What’s that Smell

“What’s that smell?” Dad asked. He dropped his briefcase and car keys.

“Hmm, I don’t know. I burned some pizza in the oven earlier when it dripped.”

“Come on, that isn’t burned anything except maybe pot. Are you smoking weed in my house? That’s grounds for eviction, buddy.”

“Naw, pop, I wouldn’t do that. We have a deal.”

“Okay, then explain the smell, smart boy.”

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The Yard

The little shed in the yard was our secret hideout. The best thing was when mom gave us big slices of homemade bread with butter and cinnamon sugar on top. We took it to the secret hideout where we could plot adventures and share secrets.

The hideout was full of shovels and hoes and things. I thought it would be fun to use them to plant peas. (Mom said it was time to plant the peas.) Nathan wanted to play with the water guns. We decided to do both, but peas first!

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The Policy

What’s your policy on leftovers? Do you try to farm it all out to your guests? Do you stash it away and eat the same thing over and over again for a week? Do you have clever ways to make leftovers look like something new? Ahh, it’s turkey enchiladas tonight! Surprise! Or maybe you stick in the freezer and then toss it out a few months later. What happens to all the leftover food we think we need to have a holiday feast?

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The Nicest Idea

Having lunch with friends is the nicest idea. A visit in the middle of the day, something good to eat, a glass of iced tea as a pick-me-up. It makes the morning brighter in anticipation. It makes the afternoon brighter in the reflected glow of friendship. All in all, lunch with friends is just about the best thing you can do with yourself. Call a friend today.

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My favorite family recipe

It’s about that time when we’ll all start cooking traditional family favorites. One of mine is what I call Grandma’s apples. She boiled them down in a sugar syrup laced with red hots and a bit of red food coloring to make cinnamon apples that were sweet and tart and soft enough to run a fork through. Plump and juicy and bright on a plate, they always mean holiday time to me. They remind me of long ago meals with family.

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Bumper

It was a bumper crop. A record breaking crop. We put folding chairs under the tree and sat in the shade eating peaches, gooey juice running down our chins, until we could eat no more. Then we filled up every bowl and basket we could find and walked the neighborhood spreading peachy goodwill. Everyone loves my peach tree.

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Lavender

lavender

The small scoop of lavender ice cream came in a paper cup with a tiny plastic spoon. It cost over $4. There were other oddly flavored ice creams in this shop – one with green chile. I gave it a tentative lick. Well, it was ice cream, all right. The lavender flavor didn’t really jump out. Should I say I loved it? Should I praise it?

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The Best Cookie

So many cookies, so little time. The best cookies are homemade, of course. Where I come from the master bakers always produce tons of biscochitos. They are good. Cinnamon and sugar always works.

But give me something with chocolate. My grandson made some chocolate and peppermint cookies the other day that were the best cookies ever made. Yes, give me something chocolate.

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The Road

The road came to a T. I stopped at the stop sign. The voice from my phone told me to turn east. I looked in every direction for a clue to help me figure out which way was east. Did the sun help? Could I see mountains in the distance? What about shadows? Would they help? Finally I turned right. When my phone started squawking, “Recalibrating,” I realized I hadn’t picked east at all.

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The Peaches

The peaches cling
Stubbornly
To their pits.

Their skins pocked
And picked
By birds and ants.

They fill a bowl
Higher
Higher,

Until the
Peachy goodness
Mounts to pie level.

Get the sugar
Make a crust
Bake it up.

Yum.

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