Sunday, October 27, 2013

So, Church

The October sun, which is filtering through the golden leaves outside, streams in through the stained glass rose window, which means the morning started off, base line, as staggeringly beautiful.

Next, the high school kids sang "He Never Failed Me Now," a gospel, spiritual, jazz piece that had the whole congregation, on it's feet, clapping and shouting, which would not be the only time that happened this morning.

Tim.  Of Tim and Julie.  I'll never have a son, but if I could choose. . .  He has a profound heart, acts as a God-Father to two little girls who really, really need him.  Is the best husband to Julie.  Is a big goof, who has no idea that people just follow him around.  Like Louetta.  Like Larry.  Like Stephanie.

Stephanie's dad, and three other men,  sang the 23rd Psalm.  Grandly.

We were roiling in the old Methodist hymn, Come Thou Font of Every Blessing.  I told Tim I didn't know what an Ebenezer was, as in "Here I raise my Ebenezer."  "Scrooge,"  Tim replied.  "Sometimes you just have to play along."

Julie was on Tim's other side and we all stood to sing.  I was hoping that Tim didn't forget which side Julie was on and pat my bum by mistake.  So, I did it.  Tim is enough taller than me that when I put my arm around his back, his bum got a little pat.  Yow.

Sometimes, I swear, God gets a good laugh in church.

Sometimes you just have to play along.

Then Yve Evans sang to us.  She was in Sun Valley last week for the Jazz Festival.  She has a Doctorate in music.  And she had us on our feet too.  Our little too-quiet Methodist selves were having the time of our lives.  In the next service, she'll tell us that she was diagnosed with a terrible lymphoma, from the base of her throat to the top of her pelvis.  Full of as much cancer as you can imagine.  From one "tit to the other."  Her words.  She went from walking into the doctor's office to Intensive Care in the space of a couple of hours.

Now, she's cancer free.   Six years out. She had me crying like a month-old baby with that one.

Yve promised that she would be unfiltered tonight.  Pastor  Duane said he didn't realize that she wasn't already.

So, if you want to understand joy, you'll have to come and see a cancer-free jazz angel sing her heart out and tell a hundred jokes.  Then you'll sorta understand.

As far as I could see, only two old guys slept through it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When A Great Kid Bites the Dust

Well, you sorta need to live in a football-crazed town to understand this.

It happens that I do.

We're not as rabid as Texas, but we're close.  I live within a half a mile of Boise State.  Between Boise State and my friend, Larry, I admit I've come to like college football games.  And those are more fun when you win.  Larry is an avid fan, one of those rare guys that understands the whole shebang.  He has a whole lotta 'splainin to do where I'm concerned.

I'm not a fan of those big blow-outs, and we've lived through some of those.  I'm a simple-minded fan, like high scoring games, games where everybody gets home with their dignity and their digits intact.  My idea of a contact sport is doubles ice dancing.  So I'm a prissy sort of whimpy sort of auntie, who'd rather make chocolate chip cookies, most of the time, and spoil the local kids rotten.

Our quarterback broke his ankle, fell on it, rolled over it, had it stomped on.  Don't know for sure.
What I did see was a student who was frantic and out-of-your mind frustrated with that event.  You know how horses get this wild-eyed, head-twisting, need to escape when those babies are terrified.  That was the look Joe had as he hopped, on canes, toward the locker room.

I felt so bad for him.  His senior year.  Any hopes of NFL play, dashed.  The big plans he had for this year.  Gone.   Stunning to lose all of that in a minute, and to have a completely uncharted future in the time it takes to snap your fingers.  Can you imagine the adrenaline coursing through that kid's veins at that moment?

Here's what I hope for Joe:  that he relishes the time he had as quarterback and realizes that he had a great gift that few kids get; the he buckles down with his studies and charts out a newer future, one that requires the grit and fire football required of him, maybe art, maybe quantum physics, maybe history; that he listens to his mom and dad, his friends, and maybe a girl friend who will reassure him that he is still loved and respected, grandly.

The new kid, Grant, stepped up and did a magnificent job.  He'll get the spotlight for awhile now.
Football has some really tough lessons attached to it.  Hope those kids remember that, at base, it's still a game.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

So this Story Is True

"Hey  Sophie!   What are you doing here?"

My friend Diane had stopped by to deliver some poetry stuff and was staying for tea.  I was fussing in the kitchen.  She was in the living room.

I don't  have a Sophie that lives with me.  I don't know a Sophie.

I walked around the corner, and Diane was talking to a curly-haired, black pooch, who seated, was still about chest-high.

"Well hi!"  I said and reached out and scratched Sophie's ears.  She was mightily glad to see some humans that liked her and wanted to pet her.

Sophie lived with Diane's next door neighbors and that was about a mile away, as the road goes, about half a mile as the crow flies.

Apparently,  Sophie had escaped, run down the hill, couldn't find her way back home.  She'd spotted Diane, whom she knew, followed her into my apartment building, then knew enough to search the open doors on a summer day, found my patio door open, walked in, and plopped her sweet self down until Diane spotted her.

I still shake my head.  How do dogs know what to do?

Diane called Sophie's human mom and she popped down the hill and picked up Soph.  Now there's a dog you want to know.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall's Roasted Chicken

If you could only see fall, looking out my windows, you'd still think it was August.  The catalpas are still as green as can be, although the beans are long and droopy.  The birch looks as fresh as the first part of summer.

But the morning air is crisp  and you can smell that a change is coming.  Some of the nights are verging on the chilly.  Very few of the leaves have fallen so I expect them to fall in a whoosh.  Can't wait.

It's the time when you can revert to long, slow cooking.  My favorite kind.  Here's a roasted chicken  recipe that I yearn for.

Fall's Roasted Chicken

3  lbs of bird.   Or so,   A whole one.  (Martha says you shouldn't  wash or rinse them, that you spread the germs,  however,  I'm an old girl and I like to wash them off and pat them dry.  A ritual.  M is right on the money, though, about washing your hands after.)

Some softened butter or olive oil.  Rub that over the bird.  Put it into a roaster.

Add these veggies.

2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-4 inch chunks.
1-2 red onions, peeled and quartered
2-3  Sweet potatoes and/or yams,  not peeled, cut into chunk
2 red apples,  not peeled, but cored and cut into quarters,  put those flesh-side down in the pan
1/2 cabbage,  cut into 8ths

Put everything in the roaster.  Salt and pepper.  If you want a little more spice, add 1/2 tsp of Ginger and Cardamom and sprinkle it over the bird and vegg both.  Add more if you like.

1 cup good quality apple cider/juice,  pour that over the vegg,

Put the pan  in a 300 degree oven for at least an hour. Because every bird a little different you'll have to watch it closely the last 15 minutes or so.  It might take an hour and a half.   Baste the bird in the apple juice every 15 minutes.

The chicken fat will melt into the juice, which is fine.  If the vegg get too dry, move them about a bit in the juice.  The sugars and pulp in the apple juice will burnish the bird,  so it looks like copper.  And the vegg will be succulent.

Wonderful, wonderful.