Tag Archives: Cobbler

Seasonal Trade-Off

Image by Tikovka1355 from Pixabay.

As a kid, did you ever trade your lunchbox Hostess cupcake for a classmate’s homemade cookies?

Then realized the chocolate chips were sneaky raisins. That your classmate’s mother considered sugar the devil’s invention.

Some of us seem destined for the short straw.

This month, though, we Hoosiers trade summer for autumn.

This flower child will miss petunias’ glorious, subtle fragrance. Hummingbirds and butterflies mooching off zinnias and cosmos. Hubby won’t miss mowing grass, but if the scent could be bottled, I’d buy 10.

If frost must clear out my flowers, fall’s show-off foliage more than makes up for the loss. Especially as I’ll be done with endless watering, weeding and feeding my gardens.

Instead, I’ll be raking, right? Seasonal trade-off.

And I gladly give up a hog farm’s stench on a 95-degree afternoon for fall’s clean crispness.

During summer, we don’t mess with coats or matching gloves. Also, we don’t lose them in three different places. During autumn, though, my old friend, last year’s parka, welcomes me warmly on chilly days.

Foodwise, I already miss sweet corn. I also miss potato salad, made with my mother’s recipe. She kept her signature dish in the same summer-only category as white shoes. I’ll probably do likewise.

During summer, I buy six kinds of fruit. To continue that during cold-weather months, however, requires a second mortgage. Weekly.

Still, who can reject fall’s trade-off? Apple crisp and caramel apples, or pumpkin pie and other yummy pumpkin spice foods? Plus, comfort food abounds.

Other seasonal trade-offs:

  • I’ll miss: nightly cicada concerts and fireflies’ light shows. Welcome: mosquitoes’ demise.
  • I’ll miss: sitting on restaurant patios. Welcome: sitting beside fireplaces.
  • I’ll miss: barbecue fragrances pervading my neighborhood. Welcome: woodsmoke that says, “I’m keeping someone warm.”
  • I’ll miss: our ceiling fan’s breezes at night. Welcome: quilts and flannel jammies.
  • I’ll miss: flip-flop freedom. Welcome: favorite boots.

I will happily exchange:

  • Flab-revealing tops for flannel shirts.
  • Fruit processing at 10:30 p.m. versus consuming it in a cobbler at 10:30 p.m.
  • Multiple daily baths to dispel sweat, bug spray and sunblock for single baths whose effects last more than an hour.

Unfortunately, we’ll trade air-conditioning costs for heating bills.

Still, doesn’t the seasonal trade-off seem fair?

Although good-for-us virtues, like those healthy cookies, lurk during both seasons, summer and fall taste good.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What seasonal exchanges will you make?

Adventures with Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m celebrating my dad’s independent spirit. Until a few months before his death at 91, he never ceased seeking new adventure — and scaring his kids spitless.

Mom and Dad on their front porch in 2007.

Visiting my parents lapses me into Louisiana slow-mo. Lounging on their front porch, eating Mom’s peach cobbler, we watch mercury in the ancient thermometer soar. A hound dog snores in the road.

This Mayberry moment feels timeless. But it will disappear faster than my cobbler.

Why?

In a word, Dad.

My 82-year-old father, rocking away, looks harmless. But this man has given his guardian angel a permanent tic.

Dad regales me with his latest exploits. Although my parents rent Great-granddaddy’s homestead from my cousin, Dad claims responsibility for it. One morning, he scaled the heights — “No dizziness a’ tall when I take my pills” — and cleaned gutters.

When I choked and asked why he hadn’t called my cousin, he said, “Why bother her? I got time.”

However, 96-year-old Great-aunt Footsie spotted Dad on the roof. She told him he hadn’t gained a lick of sense over the years. A polite Southern boy, he agreed. Yes, ma’am, he shoulda called a young ’un to do that. No, ma’am, he wouldn’t climb up on the roof again.

Instead, Dad hauled his buzzing chainsaw up a ladder to trim trees. Suddenly, the ladder lurched, and he tumbled. Lying dazed, his life passed before him. Then, enough of that. Dad stood, revved his chain saw, and finished the job.

Now he sniffs the steamy air. “Something smells bad. Smelled it the other day, too.”   

I gag. “Whew. What is it?”

“Don’t know. Thought the cats dragged something dead under the house. Then I wondered if the sewer was leaking. So I—”

Image by Ana Meister from Pixabay.

“You didn’t.”

He did, though deep in these pine woods, rattlesnakes consider a crawl space the ultimate in creature comfort. Still, Dad slithered through under-the-house muck himself.

No snakes.

No plumbing problems.

Now, he inhales again. His eyes widen. “That’s gas. Better check it out.”

Not with a lantern, I hope. Thank God, he calls the propane company, who sends an inspector. The man’s eyes bulge like a frog’s. “Ya’ll got a prob-lem.”

Years before, someone removed a gas heater from the fireplace. He kind of forgot to cap the gas line.

Escaping gas. In the fireplace, where, for three winters, Dad has built his famous infernos.

When my cousin discovers the current excitement, she calls me. “No more home maintenance, y’ hear? Tell him to take up a different hobby.”

As if Dad listens to me.

At least, he permits the repairman to fix this. And because of his alertness, we escape a trial by fire.

Dad ages me with his antics (my true biological age is 213), but he also has played the hero many times.

I’m grateful.

But will I be up for the next visit?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Does your dad age you, too?