Homebodies - Baking on Sunday afternoon


Rita Friesen
The Neepawa Banner

The Sunday afternoon stretched before me, endless possibilities and limited energy. The week had been busy, not busier than usual, but busy enough. On an impulse, I sent a quick message to a grandchild “what kind of cookies would you like?” Within minutes, the reply “what are my options?” Not much thinking required for that one, the family standbys have always been chocolate chip or oatmeal/raisin cookie, a take along on a hike or skiing day cookie. Given these two options, a third reply surfaced, the oatmeal raisin with chocolate chips.

Not impossible and not bad tasting! The counter was unkempt so I opted to forge forward, a double batch of real chocolate chip cookies, and then, with energy remaining, two batches of apple crisp.

The apples are from the tree in my back yard. Last year, the tree outdid itself, bushels and bushels of fruit, and this year, it tried to equal last year’s bounty. Only this year, I have been competing with the wasps. They are hollowing out apples as they hang, and once one hits the ground and has the tiny bruised area, the wasps invade with a vengeance. I have filled the fridge drawers with the best of salvages and have enjoyed too many apple crisp desserts already. Not a true determent, the kitchen in a stir, I put together even more. To be fair, I have shared crisps with others and half of this latest batch will leave the house alive as well.

It isn’t often that the baking itch needs scratching. After cooling and packaging the afternoon’s efforts, I was willing to sit. My policy is to clean up as I go along, and so, as the last batch comes out of the oven, the sink is empty and the counters wiped. It was a better than good feeling to see the finished products.

It is easier to simply sit. It was a welcome diversion when the phone rang, not the text message beep, but a real phone call. One of my older friends, away from here, is waiting to die. He has just decided not to continue the blood transfusions that sustain his journey, comfort is the goal. His opening line set the stage, “it’s dark, it’s raining, and I’m sitting alone.” Our friendship goes way back, 40 plus years, his children where playmates of mine. Living in a assisted living complex, he longs for stimulating and constructive conversation. Our hour long discourse covered a wide variety of topics; the kids, growing old, blended family relationships, the books we are reading, what it feels like preparing to leave this wonderful world, the burden of caring for his wife - living in the hospital with dementia - the blessings of family. We never ramble, the conversation flows from topic to topic, he speaking freely of his losses in life, I of mine, the occasional Low German term dotting our speech.

As I reviewed my day I gave thanks – for family I can bless with baking and friends walking this journey with me. A good Sunday all told.