Firm enough that they could count on her
April 6, 2009
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I must say I was charmed by Mr. Keillor's singing, right off the bat, the little song with Heather Masse, "April Comes She Will." I can still hear it in my head. And I was taken away, too, by the spicy jazz of Wynton Marsalis and his Quintet playing "Free to Be." Nothing like music to make a person come alive. Finds its way into you and moves you around and you have no say in the matter.
It was that way at Great Grandma Delphinia's funeral. Most somber occasion in our little church in years. An only child of a well-to-do local family, she'd been first a missionary, then a schoolteacher, and finally a pie-maker at the first and best bakery in town right on up until she died nearly thirty years ago. After she'd finished with mission work and while she was teaching, she had it in her to marry a widow, my great grandfather Lawrence, whose wife had passed on after a long illness and left him with two young children. The deal was that Delphinia would leave her work to help him raise his children and run his bakery, and he would provide for her a home and companionship and teach her how to bake pies. The best pies.
What wasn't a part of the deal was their mutual love of music and dancing, and their deep love for each other. You never saw two people cherish each other the way Lawrence and Delphinia did. Nights she was up late baking pies, there was Lawrence across from her, sleeves rolled up, flour on their faces, laughter and lamplight spilling from the window onto the paved walk. She always wore her hair up, the way he liked it, and he never missed an opportunity to call her name from wherever he was.
It's all true. The children loved her too, because she made their father laugh and because she was firm enough that they could count on her. And at her funeral, after the organist played "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," it was the children, now grown, who asked the organist to play it one more time, a little bit louder this time because the people in the back couldn't hear it. And, lo and behold, the organist did. And you've never before or since heard a church full of people sing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" the way they sang it the second time that day, Lawrence and his son and his daughter leading the way, eyes toward heaven, bodies moving to the music, all for Delphinia - baker of the best cherry pies this side of the Mississippi and the one true, unexpected love of one man's life.
If you haven't finished your Easter Sunday menu planning, throw this one on the list. It's easy and colorful and light, and the flavor will knock your socks off. Or put a run in your panty hose.
1 small sack of carrots - regular size, not mini
2-3 T butter
Wash carrots well. Trim ends. Slice carrots into coins as thin as two nickels.
Melt butter in a skillet, heat to very hot.
Cook on high, covered, stirring frequently, about ten minutes until carrots begin to blacken along edges.
Remove from heat.
Add salt and pepper to taste.