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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

A Fine and Stormy Evening

October 8, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was a fine and stormy evening, and we were all worn out after a day of play outside in the heat. Yup, that's right. Heat. Hit near 85 degrees in town on Saturday and I thought I was going to lose it. I had already taken out the air conditioners, see, and stored 'em away with all the summer balls and blow-up pool toys and flippers and such, and wouldn't you just know the weather would turn again and we'd have a day hot enough to send you packin'.

Well, instead of letting it all get me down and crabby, I officially declared it "Tropical Festival Day" and the kids cheered. I dragged out the summer box with all the balls and jump ropes and unloaded it in the front yard. We found the rollerblades and the lawn chairs and the sprinkler and the hammock and we got it all going. I brought out a couple bags of Halloween candy and poured them in a bowl, and set out some popcorn and cheese, and mixed up some punch and put little umbrellas in it, (and a dash of rum in mine, to honor the spirit of the tropics), and handed one to each of the kids, who proceeded to drink them down and run off again. They were rollerblading up and down the driveway, all the while tossing a volleyball from here to there to here, and laughing up a storm. When one of them got her swimsuit on, the others followed and we cranked up the sprinkler and spent a good part of the afternoon running through it, screaming, and running through again.

After a good while I needed a break and lay myself down in the hammock Mr. Sundberg's friend Arn gave us one year for a Christmas gift. It was rather comfortable there swaying a bit in the breeze with the sun beaming down through the autumn trees, and the kids chasing each other with the hose and shrieking, and my right hand resting in an open sack of miniature chocolate bars. For a little while everything seemed so perfectly right. I must have been a bit on the worn out side, because it wasn't long before I fell asleep there in the sunlight, and dozed a while.

Now I don't imagine many people pick up a sunburn in October in Minnesota, but I sure as heck did. It could have been worse, much worse, if Mr. Sundberg hadn't arrived early from the airport and his week in Seattle. His voice woke me with a start, "Would you like me to refill your sack of chocolate bars?" His shadow fell across my legs, where wrappers were scattered here and there. "You ought to pack it up for the day, Sweetheart," he said. "You're pinker than pink." He went into the house to shower, and I tried unsuccessfully to climb out of the hammock with some degree of grace. The kids were up in the oak tree, bare legs dangling, singing, "Oh, Henry the Eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am, I am." I hollered to them, asking what they wanted for dinner. "Chicken!" they hollered back. "And noodles! With butter! And blueberry muffins!"

And that's what I made, and that's what we ate as evening settled in and the show played on.

Put "apple cider" on your grocery list (unless you make your own), and throw in the spices I've listed and a bit of brown sugar. Hand out cups of it to parents whose kids come trick-or-treating at your house. Or hoard it in the fridge behind the milk. Either way, it'll be gone before you know it so you'd best pick up several jugs of cider.

Witches' Brew

6 cups apple cider
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. powdered cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine in pot on stove.
Heat on low for 10 minutes or so.
Serve in mugs with cinnamon sticks.


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