Spring Came Just in Time This Year
April 14, 2008
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was busy wrapping gifts for my mother as her birthday is this week and I'd made plans to have lunch with her Sunday. The kids were outside playing Kick the Can while the snowstorm snow melted away and Mr. Sundberg was out on the deck setting up the telescope he ordered from his nature magazine. He says it's for the kids but he's been talking about it nonstop since he placed the order.
I've been in the habit in recent years of buying use-uppable gifts for my parents—things like books and wine and cheese and maple syrup. Nothing that will pile up. Books are borderline, but when you finish a good book it seems natural to pass it along. Of course, every now and then the occasion calls for something special. Last year it was a diamond necklace for my mother, something her children have never given her, something to honor her lifework as Mother of us. And this year, given all the talk she's been doing lately about what she wants in life, I bought her a banjo.
Banjos aren't easy to wrap. "Looks like a giant slice of Swiss cheese," Carl Sagan said when he came in from the deck. He was wearing a hard hat and carrying a clipboard with Orion's Belt sketched out on it. I didn't bother to ask. I didn't have to. "Telescope is ready to go," he said. "Bring on the comets." Seems he's entered a second or third childhood lately. He's been watching the Muppet version of "Danny Boy" on YouTube and talking about tubing down the river this summer. When he suggested planting a salsa garden out back, I had to holler, Whoa. I'm not a green thumb person, and I don't need another opportunity to prove it to the world. Go right on ahead, I said, as long as you remember it's your garden. I'll take care of the salsa end of things. Just don't expect me to hover over those peppers.
I met Mom at a little restaurant down by the river just after church on Sunday. She arrived a bit late, with pink cheeks and a smile on her face. There were new leopard print car seat covers in her car (a birthday gift from her best friend) and she wore her glasses on a chain of shiny red beads. "Let's have a fancy drink," she said, and hers was blue with a purple umbrella in it. "I don't know what it is," she said, "but something's come over me lately. I feel so good when I get up in the morning. I don't want the day to end. Not like the past few months when all I wanted to do was sleep. But I'm not going to question it. Nope, I'm simply going to enjoy it." She enjoyed lunch, anyway, right down to the frozen chocolate cheesecake on a stick. And when we got to my car and I pulled out the giant wedge that was her banjo, she clapped her hands giggled. Within minutes she had it open. "Oh, I love it," she said. "My own banjo. I've wanted one ever since I was a little girl." She picked it up and, right there in the parking lot, began strumming, and, as cars pulled in to park and people passed by, she sang, "I just want to be me…"
Seems spring came just in time this year and brought us all back from whom we were becoming to whom we really are. And thank goodness for that.
These cookies are best eaten the day they're baked. I underbake 'em a bit and they're like little fudge bombs and the kids eat 'em up.
White Chocolate Chippers
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs and beat further. Mix in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in morsels. Drop by teaspoonsful onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350 for 9 to 11 minutes.