Sunday, May 23, 2010

Short Week, Bake Sale, and Softball

After returning to the farm Monday night, I was faced with a short week with several obligations, so I stayed behind through today.

Tuesday was a final eye check up, and that was good. Wednesday was a board meeting for the Illinois chapter of Trail of Tears Association. Since it was at Morris Library in Carbondale, I felt I ought to use the opportunity to visit the new quarters for the Special Collections department—which I had last visited during the remodeling when Special Collections was at a temporary quarters way down on the south end of campus. The new room was beautiful and the librarians their usual extraordinary selves. They are so friendly and so helpful. I can’t wait to plan a research session there again someday. The Carolyn Plochman art exhibit had already ended despite the misinformation in the local paper, but one painting is on permanent display.

Thursday was the monthly Southern Illinois Writers Guild meeting, and since I had missed the last two months and I wanted to hear Misti Sandeful, I choose that instead of a graduation party I also wanted to attend. Friday I was involved with a project here in my office, and the women’s college softball NCAA regionals had begun. So there were games to watch on GameTracker. Georgia was hosting their regional and won their first game in this double elimination tournament, but A&M who were down at Baton Rouge lost their first one. My intention after Gerry’s game was to go back to the kitchen and make cupcakes with the mix and can of fudge icing that I had laid out on Tuesday. I was tired and procrastinated till the next morning.
Before I left on my four-day trip north, a phone call from our Women’s Club president told me the group had decided (at the last meeting of the year which I had missed) that they needed to have a rummage and bake sale to raise some funds for sending our delegate to a state meeting. (Like many clubs associated with national organizations, most of the dues goes to headquarters, so the local club has to be creative for funds.)

That is why I needed to bake cupcakes. I had gathered up a few things for the rummage sale, but I am not good about giving up things. I did commit to bring something for the bake sale. I thought I remembered from my bake sale days that little kids accompanying their mothers liked to be able to buy an inexpensive cupcake. I have not been involved with a bake sale since Mary Ellen was a senior in high school and that was with the Class of 1981. Before that I was frequently frantically called upon to donate something to some bake sale one of my children had forgotten to tell me about.

I went to bed earlier than usual so I’d wake up Saturday morning to do the cupcakes, which don’t take long to bake. Fortunately, someone called Gerald who was not in the house and though I did not get to the phone in time to answer it, I was up to bake. After I turned the oven on still half asleep, I got out the cupcake pan and started searching the cabinet for cupcake papers. I was out! There was a box of mini cup papers, but no pan for such small cupcakes. I have no idea why I had bought those. Obviously for some unaccomplished project long forgotten. Hmmm.

Nothing is easier than using a German chocolate cake mix with a can of icing to make a fairly good-looking cake that most people like, so that was my next move. After it was in the oven baking, I realized that the cake carrier that I use to carry cakes to pot lucks would not work since I did not want to give it away. So I had to start searching for some sort of container to deliver the cake and allow the customer to use to carry the cake home. Oh, I also needed a plate to put the cake on. Hmmm again. I found a cracked plastic bottom to a former cake carrier, which fortunately I had not thrown away. That is why I am reluctant to discard my possessions. So often I need them after I think I won’t. Or else some grandchild needs something for a project.

I covered the bottom with aluminum foil and the plate problem was solved. Now all I had to do was to find the right size box. I looked in the garage, but some nice white boxes from the bakery were too small for a cake. Then I went down to the tornado shelter, which also serves as a storage room for all those weird things the grandchildren or I might need for an art project or whatever. Big boxes there, but no cake-size ones.

Finally, I located an attractive box in the guest bedroom just the right size. I had stored some papers I needed to work on in the box. I pulled the stack of papers out regretting that I still needed to go through them and left them on the dresser there. With white paper towels for a lining, I had the perfect carrier, and by then the cake was done.

I was also running late. I think I had been told to bring stuff to the president’s garage the night before, so I figured I ought to arrive early since I was actually late. I dumped the cake on to the racks to cool even though I had not waited the proper 10 minutes. Blessedly the two layers fell out okay to cool while I hurriedly bathed and dressed for the day. Then all I had to do was put on the icing between the layers and on top—no need for any beauty efforts for this cake—and drive to town.

Everywhere I looked in town people were having yard and garage sales. I had only been to this home once or twice but thought I knew how to get there. When I did, there were cars on both sides of the road and a truck coming by me that required my concentration. I did not recognize the house with cars in front of it and actually drove around a couple of blocks trying to find what I just passed. (This was one of those neighborhoods with curving drives, and I could not even remember the street name.) The second time around the traffic was clearer, and I saw the Women’s Club sign.

I joined the club last year at a friend’s invitation after I told her I was trying to get out of club activities. When I accepted her invitation to go as a guest, however, I saw that many of the members were in their late 80s and early 90s. The club wants to continue for these long-time members’ sake. That is why they do not meet at night when younger women who work might join. One of the women is blind now, but she and the others are very inspiring. So I joined, but told my friend that I would be an lazy member who would not take an office or committee membership—but I would attend when I could and enjoy these stimulating older members.

I had been told there was going to be plenty of help at the sale, so did not necessarily plan to stay long. However, one of the more elderly ones was sitting at the price tag table, and after a futile attempt at conversation with her, I did decide I might stay for an hour or so while the customers were keeping people busy. Younger members were carrying out hot fresh-baked pies that one of these older members was in the kitchen baking. (I told you the oldsters were inspiring.) The pies were beautiful. The president explained to shoppers that they were $6.50, but if the buyer brought back the pyrex pan, there would be a $l.50 refund. I wished we needed one, but I knew we shouldn’t indulge.

After one of the younger women had returned from the bank with more dollar bills for change and the traffic had slowed some, I left to do a couple of errands and run by my daughter’s. Her husband was gone, the house locked and she and Sam still asleep. Sleep is hard for her to come by, so I quietly left a couple things on the kitchen table and came back to the farm.

Gerald was helping Brian who was down to farm, but after lunch, we were also following Texas A&M playing their second game and Georgia theirs. Both our teams won. All over the nation, fifteen NCAA regionals were being held, so we were also interested in the teams playing on ESPN. It was fun to see the best hitter in the nation hit her 28th homerun—Canadian Jen Yee, who plays for Georgia Tech. (They won’t go onto the super regionals next weekend because they lost today to the Oregon Ducks in an extra inning game.) At the supper table reliving the day and thinking I had accomplished what I needed to, I remembered that I had planned to go to a another graduation party for a favorite graduate, but it was already over.

So I cleaned the kitchen  and came downstairs to the computer in my office. When I think the television will be on, I close the door for quiet. Later there was a knock and I called for Gerald to come in since he often stops by for a last minute comment before he heads to bed. It wasn’t Gerald but two of our young teen giggling grandkids—Brianna and Sam.

I knew Bri had come down with her dad Brian to go to a concert of the Barlow Girls at the civic center. Earlier in the week I heard Katherine calling for their tickets. With apologies for not telling me they were coming out, they were asking if they could spend the night. Gerald and I both asked the same question—how did these non-drivers get here. (David had brought them out and dropped them off at their request.) They were in high spirits and needed some food as well as a bed, so we went upstairs and filled that need. (Too bad I had not bought one of the pies.) They went to bed before I did, and I did not have to fret when I woke them at eight this morning for showers and breakfast before we headed to Sunday School at Center in our village.

It was my day in the preschool department during worship service, and one teen assistant was absent and the other was needed to be present in the auditorium to be honored as one of our three high school graduates. I grabbed Sam and Bri to come help me, and I could not have been more impressed as they sat on the floor and around the table interacting with the little kids. I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t been there.

Back at Woodsong, I opened the freezer in the garage, which fortunately I had stocked this week with unhealthy but convenient hot pockets and frozen sandwiches ready for the microwave. I had a large can of chocolate pudding, which I had stuck in the fridge before we left, and I opened it knowing our kids always like the pudding. Everyone is on their own, I explained to them and Gerald. Georgia was playing and A&M soon would be in their respective tourneys. Gerald’s got his computer ready with Game Tracker for the Texas with Louisiana-Lafayette game, and I turned on my computer for the ending of Georgia versus Radford. The television was tuned to whatever regional was showing there. A&M would have to beat the Ragin’ Cajuns twice in a row to win their tourney, but A&M lost the first time they played. Georgia won the first game, so they will be hosting the super regionals next weekend at Athens.

I had put a small roast in the oven and thawed some okra from the freezer, but Brian picked the kids up to drop Sam off at his house in Marion and take Bri back to their home in Central Illinois. So Gerald and I ate supper alone discussing the games and the announcement that Georgia’s super regional will be at Athens against California who had survived the Columbus, Ohio, regional. Next weekend the winner of two out of three games will be one of the eight in the nation to head to Oklahoma City.

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