Posted tagged ‘corn’

“Stay low, stay quiet, keep it simple, don’t expect too much, enjoy what you have.”

October 20, 2017

Today is another beautiful sunny day in the high 60’s. There’s an intermittent breeze strong enough to sway the branches. It is a perfect day to take a ride.

Lately I have been quite lazy. I haven’t even made a single list. There’s no reason. It’s just inertia.

Laundry is piling up in the hall. A few dishes are in the sink. I figure I’ll get to all that later. There’s no hurry. I don’t have to do something every day.

The flowers beside the house are still blooming. The pumpkins are on the front steps and corn hangs on the gate. I saw a tree covered in yellow leaves. Fall is so filled with color. I always think of it as Mother Nature’s last gift before winter.

My lawn is disappearing under dead leaves from the tall oak tree and brown needles from the pine. It will be raked a few times before the lawn reappears. The irrigation system will be blown cleared of water and my outdoor shower will be turned off until the spring. It’s the same every year. All the pieces of summer disappear in turn.

I think being retired has brought me back to a simpler life. My wardrobe is mostly casual, and I seldom add to it. Once in a while I go out to eat, but mostly I spend time with friends. I watch TV movies but every now and then I treat myself to a newer movie though I do complain about the $5.99. I get books from the library. I used to buy the newest hardcovers, but now I get then for free. I don’t deny myself stuff. I just need less stuff.

When I was a kid, all my TV heroes always won. The bad guys were alive when nabbed. The only violence was usually a fight or a bullet to the arm or hand. Good guys never lost their hats in any fights. The animals, mostly dogs and horses, had names and were important to the plot. I remember Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, his dog Yukon King and his horse Rex.  I learned history and geography from watching this program. I remember at the end of each show he’d tell King this case is closed.  Sometimes there was even a bit of humor. Pat Brady provided that in the Roy Rogers Show. I never questioned that Roy and Dale rode horses while Pat had a jeep, Nellybelle. I was a kid. I just believed.

“The family is always the family but during vacations it is an extended family and that is exhausting.”

July 15, 2017

They’d be cornToday is another dreary day, cloudy and damp. Movie night is postponed as it may rain and the deck is still wet from the rain yesterday. Tomorrow night we’ll be watching Gunga Din and munching appies and assorted movie candy. We pause for bathroom breaks.

My old MAC is totally defunct. It needs a new fan, a new battery and a new hard drive. May it rest in peace.

The house next door is rented this week. A car is in the driveway, and I can hear their voices. They have a kid or two.

I went to the library this morning. Traffic was bumper to bumper even on the back roads. I dread the rest of my errands as I have to go on main roads. Beaches are empty on days like today so tourists take to the main roads to find something to do and souvenirs to buy.

We never came to the cape when I was a kid. If we were going away, we went north. My father’s friend had a place in Ogunquit, Maine. It was a tiny cottage in a row of side by side tiny cottages. There was a small kitchen with a table and chairs, and there were beds, lots of built-in beds. We never slept one to a bed as there were too many of us. In one room were two sets of three bunks. It was like a couchette on a train.

The Maine water was so cold only my father went swimming. He used to body surf. We’d go at low tide and try to catch the small swift fish in the tidal pools. We’d walk the dunes. I remember my horror at seeing naked people sunbathing among those dunes. Meals were mostly catch as catch can except for dinner which was usually hot dogs or burgers on the grill. They’d be corn on the cob and sometimes potato salad. The informality of the meals was part of the vacation.

When I reached my mid-teens, the last thing I wanted was a family vacation in close quarters with nothing for anyone my age to do. My father had to threaten me with dire consequences if I continued moaning and complaining. I used to pout with all the teenage angst I could muster.

The last family vacation I remember was the one to Niagara Falls. I was sixteen that summer. Woolworth’s was a summer away.

“Somebody get me a cheeseburger!”

July 28, 2016

The weather has turned me into a hermit. I stay in my cool house and have limited human interactions. The phone doesn’t even ring, and I don’t care. I am quite content as my house has plenty to keep me amused. There are books, TV, the computer, Netflix and a growing pile of magazines and catalogues. I won’t even get dressed today. I will change my bed and consider the day well spent.

I don’t get bored all that often, but I do get restless. Sometimes I need to go somewhere. I need to do something. Often I just take a ride, and that is usually enough. I try to find roads new to me. Lately I have been riding up-cape towards the bridge. I hardly know that area other than the main road. I don’t shop, but I do stop at farm stands. Buying fresh vegetables doesn’t count as shopping.

When I was a kid, about the only fresh vegetable I ate was corn. I wasn’t a fan of tomatoes or cucumbers, zucchini or any sort of bean. Now I love fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I always stop at little tables outside houses to buy the tomatoes on the honor system. Their taste is sweet, like no other tomato. When I visited my parents, I always brought my dad a bag of local tomatoes. He’d slice them on the plate, add a spoonful of mayonnaise and sit by the TV and eat them. That was his favorite summer snack.

Every day in Ghana, I basically had the same meals. For breakfast I had two eggs over easy and two pieces of toast. They were cooked on a small, round charcoal burner.  I drank coffee with canned milk. For lunch I had a bowl of cut fruit. Depending on the time of year they’d be bananas, oranges, mangoes, pineapple and papaya (paw paw in Ghana). Dinner was a starch like rice or yams and some meat. In September and October it was FraFra potatoes, a locally grown small potato. The meat was usually beef and was always cooked in a sauce, a tomato sauce with onions. It had to be cooked that way as the meat was always tough. We’d sometimes have chicken for dinner, one we’d buy live at the market.

One year the rains were late. We ate rice every night. It was stuffed peppers with rice. I had brought Bell pepper seeds from home, and they were grown in the school garden. No Ghanaian liked them. They weren’t hot. We, my two friends and I, bought all of them and had them for dinner over and over again during that extended dry season. I got so sick of rice I didn’t eat it for the longest time after I got home. I still don’t eat it much unless it’s fried rice.

“If God had created celery, it would only have two stalks, because that’s the most that almost any recipe ever calls for.”

November 21, 2015

Today is the quintessential New England fall day. The sun is shining, the sky is a light blue, a breeze becomes a wind then a breeze again and the temperature is in the high 40’s, low 50’s. This is the sort of day when all the fathers in my neighborhood would rake then burn the leaves. Each would stand on the side of the street in front of his house rake in hand as he tendered the fire and fed it leaves. The smoke carried that wonderful smell which still means fall to me. I loved to watch the small fires and listen to the crackling sound the leaves made. I remember the smoky smell stayed on my jacket long after the fire had gone out. I miss that smell of burning leaves. It was my favorite fall ritual.

When I was growing up, my mother was an average cook or maybe I should say cooked average foods or common foods. She knew fancy meals and my father were not a good match, and we four kids would probably refuse to eat something for dinner hithertofore unknown. What is it was usually the kiss of death for any new dish. I’m not eating that said in disgust generally followed my mother’s answer. Potatoes were always mashed and so were carrots to disguise they were vegetables. I don’t know why vegetables had such a bad rap with every kid I knew. Just saying the word gave us a shutter. We knew they’d be at least one on our dinner plates, and we hoped it was a vegetable from the sanctioned list of acceptable vegetables. It was a small list. Peas topped my list and corn of any sort was on all our lists. Creamed corn, though, was not a huge favorite of mine. I always hated how it spread all over the plate and its color wasn’t all that appealing. We seldom left food on our plates because my mother was smart. She always served us stuff she knew we’d eat.

When we were older and our palates had expanded, my mother cooked all sorts of food for us. By then I had gotten over my distaste for vegetables except for beans and Brussels sprouts. Potatoes didn’t have to be mashed and carrots no longer needed a disguise. My mother, it turns out, was a fantastic cook. She had hidden her culinary talents until we were old enough to appreciate them.

I was my mother’s sous chef. It was a huge honor.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

September 6, 2015

Sorry for today’s late start but it was one of those mirror under the nose mornings. I slept until 11, but as my mother always said, I must have needed it.

It is another beautiful day with lots of sun and no humidity. I have no plans except for doing a few house things like water plants, fold laundry and oil my old desk. It is an antique children’s desk and needs periodic oiling as it gets quite dry. With no humidity, it’s a great oil the desk day.

My neighbors are on their deck. I can hear them talking. I can also smell their dinner cooking on the grill. I think today is probably universal cook on the grill Sunday. Both my sisters also mentioned a barbecue. Some meat, fresh corn and a salad is the perfect menu. The local corn is now in the farm markets. It is so sweet you’d almost want it for dessert. Adding homegrown tomatoes raises the salad to culinary heights. The meat is secondary; anything will do. I’m partial to cheeseburgers but won’t turn my nose up at ribs or the lowly hot dog. I best stop now. I’m making myself hungry!

The summer has passed quickly. We might have one or two movie Saturdays left before it gets too cold. The last one has to be a blockbuster, but I haven’t yet decided what it will be, maybe The Adventures of Robin Hood or North by Northwest. I do have a couple I can’t wait to show as they are both so very bad, The Terror of Tiny Town (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pehsws6QYEo) and Chopper Chicks in Zombietown. That last one doesn’t even rate as a B movie.

It has been eleven years of being retired, but I still have a lingering distaste for Labor Day. It used to mean back to work and it was the symbolic end of summer. It wasn’t a day to celebrate. It was a day to mourn.