Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-13-20: Kitchen Bliss, Family Dinner, Tree House Ghosts BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. After picking up the Sube, after it had been repaired, from Silver Valley Tire Center, I popped into Yoke's to pick up a few things I needed to prepare family dinner (potatoes, salmon, wine, etc.) and a bag of coffee for survival and also replenished my gin supply at the liquor store. 

I'd had a more complicated dinner in mind for today, but since I couldn't drive to the store until early in the afternoon and because we gathered at 4:00, an hour or two earlier than usual, I decided to simplify things. 

The Thai Beef Noodles will have to wait! I was going to make these noodles along with the dinner I did prepare today.  It would have been a combination spicy/not spicy dinner, but it felt like just a little too much on this particular day. 

I'd already taken a quart of crab stock (made from Elks Crab Feed crab shells) out to thaw and was committed to making a fish chowder with salmon and shrimp. I chopped and cooked onion, celery, and two carrots, added two cloves of chopped garlic, covered the vegetables with flour, cooked that up a bit, and then added the crab stock and seasoning.  I then dumped chopped potatoes in the soup, let it all cook slowly until the potatoes and other vegetables were tender. I cooked the raw shrimp and salmon fillet, cut up the salmon, put the fish in a bowl, and poured the juice of half a lemon over them. Later, I added the fish along with about a half a cup or so of half and half to the soup I'd been simmering and the chowder was ready to eat. 

To accompany it, I bought a Caesar salad bag, augmented it with some Romaine lettuce I had on hand, and cooked a fillet of salmon, let it cool, and chopped it into pieces and put them in the salad. I also squeezed a half a lemon and poured it over the salad,  having dressed it with the kit's dressing and added the croutons and Parmesan cheese.

Last of all, I baked corn bread in the cast iron skillet. I'm very happy to report that it was moist, flavorful in a kind of buttery sweet kind of way, and paired very well with the chowder and salad. 

2. I postponed family dinner on Sunday because I knew I'd be spending much of the afternoon in the ZOOM room. On Monday, Carol and Paul attended a funeral and Paul had a theater rehearsal, so we decided to get together on Tuesday and have a relaxing dinner finished in time for Paul to go to a meeting at church.

We had plenty to talk about. For one thing, there's activity in Kellogg.  Eddie Joe's is being remodeled. I've heard the same rumor twice that that building is going to become a steak house. Some remodeling is going on uptown, but I don't know what's coming. Dr. Bowman is moving his business to the northeast corner of Hill and Cameron. What used to be Cattails will, at some point, be a local church's food bank and something else (thrift store?). Here and there in Kellogg, people have bought houses to remodel. We hear they will move into some of them. Others will become vacation rentals. 

If it weren't for Christy and Carol, who get out and about much more than I do, I wouldn't know any of this news. I continue to lie low. My only outings have been trips to the grocery store, liquor store, post office (occasionally), some outdoor activity and rides with friends, and a couple or three stops at Silver Valley Tire Center. 

I'm not complaining. I don't feel trapped or in a state of miserable self-denial. 

I'm enjoying getting back to walking again and, while in the house, I'm enjoying reading, writing, the Billy Collins Poetry Broadcast, listening to music, time in the ZOOM room with my longtime friends from Whitworth, baseball games, movies, Bill Davie's Tree House concerts, cooking, and having a lot of time to be quiet and still. 

3. Tonight, Bill Davie's Tree House Concert, once again, had me beaming. Bill's ongoing struggles with MS dictate what he can play. His left hand is giving him pain and is not always cooperating with the messages Bill's brain is sending it. It reminds me of that Jimmie Dale Gilmore song, "My Mind's Got a Mind of Its Own" -- only for Bill the title would be "My Left Hand is a Hand on Its Own".  But, Bill persisted, figured what songs he could play, played them masterfully, and those of us in the virtual house enjoyed a magnificent concert. 

Bill played a handful of compositions from his earlier days, songs that trigger some of my favorite of all memories of when I lived in Eugene and Bill traveled to Oregon to perform. Tonight, as Bill played "The Meat of a Dream", I had the wondrous experience of being visited by the ghosts of my friends from those days (friends who are alive, by the way!) coming into the living room with me here in Kellogg. It was as if Bill were giving another house concert at 940 Madison or was playing the Allann Bros coffee house in Corvallis or was playing a gig in Yachats (can't remember the name of that coffee house) or was playing at Smith Family Bookstore during the Eugene Celebration.  I loved the feeling of being in the present and past at the same time, relishing Bill's music as he played it and, simultaneously, reliving days with friends I sorely miss seeing and times that remain joyfully alive in my memory.

A limerick by Stu: 

a day many folks can embrace. 
helps you quickly type up a page space. 
the “shift” button need not be used, 
proper noun spelling’s abused. 
typing’s easier using only lower case. 

national lower case day

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