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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

How Lovely it Was

July 8, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Listened from the car this time around, driving west into the sunset on the way home from a day at the family cabin. Yes, I know we should have spent the night, but with the kids heading off to camp on Sunday and loads of laundry to do and lists to check off, a night away would have put me a bit too close to the edge. And after a day like Saturday, why risk it?

The day began with the drive to the cabin, a good two hours. Unfortunately, the kids got hungry and ate up the tortilla chips and the oatmeal cookies and the bacon I'd pre-fried for the broccoli salad so we had to stop by a grocery store on the way which Mr. Sundberg didn't like much. Until he saw the lawn equipment on sale in front and then we had to figure out how to fit a small push mower in the van, which was no easy task. When we got to the cabin, north of Hayward, Wisconsin, my parents were down at the dock sunning themselves and reading magazines and my two brothers and their wives and five kids total were in the water splashing and hollering. Mr. Sundberg took the kids down to join them while I made lunch. We had burgers, brats and chicken breasts, along with pasta salad, broccoli salad, beans, potato salad, cole slaw and chocolate chip bars. It was a simple meal, really, since I picked up a few things at the deli on the way and poured them into bowls so they looked homemade.

After we ate, there were boat rides and waterskiing, sandcastles and kayak rides, s'mores by the campfire and swimming. There was one puncture wound to the foot and one hand pinched between the boat and the dock, one argument about whose turn it was to drive the boat, and one beach towel blown into the water. I talked with my sisters-in-law about mom stuff, and what kind of vacations we'd each like to take, and I talked with my brothers about fishing and plans for the rest of the summer and how fast the kids are growing and how we ought to plan a reunion for fall. My father didn't say much at all and after a while took the kids fishing, and my mother told me all about the colors she's considering for the house. I heard one of the cousins say, "What the hell?" and my brother took him up to the cabin for a chat. By 4:45 p.m., another cousin began to cry because he was tired, and someone, or something, had pooped in the lake. Everyone was sunburned. And it was time for us to go.

Theodore Roethke wrote, "I trust all joy." And so do I. Thing is, half the time you're in it, you don't know it's joy. Only when you look back do you see it. How sweet the pine on the breeze, how bright the children's eyes. How good the taste of burned marshmallow. How strong your mother's hands. How happy you were. How lovely it was.

Got myself a fishing license over at the gas station on the Fourth of July. And I'm going to USE it, along with this recipe. Something about coming home from a day on the lake to a plate of this stuff...can't explain it. You simply have to experience it. Kind of like parasailing.

Creamy Kielbasa and Kraut

1 ring smoked kielbasa

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can sauerkraut

Slice smoked kielbasa and fry up in a skillet.

Drain fat, and add a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Stir, and add a can of sauerkraut (drained).

Stir it up again and heat until bubbly.

Serve in a bowl, on toast, on a bun, whatever.


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