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Comfort Is A Good Word

August 6, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Especially the music of Frigg, the Nordic folk group. I've not heard that music before, but it seemed familiar and familiar things are comforting and that it was. Comfort is a good word for what's been sought and found this past week around where I live.

I don't know what caused it. The 35W bridge over the Mississippi River just gave way last Wednesday. I was making pizza for the kids when Breaking News interrupted my favorite evening news, and there it was. Black smoke, huge pieces of concrete, voices calling in the background. I heard Mr. Sundberg gasp from the living room. He lived for a long while in a neighborhood nearby, and he's crossed that bridge thousands of times.

I watched a bit more, then called in the kids and we ate pizza while we watched TV with the volume off. They asked a lot of questions. Like "Why did God let the bridge collapse?" and "How come bad things happen?" and that's when the phone rang. It was my dad. "You there?" he asked. Yes, Dad, how are ya? "Your TV on?" he asked. Yes, Dad. I know about the bridge. "I can't believe it," he said. "I was worried. Now I'm not." And he told me he loves me and hung up. So I tried to explain to the kids about how sometimes things just happen, and we don't know why. The phone rang again. It was one of my brothers. "Just checkin', " he said. "Glad you're home. Gotta run. I'm on call. Love ya." And he hung up. As I put the phone down it rang yet again. It was Mr. Sundberg's best friend. "Hey, it's Bob. That husband of yours home?" Sure, I said, and took the phone in to Mr. Sundberg. "Yeah, I'm here. Nope. Wasn't on the bridge today, but would have been tomorrow."

More than ten people called Wednesday night to see whether we were home. We received over thirty emails from friends all over. My grown son called from work in Toronto, too, Thursday morning. It's been awhile. Been awhile since we've heard from a lot of those people. When I went over to the store Thursday to pick up a paper and some fresh sweet corn, I met up with Arlene and Adelle, twin sisters, and both friends of mine, and joined them at the café for a cup of coffee. Wouldn't you know, it happened to them, too. The phone calls and emails. Isn't that something. A couple hundred, all told, and they were all just checking.

About the best comfort food on the planet is a bowl of hot soup and some fresh bread. My dad made big pots of this chowder as summer turned to fall, on those afternoons when the wind kicked up and blew the wheatgrass flat and you had to go looking for a jacket. Seems a batch would taste good about now.

Fish Chowder

Melt 2 T butter in small pot. Mix with 2 T flour and set aside.

In a large pot, bring 1 1/2 c water to boil. Add 1 lb fish.

Cook 'til white. Remove fish. Add 3 carrots, sliced, 3 stalks cut celery, 1 med onion, 4 cubed potatoes to water. Add more water to nearly cover veggies.

Cook 10 min. Add flour and butter mixture. Stir. Add milk to bring to desired consistency.

Simmer 20 minutes. Add fish, salt, pepper. Easy to double or triple the batch.


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