Kellie Elmore, Free Write Friday

Leaves Turn

Leaves Turn (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

foliage – amber – wicker – aroma – sweater – cocoa

My older sister and I came home for Fall break to visit our parents in Vermont. We tried to come home together in the Fall when leaves were turning amber and red, and we wore thick wool sweaters with, of course, down vests over them. We didn’t do this often (or often enough as our parents continuously said) but it made them happy and I had to admit it was nice being home together. The four of us and our golden lab, Sadie. We sat around the  fireplace in our living room snacking on white cheddar cheese and Carr’s water crackers and sipped mugs of mulled apple cider. We were, mesmerized by the sparks of the amber logs and listening to the hissing of the fire, talking until our voices lulled like the ending of a softly sung lullaby.

Our mom told us to go upstairs, knowing we wanted to catch up on “sister talk.” We flopped on my bed and sure enough my sister who had questioned me for months about my ” so-called secret” just stared at me.”Oh fine” I’ll tell you, but it’s nothing, I swear.” It wasn’t a big deal at all but since I hadn’t wanted to tell her in her mind she had inflated it to be some sort of romantic mystery. I knew though, she was NEVER going to stop asking me even if we were in an old age home together gumming tuna salad sandwiches when we were 85 and 90.

“UMMM” my sister asked impatiently, “continue!” “I sighed, older siblings can be so bossy…”okay, okay I had a huge crush on Robert.” There, are you satisfied?”  “No, she said, ” THAT’S IT?, Why didn’t you go out with him?” I just starting laughing, I knew she would be disappointed and I was enjoying myself.

Luckily our mom came up to our bedroom with the aroma of hot, homemade cocoa with marshmallows wafting in the air carrying a tray of two steamy cups of hot cocoa and a plate with her famous butter cookies right out of the oven. She looked at us with that Mom radar and said “What’s going on in here?” We both laughed and at the same time said our usual response, “Nothing.” She sighed and we yelled after her, “Thanks, Mom.”

As soon as she closed the door behind her my prosecuting attorney aka my sister demanded details, I said firmly “Look there is nothing to talk about, you dated him and after I met him last time we were home he stayed after the Thanksgiving party and helped me clean up and we talked for a long time” “That’s great! she said, You would be perfect together, date him, he meant nothing to me”. “Oh no, I said, not a chance in hell. You dated him, remember? NO WAY. “Oh get over yourself, so what, it was a fling, I have NO interest in him at all.”

Apparently my sister had a lot of “experience” but it just wasn’t my style. There was no chance I was going to date anyone who had dated my sister first. She rolled her eyes at me and said “You’re just being stupid,” and then I simply nodded to signify the conversation was over. I paused dramatically for about 10 seconds on purpose and then said slyly with a devilish look, “besides, I could never date a guy who pronounced foliage as foilage, could you?” We both burst out laughing hysterically, holding our stomachs. Some things we could stand for, others, like mispronouncing words, we could not. We must have laughed for ten minutes until our mom, called us down to help with dinner, even then, it was hard to keep a straight face.

Photo credit to photographer

I own no right except for publication of blog

Advertisements

I Love Ice Cream (Food Cop)

Thursday Night Dinner

Thursday Night Dinner (Photo credit: AxsDeny)

Last night I reached into our over-crowded freezer and pulled out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s” Phish Food.” It has everything I look for in an ice cream, chocolate (but not dark chocolate) a marshmallow swirl, a caramel swirl and chunks of dark chocolate fish. What more could you possibly want? It’s my go-to flavor for comfort although I have to say it was hard to resist that new coconut flavor they had in the summer. Oh my, I wonder how Phish Food would taste with some coconut in it? In my mind it reminds of a very old flavor that I used to love at Baskin Robbins when I was a kid “German Chocolate Cake” Ben and Jerry, how about it?

If I could choose any job at all I think I would be an ice cream flavor tester. (ARE YOU HIRING BY ANY CHANCE??) For the happiness quotient alone, it makes me smile just to think about it. I’ve forgiven Ben and Jerry for selling out to a big company, let’s face it, I would have done the very same thing. They are still involved, they have every right to enjoy their wealth and scoop what they sow. I love these two guys with a vision and a dream, these are two people I can say have made the world a better place. (And I’m not sucking up because I think I’ll get free ice cream, no one does that anymore.)  I truly like these dudes and I even visited their plant many years ago in Vermont, have a cow tee-shirt to prove it.

My husband likes “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz,” but for me coffee is to be sipped slowly in the morning, steaming hot but not eaten with a teaspoon. I have tried his and it has a nice smooth quality but it’s not in my top ten list. See, now that I am writing about their ice cream, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even having gained three pounds, I know we will be at their store tonight, waiting in line, asking for a free sample and then ordering. My genius son introduced me to the BEST way to order, because in our family, (except for my husband) rainbow sprinkles reign supreme. You order whatever size you want, with rainbow sprinkles and *THIS IS KEY* tell them that you want the cone in a cup! That way, they are not cheap with the sprinkles (guys: you should know this) as I can tell you they are when you just order a cone. Do you just LOVE THIS?    I know, I do too. Thanks, to my boy Tim for that idea. Everybody? “Thanks, Tim.”

I’m looking forward to dinner, it’s our daughter’s last night home before she leaves for college and she gets to select whatever she wants to eat. She has selected pizza and a cheese calzone with marinara sauce (YES!!!!!!!!) and I am really looking forward to that. Do you get the sense that we are a foodie family? We are.

GASP!!! There’s a PEEP in that photograph, another FAVORITE of mine, (but they have to be yellow marshmallow chicks) how fortunate was I to find a photo like THAT!!  I have written entire blog posts on Peeps. Check them out!

Okay, I’ve told you my favorite ice cream flavor. What’s yours? I’m licking my lips.

Photograph courtesy of the photographer, no rights owned.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Open Letter To The Fribbles At Friendly’s

Friendly's Fribble

Friendly’s Fribble (Photo credit: johnwilliamsphd)

Dear Mr. Maguire,

I want you to know that, we the people, are NOT happy that you are changing your Fribble formula yet again. We love the Fribble as it is. The reason we choose the Fribble IS because it is different from regular milkshakes, we feel it’s slightly healthier because you use ice milk instead of ice cream. That said, are you going to take your uniqueness away, use hard ice cream like all the other stores in the country and make the fabulous Fribble a Frappe?

I must have a procedure done in the hospital in about a month, you couldn’t know this but I asked my husband to stop at Friendly’s on the way home to buy me a Fribble. An original or current Fribble. I DON’T WANT A MILKSHAKE. They are way too heavy and hard to drink, you can’t easily sip them through a straw. My only decision was to have a vanilla Fribble or strawberry Fribble, now I need not make that decision. If I want a milk shake, I can get a number of them closer to my house at various brand name stores whose ice cream, ( yes, sorry) is much better than yours. I don’t think I need to mention names but there are a couple of guys from Vermont,  (Yo Ben, Yo Jerry you dudes rock!), a Coldstone Creamery (want mix- in’s sure pick whatever you want) and MANY frozen yogurt stores, (again, not as fattening as ice cream). Do they compare with the sainted Fribble? Not to me, I am FRIBBLE FAITHFUL.

I’m begging you now to PLEASE review this crazy marketing scheme of yours. People do NOT want more fattening items, they want items that taste fattening but are not worse for our figures. Do you really think this idea is solid? (get it? Solid, ice cream….) I think you are making a huge mistake and I am asking you to reconsider.

If you insist, you could always have your hard ice cream Frappe and have the original Fribble for your brand loyal original fans. What do you think? Please let me know. Go back to grilled cheese, fine, go back to the little hamburgers and french fries but please keep the Fribble and then add a new product if that is what you want. Please think about it. I would be happy to work with you for flavor testing or anything you need. I am the taste of America and I love Fribbles.

Thank you very much.

Laurie, THE ULTIMATE FRIBBLE FAN

What Would YOU Do, If You Were Not Afraid?*

Norway

*Reminder, this is a game, it’s not taking into account that I would be leaving my family. More hypothetical than actual. What would YOU do if you were not afraid…..share your answers in the comment section.

I think about things that appeal to me yet also scare me at the same time. My first answer is that I would travel all over the world, alone. I would also want to live in a foreign country for a year and not worry about the language barriers, not worry about anything. I’ve always said I wanted to live in different places and that would be something I would do.

I wouldn’t have a time-table, just an open return flight and tons of money to spend (now you can say it’s really a fantasy). I would go to places I’ve never been, or at least not been since I was a child and flying with my parents on free airline tickets.  I would visit Sweden and Copenhagen and Norway, Italy, the South of France in the springtime, Japan but only if I didn’t have to eat sushi. (oh right, I’m not supposed to worry about ANYTHING) okay, I’d eat steaming rice and tasty noodles in a fragrant broth.

I’d go to the islands of Greece and go to Israel after that. I would return to the US and stay home in the spring. Then, I would travel to places in the US : Atlanta, Chicago, Maine, Vermont, I’d spend time in Rhode Island too, California…..that’s just a start. I would want to visit the North and South Carolina; I’d stop in Las Vegas too.

Traveling alone is first on my list, my only companion would be my laptop and my camera and perhaps a stuffed animal to cozy up to at night…..I would need a lot of money, of course, because I’m too old to backpack my way through Europe (actually I don’t think I was ever that type.) Find me a nice hotel and a soft bed with a down comforter and fluffy pillows, white lace curtains on open windows, my own bathroom and a vase of wildflowers at my bedside.

Losing Dawn

Farmland near Queniborough. Unploughed stubble...

Image via Wikipedia

I will never look at the afternoon winter light in the same way again. My friend Dawn died today, February 11th, 2011 when the sky was blue, the sun shone through wind-swept trees next to ice and black snow, nudging a path. From inside, it looked too pretty for someone to have died.  The sun was low and beamed on the bare empty branches like gold necklaces or a child‘s long, blond, sun-streaked hair.

I knew for a long time that my friend Dawn was dying. All of us in the neighborhood, walking partners and friends knew how her breast cancer metastasized to brain cancer. Hearing the words from my friend Margaret that Dawn had passed away a couple of hours ago in her house, was still shocking. Shocking in a mute, surreal way. It’s not as if I thought she would make a miraculous recovery, but if we didn’t see or hear about her, she was still okay and that was soothing and comforting. Intellectually, I should have known better; I didn’t. Knowing someone is going to die is so very different from their actual death. I couldn’t feel a thing.

I remember writing: “Praying For Dawn” on my blog and I made a copy for her. She read it and loved it and told me her family read it too. She even left me a message on my answering machine to say “Thank you,” I never erased that message.

Her daughter had just started college in Vermont as a February Freshman a few days earlier yet there was a car from Vermont  parked outside their house. Dawn and her husband John have three children, her daughter, age 18,  the eldest, her middle son, 16 and their youngest a boy age 14. There is no doubt in my mind that Dawn refused to die until her daughter was at school, just like my father lived through Christmas and died five days later, ten years ago.

What do you say when it’s actually over? Sometimes, nothing. The call I got from my friend should have clued me in but it didn’t. When she said “are you sitting down?” you would think that I would known immediately but I didn’t. My first thought was about my friend’s mother who is in her eighties. I, very slowly,  sat down. Thirty seconds later it hit me, “Oh Dear God, not Dawn,” I whispered into the phone. “Yes, she said and paused, Dawn passed away today, two hours ago.”

She died in her house, around the corner from me. Her parents who live on the Cape had come down a lot these past few years.  Margaret and I used to see them walking arm in arm, crying as they tried to walk slowly around the corner, holding on to each other for support. It took every bit of self-control not to run to them and hug them but they didn’t want to see Dawn’s friends, friends who were living when their daughter was dying. Would you?

Before my father died he used to say that “nothing is as important as your health” all the time and I remember it. I too, know grief. Now, I am grieving for my friend and her husband, children and their extended family. I am glad my friend’s pain and suffering are gone but knowing someone is going to die and them actually dying are two very strong and separate emotions. It’s the feeling of in between; it’s too new to comprehend and yet it was about four years in the making. Four years when I first noticed her bald, shiny head and twinkling green eyes standing outside wearing a cap in the pure, naked sunshine.

I laid beneath a sheet, two fraying cotton blankets, one dingy white, one blue, a thick burgundy colored comforter and an old beige puffy down comforter. l huddle beneath these blankets and still my hands are freezing and so too, my toes. I dig deep down inside the blankets and try to cover myself but I still don’t feel warm, I think I will never feel warm again.

In Memory Of Dawn