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A Voice Like a Hammock

October 13, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was in the kitchen again making apple crisp, trying to clean out the fridge. I tend to overdo it when it comes to apples. I had Wealthys, Cortlands, and Haralsons and it seemed appropriate to stand there and peel apples for awhile. See, I have one of those peelers where you impale the apple on the end and go to town with the crank. But the apples fall apart, and juice sprays all over, and there's something calming and primitive about using a small sharp knife and turning an apple in the palm of your hand.

So the wind was blowing a bit and leaves were falling and the house was quiet. Everyone was sick. Mr. Sundberg had been up coughing most of Friday night, and the kids were all in various stages of the same bad cold. They were milking it a bit, of course, calling for water and moaning occasionally. Things almost got out of hand when the request for ice packs came down and I thought, Oh, for God's sake. So I hauled three bags of frozen mixed vegetables upstairs and told the kids, If you feel too warm, put this on your head for a while. I figured I'd give them each a day or two before I made them get up and get with the program.

I'd just picked up the paring knife again when there she was--Jearlyn Steele singing "It Is Well with My Soul." Now this woman could sing the ingredients on a can of tomato soup and I'd listen. She has one of those voices that make you think about the word "sweetness" and where in your life you might find it. I finished peeling those apples and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. Then came the topping, and the oven at 350 for half an hour or so.

I stood at the sink for a long while, hot water running over my hands, and listened to Mr. Keillor. "Here on a fall night, in the grass and the dry leaf smell, drunk on the crickets and the starry sky, what lovely stories we could tell with these bright stars to tell them by. How we expected to live in a paradise of easy jokes and loving grace..." I don't know about you, but I think that man's voice is like a hammock. And he chooses hope and believes in green. If he were running for office, he'd have my vote. Though I'm partial to blue, but that's beside the point.

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