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Let There Be Books

June 18, 2014

Listened to the show Saturday, and it was not bad. I've been quiet, I know. It's nearly summer, and I started with my stack of books a bit early. I've been reading, in between doctor and eye exams for the kids, while waiting in the car at interviews, while dinner is cooking and just after mowing (instead of a nap). Reading Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle and Susan Cain's Quiet. Bits and pieces of Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, and a must-read on Kindness in an article from The Atlantic, and I just today picked up Charles Portis' Masters of Atlantis. Reading up on recipes in waiting rooms, and old notes from the kids when they were very young, and emails that have piled up in folders needing cleaning up. Words upon words, words which follow me into my dreams where they fill meadows and pile themselves up in stairways to the sky. There are shelves lining my dreams, vast walls reaching over continents filled with books I've yet to read, and dusty paths behind paved with books I've already read.

I can smell them, those books. The mossy must of some, the clean sweet fresh of others. Covers that crackle, bindings that groan and crack, pages that whisper as I turn them with my eyes. Dreams of books and people reading books, and the lives they hold within (both the people and the books) and the sound of the word book, and the feel of books in my hand. The pull to open and to begin, the draw of willing suspension of disbelief, the wonderful loss of myself in the pages.

Yes. Books. Let there be books, always. May you have books near you, always, waiting. May you have time, and the presence of mind to take that time to choose one, to open it, and to let yourself dissolve awhile into another place and time, to embrace an essayed thought, to listen to the voice speaking from a wilderness of pages. May you be taunted, lulled, haunted and kept by books and the words they contain, from this day forward, until death do you part. And that's all she wrote, just as the buzzer went off and the pasta bake was done, just right.

Here's a light and creamy dream of a treat, just right for a hot afternoon in June.

Orange Pineapple Cream Mold

1 cup chopped walnuts
2 11 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup orange juice with pulp
1 cup boiling water
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
Lettuce leaves

Line bottom of 6 cup mold with desired amount of orange segments. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over orange juice, let stand 1 minute.
Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved
Add sweetened condensed milk and sour cream, mix well.
Fold in pineapple, nuts and remaining orange segments.
Turn into prepared mold, and chill 4 hours or so until set.
Place onto lettuce and garnish as desired.
Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 10-12 servings

You can make this one in a pretty bowl and sprinkle extra mandarin orange wedges and walnuts on the top.

Enjoy!

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