FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Last night while I was driving home after an absolutely horrible day at work, I was passed by a huge SUV and noticed one of those dvd players playing a cartoon for the riders the back seat. I then assumed that there were probably several young children strapped in for the ride. Perhaps I was just tired, or maybe I am just reaching that age that I look back and compare my childhood with those kids growing up in this generation. Is it possible I have now become one of those old people that say “Well back in my day…..” Either way, the memories came flooding back to me, starting with playing outside with the neighborhood kids in the fall. We could not wait for the leaves to fall so we could go out and literally get lost in them. We would each try to get ahold of a rake and begin piling them into the largest pile we could make. First off you would jump over and over into the soft pile, then you would try to tunnel into the pile and become invisible. I can still smell the musky odor that surrounded you when you were buried in that pile. Late we would spread out the pile and section them into different rooms of a pretend house. The leaves then became the walls of the house, compete with gaps for windows and doors. What fun it was…until we were instructed to rake them out to the berm for burning. We did the work because we knew that the marshmallows were going to appear for roasting. A great finish to a full and exhausting Saturday.
In the summer we were never in the house. The main reason was to give my mom a mental health break, I am sure, but what fun we could find. Our house was 2 blocks from the park and 2 blocks from town, so we were within walking distance of everything. Growing up in a town of 1,000 there was no fear of kidnapping or harm, we just had to be home before the church bells rang at 6 o’clock. Our city park had a huge pavilion in the center, and there was playground equipment on either side it. Both sides had swings, a slide, monkey bars, and a teeter totter, but the north side was for the “big kids.” When we finally reached the ripe old age of 11 or 12, we would go to the “big kids” side where the slide and monkey bars were just huge! After spending the morning hours at the park, we would then return home for lunch. My friends and I would then try to sweet talk a quarter from our mothers and head uptown to the Sweet Shop for treat. If we got a dime we could get a coke in a glass and 3 pieces of penny candy. If you got the coke in the glass, you had to sit in the booths in the back and drink it there. If we happened to get a quarter….whoo-whee….we were rich! We could get a fountain coke for a dime, and get a bag of chips for a dime and 5 pieces of candy. We then were free to hop on our bikes and go to someones house and enjoy the bounty.
After the short break, we would then decide what to do for the afternoon. There were so many things to choose from, that often times it was hard coming to a mutual decision. We had a huge sandbox in the backyard….not one of those premade plastic turtles with a lid….but one that came from my dads workshop, made with 2×4’s nailed together with another 2×4 cut to make seats in each corner. It didn’t matter what age you were, the sandbox could be a place to let your imagination run wild. There were buckets, and various food containers snuck out from the kitchen for molding the sand. There were spoons, shovels, and spatulas, along with plates and cups, all for our use. And then there was that occasional gift left by the neighborhood cats that we would just toss out with a little sand. We didn’t think much about it, you just scrunched up your nose and gave it a toss. We would often times return to the park and play some dreadfully bad games of tennis, or maybe get enough kids to play a little baseball at the ball diamond at the edge of the park. We just seemed to know when it was getting close to 6, and would start heading home in order to arrive home shortly after the bells rang. Heaven knows you didn’t want to lose out on another day of roaming the town. Life was so good back then, and I think maybe I will write more about these memories. They will be a legacy for my kids and grandchildren to have. I know it will stir up a lot of memories for the “old” people my age, many who were the same friends that shared our little town that read my blogs. So I raise my 10 cent fountain glass to those who can remember back that far…..and maybe spark this “newer’ generation to give the basics a try….you don’t have to entertain your kids every minute of the day…let them learn to play in a pile of leaves or get dirty in a sand box, complete with cat pooh. Who knows what memories you will spark. ♥
FOOD FOR THE BODY
There have been a lot of discussions about different meatloaf recipes….so I am going to throw out mine…and trust me, it is very basic!
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Oatmeal as a binder
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients above, except the ketchup. Mix well. I add enough oatmeal to bind the mixture together. Probably about a cup?
Make into a loaf (I do mine in an oval shape, not too tall)
Spread with Ketchup, cover and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
Great with mashed potatoes (not from a box, yuck) and a veggie.
(of course it always includes mashed potatoes topped with creamed corn for me, hehehe )
You can make up 2 and freeze one for a later date, just take it out frozen, spread with ketchup and bake. It will need to bake longer, but great on those nights when you are in a hurry.