That Feeling of Care-freeness

Made some strawberry dessert yesterday and it was not bad. The weather wasn’t bad either. Not sunny but not dark and cloudy. A bit of wind blowing and the smell of spring in the air. Perfect day for a road trip, so that’s exactly what we did. Got into the car and headed north awhile along country roads. Ducks and geese sat in pairs here and there along the way, and we saw a red fox and more birds in the air and it was entirely relaxing. Listened to the radio awhile and talked about where we might go on our next vacation and decided maybe Italy or Scotland or even a train trip across Canada.

I have always loved road trips. For me they’re about scenery, conversation, silence and that feeling of care-freeness in simply going somewhere. No definite destination except a place with coffee and soup or pie along the way, nothing fancy, nothing formal. It was like that when I was young. My father would holler, “Who wants to go for a ride?” and my brothers and I would come running and pile into the back seat of the big station wagon and off we’d go. He would take us out on the country roads and up through the hills around my small town. A lover of nature, Dad pointed out unusual trees and random wild life, and sometimes he would park the car and we’d get out and go on a hike in the woods. There he showed us morels growing around rotting trees, winter green berries hidden under their leaves, and markings of deer in rut on the low-hanging limbs of trees. Worn out after a while, we piled back into the car and off we’d go to get some ice cream at the local café. One big scoop on a sugar cone, and the ride home silent as we ate and listened to Johnny Cash on the radio.

Such days those were. Now that I look back, I imagine he took us out on rides to give our mom a break awhile. She did come along sometimes, but most often she stayed home and waved us goodbye from the porch. Funny thing, how we all have different ways of relaxing and just being in the world. Sometimes it’s a car ride, sometimes it’s a hike. And sometimes it’s being home alone awhile with quiet in the house, the radio playing a song from way back when, and an apple-rhubarb cobbler in the oven. Which is how I’m spending today, and I like it. And I’m reminded that – wherever we may go — the destination is, inevitably, home.

Here’s something light and sweet for a cloudy spring day. Just the thing to share with whomever might drop by.

Whipped Strawberry Sensation

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
8 OREO cookies, finely chopped
1 T butter, melted
Line 8-4 inch loaf pan with foil. Mash 2 cups of strawberries in a large bowl. Stir in condensed milk, juice and 2 cups Cool Whip; pour into pan.
Top with combined chopped cookies and butter; press into mixture. Cover.
Freeze at least 6 hours. To serve, invert onto plate. Remove foil. Frost with remaining Cool Whip. Top with remaining strawberries, sliced.
Makes 12 servings.

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