Posted tagged ‘football’

“I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.”

January 27, 2019

It’s cold but it is winter after all. The sun was bright earlier this morning, but clouds are in and out, white clouds, though, which don’t hide the light. Snow has a remote chance later in the morning.

I’m watching the send-off for the Patriots. Thirty Five Thousand people are in Gillette Stadium. Most of them are wearing Patriot’s gear. Send-offs aren’t unusual around here. Crowds even gather to send off the Red Sox equipment trucks to spring training. Even more than robins, those trucks are a sign that spring is coming.

When I was a kid, Sunday was a boring day, the most boring day of all. Nothing was opened. We had to stay around the house. My father monopolized the TV to watch football. None us watched with him. He was always a screamer and sometimes rose out of his chair to yell at the team as if they could hear him. When I was older, my mother and I would sit at the kitchen table and play word games. We didn’t need to watch the TV to follow the game play. We just listened to my father.

My mother cooked my favorite Sunday dinner on Saturday, the day before I left for Peace Corps training. She served roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy and baby peas. We didn’t talk all that much. My parents were sort of still in shock that I was leaving for two years, and I was going to Africa, a totally unknown place to all of us. That scared them. I was more excited than scared. My parents drove me to Logan Airport. My father had purchased a plane ticket for me. Peace Corps had sent a bus ticket to Philadelphia, and my father said no way. We walked together to the gate where my parents and I said goodbye. I looked back once and waved. My mother was crying. I know I’ve told this story before, but it is a favorite of mine. I found my seat and started to put all my carry-ons away. There were so many my seat mate asked me if I was running away from home. I told him I was headed to Peace Corps training in Africa. He bought me a couple of drinks. That memory always gives me a chuckle.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

November 23, 2017

Today is a beautiful day, just chilly enough. The sun is bright and sharp. The leaves flutter a bit then the limbs swing back and forth when the breeze becomes a wind. I’m watching the parade.

My sister and I spoke this morning, and we remembered our mother waking up early to get the turkey in the oven. Why it was so early neither one of us remember. While my mother was in the kitchen, we were all sitting in front of the TV watching the parade. The snacks every year were the same: M&M’s, tangerines and mixed nuts. We used a silver set to crack then pick out the nuts. Years ago I bought a set exactly the same. I fill it with nuts and put the bowl, the crackers and the picks on my dining room table. Tangerines were the best as they were so easy to peel. Only seeds marred their perfection. The M&M’s were first to go. My father always went with my grandfather to the football game. It was Stoneham versus Reading. My father had no connection to the high school. He never went there and neither did any of us. It was football which drew him.

When the parade was finished, my dad took over the TV. He watched football until my mother called him to the table. We stayed in the kitchen until we set the table. We had turkey, gravy, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and another vegetable or two. The cranberry sauce was always the one from the can. The sauce had can ridges which gave it a bit of a decoration. I always wondered why it was called a sauce when the cranberry was jellied. My father ate quickly, all the better to get back to his games. We lingered far more, just sitting and talking. Clean-up didn’t take long. After that were the pies: apple, my dad’s favorite always eaten with a chunk of cheese, blueberry and lemon meringue. By then it was late afternoon. Supper, if we had any room for more food, was leftovers, usually a hot turkey sandwich, the meat bathed in gravy. That meal was the official end of Thanksgiving.

I have so many things to be thankful for a whole day is not enough. I am thankful for family, for the connections between my sisters and me. I have been blessed with the best of friends, my other family, and I am thankful for them. I am also thankful for my Coffee friends. When I started this, I never thought people I hadn’t ever met would become such close friends. Most of all, I am thankful for the joy and wonder of each new day.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

November 19, 2017

The rain started last night. That just added to the misery. Gracie wanted out every couple of hours. The second time we went out, around three, it was barely raining, but once we were outside, the clouds opened and the rain was heavy. Gracie and I got wet. She didn’t mind as much as I did. When I heard Gracie panting around five, I braced myself but was surprised to find the rain light. It was also quite warm. From then on, we all, Gracie, Maddie and I, slept until 10:30. Gracie was wedged between me and the back of the couch. One of my legs was hanging off the couch. It was then I got up and my morning began.

Sunday is game night, but the game is different tonight because the Patriots play at 4:30 so we’ll watch and cheer on Tom and the boys. My high school team, from the school where I graduated a long time ago and where I worked for 33 years, won big time on Friday. They are 11-0 for the year and have one game left: the state championship, the high school super bowl.

All the cooking shows are giving their slants on Thanksgiving. I save many of the recipes, but when I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, my menu changed little from all the other Thanksgivings we had when I was growing up. To me, Thanksgiving dinner is filled with family traditions. There’s my grandmother’s date nut bread, my Aunt Bunny’s squash dish, my Dad’s favorite creamed onions, my mother’s sage dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. My mother also cooked another couple of vegetable dishes; sometimes it was green bean casserole and one of my favorites, turnips. There were always apple and lemon meringue pies. I was talking to my sister the other night, and she’s making a lemon meringue pie.

When I was driving home the other day, all of a sudden, the image of my Dad at Thanksgiving jumped into my head. My mother’s table was round but somehow where my Dad sat seemed the head of the table. His back was to the kitchen. In from of him on the table was a dish of asparagus just for him, canned asparagus. I remember the spears were like wilted flowers, their tops hung over. He’d fill his plate with mashed potatoes dripping with gravy, creamed onions and a turkey leg. I still can picture him munching on that leg.  It is one of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving.

“It was Sunday morning, and old people passed me like sad grey waves on their way to church.”

October 15, 2017

I’m wondering where the sun is hiding. The day is damp and cloudy. It’s a quiet day, no breeze rustles the leaves and no voices are loud enough to be heard. I have to go out and do a couple of errands later and tonight is game night. That’s like a full day for me.

When I was a kid, the expectations for Sunday were pretty much nonexistent. It was a nothing day much the same week after week. It started with church. The only unknown was which mass I’d attend. Would I go early with my dad, the usher, or later by myself or with my brother? Sunday dinner was the biggest meal of the week. It was always a roast, sometimes a roast beef and other times a whole chicken. It was the one meal all week where we all sat down to eat together though my mother sometimes stood by the counter to eat. On weekdays my dad was late getting home from work so he was never there for dinner. We were usually watching TV when he got home.

Once in a while, on a Sunday afternoon, we visited my grandparents in the city. I was amazed by the city. Houses were close together. The Italian bakeries sold pizza. A house down the street sold Italian ice through an open window. On the corner of my grandparents’ street was a private club. My uncle was a member. I remember going there once for a family party.

If we didn’t go out to visit, we’d sit around watching TV until my dad took over and turned to a football game. That sent us to the kitchen to play a board game or down the cellar to play. If I had a book, I’d go read it in my room away from the noise. My mother cooked in the kitchen. She peeled potatoes and opened cans of vegetables. We usually ate around two. Most times there was no special dessert. We’d grab cookies.

Sunday night we’d watch a bit of TV then it was early to bed because of school the next day. We always grumbled. That never got us anywhere except upstairs to bed at our regular time.

“What hath night to do with sleep?”

October 1, 2017

Welcome to October: fall, football season, pumpkins on my front steps, cold nights and crisp mornings, leaves turning and falling and a sharp, slanted sunlight. Today is all of those. Last night it was in the high 40’s, and I needed an afghan. This morning my house was only 64˚ so I turned on the heat until it was warm. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. First we had sun then clouds and now sun again. I’m watching the Patriots.

Here on the cape, this is the best month. The tourists are mostly gone except on the weekends, and this is the high season for busloads of guided retirees on weekdays. They stop at Cuffy’s for sweatshirts with Cape Cod across the chest, and at Christmas Tree shops for who knows what.

This is the season for soups loaded with fresh vegetables, especially squash. I love butternut squash bisque, and it is on my fall menu, those recipes I want to make.

The colors of fall are beautiful. I always love the first appearance of mums. The bright yellows, the muted reds, the bronze, the whites and the lavenders sitting out front of farm stores always catch my eye. Sometimes I stop and buy only one or two, but I have been guilty of mum buying sprees so I’m cautious.

It’s time for me to decorate my house with my yin and yang decorations. I have gourds which look real, pumpkins of all sizes, some lit, some unlit, and garlands of colored leaves. My Halloween storage boxes are filled with rats, really ugly life-like rats, ravens, monsters, skeletons and witches. I have purple and orange lights. I’ll start after my nap today and finish tomorrow.

A nap? Yes, I am in dire need of a nap. I didn’t turn off my light until close to three this morning then I was tossing and turning. I heard the cat throw up, and I just ignored her and turned over. The dog woke me at eight. She needed to go outside. I dragged myself off the couch and took her out. It was a good thing I did. When we came back inside, we all, the three of us, went back to sleep, but it wasn’t enough for me. I slept for only an hour, but I’m still tired and grouchy. I’m even hoarse. I did find a hairball Maddie had tossed up and cleaned it. I’m so ready to join Maddie and Gracie in the land of Nod.

“Politics is like football; if you see daylight, go through the hole.”

September 7, 2017

Yesterday we were deluged with rain. The storm started with thunder; a couple of claps were right over my house. Luckily neither Maddie nor Gracie noticed. They were concentrating on the treats I was giving the two of them. The lightning was next, small bolts which quickly came and went. I had to go to Hyannis for a doctor’s appointment. As I entered the highway, the skies opened and the rain was so heavy I could barely see out the windshield. Every car slowed to around 20, and a few put on hazard lights so they’d be more easily seen through the sheets of rain. It was like that all the way. When I arrived at the office, the rain suddenly stopped. After I finished my appointment and got to my car, the rain started again as heavily as before. I slowly drove home. The sides of the road were filled with water, and cars sent the water cascading to the left or to the right. The low spots on the side roads were filled with water. One was so deep it slowed my car. I was relieved when I got home even though it was still pouring. I got soaked in the short run from my car to the house, but being home was worth it..

It got so dark yesterday in the early afternoon my outside lights were triggered. The rain pounded my doors and windows. Gracie backed away from the door. She didn’t go out until there was a brief respite from the storm, in the early evening. Not long after, the rain started again. We got over 2 inches of rain.

Today is damp and overcast. The air is cool. I have the doors and windows opened. I like feeling the chill instead of the humidity of the last two days.

The eye wall of Irma is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. It is a monster destroying everything in its wake. I’d be on the road in a heartbeat with Gracie and Maddie, but the cape, like the Keys, has only one road to get us out of the way of danger, one road to the bridge. On Sundays, the traffic back-up leaving the cape after a summer weekend goes for miles and it takes hours to get to the Sagamore Bridge. Just imagine all of us who live here trying to leave at the same time.

Football starts tonight. The Patriots open at home where they’ll raise the new banner to  celebrate last season’s Super Bowl win. Luckily the Sox aren’t playing tonight so my allegiances won’t be torn. Go Pats!

“You have to eat oatmeal or you’ll dry up. Anybody knows that.”

January 23, 2017

Today is not one of my best days. My mother would say I am not up to snuff. To give you a better idea: I woke up at 9:30 and never got my first cup of coffee until 10:15. I just didn’t have the energy. I have someone who does all my yard work, a factotum who does odd jobs and plows, and a couple who clean every two weeks. Now I’m thinking I need a barista.

My Patriots gave the Steelers a bit of a football beating last night. We were on our feet more than a few times cheering their heroics on the field. Now it is on to the Super Bowl. My first thought for the big game is the menu. I’m thinking a sort of tailgating in the living room. I really wish my Dad was around so he too could cheer for his Pats and nosh with us (nosh-another one from my mother).

When I was a kid, baseball was my sport to watch mostly because it was easy to understand. The game didn’t have all the positions or plays football has. My dad watched the Giants on TV. I never did. I was a Red Sox fan. My football knowledge is much greater than it was, but I still don’t understand a lot of the responsibilities of the many positions. I understand the fundamentals of the game, and I find that’s enough.

Winter this year is weird. It is warmer. Today the high will be in the low 40’s and the low will be 38˚. It’s raining which makes it feel colder. It is also going to be extremely windy. When I was young, it was always cold walking to school. I was bundled as much as my mother could fit on me, but I swear my cheeks often went numb. They were red the entire winter. I didn’t have many colds, but I had sniffles. My nose was not a pretty sight nor, sadly, were my sleeve and mittens. Kids never carried handkerchiefs or kleenex.

My mother made the best cocoa. I drank it every winter morning. She’d dissolve the Nestle’s cocoa in some milk then add hot water to the cup. The cocoa always had bubbles on the top.

I have eaten all sorts of foods on my travels. Sometimes I had no idea what I was eating. I didn’t know the language. In some countries, I was glad I didn’t know. When I was a kid, I ate foods I’d never touch now. I ate sardines, the ones out of a can with a key on the top. I ate Spam right out of a can, also with a key on top. Those keys took a deft hand. My favorite way, favorite here used with tongue in cheek, of eating Spam was after it was fried. My mother often made us oatmeal for school day breakfasts. It wasn’t the smooth instant oatmeal they now sell. It was thick, lumpy oatmeal out of the cardboard cylinder with the Quaker on it. I never liked the lumps, but I found out that milk, a little cinnamon and lots of sugar helps the oatmeal, lumps and all, go down.

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 15, 2017

This morning I just didn’t want to get out of bed. It was 9:15 when I first woke up. Considering how late I went to bed, I figured it was too early to get up so I snuggled under the covers and went back to sleep. I slept until 10. Maddie started howling. Gracie was snoring. I decided the bed was too warm and I was too comfy so I went back to sleep. It was easy. I slept another hour so it was close to 11 when I dragged myself out of bed. I have no guilt at sleeping the morning away. I have no obligations, no errands and no chores though I could do a laundry, but I won’t.

Last night I want the Patriots beat the Texans. It wasn’t the Pats best game as Brady was intercepted and sacked, but my Pats prevailed. The game started late, 8:15, and ended late so my friends and I decided to make it an evening. First, we ate Chinese and played Phase 10, our favorite game. I happened to win. Clare and I alternate winning. Tony hasn’t won since last March. We’re planning a gala for his anniversary of one year without a win. He isn’t looking forward to the festivities.

It was cold last night, 24˚, so today at 34˚ feels warmer. The low this evening will be 19˚. When I lived in Ghana, it was hot and dry in January. It was harmattan. Dust blew over everything. The sun was obscured. Rain was months away. My candle melted without being lit. The water was often turned off. I took bucket baths, and I had to take a few before I got the knack. I got good at it.

During Peace Corps staging, a time when we all came together for nearly a week before leaving for Ghana, I was asked if I minded going to the north. My response was to ask why the question. What was it about the north? The psychologist asking the question didn’t know the answer. I told him I didn’t care where in Ghana I was to be posted. That settled it. I went to the far north, the Upper Region. I even knew before I left staging I was going to be in Bolgatanga. The remote posting areas were filled first. That was Bolga. That was the place with a long dry season when days reached 100˚ or more. I think of that this time of year, the coldest time of year here in New England, but if I were given a choice between the two, the hot, hot dry days or the freezing days and nights, I’d chose the cold. I couldn’t escape the heat, but I can always bundle up to escape the cold.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

My mother always got up at the crack of dawn to stuff then roast the bird. My sisters and I figure she must have the biggest bird on record to roast it for so long. She’d then be in the kitchen most of the morning peeling and then cooking potatoes and vegetables. We’d be in the living room watching the parade. That never changed even when we were adults. The turkey got smaller and we helped prepare dinner, but we still watched the parade. We added mimosas to the morning and the beginning of the celebration.

My father was glued to the TV and football games. He’d only take a break to carve the turkey and eat dinner. I can still picture him munching on his turkey leg, and I remember his plate always had a mound of mashed potatoes covered in gravy. My dad wasn’t big for a variety of vegetables but he did love his asparagus, always canned, never fresh, and creamed onions. For the rest of us, the table groaned from the number of dishes filled with vegetables. My contribution was sometimes a Waldorf salad, and I always brought date-nut bread, my grandmother’s recipe. After dinner my father returned to football. The rest of us would sit at the table and talk for a while then my mother and I would start the clean-up.

Dessert was served later. My mother usually made pumpkin and lemon meringue pies. I brought apple pie, stacked high. My dad loved dessert. He’d eat his apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese and cover a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The evening was quiet. If any of us got hungry, we’d have a hot turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce on the side.

Our Thanksgiving was family, food and football.

 

NOTE: I found Tuesday’s posting. It was in drafts but it didn’t appear when I looked. It is now posted under the picture for Tuesday.

Last night I almost hit a deer. It was crossing the street and was right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes so hard I skidded a bit sideways. It was the proverbial deer in the headlights for what seemed like forever. The deer, out of fear, lost its footing and was scrambling in front of the car. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the deer got control of its back legs, got up and ran. It took me a while to calm down.

“There are many reasons to celebrate, but National Mustard Day just isn’t one of them.”

November 21, 2016

This morning I got to thinking. Thanksgiving is a day, one single day of family and food. For most of us the menu is the same. Turkey has the most prominent spot on the table. It generally arrives uncut so we can ooh and ah at the beauty of the roasted bird. My dad, at the head of the table, did the carving. He’d fill a platter with slices and then tear off a leg or two to complete the dish. He was the only one who loved a leg. The rest of the meal depends on family traditions though I suspect they’ll be gravy and mashed potatoes on many a Thanksgiving table. We always had a squash and carrot dish which originated with my aunt but was tweaked by my mother who substituted butternut squash, far more seasonable, for the undefined squash in the recipe. That was always the favorite vegetable. My father got his canned asparagus. None of the rest of us ate it. My mother would cook a few more vegetables, sometimes peas, creamed onions and a new dish or two. Cranberry sauce came from the can. One year my mother made a wonderful orange cranberry sauce and served it in oranges. It wasn’t a hit, especially for my father who seldom liked anything new for the holidays. I loved it and was glad it was packed in my doggy bag.

Okay, I majorly digressed. What I was originally thinking was Thanksgiving is a single day, while it is the Christmas season, many days. I know it seems to come earlier each year, but we do have 4 Sundays of Advent, the start of the season for me. During that time there is so much to do and most of it fun. Cookies have to be made, and best of all, they have to be decorated. The house gets decorated. I alternate decorations year by year, but the tree never really changes. New ornaments are added but the usual appear every year. Cards need to be addressed and sent. I love buying Edward Gorey cards and found 2 wonderful sets of them this year. I know people sour on having to buy gifts, but I love shopping for just the right ones. Years ago one of my friends said she loves anticipating what I give her as it is always so neat which is why I love to shop. Just because I’m older (not old, older) doesn’t mean I forget the joys of the season. We decorate gingerbread houses. I play Christmas music and always sing along. I sit in the living room just to look at the tree.

Thursday is close. In the morning I’ll watch the parade, crack nuts, eat a few tangerines and some M&M’s just the way I did when I was a kid. My friends and I are going out for dinner, a new tradition started last year. I’ll probably cook a small turkey so I can have a mini Thanksgiving complete with leftovers. On Friday I’ll let everyone else shop, but on Saturday I’ll finish my list. Saturday night I’ll put my feet up, enjoy some egg nog and a Hallmark movie, and I’ll not wonder how it will end!