 loaf Hawaiian sweet bread
8 oz chunk of Swiss cheese
3-4 slices red onion, chopped
½ cup butter, melted
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
Cut bread diagonally into 1 inch slices, stopping within 1 inch of bottom of loaf.
Repeat cuts in opposite direction. Place loaf on large piece of foil in which you will eventually wrap it. Cut Swiss cheese into ¼-inch slices, and cut slices into small pieces and sprinkle into bread. Combine the remaining ingredients and spoon over the bread. Wrap loaf in foil and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted.
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