The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Being good takes some work

November 6, 2006

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Everyone was tired for some reason and a bit on the crabby side. The kids had found every excuse possible to use the word "crap" and I'd about had it. So they lay on the floor in the living room and worked on their homework after I told them not to move until it was done. Mr. Sundberg was locked away in his study reading about and mulling over the upcoming election so it was just me and the radio and the pumpkin dessert I was making for Sunday lunch.

There's something lovely about Sunday mornings. The kids go to Sunday School and I sit in on a discussion group in the library, we meet in the Fellowship Hall for coffee and bars, and then we all go to church—Mr. Sundberg, too, when he's in town. This Sunday was All Saints' Sunday and the choir sang "When the Saints Go Marching In." The pastor preached about how we're all sinners AND saints, and I sat there thinking about all the people I love who have passed and what they're doing right now and what good people they were. Except for Hattie Iverson, who really was quite nasty, but I'm sure she had her reasons and that she was forgiven in the end. At least I like to think she was.

Being good is difficult. I give it my best shot but find myself mucking things up on a pretty regular basis. I try to think the best of people, and look at the bright side, and do the right thing, but let me tell you—sometimes the last thing I want to do is the thing I'm supposed to do. Like last year when we were short on cash and I told Mr. Sundberg we really ought to skip our church offering for a week or two and head up to the North Shore for a weekend. So much for that. He gave me a look, and I said it was just a thought. Or when our neighbors neglect to rake their leaves and a big wind comes along and blows all their leaves into our yard. I'm tempted to rent a leaf blower and send 'em all back, or leave a sack of zucchini on their porch and run, or call 'em up and tell them the Lord watches over those who watch over their leaves. Or when Lila Sharp goes ON and ON about all of her issues and how her husband bought her yet another amazing gift, and ME ME ME, and I'd like to say, "Oh, for God's sake, Lila. Shut your piehole." Or something along those lines. But no. Nope. I sit there and listen and think, this woman must be lonely and maybe I'm the only one who will listen to her today.

Yup. Being good takes some work. You might fail along the way but you keep on going until you get there, or get close, if only for a while. Which is why, when I burned the pumpkin dessert Saturday night, after I let fly a few choice words of my own and hollered for the kids to stop bickering and dumped the blackened pumpkin gut mess into the garbage, I went to the pantry and gathered up another round of pumpkin filling and cake mix and started all over again. I was tired, yes, and considered saying to heck with it, but something in me likes a challenge and it seems the Lord himself favors the attempt, whether or not you fail in the end.

Things worked out right the second time around. The pumpkin baked just long enough, and the kids finished their homework and apologized for the bickering, and Mr. Sundberg came out of his study looking bewildered and asked, "What is that smell?" I looked at him and the kids standing there and figured you never know what tomorrow has in store. So I got out five plates and cut five pieces of pumpkin dessert and handed the kids each a can of Redi-Wip. Have at it, I told them. Amazing how something sweet can take the edge off things. And it did.

Pumpkin Dessert

30 oz canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 c sugar
12 oz evaporated milk
1 yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, melted
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar and milk (a large whisk works well). Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle melted butter over the cake mix. Scatter pecans over the top if you wish.

Bake 60-75 minutes. Let cool a bit and serve with Cool Whip or ice cream. Enjoy!

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