Monday, January 24, 2011

Frozen Lake, Winter Illnesses, Friday Night Fish, and Church Potlucks

The lake beside our house has been a changing collage of black and white throughout the week. The frozen places are covered with white snow; the unfrozen water is black. When the snow melts—despite the below-freezing temperatures this week--we seem to have black and silver areas throughout the lake looking like the drawings in a notebook of some bored student doodling and filling in loops and lines with a black ball-point pen.

Since her coughing and congestion were not better, Gerald took Katherine to the doctor on Monday for fear she might have caught the viral pneumonia of an aide who had to be off-work with it. The doctor called Katherine’s problem bronchitis, and this stopped our worry about the pneumonia. The doctor gave her a stronger antibiotic to stop the one remaining infection. Oddly after her first dose, she completely lost her voice the very next day, but it was back on Wednesday although she was hoarse. But she is improving and is much stronger than she was a week ago. Sam has been hoarse all week, but he wasn’t about to go to the doctor and he is better also by today. Most schools in our area had two snow days this week, but Sam’s school only had one on Friday.

With all the snowy roads—mostly cleared off by Friday—Gerald surprised me by asking if I could go to Fox’s Holler for fish if he could arrange it with his brothers and our friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy. Gerald’s brothers and wives have a regular date to do this, but Garry was probably wise not to go this week so soon after his shoulder surgery. But Keith and Barbara and the Tweedys were up for Foxy’s fish. We met the Tweedys in the Wal-Mark parking lot at Anna to ride down together. The men let us out as close as possible to the door and went on to park in the crowded lot. Mickey laughingly said we could hold hands over the icy part of the walk inside so that if one of us fell, we could both fall. I wasn’t sure of her logic, but the safety precaution worked and we did not fall.

Flu, pneumonia, and the like are rampant in the community, and lots of folks did not get to go to church today. Nevertheless, we had a full house in our village church, and most stayed for the annual January potluck after the morning service. Our friend Eddy from Orient was there despite being in pain from a strained back.

When I saw he was there, I realized I had not thought to make the baked beans he always brags on and that I often send home with him. So I sent home some of my left-over German chocolate cake for him and Angie, who was at home or maybe with her daughter who is out of the hospital but on bed rest until her baby is born. I knew that was a favorite kind of cake for Eddy, and I felt bad I hadn’t made him baked beans.

I still had some cake to take to Katherine’s house when I visited this afternoon along with some of the fried chicken the church had furnished for the potluck. Our friend Charlene suggested I take some of her delicious chicken and dumplings to Katherine’s house. Charlene had made two crock pots full of them for all of us, and they were almost all gone. Although he and his dad had eaten lunch at the town’s most bountiful buffet after morning church, Sam sure did enjoy the chicken and dumplings
When he was just a teen, Eddy asked me how I made my baked beans. Since I never make them the same way twice, I stumbled around trying to remember what nearly empty catsup and bottled dressings I had rinsed out and added that particular day—and did I use molasses or brown sugar? Sweet pickle juice? Real onion or onion flakes?

Shortly after that, Eddy took off for Michigan and was away a few years. When he came back, he repeated to me how I made my baked beans and bragged on them again. Loving the flattery, I tried to take baked beans to potlucks that I thought he might be attending. And often German chocolate cake to send some home with him.

Quite frankly, my beans are not that good , which I make the easy way from canned pork and beans.. However, thanks to Eddy, that is probably my only signature dish that I have ever developed a reputation for. (And that reputation is only with Eddy.) I did fix a big skillet full of friend okra that I used to make especially for Pam White, and I noticed Dean Newbold was happy to see okra on the bountiful buffet. Maybe I’ll get a reputation at church for my okra, which my grandchildren are always generous to praise.

Since Katherine was so much stronger, I helped David get her ready for Sunday evening services at their church in Marion. We got to hear our friend Wendell Garrison again, and we were happy to worship with her, David, and Sam. It was a nice ending to a good day.

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