The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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The Things We Need

January 12, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. We need more women with voices like those seven Mila women. They belted out these beautiful deep songs whose words I didn't much understand but let me tell you I felt like standing up tall every time they sang. I couldn't stand, though, because I was driving around the countryside sipping my first latte and enjoying the fresh air and thinking about how we could use more snow. Seems the planet is a bit off kilter lately with those terrible waves so far away, mudslides and snowstorms in California, and a Minnesota winter without much snow. I'm not complaining, but I am perplexed. Makes me think something is going on and we need to pay a bit more attention.

It has been cold, and the house is so dry. I wake up every morning feeling like a strip of beef jerky. Before I do anything else I throw a pot of water on the stove and set it to boiling until it's nearly gone then I fill it up again. By the time the kids get on the bus the kitchen windows are steamed up and the air feels soft again. I do this partly as a favor to Mr. Sundberg who has been coughing lately and seems to cough less with moisture in the air and a big bowl of oatmeal with milk and butter. Saturday the house seemed particularly dry and I thought getting some fresh air would do me some good and it did. As Mr. Keillor and Prudence were singing "Let It Be Me" I cranked the window down and pulled up to the new drive-thru at the cafe. It's a slick operation since the new owners took over. They even have a little booklet, which tells people like me what everything is and how to order. Mr. Sundberg picked one up for me when I didn't know what a "latte" was and I spent some time reading and filled out the little form on the back so I could say exactly what it was I wanted. Which I did. I ordered a grande vanilla whole latte, wet. This would translate to a medium vanilla espresso with steamed whole milk, light on the foam.

Mr. Sundberg says the world could use a few more manuals. Like "How To Drive In a Snowstorm" and "How To Pack for a Three-day Weekend." Well, I don't think the world's that hard pressed for instruction books. I do think we're in need of a few things, however. Pretty major things, like a more reliable way to count ballots. And a system for warning people when there's been an earthquake under the ocean. More books for children and an hour or two a day reserved for good old conversation. I could go on, but I won't. Time for the kids to come rolling on in. They would say we need more pizza. And more snow. And I would add tenderness to the list. Tenderness, as I see it, has always been underrated.

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