Cook With Care
What an unusual week! It started with one of my brothers calling two days ago to say that he wanted to give me a truck. That doesn’t happen every day, right? Our Ford Windstar kicked the bucket about a month ago and replacing a very expensive transmission was not in the budget and worth more than the van itself. So we scrapped it for $400 which we used to a few days later hosting a block party. My brother, who is such a kind and thoughtful man got news of a Ford F-150 for sale for $400….that would be a 1978 model, but he said it runs like a top, and even though it’s not much to look at, he had bought it and said he’d like to pass it on to me and Jeff since we’re down to just one vehicle at home (our Son has the Blazer at college), and that we could take our time paying him back… What a blessing! I never dreamed I’d have another vehicle within a month.
Years ago I had a 1972 F-150 and I loved it. It was the most comfortable vehicle I had ever driven. In the seventies trucks didn’t change very much year to year and this ’78 model is very similar to the ’72…at least to me…comfy seats, 302 V/8 engine, easy to work on, and lots O’ haulin’ power… but to get on with the story… We went to get the truck and he was right, the darn thing ran great! I don’t wish to take too long paying him back but I told him that in his immediate future, there will be pie! His eyes lit up.
It’s Friday and my husband, going on the 3 to 11 shift, had the morning to spend with me and some of the afternoon with Julia as only a half day of school was scheduled for her. He and I spent the morning looking over things on the truck. Surely a few repairs would be needed to get this trusty ol truck street legal. Turns out there wasn’t much to do…just fix a turn signal bulb and add a little anti-freeze. We got that done in about 20 minutes. Suddenly, our neighbors dog appeared in the front yard. We guided her back next door and where our neighbor was out doing yard work. He he thanked us for getting the dog back home and informed us that his father passed away a couple of days ago. We stayed and talked a while offering any comfort we could. Feeling really in inadequate we walked back home and silently put away all the tools that were out. I couldn’t get him off my mind the rest of the day. I thought to myself, “I need to make two pies now”.
So Julia got home early in a breezy Friday good mood. It lifted our moods a bit too. We all spent a couple of hours of quality time before Jeff went off to work. So it was just Julia and me the rest of the evening. We made pies for Uncle Mike and Zack, our neighbor. Julia got a little bored with the kitchen after a while and went to watch some cartoons on TV. The pies were done soon and set out to cool out back on the patio table so I went back in and started to get dinner ready.
To make dinner for just us girls a little special, I made some of Julia’s favorite things, which were pan-seared tilapia, noodles in tomato sauce, and peas…yes an eight year old who loves peas…how weird is that? On top of it being food she likes so well, we decided to have it by candlelight. That was really fun. By the end of dinner, we were really full and let our food digest while watching our Cardinals play some great baseball in the World Series. I kept texting Jeff when something exciting happened. He was glad to get the news that it was 6-2 Cardinals by the 7th inning stretch. Since there was a long break between, I decided to grab those now very chilly pies before some critter helped themselves. Julia watching the game, I slipped next door with one of the pies. My neighbor came to the door with a “You shouldn’t have” look on his face. I said I didn’t have a lot of time, (he didn’t seem to want to spend a lot of time talking) but couldn’t stop thinking of him. I offered the pie and said it was to celebrate a sweet life. He gave me a really tight hug and a sad sweet smile. I told him it would also go good with a winning baseball game and to take care. I slipped back home with the feeling that the little visit meant more than he led on. You never know…
So back at home, with a lump in my throat and Zack on my mind heavier than ever, I just said a prayer for him to be OK. Julia never knew I was gone and just thought I’d been in the kitchen the whole time. When I came back to watch the game with her I cuddled with her (lump getting bigger) while she asked all sorts of questions about baseball rules. Her questions eventually moved my mind in a different direction and soon she was getting too tired to watch any more. There were only two more innings and I would have loved to watch them but we had a pretty good lead and I was sure I would know if we won while I was busy getting Julia off to bed. Sure enough just as I kissed her good night, fireworks went off all around. She was fast asleep and the noise didn’t even wake her. We won the Series! I stuck my head out the front door to call in the cat and could literally hear the whole city cheering. Kitty ran past me in no time with her ears back…she didn’t want anything to do with those fireworks.
Jeff got home a few minutes later. He got to hear the last few plays on the radio on the way home. We sat up for a while watching the replays, jubilant fans flooding the streets down town, and interviews of the great players. We opened a couple of beers to toast our beloved Cardinals then I heated up some of last night’s enchilada leftovers (he hates peas anyway) while I told him about the pies and the candle light dinner. Both of us went to bed grateful for a long weird week to come to a close. Tomorrow my brother will get his sweet potato pie, and eventually his $400. But for the time being, sweet potato pies, a fish dinner by candle light, and even some leftover enchiladas, was my little way to show the people who are important to me that I care.
…Finally thank you Cardinals for showing how much you care for St. Louis and crazy fans like me